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1987 in Baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1987 throughout the world.
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- February 25 - Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth suspends San Diego Padres pitcher LaMarr Hoyt from baseball following his third arrest on drug possession charges, this time on the U.S.-Mexico border. Hoyt is sentenced to 45 days in jail on December 16, 1986. An arbitrator cuts Hoyt's suspension to sixty days in mid-June and orders the Padres to reinstate him. The Padres, however, give him his unconditional release the following day.
- April 6 - Al Campanis, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a former teammate of Jackie Robinson, appears on the ABC news program Nightline to discuss the progress of racial integration of baseball as the fortieth anniversary of Robinson's first game approaches. When asked by Nightline host Ted Koppel why more African-Americans do not become managers or executives, Campanis states that Blacks lack certain qualities for those jobs, drawing the ire of host Koppel. Campanis is fired by the Dodgers two days later.
- April 13 - At Jack Murphy Stadium, the San Diego Padres set a major league record when the first three batters in the bottom of the first inning hit home runs off San Francisco Giants starter Roger Mason in their home opener. The Padres, trailing 2-0, got homers from Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk.
- April 15 - Juan Nieves of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches a no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles. Nieves becomes the second-youngest pitcher in major league history to accomplish the feat (22 years, 4 months, 10 days), as well as the first Brewer to do it.
- April 17 - Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies hits the 500th home run of his career. It comes in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates' Don Robinson, giving the Phillies an 8-6 win at Pittsburgh.
- June 1 - Knuckleballer Phil Niekro of the Cleveland Indians beats the Detroit Tigers, 9-6. This is his 314th major league victory for Niekro, which paired him with brother Joe a current total of 216 wins, making them the winningest pitching brother duo, surpassing the 529 wins posted by Gaylord Perry and Jim Perry. The Niekros will finish their careers with a combined 539 wins.
- June 2 - The Seattle Mariners use the number-one overall pick of the 1987 MLB draft to select Ken Griffey, Jr., signaling a turnaround in their fortunes as an organization.
- June 17 - Former Kansas City Royals manager Dick Howser dies of brain cancer at age 51. Howser had attempted to manage the team at the start of spring training, but found he was physically too weak and was replaced by Billy Gardner.
- June 22 - With their starting rotation decimated by injuries, the New York Mets seek help from Tom Seaver, who is not offered a contract to his liking following the 1986 season, whose salary was $1 million. Then the Boston Red Sox offer him $500,000, which Seaver also declines. Though no actual contract is signed, Seaver joins the Red Sox on June 6, and is hit hard on during an exhibition game against the Triple-A Tidewater Tides on June 11. After similarly poor outings on the 16th & 20th, he announces his retirement.
- June 28 - Don Baylor of the visiting Boston Red Sox is hit by a pitch from Rick Rhoden in the sixth inning of a 6-2 win over the New York Yankees. The HBP gives Baylor 244 for his career, breaking a modern-day record set by Ron Hunt.
- July 14 - Tim Raines caps a 3-for-3 performance in the All-Star Game with a two-run triple in the top of the 13th inning, giving the National League a 2-0 victory over the American League. Raines is selected the MVP.
- July 18 - New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly homers in his record-tying eighth straight game, in a 7-2 Texas Rangers win over the Yankees. He ties the record set by Dale Long in 1956.
- September 9 - Nolan Ryan strikes out 16 to pass 4,500 for his career as the Houston Astros beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2. Ryan strikes out 12 of the final 13 batters and fans Mike Aldrete to complete the seventh inning for his 4,500th strikeout.
- September 14 - In the midst of the Toronto Blue Jays' 18-3 drubbing of the Baltimore Orioles at Exhibition Stadium, Cal Ripken, Jr. is lifted from the lineup and replaced by Ron Washington, stopping Ripken's consecutive innings played streak at 8,243. In this same game, Toronto hits ten home runs to set a Major League single-game record. Ernie Whitt connects on three of the home runs, Rance Mulliniks and George Bell two each, and Fred McGriff, Lloyd Moseby and Rob Ducey one each.
- September 18 - Darrell Evans hits his 30th home run of the season, and becomes the first player to do so after the age of 40.
