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1977 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1977 throughout the world.
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- February 2 - Fritz Peterson, who gained notoriety as a member of the New York Yankees when he and teammate Mike Kekich swapped wives and families, is released by the Texas Rangers, ending his major league career.
- February 3 - The Negro League Committee elects Martín Dihigo and Pop Lloyd to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dihigo, a dominant pitcher born in Cuba, also is one of just two players to be inducted to the Cuban, Dominican Republic, Mexican Baseball and Venezuelan Halls of Fame, being the other Willie Wells. Lloyd, a standout shortstop and prolific hitter, played in the Negro Leagues from 1906 through 1932, and is also a member of the Cuban and Mexican Halls of Fame.
- February 5 - The Chicago Cubs trade pitcher Darold Knowles to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later. Outfielder Gene Clines is later sent to Chicago to complete the deal.
- February 16 - The Chicago Cubs trade outfielder Champ Summers to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Dave Schneck
- February 18- The New York Yankees trade Sandy Alomar to the Texas Rangers for infielders Brian Doyle and Greg Pryor.
- February 24 - The Oakland A's trade infielder Ron Fairly to the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league infielder Mike Weathers. The move puts in motion Fairly becoming the first major league to play for both Canadian franchises. Fairly years prior had been a member of the Montreal Expos.
- March 2 - Ed Farmer is signed by the Baltimore Orioles.
- March 17 - A Federal Court rules in favor of MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's decision to void The Oakland A's deals that saw the team sell the contract of Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi to the Boston Red Sox for two million dollars and he sale of Vida Blue to the New York Yankees for 1.5 million dollars in the best interest of baseball. A's owner Charlie Finley had sued major league baseball to allow the deals to go through.
- March 18 - The Minnesota Twins sign free agent pitcher Geoff Zahn
- March 21 - Mark Fidrych, the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year, rips the cartilage in his left knee shagging fly balls in the outfield and will undergo surgery in ten days. Fidrych would pitch parts of the next four seasons, but the injury would wind up being too much to overcome.
- March 26 - The Boston Red Sox release popular infielder Rico Petrocelli. Instead of signing with another team, Petrocelli opts to retire from baseball.
- March 28 - While in Orlando, Florida for an exhibition game with the Minnesota Twins, the Texas Rangers' Lenny Randle walks up to Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi during batting practice and says he wanted to talk to him. Words are exchanged, and Randle punches Lucchesi, who was still in street clothes, in the face. Lucchesi is hospitalized for a week, needing plastic surgery to repair his fractured cheekbone which Randle breaks in three places. He also receives bruises to his kidney and back. The Rangers suspend Randle for 30 days without pay and fined him $10,000. Randle is charged with assault, and would plead no contest to battery charges in a Florida court, getting slapped with a $1,050 fine.
- March 30 - The Cleveland Indians release Boog Powell.
- April 6 - The Seattle Mariners open their existence and their home stadium, the Kingdome, with a 7-0 loss to the California Angels.
- April 7 - In keeping his promise, Frank Sinatra sings the Star-Spangled Banner on Opening Day at Dodgers Stadium. Sinatra had made the promise to Tommy Lasorda that he'd sing the song if Lasorda ever became manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- April 9 - Angered at his teams poor play, San Diego Padres owner Ray Kroc takes to the P.A. system that thank the fans in attendance and call the players out for their poor play.
- April 12 - The Detroit Tigers trade Willie Horton who'd played for the team since 1963, to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Steve Foucault.
- April 15 - The Montreal Expos play their first game at Montreal's Olympic Stadium before a crowd of 57,592, as the visiting Philadelphia Phillies win 7-2.
- April 17 - Umpires Terry Tata, Ed Sudol, Dick Stello, and Bruce Froemming, walk off the field in protest after The video screen at Fulton County Stadium shows video of a controversial playing involving Bob Watson of the Houston Astros scoring at home in a close play. The crew returns to the field after they are promised the event will not happen again.
- April 24 - Canadian Ferguson Jenkins throws the first shutout ever in Exhibition Stadium, as the visiting Boston Red Sox defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-0.
- April 25 - The Cincinnati Red defeat the Atlanta Braves 23-3. The Reds score 12 runs in one inning and outfielder George Foster scores five runs, and drives in seven.
