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1976 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1976 throughout the world.
March 20 - Leo Durocher, hired to manage Japan's Yokohama Taiy? Whales of the Central League, is sick with hepatitis and asks for a five-week delay in reporting. Durocher receives a telegram from the Whales stating: "Since the championship starts in 20 days, it's better if you stay home and take care of yourself for the remainder of the season."
March 26 - The American League approves the purchase of the new Toronto franchise by the LaBatt's Brewing Company for $7 million.
April 15 - Newly remodeled Yankee Stadium is jammed with 52,613 fans for Opening Day ceremonies. The 1923 Yankees are honored, and Bob Shawkey, winner of the 1923 Stadium opener, throws out the first ball. The Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 11-4 on 14 hits, but the only home run is hit by Minnesota's Dan Ford.
April 21 - At Wrigley Field, Tim Foli of the Montreal Exposhits for the cycle, but it takes him two days to do it. Foli has a single, double and triple against the Cubs, but with the Expos ahead 11-3, the game is suspended on account of darkness. When play resumes the next day, Foli will add a home run in the 8th inning.
The Atlanta Braves top the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2, as Darrell Evans draws a walk in his 13th consecutive game to set a new National League record. He'll draw passes in two more games, until April 27, before being shut out. Evans has 19 walks in the 15 games.
May 1 - In the first game of a double-header, Mike Schmidt hits a home run, number 12 for the season. It was the Phillies 15th game of the season, setting a record for the most homers in a team's first 15 games.
May 15 - Mark Fidrych wins his first major league start, a complete game two-hit 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Fidrych holds the Indians hitless for six innings, talks to the ball, and tamps down the mound before toeing the rubber each inning.
May 20 - At Yankee Stadium, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are involved in one of the ugliest on-field brawls in sports history. In the bottom of the 6th inning, New York's Lou Piniella crashes into Boston catcher Carlton Fisk in an attempt to score. Fisk and Piniella begin fighting at home plate and the benches clear. During the brawl, Bill Lee is thrown to the ground. As the fight appears to be subsiding, Yankee 3rd baseman Graig Nettles punches Lee after the two exchange words, re-igniting the brawl. Lee suffers a separated shoulder from the tilt and subsequently misses a significant portion of the 1976 baseball season. He kept pitching until 1982, but he was never the same pitcher after the brawl. The Red Sox won the game 8-2.
June 15 - The Houston Astros are "rained out" of their scheduled home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Astrodome. Massive flooding in the Houston area prevents the umpires and all but a few fans from reaching the stadium. Despite both teams having taken pre-game practice, the absence of the umpiring crew forces the game to be called off.
June 25 - The Texas Rangers' Toby Harrah becomes the only shortstop in major league history to go through an entire doubleheader without a fielding chance. At bat, Harrah makes up for the inactivity, collecting six hits including a grand slam in the opener, and another home run in game 2. The Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox in the first game 8-4, but lose the nightcap 14-9.
June 28 - With a national television audience looking on, Detroit's Mark Fidrych, known as "the Bird", beats the New York Yankees 5-1 at Tiger Stadium.
Oakland fire sale
Before the June 15, 1976, trading deadline, Charlie Finley contacted the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. He had proposed a trade to the Boston Red Sox that would have involved Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Gene Tenace and Sal Bando for Fred Lynn, Carlton Fisk and prospects. In trade talks with the Yankees, Finley proposed Vida Blue for Thurman Munson along with either Roy White or Elliott Maddox. Finley also offered Joe Rudi for Thurman Munson.
On June 14, 1976, Finley was unable to make any trades. He had started contacting other teams about the possibility of selling his players' contracts. Joe Rudi, Vida Blue, Don Baylor, and Gene Tenace were worth $1 million each, while Sal Bando could be acquired for $500,000. Boston Red Sox General manager Dick O'Connell was in Oakland as the Red Sox would play the Athletics on June 15. Field manager Darrell Johnson had declared that he was interested in Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers. The Red Sox had agreed to purchase both contracts for one million dollars each.
Dick O'Connell had contacted Detroit Tigers General manager Jim Campbell to purchase Vida Blue for one million dollars so that the New York Yankees could not get him. Gabe Paul of the New York Yankees advised that he would pay $1.5 million for the opportunity to acquire Vida Blue. Finley offered Blue a three-year extension worth $485,000 per season to make the sale more attractive to the Yankees. With the extension, the Yankees agreed to purchase Blue.
Finley had then proceeded to contact Bill Veeck of the Chicago White Sox about purchasing Sal Bando. He then contacted the Texas Rangers, as they were interested in acquiring Don Baylor for the one million dollar asking price. Three days later, Bowie Kuhn voided the transactions in the "best interests of baseball." Amid the turmoil, the A's still finished second in the A.L. West, 2.5 games behind the Royals.
