Roberto Clemente Is Killed
Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1972, while on a mission to bring relief aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. It seems both eerie and appropriate that Clemente's final hit of the 1972 season was the 3,000th of his fabled career. Just 38 years old when he died, Clemente batted .312 in 1972 and had hit .290-plus in 14 consecutive seasons.
Bobby Murcer Nets 33 Dingers, 102 Runs
Yankee fans couldn't help but compare Bobby Murcer to Mickey Mantle, especially after Murcer's Gold Glove season of 1972. That year, the 26-year-old center fielder hit .292 with 33 home runs (second in the American League), 102 runs scored (first in the circuit), and 96 RBI (third in the loop); he also topped the league in total bases and putouts. His 1972 showing earned him his second All-Star Game appearance.
Billy Williams: 37 HRs, 122 RBI
Billy Williams never swung sweeter than in 1972, when he was named the Sporting News Major League Player of the Year. Williams batted .333 in 1972, nailing 37 home runs and knocking in 122 runs for the second-place Cubs. He finished second in 1972 National League MVP balloting.
Wilbur Wood Wins 24 Games
In his first six major league seasons, Wilbur Wood won just five games. After learning the intricacies of the knuckleball from teammate and future Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm, though, Wood forged a series of great seasons. The highlight year of his career was 1972. The lefty went 24-17 that season, tying for the American League lead in wins.
Rookie Dusty Baker Hits .321
Dusty Baker batted .321 in 1972, his first full season in the majors, placing third in the batting race. He also mustered 17 home runs and 76 RBI that season. Just a 27th-round draft choice by the Braves, Baker was described by Hank Aaron as having more potential than any outfielder he had seen.
A's Celebrate the Win
Charley Finley's Swingin' A's were caught in a trio of World Series mob scenes in the early 1970s. The ballclub's victory in 1972 marked the first franchise triumph for Oakland. The A's remain the only major league team to win three straight World Titles since the Yankee ballclub of 1949 to 1953.
Catfish Hunter Is 1972 Series Ace
Crafty veteran Catfish Hunter provided both leadership and pitching savvy for the 1972 World Champion A's, as he won a pair of games and compiled a sterling 2.81 ERA over the run of the 1972 World Series. Hunter sweated through a tense second game in the fall classic: He allowed just a single earned run in 8-2/3 innings as he was saved by a home run and a memorable catch, both courtesy of left fielder Joe Rudi.Reds Fizzle in Series
Neither Reds shortstop Darrel Chaney nor any of his teammates could stop the relentless march of the A's toward their first of three consecutive World Championships in 1972. Chaney posted a disastrous career record in postseason play, netting just three singles in 35 at-bats. He went 0-for-7 in the 1972 World Series. As for the rest of the staff, the Reds matched the A's in team batting average (.209) and hits (46) and beat them in runs scored, doubles, triples, RBI, and stolen bases -- and yet it was the A's who reigned victorious.You can find highlights from the 1972 baseball season on the next page.
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