- April 26 - Before completing his suspension with the Texas Rangers, Lenny Randle is traded to the New York Mets for a player to be named later.
- April 27 - The New York Yankkes acquire Mike Torrez from the Oakland A's in exchange for pitcher Dock Ellis, Larry Murray and infielder Marty Perez. While Torrez would only spend one season in pinstripes, he'd be a part of Yankees lore the following season when he surrendered Bucky Dent's home run that helped the Yankees defeated int Red sox in the win and get in play off game.
- Garry Templeton of the St. Louis Cardinals scores five runs in a game, setting a team record as the Cardinals routed the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field 20-3.
- May 9 - On a nationally televised ABC's Monday Night Baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds, Al Hrabosky, the "Mad Hungarian", loads the bases in the 8th inning with the score tied 5-5, but then proceeds to strike out George Foster, Johnny Bench, and Bob Bailey to the delight of the fans at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals win 6-5 on a walk off home run by Ted Simmons in the home half of the 10th.
- The Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Seattle Mariners 10-4 at Exhibition Stadium. This marked the first on field meeting between the two expansion teams.
- May 11 - Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner names himself manager, and manages the Braves to a loss. He is ordered by National League president Chub Feeney to desist, and soon after, owners are banned from managing.
- May 14 - Jim Colborn throws a no-hitter as the Kansas City Royals defeat the Texas Rangers 6-0. Colborn is the first Royal to pitch a no-hitter at Royals Stadium, later renamed Kauffman Stadium.
- May 17 - The Mets' Tom Seaver pitches his fifth career one-hitter, a 6-0 shutout of the Chicago Cubs. Seaver's no-hit bid is broken up by Steve Ontiveros on a bloop single in the fifth.
- May 25 - In a Fenway Park double-header, centerfielder Lyman Bostock of the Minnesota Twins ties a major league record with twelve putouts. Recording seventeen putouts over both games, Bostock sets an American League record.
- May 27 - Mark Fidrych returns from the injured list and pitches a complete game at home for the Detroit Tigers, but loses 2-1.
- May 28 - The Seattle Mariners purchase the contract of pitcher Tom House from the Boston Red Sox.
- May 30 - At age 22, pitcher Dennis Eckersley fires a no-hitter as the Cleveland Indians top the California Angels 1-0. Eckersley walks one batter and strikes out 12.
- June 1 - Pitcher Jim Bouton is released by the Chicago White Sox without ever appearing in a game for the team.
- June 3 - Leading by two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, The Baltimore Orioles escape a no-out loaded bases jam when John Wathan hits into a run-scoring triple play to end the game, giving the team a 7-6 victory over Kansas City at Royals Stadium. The Kansas City pinch-hitter's sac fly to right field is the first out, but scores Al Cowens from third base, however Freddie Patek, the runner on first, is caught in a run-down on the throw (2) and Dave Nelson, stranded off third base, is tagged out (3) by Mark Belanger, completing the 9-6-4-6 triple play.
- June 5 - During Old-timer's day, the Los Angeles Dodgers retired the number 24 in honor of former manager Walter Alston
- June 7 - The Chicago White Sox select Harold Baines with the number one pick in the 1977 MLB Draft. White Sox owner Bill Veeck had first seen Baines play Little League ball and had followed his career. Pitcher Bill Gullickson is taken with the second pick by the Montreal Expos, and the Milwaukee Brewers take University of Minnesota infielder Paul Molitor with the third pick. Danny Ainge, a potential pro basketball player, is picked in the 15th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
- June 8 - For the fourth time in his career, Nolan Ryan strikes out 19 batters in a game, doing so against the Toronto Blue Jays.
- June 12 - Before a crowd of only 10,439 at The Astrodome in Houston, the New York Mets beat The Houston Astros 3-1. It was Tom Seaver who picked up the win and go 7-3 for the season. It would be 6 years until Seaver won a game again for the New York Mets.
- June 14 - The New York Mets sign amateur free agent Jeff Reardon.