July 26 - Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox gets his 2500th hit versus the Cleveland Indians, a double in the 1st off of Stan Thomas at Fenway Park. The Red Sox lost 9-4. Yastrzemski was beaten to the milestone one week earlier by his contemporary, Willie Davis on July 19.
August 8 - The first game of today's Royals–White Sox double header at Comiskey Park sees the White Sox appear on the field in shorts. The Sox return to long pants for the second game, after stealing five bases and defeating the Royals, 5-2.
September 3 - At Shea Stadium, Tom Seaver fans Tommy Hutton of the Phillies in the 7th inning of the Mets 1-0 victory. Hutton is Seaver's 200th strikeout victim of the season - the 9th straight year the Mets' right-hander has reached that mark.
September 6 - Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager is seriously injured when the jagged end of a broken bat strikes him in the throat while he is waiting in the on-deck circle.
September 10 - California's Nolan Ryan strikes out 18 White Sox hitters in a 9-inning 3-2 victory at Chicago.
September 11 - Orestes "Minnie" Miñoso comes out of his twelve-year retirement. Playing at home for the White Sox, he goes 0-for-3 against Frank Tanana. The next day, he will single, becoming the oldest player to hit safely in a Major League game.
September 18 - Player-Manager Frank Robinson of the Cleveland Indians inserts himself into the lineup as a pinch hitter in the eight inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles. He singles in what will be his final at-bat as a player. His influence as a manager and executive will continue for decades to come.
September 21 - In Los Angeles, the Cincinnati Reds clinch the National League West title with a 9-1 pasting of the Dodgers.
September 25 - The Yankees put an end to a 6-game losing streak with a 10-6 win over the Tigers to wrap up the Al East, the Yankees' first visit to the postseason since the 1964 World Series. Doyle Alexander gets the victory.
September 26 - In the last big league games at Montreal's Jarry Park, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Montreal Expos 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader to clinch the National League East title. Philly takes the nightcap, 2-1. Following the 2nd game, Dick Allen jumps the team in protest of the fact that veteran Tony Taylor is not listed on the post-season roster. Allen was fined by the Phillies and returned five days later, playing in two of the final three regular season games and the playoffs.
September 28 - The Dodgers' Walter Alston, after 23 seasons and 2,040 victories, steps down as manager. Third base coach Tommy Lasorda is promoted to the post.
The Chicago Cubs' Bill Madlock wrests the National League batting crown from Ken Griffey by collecting four singles in an 8-2 win over the Montreal Expos. The hits raise Madlock from .333 to .339, one point ahead of the idle Griffey, who belatedly joins the Reds 11-1 win over the Atlanta Braves and goes 0-for-2, dipping his average to .336.
October 11 - In the last of the eighth inning, leading the Hanshin Tigers 4-1 with two out and a full count, Sadaharu Oh hits his 715th home run to pass Babe Ruth's mark. He finishes the season with 716 HRs and takes aim at Hank Aaron's record.
October 14 - In Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, the New York Yankees take a 6-3 lead before Kansas City's George Brett connects for a 3-run home run in the top of the 8th inning. In the bottom of the 9th, New York's Chris Chambliss smashes the first pitch off Kansas City's Mark Littell over the right field fence for a 7-6 win, winning the Yankees their first AL pennant and World Series appearance since 1964.
October 21 - In the World Series, the Cincinnati Reds beat the New York Yankees 7-2, completing a four-game sweep. Series MVP Johnny Bench has two home runs and five RBI in the Series, and demolishes the Yankees with .533 hitting. Opposing catcher Thurman Munson had six straight singles to tie a World Series mark. The Reds become the first team since the 1969 playoff expansion to go through an entire postseason without a defeat. It is the last World Series to end in a sweep until 1989.
November 2 - San Diego Padres pitcher Randy Jones beats out Jerry Koosman of the New York Mets for the National League Cy Young Award. Jones led the league with 315 innings pitched and posted a 22-14 record for the fifth-place Padres.
November 16 - New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson wins the 1976 American League MVP Award, becoming the first Yankee to win the award since Elston Howard in 1963. Munson finished with a .302 average, 17 home runs and 105 RBI.
November 24 - Joe Morgan outdistances Cincinnati Reds teammate George Foster to win his second straight National League MVP Award. Morgan finished with a .320 average, 27 home runs, 111 RBI, 113 runs, 60 stolen bases, and led the NL in slugging percentage (.576) and OPS (1.020). Foster finished with 29 home runs and led the league with 121 RBI.
