The 1976 baseball season was thrilling despite an owner's lockout during spring training. Here are some of the headlines from the 1976 baseball season:
Jim Palmer Wins the 1976 American League Cy Young Award
Jim Palmer (22-13, 2.51 ERA) won his third and final Cy Young Award in 1976. A workhorse, Palmer topped the American League with 315 innings. In time, the righty's stint as a spokesman and model for Jockey Underwear would win him more popular acclaim than any of his awards.
George Brett Breathtaking
George Brett dominated in the 1976 American League Championship Series, batting .444 with five RBI for the Royals. His sole homer tied the fifth and deciding game at six-all and set the stage for the pennant-clinching homer off the bat of Chris Chambliss.
Gary Matthews Distracted
Gary Matthews was another great outfielder who got away from the Giants, joining such players as George Foster, Garry Maddox, and Bobby Bonds in exile. A contract dispute marred his 1976 season as he batted .279 with 20 homers and 84 RBI. A free agent, he signed with the Braves in time for the 1977 season.
Mike Schmidt: 38 HRs, 107 RBI
Mike Schmidt whacked 38 round-trippers in 1976 to capture the third of eight home run titles in his 18-year career. The National League's leader in total bases (306), Schmidt placed third in RBI (107), runs produced (181), slugging average (.524), and walks (100). That season, Schmidt also won his first of ten Gold Gloves at third base.
Nolan Ryan Collects 327 Ks
On August 20, 1974, a Nolan Ryan fastball was clocked at a sizzling speed of 100.9 mph. Almost one year to the day later, Ryan underwent surgery on his elbow. In 1976, the pitching prodigy notched 327 strikeouts and allowed just 6.12 hits per game, both bests in the American League.
Bill Madlock Hits .339 for 1976 National League Batting Title
Bill Madlock captured the second of his four National League batting titles in 1976, hitting .339 for the Cubs. Madlock was the premier player to capture two batting titles with two different ballclubs and the only right handed hitter to top the senior circuit in batting average from 1971 through 1989.
A Goofy Bird Wins 19
Rookie phenom Mark "The Bird" Fidrych won 19 games for a Tiger team that placed fifth in the American League East, 24 games back. In between chats with baseballs, the hurler racked up 24 complete games and a 2.34 ERA, both top marks in the circuit. Fidrych's bubble burst within two years and several comeback attempts proved fruitless.
Steve Carlton Tops the National League in Win Pct.
An alteration in stance cast Steve Carlton from a .517 winning percentage in 1975 to a whopping .741 winning percentage in 1976, best in the National League. A southpaw with a devastating fastball, Carlton racked up 20 victories to boost the Phillies to their first National League East title.
Greg Luzinski Bats .304
Although Greg "The Bull" Luzinski may have looked more like a tight end than an outfielder, his power hitting kept him in the majors for 14 seasons. Batting .304 in 1976, he led the Phillies to the first of three straight division titles.
Davy Lopes Leads the National League in Stolen Bases
National League catchers hated to see Davey Lopes on the basepaths in 1976. The second baseman topped the league in steals for the second consecutive year with 63 thefts that season. Always an efficient base stealer, he was nabbed just ten times.
Find more headlines from the 1976 baseball season on the next page.