- June 15 - The New York Mets trade Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman. They then trade Mike Phillips to the St. Louis Cardinals for Joel Youngblood, and send Dave Kingman to the Padres for minor league pitcher Paul Siebert and Bobby Valentine, who will one day manage the Mets. This would forever be known in Mets lore the "Midnight Massacre"
- June 16 - The Los Angeles Dodgers purchase the contract of pitcher Bobby Castillo from the Kansas City Royas. Castillo would later go one to be known as the pitcher who helped Fernando Valenzuela learn how to throw a screwball.
- June 17 - Joe Torre is released by the New York Mets.
- June 18 - In the sixth inning of an NBC-televised game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, New York Yankees manager Billy Martin pulls right fielder Reggie Jackson and replaces him with Paul Blair after Jackson misplays Jim Rice's fly ball for a double. As Jackson returns to the dugout, he and Martin exchange words, Martin arguing that Jackson had shown him up by "not hustling" on the play. The Yankee manager lunges at Jackson (who is 18 years younger than Martin and outweighs him by about 40 pounds), and has to be restrained by coaches Yogi Berra and Elston Howard--with the NBC cameras showing the confrontation to the entire country. The Red Sox win, 10-4.
- June 20 - On ABC's Monday Night Baseball, the Detroit Tigers' Mark Fidrych beats the Yankees 2-1 at home, allowing 3 hits, no walks, and striking out nine.
- June 21 - Frank Lucchesi is fired as manager of the Texas Rangers with a 31-31 record following a 9-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Lucchesi blames former Ranger Lenny Randle, with whom he got into a confrontation during Spring training, for the firing, and sues him for $200,000.
- June 22 -- Eddie Stanky replaces Lucchesi as Rangers manager. He wins the game, and then surprisingly resigns as manager a mere 18 hours after being hired, one of the shortest tenures in MLB history.
- June 24 - After hitting what appears to be a three-run homer in the third inning at Metropolitan Stadium, Ralph Garr is called out for passing teammate Jim Essian, who waited at first base to make sure the ball cleared the fence. The umpires award the White Sox outfielder, known as the Road Runner, a two-run single, but the mistake proves costly when Chicago loses the game in Minnesota, 7-6.
- June 25 - A group of former Cubs flatten the Hall of Famers 5-1 in a pregame exhibition. The ex-Cubs included the likes of Billy Jurges, Stan Hack, and Ron Santo. The 24 Hall of Famers that day includes the greatest collection outside of Cooperstown. Men like Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner and Warren Spahn played at Wrigley Field one last time. In the regular game, The Cubs scored four runs in the ninth to overtake the Mets, 5-4. The win improves the Cubs record to 44-22, seven games over Pittsburgh.
- June 26 - Pete Vukovich pitches the first shutout in Toronto Blue Jay history, blanking Baltimore at Memorial Stadium, 2-0.
- On Rod Carew Night, the Twins' first baseman goes 4-for-5 en route to scoring five runs and collecting six RBIs in Minnesota's 19-12 victory over the White Sox at Metropolitan Stadium.
- June 27 - The San Francisco Giants' Willie McCovey smashes two home runs, one a grand slam off reliever Joe Hoerner, in the sixth inning to pace a 14-9 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. McCovey becomes the first player in major league history to twice hit two home runs in one inning (his first time was on April 12, 1973), and also becomes the all-time National League leader with 17 career grand slams. Andre Dawson, in both 1978 and 1986, will be the next player to hit two homers in the same inning.
- After offering the job to Twins legend Harmon Killebrew, the Rangers hire Billy Hunter as the team's manager, making him the club's fourth skipper in one week. Texas had replaced the fired Frank Lucchesi with Eddie Stanky, who left after one game, resulting in third base coach Connie Ryan, who refused to assume the position full-time, becoming the interim manager for six games.
- June 28 - Before a crowd of only 18,955 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, The Chicago Cubs beat The Montreal Expos 4-2. Rick Reuschel was the winning pitcher going 11-2 while Bruce Sutter picked up his 21st save of the season. The victory was the high mark for the Cubs as they had a 47-22 record, eight and a half games over Pittsburgh.
- June 29 - Willie Stargell hits his 400th career home run helping the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-1.
- June 30 - Cliff Johnson joins Joe DiMaggio and Joe Pepitone as the only players in Yankee history to hit two home runs in the same inning. The designated hitter goes deep twice in the eighth as the Bronx Bombers score eight runs in an 11-5 win over the Blue Jays.