March 11 - Larry Gardner, 89, third baseman for three Red Sox champions who batted .300 five times; longtime coach at University of Vermont
March 18 - Paul Maloy, 83, pitcher for the 1913 Boston Red Sox
March 23 - Walter Murphy, 65, pitcher for the 1931 Boston Red Sox
April 15 - George Scales, 75, second baseman in the Negro Leagues, also a manager in the Puerto Rican winter league
April 26 - Alex Ferguson, 79, pitcher for the Yankees, Red Sox, Senators, Phillies and Robins from 1918 to 1929
April 27 - Ed Durham, 72, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1929 and 1933
May 2 - Dan Bankhead, 55, first black pitcher in major league history (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1947, 1950-51); also homered in first major league at-bat
May 3 - Ernie Nevers, 73, who excelled in several sports, including American football, basketball and baseball
May 10- Ken Trinkle, 56, Pitcher for the New York Giants, who led the National League in games played by a pitcher in 1946 and 1947
May 30 - Max Carey, 86, Hall of Fame center fielder, mainly with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who led NL in steals ten times, holding league career record of 738 until 1974; set NL records for career games, putouts, chances and double plays in outfield, and batted .458 in 1925 World Series
June 11 - Jim Konstanty, 59, All-Star pitcher who became the first reliever to win the MVP award, with the 1950 "Whiz Kid" Phillies
June 15 - Jimmy Dykes, 79, All-Star third baseman for the Athletics and White Sox who went on to become the winningest manager in White Sox history; also managed five other teams
June 16 - George Dickey, 60, catcher for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1935 and 1947
June 23 - Lon Warneke, 67, 5-time All-Star pitcher had three 20-win seasons for Cubs, led NL in wins and ERA in 1932; later an NL umpire for seven years
June 30 - Firpo Marberry, 77, pitcher for the Washington Senators who established single-season and career records for both saves and relief appearances, led majors in saves a record five times; also 94-52 as a starter
July 9 - Tom Yawkey, 73, owner and president of the Boston Red Sox since 1933, and vice president of the American League from 1956 to 1973
July 21 - Earle Combs, 77, Hall of Fame center fielder for the New York Yankees who batted .325 lifetime and led the AL in triples three times; batting leadoff, he had eight seasons of 100 runs, and batted .350 over four World Series
August 3 - Homer Ezzell, 80, third baseman for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox between 1923 and 1925
August 15 - Jim Henry, 66, pitched from 1936 through 1939 for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies
September 1 - Mike Meola, 70, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns between 1933 and 1936, who posted one of the best seasons ever for a pitcher in minor league history going 20-5 with 2.90 ERA for the PCL Los Angeles Angels in 1934
September 10 - Blackie Carter, 73, outfielder for the New York Giants from 1925 to 1926
September 25 - Red Faber, 88, Hall of Fame pitcher who played his entire 20-year career with the Chicago White Sox, winning 254 games and leading AL in ERA twice; his four 20-win seasons included a 25-win campaign for the scandal-decimated 1921 team, which finished 62-92
September 26 - Rip Russell, 61, first baseman/outfielder, and a competent replacement for the Cubs and Red Sox in the 1940s
October 9 - Bob Moose, 29, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1967-76, who threw a no-hitter in the 1969 season against the Mets, died in an automobile accident on his birthday
October 20 - Freddie Muller, 65, infielder who played from 1933 to 1934 for the Boston Red Sox
October 26 - Eddie Silber, 62, Outfielder for the 1937 and 1939 St. Louis Browns
November 2 - Regis Leheny, 68, pitcher for the 1932 Boston Red Sox
November 2 - Dee Miles, 67, outfielder who played from 1935 to 1943 for the Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox
November 19 - Frank Kellert, 52, first baseman for the St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs from 1953 to 1956
December 1 - George Earnshaw, 76, pitcher who had three 20-win seasons for 1929-30-31 AL champion Athletics; later a scout and coach
December 2 - Danny Murtaugh, 59, manager who in four stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates won two World Series (1960, 1971) and three division titles; led NL in steals as rookie in 1941
December 7 - Duke Maas, 47, pitcher who won 45 games for the Tigers, Athletics and Yankees
December 9 - Annie Gosbee, 40, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League infielder
December 9 - Wes Ferrell, 68, All-Star pitcher who had six 20-win seasons for the Indians and Red Sox, 193 career wins included a no-hitter; also a career .280 hitter, and caught by brother Rick for five seasons
December 10 - Danny Thompson, 29, infielder, mainly with the Minnesota Twins, who played four seasons after being diagnosed with leukemia
December 26 - Walt Lynch, 79, catcher for the 1922 Boston Red Sox
December 27 - Press Cruthers, 86, Philadelphia Athletics second baseman from 1913 to 1914, who later managed in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League