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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 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.
January 2 - Jack Kraus, 57, left-handed pitcher who appeared in 70 career games for the Philadelphia Phillies (1943 and 1945) and New York Giants (1946)
January 5 - Gene Elliott, 86, outfielder who played in five 1911 games for the New York Highlanders
January 16 - Chick Autry, 91, utility first baseman/outfielder in 81 career games for the Cincinnati Reds (1907 and 1909) and Boston Doves (1909)
January 20 - Tom Dunn, 75, National League umpire from 1939 to 1946
January 29 - Milt Galatzer, 68, backup outfielder who played in 248 games for the 1933-1936 Cleveland Indians and in three contests for the 1939 Cincinnati Reds
January 29 - Harry Otis, 89, left-handed pitcher (nicknamed "Cannonball") who appeared in five games for the 1909 Cleveland Naps
February 9 - Ziggy Hasbrook, 82, first baseman who got into 11 games over trials with the 1916 and 1917 Chicago White Sox
February 10 - Eddie Moore, 77, infielder/outfielder who played in 748 games for Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Braves, Brooklyn Robins, New York Giants and Cleveland Indians between 1923 and 1934; starting second baseman for 1925 World Series champion Pittsburgh
February 11 - Johnny Miljus, 80, pitcher who appeared in 127 games for the Pittsburgh Rebels (of the Federal League), Brooklyn Robins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians between 1915 and 1929; appeared in two contests for the losing Pirates in 1927 World Series
February 16 - Eusebio González, 83, Cuban shortstop who played in three midseason games for the 1918 Boston Red Sox
February 16 - John Shovlin, 85, infielder who appeared in 18 total games for the 1911 Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1919-1920 St. Louis Browns
February 24 - Carey Selph, 74, infielder with St. Louis Cardinals (1929) and Chicago White Sox (1932) who appeared in 141 total games
March 1 - George "Rube" Foster, 88, pitcher in 138 games for the 1913-1917 Boston Red Sox; member of 1915 and 1916 world champions; in 1915, won 19 regular-season games and threw two complete-game victories against the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, including the clinching fifth game
March 11 - Larry Gardner, 89, third baseman for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians (1908-1924) who was a member of four World Series championship teams (1912, 1915, 1916, 1920) and batted .300 or better five times; longtime coach at University of Vermont
March 13 - Johnny Pasek, 70, catcher who appeared in 32 career games for the 1933 Detroit Tigers and 1934 Chicago White Sox
March 18 - Paul Maloy, 83, pitcher in two midsummer contests for the 1913 Boston Red Sox
March 21 - Heinie Scheer, 75, second baseman who got into 120 games for 1922-1923 Philadelphia Athletics
March 23 - Walter Murphy, 65, pitcher for the 1931 Red Sox who appeared in two games
April 13 - Mike McCormick, 58, outfielder with Cincinnati Reds (1940-1943, 1946), Boston Braves (1946-1948), Brooklyn Dodgers (1949), New York Giants (1950), Chicago White Sox (1950) and Washington Senators (1951) who appeared in 748 MLB games; played in three World Series (1940, 1948, 1949) and batted .310 in 29 at bats for Cincinnati's 1940 world champions
April 15 - George Scales, 75, second baseman in the Negro Leagues, also a manager in the Puerto Rican winter league
April 17 - Clay Hopper, 73, Mississippi native and longtime minor-league player and manager between 1926 and 1956 who, as skipper of the 1946 Montreal Royals, was Jackie Robinson's manager when he broke the color line in "Organized Baseball"
April 22 - Ernie Krueger, 85, catcher who appeared in 318 career games for the Cleveland Naps (1913), New York Yankees (1915), New York Giants (1917), Brooklyn Robins (1917-1921) and Cincinnati Reds (1925); appeared in three games of the 1920 World Series
April 26 - Alex Ferguson, 79, pitcher who made 257 appearances for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Robins between 1918 and 1929; led American League in games lost (17) in 1924
April 27 - Ed Durham, 72, pitcher who worked in 143 games for the Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1929 and 1933
April 29 - Joe Berry, 81, second baseman in 15 games for the 1921-1922 New York Giants
May 2 - Dan Bankhead, 55, first black pitcher in major league history (Brooklyn Dodgers, 1947, 1950-1951); homered in first major league at-bat, August 26, 1947; posted 9-5 record with 6.52 ERA in 52 MLB games
May 3 - Ernie Nevers, 73, who excelled in several sports, including American football, basketball and baseball, where he was a right-handed pitcher who appeared in 44 games for the St. Louis Browns between 1926 and 1928
May 4 - Bob Cooney, 68, pitcher who got into 28 games for the Browns in 1931 and 1932.