- July 2 - Jim Spencer, for the second time that season, ties the club record set by Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920, when he collects eight RBIs, duplicating a feat he first accomplished in May against the Indians. The White Sox first baseman's two home runs help to beat the Twins at Comiskey Park, 13-8.
- July 3 - On his 24th birthday, Angel left-hander Frank Tanana tosses his 14th consecutive complete game with his 6-4 victory over Oakland at Anaheim Stadium.
- July 5 - The Los Angeles Dodgers sign free agent Ron Kittle.
- July 6 - After going 1,887 at bats without a home run, Chicago Cubs outfielder Greg Gross hits one off Don Stanhouse of the Montreal Expos.
- July 9 - New York Mets third baseman Lenny Randle ends an extra innings marathon with the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium in the seventeenth inning with a walk off home run off Will McEnaney.
- July 13 - The New York Mets trailed the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in the sixth inning when the lights went out as New York City is stricken with a blackout that would last two days. The game was resumed on September 16, with the Cubs winning 5-2.
- July 14 - Jim Wynn, aka the Toy Cannon, is released by the New York Yankees. The 5'10" home run hitter would later sign with the Milwaukee brewers to finish his MLB career.
- July 19 :
- July 21 - Sixteen years and two days removed from his MLB debut, Al Downing, best remembered as the pitcher who gave up Hank Aaron's record breaking home run, is released by the Los Angeles Dodgers, ending his MLB career.
- July 24 - Mets outfielder Bruce Boisclair drops a two out foul pop up hits by Davey Lopes of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lopes responds with a game-ending three-run home run off Bob Apodaca. Lopes's ninth-inning homer provide the Dodgers with a 5-3 win and spoil the opportunity for a win for Nino Espinosa, who left the game needing just one more out for a complete-game victory.
- July 25 - Pete Rose becomes the all-time hit leader among switch-hitters when he collects his 2,881st career hit, a fourth-inning single off Pete Falcone in the Reds' 9-8 loss to St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Frankie Frisch, had established the record nearly a half-century ago playing with the Giants and the Cardinals.
- July 28 - Just two days after pitching a complete game, 3-0 five hit shutout for the Chicago Cubs against the Cincinnati Reds, Rick Reuschel enters the 13th inning in relief of a 15-15 tie game with the Reds and retires two batters to end the top half. Reuschel then leads off the bottom half with a single and later scores the winning run.
- August 1 - Willie McCovey extends his own National League record when he hits his 18th career grand slam in the third inning of the Giants' 9-2 victory over Montreal.
- August 7 - In the second game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, Mick Kelleher of the Chicago Cubs and Dave Kingman the San Diego Padres are involved in a bench-clearing brawl--a melee with a rare mismatch between the two major combatants. The 6-6, 210-pound Kingman, apparently angered over being hit by a Steve Renko pitch leading off the second inning, responds by sliding hard into Kelleher, the Cubs' 5-9, 170-pound second baseman, on George Hendrick's ground ball one batter later. Kelleher responds by jumping onto Kingman's back and pummeling him with blows. Both Kelleher and Kingman are ejected from the game, which the Cubs win 9-4.
- August 12 - For the second consecutive day, Manny Sanguillén of the Oakland Athletics foils a no-hit bid with a single hit off the Baltimore Orioles' Jim Palmer, who settles for a two-hit 6-0 victory. Yesterday's hit was off the New York Yankees' Mike Torrez, who finished with a 3-0 two-hitter.
- August 17 - Records fall as the Mexican League concludes its season. Ironman reliever Aurelio López of the Mexico City Reds racks up his 30th save to go with a record 19 victories in relief. Veteran Tampico first baseman Héctor Espino hits 14 home runs, raising his career total to 435, a new minor league record. Thirty-eight-year-old Vic Davalillo, the league's top hitter with a .384 batting average, is purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- August 18 - After attending an open tryout for the Chicago White Sox, Kevin Hickey, who received the invitation after a White Sox employee saw Hickey pitch in a local rec softball league,is signed to a contract. Out of the 250 players at the camp, Hickey is the only one that leaves with a contract.
