In 1971, Tom Seaver and Bobby Murcer had the best years of their careers. Here are some of the headlines of the 1971 baseball season.
Joe Torre Named National League MVP
Nicknamed "The Godfather," Joe Torre terrorized pitchers in 1971. An All-Star catcher in the 1960s, Torre was relocated to third in 1971. He topped the loop with a .363 batting average and 137 RBI that year, capturing the league's MVP Award. It was the only monster year in Torre's career. He dropped to a .289 average in 1972.
Amos Otis Cranks Out HRs, RBI
When he left the Royals in 1983, Amos Otis departed as the team career leader in several categories -- hits (2,004), runs (1,086), and RBI (997). His fielding earned him three Gold Gloves. The Royals obtained Otis from the Mets in December 1969. In 1971, Otis had a .301 average, 15 homers, and 79 RBI.
Steve Carlton Trade
Following the 1971 season, the Cardinals traded Steve Carlton, the second-winningest left-handed pitcher of all time, to the Phillies for Rick Wise. Carlton went 20-9 in 1971, tying for second in wins in the National League. The reason for the swap was Carlton's request for a $10,000 raise. The 1972 season found him sporting a 27-10 record.
Bobby Murcer Has Best Year
Bobby Murcer followed Mickey Mantle as center fielder of the Yankees. Although he never measured up to Mantle's standards, Murcer appeared in five All-Star Games during his 17-year career. His best Yankee season was 1971, when he batted .331 (second in the American League) with 25 home runs.
Sal Bando Takes A's to First
Ever colorful, Sal Bando was the gritty co-captain of the A's dynasty teams that dominated baseball in the early 1970s. In 1971, he helped Oakland to a first-place finish in the American League West with 24 homers and 94 RBI.
Mickey Lolich Tops American League in Wins, Ks
Mickey Lolich followed his 1968 World Series heroics with a consistent career that saw him set a major league record for strikeouts by a southpaw (2,832). Lolich spearheaded the American League in victories (25), strikeouts (308), complete games (29), and innings (376) in 1971, only to see the Cy Young Award go to Vida Blue.
Tom Seaver Sizzles for Mets
Tom Seaver was "The Franchise" for the Mets in the late 1960s and early 1970s, taking the team to a World Championship in 1969 and division title in 1973. On April 22, 1970, the ace struck out 19 Padres including a record ten in a row to end the game. Seaver had his best year in 1971 -- a 20-40 record (tied for second in wins in the National League) and a 1.76 ERA (best in the majors).
Fergie Jenkins Has Career Year
Pitching in a bandbox of a ballpark and supported by mediocre Chicago Cub nines, Fergie Jenkins won 20 or more games for six consecutive years beginning in 1967. His best year was in 1971: Not only did he spearhead the National League in complete games (30), triumphs (24), and innings (325), he batted .243 with six homers. His effort was rewarded with the 1971 Cy Young Award.
Earl Weaver Fails to Repeat
Earl Weaver's 1971 defending champion Orioles featured a pitching staff of four 20-game winners and a combined ERA of 3.00. Despite the efforts of his aces -- as well as Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and 1971 American League MVP Boog Powell -- Weaver and the Orioles dropped the World Series to the Pirates that fall.Find more headlines from the 1971 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1970 Baseball Season
- 1972 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth