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1971 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1971 throughout the world.
January 7 - The ruptured Achilles tendon of Reds centerfielder Bobby Tolan brings an end to two sports seasons. Tolan suffers the injury while playing basketball for the Reds offseason squad. He misses the baseball season because of the injury and the Cincinnati front office orders the basketball team to disbanded as a result.
January 11 - Tigers pitcher John Hiller suffers a heart attack at age 27. he'll miss this season but will make a remarkable comeback.
March 6, 1971: Charlie Finley persuaded American League president Joe Cronin to have a preseason game in which a walk was allowed on three pitches rather than four. The Athletics bested the Milwaukee Brewers by a 13-9 tally. Nineteen total walks were issued in the game, and a collective six home runs were hit.
The Cleveland Indians are involved in a bizarre play against the Washington Senators at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. The Senators' Tommy McCraw leads off the bottom of the fourth inning with a 140-foot pop fly (some sources say it was 250 feet) into short left-center for what should be an out. Instead, Indians shortstop Jack Heidemann, left fielder John Lowenstein and center fielder Vada Pinson collide into each other going for the ball, which falls amongst the three players. Before the ball can be recovered, McCraw circles the bases for an inside-the-park home run; meanwhile, Heidemann, Lowenstein and Pinson are all injured and have to be replaced. Despite their embarrassing moment, the Indians defeat the Senators 6-3.
June 25 - Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits what will be the longest home run ever hit at Veterans Stadium. In the second inning of the Pirates' 14-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, his shot off Jim Bunning strikes above an exit in the 600 level in the upper deck. The spot where the ball struck will eventually be marked with a yellow star with a black "S" inside a white circle until Stargell's 2001 death, after which the white circle will then be painted black. The star will remain until the stadium's 2004 demolition.
June 29 - The Atlanta Braves release 48 year old pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm. he would later sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers and finish his hall of fame career.
July 7 - Commissioner Kuhn announces that players from the Negro leagues elected to the Hall of Fame will be given full membership in the museum. It had been previously announced that they would be honored in a separate wing.
August 28 - Phillies pitcher Rick Wise hits two home runs, including a grand slam off Don McMahon, in the second game of a doubleheader, duplicating his feat in his June no-hitter. Wise beats the Giants 7-3.
November 17 - At age 22, Oakland Athletics pitcher Vida Blue becomes the youngest player ever to win the Most Valuable Player Award and only the fourth to capture both the Cy Young Award and the MVP in the same season.
December 1 - The Chicago Cubs release longtime star and future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, ending his 19-year major league career. The Cubs also announce that Banks will serve as a coach on manager Leo Durocher's staff in the 1972 season. Mr. Cub finishes his illustrious playing career with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI.
January 1 - Joe Lotz, 79, pitcher who worked in 12 games for the 1916 St. Louis Cardinals
January 1 - Harry Rice, 69, outfielder noted for his defense who also hit .300 five times; played in 1,034 games between 1923 and 1933 for five clubs, principally the St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers
January 7 - Dud Lee, 71, infielder for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox in the 1920s
January 7 - Hal Rhyne, 71, shortstop who played from 1926 to 1933 for the Pirates, Red Sox and White Sox
January 9 - Elmer Flick, 94, Hall of Fame right fielder and lifetime .313 hitter who led AL in triples three times, steals twice, and batting and runs once each
January 22 - Dorothy Comiskey Rigney, 54, principal owner of the Chicago White Sox from December 10, 1956 to February 7, 1959, when she sold her controlling interest to Bill Veeck
January 27 - Bruce Connatser, 68, first baseman for 1931-1932 Cleveland Indians; later a longtime scout
January 31 - Steve Yerkes, 82, second baseman who played in 711 games over seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Rebels of the "outlaw" Federal League, and Chicago Cubs between 1909 and 1916; played all eight games of the 1912 World Series for champion Boston
February 8 - Bobby Burke, 64, left-handed pitcher who appeared in 254 MLB games in ten seasons between 1927 and 1937, mostly for the Washington Senators; threw a no-hitter against Boston on August 8, 1931
February 16 - Cedric Durst, 74, outfielder for the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox between 1922 and 1930; member of the 1927-1928 world-champion Yankees
February 18 - Chuck Hostetler, 67, outfielder who appeared in 132 games for the Detroit Tigers after his 40th birthday during the wartime 1944 and 1945 seasons
February 20 - Vidal López, 52, three-time Triple Crown Pitching winner and slugging outfielder who played in the professional leagues of Cuba, México, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, throughout a career that lasted 21 years between the 1930s and 1950s
February 28 - Lou Chiozza, 60, infielder-outfielder who appeared in 616 games from 1934 to 1939 for the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants; first player to bat in the major leagues' first night game on May 24, 1935, at Cincinnati
March 2 - Johnny Podgajny, 50, pitcher in 115 games for the Philadelphia Phillies (1940-1943), Pittsburgh Pirates (1943) and Cleveland Indians (1946)
March 8 - Tripp Sigman, 72, outfielder who appeared in 62 games for the 1929-1930 Phillies
March 10 - Bill James, 78, pitcher for the Boston Braves (1913-1915 and 1919); compiled a 26-7 won-lost record for the "Miracle Braves" of 1914 and won two games in the 1914 World Series, throwing 11 shutout innings, as Boston swept the Philadelphia Athletics
March 11 - Clyde Barfoot, 79, pitcher for the St.Louis Cardinals (1922-1923) and Detroit Tigers (1926) who worked in 86 major league contests
March 16 - Ralph Birkofer, 62, left-handed pitcher who appeared in 132 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers from 1933 to 1937
March 18 - Tony Welzer, 71, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox from 1926 to 1927, who was the first player born in Germany to appear in an American League game
March 24 - Verlon Walker, 42, coach for the Chicago Cubs from 1961 until his death, and former minor-league catcher and manager; younger brother of Rube Walker
March 31 - Sam Post, 74, first baseman who appeared in nine games for the 1922 Brooklyn Robins
April 4 - Carl Mays, 79, underhand pitcher who won 20 games five times with three teams, but was best remembered for his pitch which struck Ray Chapman in the head for the only field fatality in major league history
April 9 - Elmer Eggert, 69, pitcher for the 1927 Boston Red Sox
April 9 - Will Harridge, 87, president of the American League from 1931 to 1958
April 12 - Ed Lafitte, 85, pitcher who worked in 33 games for the Detroit Tigers between 1909 and 1912, followed by 73 appearances for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the "outlaw" Federal League in 1914 and 1915
April 15 - Mickey Harris, 54, All-Star pitcher who won 17 games for the 1946 Red Sox, led AL in saves with 1950 Senators
April 16 - William Eckert, 62, Commissioner of Baseball from December 15, 1965 to February 3, 1969; retired United States Air Force general
April 16 - Ron Northey, 50, outfielder with a powerful arm for five MLB teams between 1942 and 1957; hit a record three pinch-hit grand slams in his career
April 19 - Russ Hodges, 60, broadcaster for the Giants since 1949, previously with the Reds, Cubs, Senators and Yankees, best known for his call of Bobby Thomson's pennant-winning home run in 1951
May 4 - Billy Mullen, 75, third baseman who appeared in 36 total games over five seasons for the St. Louis Browns (1920-1921 and 1928), Brooklyn Robins (1923) and Detroit Tigers (1926)
May 12 - Heinie Manush, 69, Hall of Fame left fielder and career .330 hitter who won 1926 batting title with Detroit, led AL in hits and doubles twice each
May 15 - Goose Goslin, 70, Hall of Fame left fielder who starred for five pennant winners in Washington and Detroit, batting .316 lifetime with eleven 100-RBI seasons; one of the first ten players to hit 200 home runs, he retired with the 7th-most RBIs in history
May 20 - Martín Dihigo, 65, Cuban star in the Negro leagues who excelled at all positions, particularly as a pitcher and second baseman
May 24 - Rupert "Tommy" Thompson, 61, outfielder who appeared in 397 games for the Boston Braves, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns
May 26 - Judge Nagle, 91, pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox during the 1911 season
July 2 - Chester Emerson, 81, outfielder for the 1911-1912 Philadelphia Athletics
July 7 - Ray Phelps, 67, pitcher in 126 games for the Brooklyn Robins and Dodgers (1930-1932) and Chicago White Sox (1935-1936)
July 8 - Ed Doherty, 71, longtime baseball executive and the first general manager of the expansion Washington Senators (1960-1962)
July 12 - Wally Judnich, 54, center fielder who twice batted .300 for the St. Louis Browns; backup outfielder for 1948 World Series champion Cleveland Indians
July 12 - Ed Weiland, 56, pitcher who appeared in ten career games for the Chicago White Sox in 1940 and 1942
July 16 - Earl McNeely, 73, outfielder and first baseman who played 683 games for the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns between 1924 and 1931; his single that bounced over the head of New York Giants' third baseman Fred Lindstrom in the 12th inning of Game 7 won the 1924 World Series for Washington
July 16 - Harry Pattee, 89, second baseman who played 80 games for the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas
July 25 - John "Chief" Meyers, 90, catcher for New York Giants, Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves (1909-1917); led National League catchers in put outs five straight seasons (1910-1914) and in on-base percentage (1912); batted .291 in 992 career games, enjoying three over-.300 campaigns
July 28 - Myril Hoag, 63, outfielder who recovered from a brutal 1936 collision to become an All-Star three years later
August 16 - Walter Mueller, 76, outfielder who played in 121 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1922-1924 and 1926); father of Don Mueller
September 4 - Joe Hassler, 66, shortstop who played in 37 MLB games for the 1928 and 1929 Philadelphia Athletics and 1930 St. Louis Browns
September 6 - Artie Dede, 76, catcher in one game for the 1916 Brooklyn Robins who became a longtime scout for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees
September 11 - Rube Melton, 54, pitcher who worked in 162 career games for the Philadelphia Phillies (1941-1942) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1943; 1946-1947)
September 14 - Bill Holden, 82, outfielder who played in 79 career games for the 1913-1914 New York Yankees and the 1914 Cincinnati Reds
September 15 - Roberto Ortiz, 56, outfielder for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics who logged all or portions of six years in MLB between 1941 and 1950
September 17 - Hack Miller, 77, outfielder who batted .323 in 349 career games, 334 of them for the Chicago Cubs of 1922-1925; played briefly for the 1916 Brooklyn Robins and 1918 Boston Red Sox
September 20 - Tony Venzon, 56, National League umpire from 1957 until May 25, 1971, when he retired due to ill health
October 8 - Murray Wall, 45, relief pitcher for the Boston Braves, Boston Red Sox and Washington Senators between 1950 and 1959
October 14 - Doc Prothro, 78, licensed dentist; third baseman for the Senators (1920; 1923-1924), Red Sox (1925) and Cincinnati Reds (1926); manager of Philadelphia Phillies (1939-1941); influential minor league manager and club owner; father of Tommy Prothro
October 17 - Mike Massey, 78, infielder in 31 games for the 1917 Boston Braves
October 21 - William R. Daley, 79, principal owner of the Cleveland Indians (1956-1962) and Seattle Pilots (1969, their only year of existence)
October 23 - Jesse Petty, 76, left-handed pitcher who worked in 207 games for the Cleveland Indians (1921), Brooklyn Robins (1925-1928), Pittsburgh Pirates (1929-1930) and Chicago Cubs (1930)
October 23 - Woody Upchurch, 60, left-handed pitcher who appeared in ten games for the 1935-1936 Philadelphia Athletics
November 5 - Toothpick Sam Jones, 45, pitcher who began career in the Negro leagues and appeared in 322 MLB games, principally with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, over 12 seasons between 1951 and 1964; led National League in strikeouts (1955, 1956, 1958), games won (21 in 1959) and earned run average (2.83 in 1959); threw a no-hitter (1955) and a seven-inning no-no (1959, in a game shortened by rain); two-time NL All-Star
December 13 - Mike Ryba, 68, pitcher (in 240 games) and catcher (in ten games) who toiled for the Cardinals (1935-1938) and Boston Red Sox (1941-1946); later a coach, minor league manager and longtime scout
December 16 - Ferdie Schupp, 80, pitcher who won 21 games for the 1917 New York Giants but whose career faltered after service in World War I
^Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p.146, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN978-0-8027-1745-0