1970 Baseball Season Headlines
Gov. Jimmy Carter Honors Rico Carty
Georgia governor Jimmy Carter presented a silver bat to Rico Carty for winning the 1970 National League hitting title with a .366 average. Carty received the award prior to a Braves-Mets game in 1971, a season in which he was idled by leg injuries. He was never again an everyday player, except in the role of designated hitter.
Mike Cuellar Lands Job, Wins 24
Mike Cuellar knocked around organized ball for 12 years before landing with the Orioles in 1969. In 1970, he tied for the most wins in the majors (24) and topped the American League in win percentage (.750) and complete games (21).
Johnny Bench Posts Monster Stats
Had Johnny Bench not played other positions as well in 1970, he would have set major league records for the most home runs (45), RBI (148), and total bases (355) collected by a catcher. If he had been moved soon thereafter to another full-time position, he would probably have made well over 500 home runs.
The Orioles' Jim Palmer
tied for third place in
win percentage in 1970.
Jim Palmer High in All Departments
Jim Palmer won 20 games in 1970, tying for third place in the American League in win percentage (.667). He also tied for the circuit-lead in shutouts (five) and innings (305), finished second in ERA (2.71), placed third in complete games (17), and came in fourth in strikeouts (199). Palmer was a distant fifth, however, in the voting for the Cy Young Award.
Thurman Munson Named American League Rookie of the Year
Thurman Munson, the 1970 American League Rookie of the Year, hit .302 for the Yankees in his first full season. Cleveland's Ray Fosse, also in his fledgling year as a regular backstopper, batted .307 in the junior circuit that season. Sophomore catcher Manny Sanguillen of the Pirates hit .325, the second-best average in the National League.
Jim Perry Back on Top Again
Jim Perry was the elder member of the Perry brothers, the winningest siblings in history prior to the Niekros. Outstanding with Cleveland in his first two seasons, he won just 76 games over the next eight years before emerging again in 1969 as one of the best pitchers in the American League. In 1970, Perry tied for the circuit-lead in wins with 23 and snared the Cy Young Award.
A Green Blue Fires No-Hitter
Vida Blue won a pair of complete-game shutouts for the A's late in the 1970 season (one of which was a no-hitter), whetting appetites in Oakland for what the future of the rookie might hold. The A's registered 89 victories that year, the franchise's highest total since 1932. Charley Finley suddenly seemed as if he might be more than an inept cousin to Bill Veeck.
Frank "Hondo" Howard: 44 HRs, 126 RBI
Frank Howard acquired the nickname "Hondo" early in his athletic career. By 1970, however, he was more commonly known as "The Capital Punisher." He clubbed 237 round-trippers for the expansion Senators, a club record. He also set the mark for the most career home runs by a Washington player, original or expansion club. In 1970, Howard led the American League with 44 dingers, 126 RBI, and 132 walks.
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