- August 20 - The Kansas City Royals defeat the Boston Red Sox 5-2. Coupled with losses by the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins, the Royals gain sole possession of first place in the American League West for the first time all season, and do not relinquish it for the remainder of the season. By their tenth consecutive win on August 26, the Royals have moved from fourth place to three games up on the White Sox and Twins.
- August 21 - In front of 46,265 fans at Shea Stadium, Tom Seaver takes the mound against the New York Mets for the first time in his career. His Cincinnati Reds defeat the Mets 5-1.
- August 23 - The New York Yankees defeat the Chicago White Sox 8-3 at Comiskey Park. Coupled with a Boston Red Sox loss, the Yankees move into first place for the first time since July 9, and remain atop the American League East for the remainder of the season.
- August 27 - Against the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers' Toby Harrah and Bump Wills become the first players in Major League history to hit back-to-back inside the park home runs.
- August 28 - The Padres place Dave Kingman on waivers.
- August 29 :
- August 31 :
- Hank Aaron's major league mark of 755 career home runs is tied by Sadaharu Oh in Japan. Three days later, Oh will hit his 756th homer to surpass Aaron's total, becoming the most prolific home run hitter in professional baseball history.
- First baseman Boog Powell is released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- September 3 - Sadaharu Oh surpassed Hank Aaron's world record of home runs hit when he hit home run #756.
- September 6 - Dave Kingman is claimed off waivers by the California Angels, making them his third team played for in 1977.
- September 7 - Jim Dwyer is released by the Chicago Cubs.
- September 8 - Bruce Sutter of the Chicago Cubs strikes out the first six batters he faces, including three men in the ninth on nine pitches.
- September 9 - In the second game of a double header in Boston, the Detroit Tigers debut their new second baseman, Lou Whitaker, and their new shortstop, Alan Trammell. They will play side by side for 19 years to establish a new Major League record for tandem play at those positions.
- September 10 - Roy Howell hits two home runs, two doubles, and a single, and drives in nine runs, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees 19-3.
- September 14 - At age 38, pitcher Jim Bouton earned a 4-1 win for the Atlanta Braves over the San Francisco Giants. It is his first Major League Baseball victory since 1970, and last, of his major league career. A member of the 1962 World Champions New York Yankees and an All-Star in 1963, Bouton had retired midway through the 1970 season, shortly after the Houston Astros sent him down to the minor leagues. He then became a local sports anchor for New York station WABC-TV, and eventually pitched in the minors and authored the baseball book Ball Four.
- September 15 :
- September 16 - The Seattle Mariners defeat the Kansas City Royals 4-1, snapping the Royals' sixteen game winning streak.
- September 17 - Yankees DH Dave Kingman, with a third-inning round-tripper off Jim Crawford at Tiger Stadium, becomes the first player to homer for four different teams in one season. The much-traveled veteran will hit a total of 26 home runs in 1977 playing for the Mets (9), Padres (11), Angels (2), and the Yankees (4).
- September 19 - With two singles in his first two at bats, Ted Cox ties and then breaks Senators' Cecil Travis' 1933 record of five consecutive hits at the start of a career.
- September 22 - Bert Blyleven tossed a 6-0 no-hitter for the Texas Rangers against the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium.
- September 23 - George Foster blasted his 50th home run of the season off Atlanta's Buzz Capra, becoming the first major leaguer with a 50-HR season since Willie Mays in 1965.
- September 29 - Win a 6-3 victory over the Angels at Royals Stadium, Kansas City reaches the 100-win mark for the first time in the nine-year history of the franchise. The eventual American League Western Division champions will finish the regular season with 102 victories.
- Tony LaRussa is released by the St. Louis Cardinals. LaRussa had been playing for the Cardinals triple A New Orleans Pelicans.
- October 1 - Despite a 10-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees clinch their second straight AL Eastern Division title when the Boston Red Sox are beaten 8-7 by the Baltimore Orioles.
- October 2 - Dusty Baker of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits his 30th home run of the season off J.R. Richard of the Houston Astros. Baker joins Steve Garvey, Reggie Smith, and Ron Cey as the other Dodgers with over 30 home runs that season, thus making the Dodgers the first team in MLB history to have four players hit over 30 home runs.
- October 5 - Glenn Burke greets Dusty Baker on the dugout steps to congratulate his Dodger teammate for hitting a grand slam against the Phillies in Game 2 of the 1977 NLCS. The greeting, which consists of the two players extending their right arms above their heads and slapping their hands to make a resounding clap, is considered to be the first 'high five' in baseball history.
- October 7 - In Game Three of the National League Championship Series at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers were down 5-3 with 2 outs in the 9th inning, but the Dodgers catch lightning in a bottle. Pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo beats out a 2-strike drag bunt and scores when pinch-hitter Manny Mota follows with a long double off Greg Luzinski's glove. Mota reaches 3rd on a throw that Ted Sizemore mishandles. Davey Lopes' grounder hits a seam in the carpet and caroms off Mike Schmidt's knee to Larry Bowa, and the shortstop's throw is ruled late although television replays and a scene from a 1977 Philadelphia Phillies highlight film showed that Lopes was out. Mota scored to tie the game at 5-5. The Dodgers pull out a 6-5 victory when Bill Russell singles home Lopes after Lopes advanced to second on a wild pickoff throw by Gene Garber.
- October 8 - Tommy John of the Los Angeles Dodgers outduels Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies for a 4-1 win.
- October 18 - In Game Six of the World Series, Reggie Jackson hits three home runs in three swings to lead the New York Yankees to an 8-4, Series-clinching victory. Jackson is named Series MVP.
- October 20- Ron Blomberg who was the first designated hitter in the majors, becomes a free agent.
- October 26 - The St. Louis Cardinals purchase the contract of pitcher Aurelio López from the Mexico City Reds of the Mexican League.
- October 27 - Calvin Griffith, owner of the Minnesota Twins, rejects manager Gene Mauch's request to resign and take a job as manager with the California Angels. Griffin informed both Mauch and Angels owner Gene Autry that Mauch was under contract to the Twins for three years.
- November 2 - Steve Carlton won his 2nd Cy Young Award as his 23 wins helped The Phillies reached the postseason for the 2nd straight year, the first time the Phillies had consecutive postseason appearances.
- November 11 - Doc Medich signs as a free agent with the Texas Rangers.
- November 16 - Rod Carew of the Minnesots Twins easily beats Al Cowens of the Oakland A's and Ken Singleton of the Baltimore Orioles in a vote to be named American League MVP.
- November 17 - Ron Blomberg, who missed much of the previous season with an injury, is signed to a huge free agent deal by White Sox owner Bill Veeck. The deal was for $500,000 plus and $80,000 bonus. The deal is a bust as Blomberg bats only .231 in 169 plate appearances.
- November 21 - Outfielder Lyman Bostock signs with the California Angels as a free agent. Bostock is killed in a shooting 10 months later.
- November 22 - Andre Dawson of the Montreal Expos wins the National League Rookie of the Year Award by one vote over Steve Henderson of the New York Mets. Dawson hit .282 with 19 home runs and 65 RBI, while Henderson had .297, 12, 65.
- The New York Yankees sign pitcher Goose Gossage to a six-year 2.75 million dollar contract.
- November 30 - Dave Kingman signs with the Chicago Cubs, making the Cubs the fifth franchise he was a part of during the Calendar year. Kingman started the season with the Mets, was traded to the Padres, who later released him. He was then signed by the Angels, played there for a week, and was traded to the New York Yankees, where he finished the season.