May 10 - Ken Trinkle, 56, pitcher for the New York Giants (1943 and 1946-1948) and Philadelphia Phillies (1949), who led the National League in games played by a pitcher in 1946 (48) and 1947 (62)
May 18 - Marion Fricano, 52, pitcher who appeared in 88 career games for the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics between 1952 and 1955; on September 26, 1954, as he nailed down a save in the Athletics' last regular-season game, he threw the final pitch in the 54-year history of the franchise in Philadelphia
May 25 - Al Lakeman, 57, reserve catcher/first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds (1942-1947), Philadelphia Phillies (1947-1948), Boston Braves (1949) and Detroit Tigers (1954); later a coach for the Boston Red Sox (1963-1964 and 1967-1969)
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; managed Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932 and 1933
June 3 - Paul Chervinko, 65, catcher who appeared in 42 games for the Dodgers in 1937 and 1938; later a minor league manager
June 5 - Otis Lambeth, 86, pitcher in 43 games for the Cleveland Indians between 1916 and 1918
June 11 - Chet Covington, 65, left-handed pitcher who appeared in 19 games for the 1944 Philadelphia Phillies
June 11 - Jim Konstanty, 59, All-Star pitcher who became the first reliever to win the MVP award, with the 1950 "Whiz Kid" Phillies, when he won 16 games, all out of the bullpen, and saved 22 more to lead the National League, setting a new MLB record for games pitched (74)
June 15 - Jimmy Dykes, 79, All-Star third baseman during a 22-year playing career (1918-1939) for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox, who went on to become the winningest manager (899 victories between 1934 and 1946) in White Sox history; also managed five other MLB teams
June 16 - George Dickey, 60, catcher who appeared in 223 MLB games for the Boston Red Sox (1935-1936) and Chicago White Sox (1941-1942; 1946-1947); brother of Bill Dickey
June 19 - Henry "Prince" Oana, 66, pitcher, outfielder and native of Hawaii, who played in 30 games for the 1934 Philadelphia Phillies and 1943 and 1945 Detroit Tigers; batted .308 in 52 at bats, and went 3-2 (3.77) in 13 mound appearances
June 20 - Blix Donnelly, 62, pitcher who appeared in 190 games between 1944 and 1951 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves; member of 1944 World Series champion Cardinals
June 20 - Lou Klein, 57, infielder in 305 games for Cardinals (1943-1944, 1946 and 1949), Cleveland Indians (1951) and Philadelphia Athletics (1951) who spent the prime of his career (1946-1949) under suspension for "jumping" to the Mexican League; later a minor-league manager before becoming a member of the Chicago Cubs' "College of Coaches" (1961-1965); served as Cubs' head coach (manager) for parts of 1961, 1962 and 1965
June 23 - Lon Warneke, 67, five-time All-Star pitcher who had three 20-win seasons for the Cubs, led National League in victories and ERA in 1932, and won 192 games over 15 seasons for the Cubs and Cardinals; later an NL umpire for seven years (1949-1955)
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 from 1933 until his death, and vice president of the American League from 1956 to 1973; named to Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee in 1980
July 21 - Earle Combs, 77, Hall of Fame center fielder for the New York Yankees (1924-1935) 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; won three championship rings as a player and six more as a Yankee coach (1935-1944)
July 29 - Elmer Myers, 82, pitcher for Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox who worked in 185 games between 1915 and 1922
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
August 15 - Dick Lajeskie, 50, second baseman who had a six-game audition with the New York Giants in September 1946
August 16 - George Aiton, 85, outfielder in ten games for the 1912 St. Louis Browns
August 17 - Bert Tooley, 89, shortstop for 1911-1912 Brooklyn Dodgers who appeared in 196 contests
August 29 - Al Platte, 86, longtime minor-league outfielder who appeared in eight MLB games for the 1913 Detroit Tigers
September 1 - Mike Meola, 70, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Browns between 1933 and 1936, who was winless in 18 MLB games; posted a record of 20-5 with 2.90 ERA for the Pacific Coast League's Los Angeles Angels in 1934
September 5 - Jim O'Neill, 83, shortstop and second baseman for 1920 and 1923 Washington Senators; one of four brothers to play in the majors, including Steve O'Neill
September 10 - Blackie Carter, 73, outfielder who played in six games for the New York Giants from 1925 to 1926
September 20 - John J. Quinn, 68, front-office executive who spent over 40 years in MLB; general manager of Boston and Milwaukee Braves (1945-1958) and Philadelphia Phillies (1959-1972); son and father of longtime baseball executives
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- and third baseman who got into 425 career games for the Chicago Cubs (1939-1942) and Boston Red Sox (1946-1947)
October 5 - Bill Bagwell, 85, outfielder and pinch hitter who appeared in 92 games for the 1923 Boston Braves and 1925 Philadelphia Athletics
October 6 - Joe Erautt, 55, catcher in 32 games for the 1951-1952 Chicago White Sox
October 9 - Mark Christman, 62, third baseman and shortstop who appeared in 911 games for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators between 1938 and 1949; starting third baseman for 1944 Browns, only St. Louis entry to win an American League pennant
October 9 - Bob Moose, 29, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1967-1976 who threw a no-hitter on September 20, 1969 against the pennant-bound New York Mets and led National League in winning percentage (14-3, .824) that season; posted a 76-71 career record in 289 career games; died in an automobile accident on his birthday
October 20 - Freddie Muller, 65, infielder who played in 17 career games for the 1933-1934 Boston Red Sox
October 26 - Eddie Silber, 62, outfielder for the 1937 and 1939 St. Louis Browns who played in 23 MLB games
October 29 - Harry Malmberg, 51, second baseman in 67 games for 1955 Detroit Tigers; coach for 1963-1964 Boston Red Sox; longtime minor league manager
November 2 - Regis Leheny, 68, left-handed pitcher for the 1932 Red Sox who worked in two games
November 2 - Dee Miles, 67, outfielder who appeared in 503 career games for the Washington Senators (1935-1936), Philadelphia Athletics (1939-1942) and Boston Red Sox (1943)
November 3 - Frank Brazill, 77, first baseman/third baseman in 72 total games for the 1921-1922 Athletics
November 9 - Bud Culloton, 80, pitcher who hurled in 13 games for the 1925 and 1926 Pittsburgh Pirates
November 19 - Frank Kellert, 52, first baseman for the St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, getting into 122 career games from 1953 to 1956; member of Brooklyn's 1956 world champions
December 1 - George Earnshaw, 76, pitcher who had three 20-win seasons for 1929-1930-1931 AL champion Philadelphia Athletics; later a scout and coach
December 2 - Danny Murtaugh, 59, manager who over 15 seasons and four stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates won two World Series (1960, 1971) and three NL East titles; former second baseman for Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves who appeared in 767 total games; led the National League in stolen bases as rookie in 1941
December 3 - Leo Townsend, 85, left-handed pitcher who worked in eight games for the Boston Braves in 1920 and 1921
December 7 - Duke Maas, 47, pitcher who won 45 games for the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics and New York Yankees between 1955 and 1961
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 Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, with 193 career wins, including a no-hitter; batted .280 in 1,176 at bats, with 38 homers among his 329 hits over his 15-year MLB career (1927-1941), and caught by brother Rick for five seasons; also played for the Washington Senators, New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves
December 10 - Danny Thompson, 29, infielder with the Minnesota Twins (1970-1976) and Texas Rangers (1976), who played four seasons after being diagnosed with leukemia; he appeared in his last game on October 2, 1976 (as a pinch hitter), and died two months and one week later
December 25 - Bill Skiff, 81, ex-catcher who followed his 22-game MLB playing career with 1921 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1926 New York Yankees with a long tenure as a minor league player and manager, then as a scout for the Yankees' organization
December 26 - Walt Lynch, 79, catcher in three contests for the 1922 Boston Red Sox
December 27 - Press Cruthers, 86, Philadelphia Athletics second baseman who appeared in seven games in 1913 and 1914, who later managed in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League