- September 21 - Darryl Strawberry steals his 30th base of the season to join the 30-30 club. With teammate Howard Johnson already having joined, it marks the first time that two teammates achieve 30-30 seasons in the same year.
- September 22 - Wade Boggs of the Boston Red Sox reaches the 200-hit mark for the fifth straight season in an 8-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
- September 27 - Four days after being signed as a free agent and almost a month after being released by the Toronto Blue Jays, 48-year-old Hall of Famer Phil Niekro pitches in his final major league game for the Atlanta Braves. Niekro starts the game against the San Francisco Giants, pitches three innings, and gives up six hits and five runs.
- September 28 - Kevin Seitzer becomes the first rookie since Tony Oliva and Dick Allen in 1964 to collect 200 hits in a season.
- January 1 - Velma Abbott, 57, Canadian infielder who played from 1946 to 1947 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
- January 1 - Norene Arnold, 59, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League pitcher and infielder.
- January 1 - Ernie Maun, 85, pitcher who played for the New York Giants in 1924 and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1926.
- January 2 - Julio Moreno, 65, Cuban fireball pitcher whose professional career spanned over 30 years, including four Major League Baseball seasons with the Washington Senators from 1950 to 1953.
- January 2 - Bill Upton, 57, relief pitcher for 1954 Philadelphia Athletics.
- January 4 - Tony Rensa, 85, backup catcher who played for the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox in part of six seasons spanning 1930-1939.
- January 5 - Dale Mitchell, 65, two-time All-Star left fielder who played for the Cleveland Indians and Brooklyn Dodgers in a span of eleven seasons from 1946 through 1956. A career .312 hitter, Mitchell posted a .432 average in his rookie season and hit .300 or better six of the next seven seasons, including a career-high .336 mark in 1948, endind third in the American League batting race behind Ted Williams (.369) and Lou Boudreau (.355), while leading the American League in hits (203), singles (161) and triples (23), helping the Indians win the 1948 World Series, Afterwards, he guided Cleveland to an AL record 111 wins in a 154-game season and the 1954 American League pennant, even though Mitchell is perhaps best remembered, nevertheless unfairly, for making the final out in the perfect game pitched by New York Yankees' Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series against the Dodgers.
- January 6 - Margaret Danhauser, 65, outstanding first sacker for the Racine Belles of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1943 through 1950.
- January 8 - Elmer Miller, 83, two-way pitcher for the 1929 Philadelphia Phillies.
- January 10 - Frank Hiller, 66, pitcher who played for the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants over six seasons between 1946 and 1953.
- January 10 - Frank Makosky, 76. pitcher who played in 1937 for the New York Yankees.
- January 13 - Tom Morgan, 56, relief pitcher who played for five different clubs during 12 seasons spanning 1951-1963, being a member of five New York Yankees teams that won World Series titles between 1951 and 1956.
- January 17 - Ed Busch, 69, shortstop who played from 1943 to 1945 for the Philadelphia Athletics.
- January 19 - George Selkirk, 79, two-time All-Star Canadian corner outfielder who played from 1934 through 1942 for the New York Yankees, collecting a 290/.400/.483 slash line with 108 home runs and 576 runs batted in during his nine seasons with the team, helping them win six American League pennants and five World Series titles between 1936 and 1942.
- January 20 - Hank Behrman, 65, pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Giants in a span of four seasons from 1946-1949, who also appeared in the 1947 World Series with the National League Champion Dodgers.
- February 2 - Olive Little, 69, Canadian All-Star female pitcher who threw four no-hitters in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
- February 9 - Larry French, 79, All-Star left-handed pitcher and knuckleball specialist, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers over 14 seasons from 1929 to 1941, compiling a 197-171 record with 1,187 strikeouts and a 3.44 ERA in 3,152.0 innings, including 40 shutouts and 198 complete games.
- February 11 - Bill McGee, 77, pitcher who played from 1935 through 1942 with the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants.
- February 13 - Leo Norris, 78, pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Phillies between 1936 and 1937.
- March 9 - Zeke Bonura, 78, solid defensive first baseman for the Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, New York Giants and Chicago Cubs in the period between 1934 and 1940, hitting .300 or better in four of his seven seasons with a career-high .345 in 1937, while compiling a .307 batting average with 119 home runs and 704 runs batted in in 917 games.
- March 11 - Fred Lucas, 84, who hit a .265 average in 20 games for the 1935 Philadelphia Phillies as a reserve outfielder for Ethan Allen, George Watkins and Johnny Moore.
- March 11 - Bots Nekola, 80, pitcher for the New York Yankees in 1929 and the Detroit Tigers in 1933, who later became a long time scout for the Boston Red Sox, being responsible for the signing of future Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski.
- March 13 - Wayne Osborne, 74, pitcher who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1935 season and for the Boston Bees in 1936.
- March 16 - Bob Kline, 77, well rounded pitcher that started and filled various relief roles, coming out from the bullpen as a closer, middle reliever and set-up man, while playing for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Washington Senators from 1930 to 1934.
- March 30 - George Blackerby, 83, backup outfielder for the 1928 Chicago White Sox.
- April 6 - Bud Morse, 82, second baseman who played his only major league season with the 1929 World Series Champion Philadelphia Athletics, which is considered as one of the greatest baseball teams ever assembled.
- April 19 - Frank McElyea, 68, left fielder for the 1942 Boston Braves.
- April 21 - Haruyasu Nakajima, 77, Hall of Fame Japanese outfielder who played with the Yomiuri Giants and the Taiyo Whales from 1936 to 1951.
- April 24 - John Mihalic, 75, second baseman who played for the Washington Senators from 1935 to 1937.
- April 27 - John Burrows, 74, pitcher who played from 1943 to 1944 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago Cubs.
- April 29 - Bud Bates, 75, backup outfielder for the 1939 Philadelphia Phillies.
- May 1 - Bobo Holloman, 62, pitcher for the 1953 St. Louis Browns, who made history as the only pitcher in the modern era to throw a no-hitter in his first start.
- May 7 - Boom-Boom Beck, 82, pitcher who posted a 38-65 record for seven different teams between 1924 and 1945.
- May 14 - Luke Sewell, 86, All-Star catcher who played for four American League teams in a span of 20 seasons from 1921-1942, managing also the St. Louis Browns from 1941 to 1946, leading the team to their only AL pennant in 1944.
- May 31 - Jerry Adair, 50, trustworthy middle infielder and third baseman for four American League teams during 13 seasons from 1958-1970, mainly with the Baltimore Orioles, who set then-major league records for single-season fielding average (.994) and fewest errors (5) in 1964.
- May 31 - Jack Sheehan, 94, middle infielder and third baseman for the Brooklyn Robins from 1920 to 1921, who later managed in the minors from 1916-1953 and served as scouting Director for the Washington Senators in the 1960s.
- June 6 - Barney Koch, 64, second baseman for the 1944 Brooklyn Dodgers.
- June 7 - Shosei Go, 70, Hall of Fame pitcher and outfielder that played in the Japanese Baseball League and NPB with the Tokyo Kyojin, the Hanshin/Osaka Tigers and the Mainichi Orions from 1937 to 1957.
- June 13 - Huck Betts, 90, reliable starting and relief pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves in a span of ten seasons from 1920-1935, posting a 61-68 record and 3.93 ERA in 307 appearances, including 53 complete games, eight shutouts, 128 games finished and 16 saves.
- June 15 - George Smith, 49, Negro League second baseman who played for the Indianapolis Clowns and the Chicago American Giants between 1952 and 1957, before joining the Detroit Tigers from 1963 through 1965 and the Boston Red Sox in 1966.
- June 15 - Don White, 68, outfielder who played for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1948 and 1949 seasons.
- June 17 - Dick Howser, 51, All-Star shortstop, coach and manager in Major League Baseball, who is best known for managing the Kansas City Royals franchise to its first World Series championship in 1985.
- June 21 - Phil Weintraub, 79, fourth outfielder and first baseman who posted a .295 batting average and slugged .440 for four National League teams in seven seasons from 1993-1945, being also one of only three batters to collect 11 runs batted in in a single game while playing for the 1944 New York Giants.
- June 24 - Fred Newman, 45, pitcher who played for the Los Angeles and California Angels over six seasons from 1962 to 1967.
- June 26 - Jay Avrea, 67, pitcher for the 1950 Cincinnati Reds.
- June 28 - Bill Schuster, 74, shortstop who played with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Bees and Chicago Cubs over five seasons spanning 1937-1945, as well as a member of the Cubs team that won the National League pennant in 1945, scoring the winning run in the team's last victory in a World Series game before the 2016 series.
- July 11 - Joe Bennett, 87, third baseman for the 1923 Philadelphia Phillies.
- July 12 - Joseph Burns, 98, outfielder who played with the Cincinnati Reds in 1910 and for the Detroit Tigers in 1913.
- July 16 - Rube Novotney, 62, catcher who played in 1949 for the Chicago Cubs.
- July 19 - Bob Smith, 92, who started his career at shortstop but was turned into a pitcher, becoming one of the workhorses of the Boston Braves and Bees pitching staffs during the 1920s and 1930s, throwing and losing a 22-inning complete game in 1927 (the third-longest marathon feat in major league history), pitching 200 or more innings six times and saving 41 games, while compiling 106 wins and 3.94 ERA in 435 games over 2.246 innings in a span of 13 seasons from 1925 to 1937, including stints with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds between 1931 and 1933.
- July 20 - Tom Winsett, 77, left fielder who played for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers in part of seven seasons spanning 1930-1938.
- July 21 - Hughie Wise, 81, catcher for the 1930 Detroit Tigers.
- July 22 - Don McMahon, 57, All-Star relief pitcher who played for seven teams over 18 seasons spanning 1957-1974, leading the National League with 15 saves in 1959, while winning two World Series rings with the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and the 1968 Detroit Tigers.
- July 27 - Travis Jackson, 83, Hall of Fame and slick fielding shortstop for the New York Giants from 1922 through 1936, who batted over .300 six times, compiling a .291 lifetime average and driving in 90 or more runs three times, reaching 101 in 1934, while leading the National League shortstops in assists four times, in fielding chances three years, and in fielding average and double plays twice, helping the Giants win three NL pennants and the World Series Championship in 1933.
- August 5 - Jocko Conlon, 89, middle infielder and third baseman who played for the Boston Braves in its 1923 season.
- August 8 - Juan Antonio Yanes, 85, who for more than three decades was one of the leading promoters of Venezuelan baseball both in the amateur and professional fields.
- August 11 - John McGillen, 70, pitcher who made two appearances for the Philadelphia Athletics during the 1944 season.
- August 21 - Frank Callaway, 89, middle infielder and third baseman who played from 1921 to 1922 for the Philadelphia Athletics.
- August 31 - Dick Young, 69, longtime New York sportswriter known for his hard-hitting style.
- September 1 - Pinky Whitney, 82, All-Star and top defensive third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves through 12 seasons from 1928-1936, who batted .300 or better four times, collecting four 100-RBI seasons and 200 hits twice and batting a career-high .342 with 117 RBI in 1930, while leading all National League third basemen in assists and double plays in four seasons, and in putouts and fielding average three times.
- September 2 - Cam Carreon, 50, second-string catcher for the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles over part of eight seasons from 1959 to 1966.
- September 16 - Kermit Wahl, 64, third baseman and middle infielder who played for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns in part of five seasons spanning 1944-1951.
- October 12 - Snake Henry, 92, first baseman for the Boston Braves from 1922 to 1923, whose greatest achievements were in Minor League Baseball, where he posted a .302 lifetime batting average in 24 seasons, collecting more than 3,200 hits and two MVP Awards, serving also as a manager for the Kinston Eagles in 1939.
- October 17 - Pete Cote, 85, utility man for the 1926 New York Giants.
- October 28 - Pete McClanahan, 81, who was used as a pinch-hitter by the Pittsburgh Pirates in its 1931 season.
- November 9 - Ed Cihocki, 80, middle infielder and third baseman for the Philadelphia Athletics over part of two seasons from 1932-1933.
- November 14 - Hod Lisenbee, 89, pitcher who played for the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Cincinnati Reds in a span of eight seasons from 1927-1935, whose notable accomplishment came in his rookie season, when he faced the New York Yankees six times and won the first five outings against the storied 1927 Murderers' Row, allowing three hits without a walk and striking out Babe Ruth and Tony Lazzeri in three innings of relief in his debut against them at Yankee Stadium, while posting an 18-9 record for the third place Senators and leading the American League pitchers with four shutouts.
- November 16 - Jim Brewer, 50, All-Star relief pitcher who played for three clubs in a 17-year career from 1960 to 1976, posting a 69-65 record with a 3.07 ERA and 132 saves, while helping the Los Angeles Dodgers win three National League pennants and the 1965 World Series title.
- November 17 - Paul Derringer, 81, six-time All-Star pitcher who played 15 seasons from 1931 through 1945 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs, and he made an impressive debut with the Cardinals, winning 18 games for the eventual 1931 World Series champions and leading the NL in win-loss record (.692), including a streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings in September, later winning 20 games for Cincinnati four times between 1935 and 1940, along with a 25-7 season in 1939, as the Reds won the NL pennant for the first time in 20 years, as well as pitching complete game wins in Games 4 and 7 of the 1940 World Series, guiding Cincinnati to its first Series title in 21 years.
- November 19 - Dave Odom, 69, pitcher who played for the Boston Braves in its 1943 season.
- November 21 - Dusty Cooke, 80, fourth outfielder for the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds over eight seasons spanning 1930-1938, who later coached and managed the Philadelphia Phillies.
- November 24 - Jim Russell, 69, outfielder who played from 1942 through 1951 for three National League teams, as well as a member of the pennant-winning Boston Braves (1948-1949) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1950-1951).
- November 27 - Babe Herman, 84, right fielder whose career spanned five different franchises in all or part of 13 seasons between 1926 and 1945, including stints with the Brooklyn Robins (1926-1931) and Dodgers (1945), who was a career .324 hitter and runner-up for the National League batting crown in 1929 with a .381 average, behind Philadelphia Phillies' Lefty O'Doul (.398), and in 1930 with a .393 mark, surpassed by New Tork Giants' Bill Terry (.401) and also the best in Dodgers history, being one of four big leaguers to hit for the cycle three times (twice in 1931), while setting other Dodgers records in a single season that lasted more than twenty years, including more home runs (35) and most total bases (416), although his career was overshadowed by a litany of injuries and for his baserunning and fielding lapses.
- December 6 - Jim Johnson, 42, pitcher for the 1970 San Francisco Giants.
- December 7 - Ken Richardson, 72, infield and outfield utility man who played with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1942 and for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1946.
- December 10 - Whitey Moore, 75, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals in a span of six seasons from 1936-1942, including the Reds team that won the 1940 World Series championship.
- December 20 - Jake Eisenhart, 65, pitcher who played briefly with the Cincinnati Reds in its 1944 season.
- December 21 - Joe Sherman, 97, pitcher for the 1915 Philadelphia Athletics.
- December 22 - Bobby Hogue, 66, pitcher who appeared in 172 Major League games over five seasons from 1948-1952 for the Boston Braves, St. Louis Browns and New York Yankees, also a member of the 1951 World Series champion Yankees.
- December 24 - Nino Espinosa, 34, pitcher for the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays during eight seasons from 1974 to 1981.
- ^ The Baseball Library Archived December 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Lost in History - From 1929 to 1931 the Philadelphia A's were the best team in baseball. Sports Illustrated Retrieved on December 18, 2018.
- ^ Bob Smith article by Warren Corbett. SABR Biography Project. Retrieved on December 19, 2018.
- ^ Bob Smith statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on December 19, 2018.
- ^ Pinky Whitney batting and fielding statistics. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on December 19, 2018.
- ^ Fred Marshall Henry article. Wendell Historical Society website. Retrieved on December 21, 2018.
- ^ Washington Senators 5, New York Yankees 4 - Box Score. Game played at Yankee Stadium on April 25, 1927. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
- ^ Hod Lisenbee article by Bill Nowlin. SABR Biography Project. Retrieved on December 22, 2018.
- ^ Babe Herman article by Greg Erion. SABR Biography Project. Retrieved on December 21, 2018.