- January 1 - Mary Carey, 51, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League infielder
- January 1 - Danny Frisella, 30, relief pitcher who saved 57 games for five teams
- January 6 - Mike Miley, 23, shortstop for the California Angels
- January 10 - Vic Frazier, 82, pitched for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and Boston Bees in the 1930s
- January 11 - Tex Carleton, 70, pitcher who won 100 games, including a no-hitter, for Cardinals, Cubs and Dodgers
- January 16 - Baby Doll Jacobson, 86, center fielder for the St. Louis Browns who batted .311 lifetime
- January 29 - Hod Ford, 79, infielder for fifteen seasons with five NL teams
- February 3 - Chi-Chi Olivo, 48, pitcher for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves from 1961 to 1966
- February 4 - Nemo Leibold, 84, outfielder for four AL teams batted .300 twice; later a minor league manager
- February 8 - Boardwalk Brown, 87, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Yankees from 1911 to 1915
- February 18 - George Zackert, 92, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1911 to 1912
- March 9 - Spike Merena, 57, pitcher for the 1934 Boston Red Sox
- April 3 - Hank Steinbacher, 64, outfielder for the Chicago White Sox from 1937 to 1939
- April 12 - Philip K. Wrigley, 82, owner of the Chicago Cubs since 1932, and vice president of the National League from 1947 to 1966; also organized the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943
- April 12 - Hal Leathers, 78, middle infielder who played nine games with the 1920 Chicago Cubs
- April 27 - Ernie Neitzke, 82, outfielder/pitcher for the 1921 Boston Red Sox
- April 28 - Al Smith, 69, All-Star pitcher who won 99 games for Giants, Phillies and Indians
- May 5 - Bill Marshall, 66, second baseman who played for the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds in the 1930s
- June 10 - Turk Farrell, 43, All-Star pitcher who won 106 games, mainly with the Phillies and Astros
- June 15 - Big Bill Lee, 67, All-Star pitcher who had two 20-win seasons for the Chicago Cubs
- June 18 - Johnny Frederick, 75, slugger who hit .308 with 85 HR and 377 RBI in parts of six seasons for the 1930s Brooklyn Dodgers
- July 16 - Milt Stock, 84, third baseman who batted .300 five times
- August 16 - Al Javery, 59, two-time All-Star pitcher who played for the Boston Braves from 1940 to 1946
- August 19 - Bob Klinger, 69, pitcher who compiled a 66-61 record for the Pirates and Red Sox from 1938 to 1947
- August 19 - Chuck Wortman, 85, shortstop for the Chicago Cubs from 1916-18, who appeared in the 1918 World Series
- September 2 - Chucho Ramos, 59, Venezuelan outfielder who played four games for the 1944 Cincinnati Reds
- September 8 - Oral Hildebrand, 70, All-Star pitcher who won 83 games for the Indians, Browns and Yankees
- September 14 - Beau Bell, 70, All-Star right fielder who led AL in hits and doubles in 1937; later coached at Texas A&M
- September 24 - Sherm Lollar, 53, seven-time All-Star catcher for the Chicago White Sox who won first three Gold Gloves awarded
- September 26 - Ernie Lombardi, 69, eight-time All-Star catcher, mainly with the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants, who batted .306 lifetime and won 1938 MVP award; only catcher to win two batting titles, he caught Johnny Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters in 1938
- September 30 - Del Pratt, 89, second baseman for four AL teams who led AL in RBI in 1916 with St. Louis Browns; batted .300 in his last five seasons
- October 17 - Cal Hubbard, 76, Hall of Fame umpire in the American League from 1936 to 1951 who developed modern systems of umpire positioning
- November 4 - Pinky Pittenger, 78, backup infielder/outfielder who played from 1921 through 1929 for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds
- November 8 - Bucky Harris, 81, Hall of Fame manager of five teams who won 3rd most games (2,157) in history; managed Senators three times, winning 1924 World Series as rookie skipper, and also led Yankees to 1947 title; as second baseman, led AL in double plays five times
- November 9 - Fred Haney, 79, manager who won World Series with Milwaukee Braves in 1957; was Angels' first general manager from 1960-68
- November 17 - Roger Peckinpaugh, 86, shortstop for four AL teams who was named the 1925 MVP in his last full season; became manager and general manager of the Indians
- November 24 - Mayo Smith, 62, manager of the Phillies, Reds and Tigers who led Detroit to the 1968 World Series title
- November 28 - Bob Meusel, 81, outfielder, who batted over .300 seven times, including a career-high mark of .337 in 1927, hit for the cycle three times, and appeared in six World Series with the New York Yankees
- December 1 - Dobie Moore, 82, star shortstop for the Negro Leagues' Kansas City Monarchs
- December 11 - Berith Melin, 59, outfielder, one of the original Rockford Peaches founding members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in its 1943 inaugural season
- December 29 - Jimmy Brown, 67, All-Star infielder and leadoff hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals