Baseball – 1981

Baseball in 1981

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January 2At Ponce‚ (Puerto Rican League) Santurce beats Ponce‚ 11-4. Ponce’s Rickey Henderson steals his 41st and 42nd bases‚ breaking the old league record of 41 set by Carlos Bernier in the 1949-50 season. Henderson will finish the season with 44 stolen bases.
January 7The Reds are the last team to enter the free agent market signing their first free-agent‚ OF Larry Biittner. Biittner will prove a bust and be released after the 1982 season.
January 12Gaylord Perry‚ 42‚ signs a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.
January 14Frank Robinson is named manager of the San Francisco Giants.
January 15In his first year of eligibility‚ former Cardinals P Bob Gibson is the only person elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Players falling short of the 301 votes needed for election include Don Drysdale (243)‚ Gil Hodges (241)‚ Harmon Killebrew (239)‚ Hoyt Wilhelm (238)‚ and Juan Marichal (233).
January 21The Reds trade 4-time Gold Glove winner Cesar Geronimo to the Royals for minor league IF German Barranca.
January 23Faced with the possibility of losing star OF Fred Lynn to free agency because of a front-office blunder‚ the Red Sox trade Lynn and P Steve Renko to the Angels for pitchers Frank Tanana and Jim Dorsey and OF Joe Rudi. The Players’ Association contends that Lynn, catcher Carlton Fisk, and shortstop Rick Burleson are free agents because the Red Sox failed to mail their new contracts by the deadline provided for in the Basic Agreement. Lynn signs a 4-year deal with the Angels and agrees to drop his case. Fisk’s case will go to arbitration.
January 29AL owners approve the sales of 2 franchises‚ the White Sox to Jerry Reinsdorf and Eddie Einhorn for $20 million‚ and 80 percent of the Mariners to George Argyros for $10.4 million.


February 9Joe Morgan‚ 37‚ signs a one-year contract with the Giants.
February 12Arbitrator Raymond Goetz supports the Players’ Association and declares Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk a free agent on the grounds that the club mailed his 1981 contract 2 days after the December 20th deadline.
February 25The Executive Board of the Players’ Association votes unanimously to strike on May 29th if the issue of free-agent compensation remains unresolved. That deadline will be extended briefly‚ however‚ when the Players’ Association’s unfair labor practices complaint is heard by the National Labor Relations Board.
February 28The Mets trade OF Steve Henderson and an estimated $100‚000 to the Cubs for slugger Dave Kingman‚ who led the NL with 48 HRs in 1979.


March 7The Braves trade OF Jeff Burroughs to the Mariners for P Carlos Diaz.
March 9Free agent Carlton Fisk agrees to a contract with the Chicago White Sox.
March 11Johnny Mize and Rube Foster are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Mize hit .312 with 359 HRs in 15 ML seasons for the Cardinals and Giants‚ while Foster was a star Negro League pitcher‚ manager‚ and Negro League organizer in the first quarter of the 20th century.
March 13The Angels sign Rick Burleson to a 6-year‚ $4.2 million contract‚ making him the highest-paid SS in baseball history. Burleson was entering the last year of a 4-year contract that paid him $125‚000 per year.
March 19Blue Jays 3B and All-American basketball player Danny Ainge drives the length of the court for a lay-up with 2 seconds to play‚ giving Brigham Young University a 51-50 upset victory over 7th-ranked Notre Dame in the NCAA East Regional semifinals. Ainge will hit .187 in 86 games for Toronto this season‚ retire‚ then sign to play for the NBA Boston Celtics.
March 22Orioles manager Earl Weaver is suspended for 3 days by AL president Lee MacPhail for removing his club from the field and forfeiting a spring training game to the Royals. It is the 4th career suspension for Weaver‚ who was upset that the umpires did not provide him with an official batting order after Kansas City made numerous substitutions.
March 25The Braves trade OF Gary Matthews to the Phillies for P Bob Walk.
March 30The Twins trade OF Ken Landreaux to the Dodgers for OF-3B Mickey Hatcher‚ minor-leaguer Kelly Snider‚ and P Matt Reeves.

The Phillies sell OF Greg Luzinski to the White Sox‚ who will use him as a full-time DH.


April 1Houston trades P Ken Forsch to the Angels for INF Dickie Thon.
April 9Pressed into service on Opening Day when scheduled starter Jerry Reuss pulls a calf muscle‚ Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela shuts out the Astros 2-0 on 5 hits in his first ML start.

Pitcher Rick Reuschel loses his 4th Opener in a row for the Cubs‚ losing to the Mets‚ 2-0.

Before 55‚123 at Yankee Stadium‚ the Yankees gun down the Rangers‚ 10-3. Bucky Dent and Bobby Murcer hit homers‚ with Randolph following Murcer’s blow with a triple. Dave Winfield‚ in his New York debut‚ has two hits and two walks‚ and Tommy John scatters 7 hits in 8 innings to win over Jon Matlack.
April 10In his first game for the White Sox‚ Carlton Fisk belts a 3-run home run in the 8th inning to lead Chicago to a 5-3 win over his former Red Sox teammates at Fenway Park.
April 11After 15 seasons as a Dodger‚ Don Sutton makes his debut with the Astros and is pounded by his former club for 6 runs in 4 innings. Los Angeles wins 7-4.
April 14At San Diego‚ Reds P Bruce Berenyi fires a 2-hitters to beat the Pads‚ 4-0.
April 17After winning their first 8 games of the season on the road‚ the Oakland A’s pound Seattle 16-1 in their home opener before a crowd of 50‚256.
April 18Reds pitcher Tom Seaver strikes out Keith Hernandez in the 4th inning of a 10-4 loss to the Cardinals‚ becoming the 5th pitcher in ML history with 3‚000 career strikeouts.

The Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings (International League) play 32 innings before suspending play at 4:07 a.m. on April 19th with the score tied 2-2. The game is already the longest in professional baseball history‚ surpassing a 29-inning Florida State League contest in 1966‚ and will be resumed on June 23rd.
April 19In the first game of a doubleheader the Oakland A’s set the ML record for consecutive wins at the start of the season‚ running their record to 11-0 with a 6-1 win over Seattle. The record will fall in 1987. The Mariners win the nightcap 3-2 on Richie Zisk‘s solo home run in the 8th inning.
April 21During the White Sox 2-1 win over the visiting Orioles‚ O’s pitcher Dennis Martinez is injured when he’s hit by a bottle tossed by a fan. The Sox win in the 9th on Bernazard’s RBI single. The win goes to Britt Burns‚ who allows 4 hits and an unearned run.
April 22Dodgers rookie Fernando Valenzuela tosses his 3rd shutout in 4 starts‚ strikes out 11‚ and drives in the game’s only run with a single in a 1-0 win over Houston’s Don Sutton (0-3).
April 23The White Sox sweep the O’s‚ pounding Baltimore for 26 hits in the opener and scoring in each of the 1st six innings to win 18-5. Almon and Lemon each have 4 hits as 9 Sox have multi-hit games. Bernazard has Chicago’s only HR‚ while Singleton hits a pair for the O’s. The Sox take the nitecap‚ 5-3.
April 25Mariners manager Maury Wills is suspended for 2 games after ordering Seattle’s grounds crew to enlarge the batter’s boxes by one foot prior to its game with Oakland. The A’s had been complaining that Seattle’s Tom Paciorek frequently stepped out of the box while hitting.
April 26Oakland runs its record to 17-1 with a 9-4 win over the Mariners.
April 27Fernandomania” hits fever pitch at Dodger Stadium as a sellout crowd watches the 20-year-old rookie pitch his 4th shutout in 5 starts 5-0 versus the Giants. Valenzuela is 5-0 with a 0.20 ERA and is batting .438.

The Cubs trade C Barry Foote to the Yankees for minor leaguer Tom Filer and cash. Foote was 0-for-22 with the Cubs this year.
April 28Ken Singleton’s consecutive-hit streak is snapped at 10 when he grounds into a double play off Chicago’s Rich Dotson in the Orioles’ 8-6 loss. Singleton singles and homers in his first 2 at bats after going 4-for-4 in each of the previous 2 games.
April 29Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton strikes out the side (Tim Raines‚ Jerry Manuel‚ and Tim Wallach) in the first inning of a 6-2 win over the Expos to become the first lefthander in ML history (and 6th pitcher overall) to record 3‚000 career strikeouts.

The Cubs score 5 times with 2 out in the bottom of the 8th to beat St. Louis 6-1 and snap a 12-game losing streak. The Cardinals had won 8 in a row.

Toronto scores 5 times in the top of the 14th to beat the Brewers‚ 5-0. The Jays outhit the Brewers‚ 13-3.

Dave Concepcion belts 2 homers and 2 singles to drive in 6 runs as the Reds beat the visiting Padres‚ 8-5.


May 1Frank White’s 4th-inning sacrifice ?y off Steve Comer ends the Rangers’ consecutive-scoreless-inning streak at 39‚ and Kansas City goes on to a 4-0 win. Texas pitchers had tossed 4 consecutive shutouts‚ one shy of the AL record.
May 3The Blue Jays end a 19-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium‚ beating the Orioles 4-2. It is their first win in Baltimore since July‚ 1978.
May 4Yankee reliever Ron Davis strikes out the last 8 batters of the game in a 4-2 win over the Angels‚ tying Nolan Ryan‘s AL record (done twice) for consecutive strikeouts and setting a new record for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever.

In the battle of the Cruz brothers‚ Astro Jose Cruz launches a 3-run missile in the 1st inning of Chicago’s Mike Krukow‚ while brother Hector answers with a solo shot off Joaquin Andujar in the 6th inning. The Astros edge the Cubs 5-4.
May 6Mariners manager Maury Wills is fired and replaced by Rene Lachemann. Seattle was 6-18‚ the worst start in the club’s 5-year history. In Lachemann’s first game‚ Seattle pounds Milwaukee 12-1 and pitcher Mike Parrott snaps his personal 18-game losing streak‚ one shy of the AL record.

Cleveland’s Bert Blyleven holds Toronto hitless for 8 innings before Lloyd Moseby doubles to lead off the 9th‚ and Blyleven settles for a 4-1 two-hitter.
May 8Oakland’s Steve McCatty beats the Brewers‚ 2-0. Dwayne Murphy supplies a solo HR and Dave McKay swipes home for the other score. McKay also stole home last September.
May 9Tom Paciorek hits his 2nd game-winning‚ bottom-of-the-9th HR in as many games‚ a 3-run blow giving the Mariners a 6-5 win over the Yankees. The previous night‚ Paciorek led off the 9th with a solo homer to give Seattle a 3-2 win over the Yankees.
May 10Montreal’s Charlie Lea‚ a native of France‚ no-hits the Giants 4-0‚ walking 4 and striking out 8 in the 2nd game of a doubleheader. It is the first no-hitter at Olympic Stadium‚ which opened for baseball in 1977.
May 11Boston’s Rick Miller goes 5-for-5 with a ML-record-tying 4 doubles in a 7-6 win over Toronto.
May 14The largest Dodger Stadium crowd in 7 years (53‚906) watches Fernando Valenzuela run his record to 8-0 with a 3-2 win over the Expos.
May 15The Indians Len Barker pitches the 9th perfect game in 20th century ML history 3-0 over the Blue Jays before just 7‚290 fans on a rainy night in Cleveland. Last year’s AL strikeout leader‚ Barker fans 11.
May 16Houston’s Craig Reynolds ties the modern ML record with 3 triples in a 6-1 win over the Cubs.
May 18Fernando Valenzuela finally loses‚ 4-0‚ to the Phillies. His ERA “rises” to 0.90. Fernando allows just 3 hits in 7 innings‚ one a home run to Schmidt. Marty Bystrom is the winning pitcher.
May 19Pirates Jim Bibby throws a near no-hitter‚ giving up a leadoff single to the Braves Terry Harper in the first inning‚ then retiring the next 27 batters for a one-hit 5-0 victory.
May 20At Wrigley‚ Reds reliever Doug Bair does it himself‚ hitting a 3-run homer in the 9th inning to beat the Cubs‚ 10-7. The homer‚ off Dick Tidrow‚ is Bair’s only ML dinger.
May 21In what is billed as the greatest college pitching duel ever takes place in the first round of the NCAA as Yale’s Ron Darling and St. John’s Frank Viola match zeroes through 11 innings. Darling allows no hits while striking out 16. In the 12th‚ St. John’s Steve Scafa hits an opposite field scratch single‚ then steals 2B and 3B. The next batter reaches on an error and‚ when he tries to steal 2B‚ Scafa breaks for home scoring the only run. St. John’s wins‚ 1-0.
May 22Coach Billy Gardner replaces the fired John Goryl as manager of the Twins. Minnesota (11-25) had lost 8 consecutive games‚ but shuts out Kansas City 7-0 in Gardner’s managerial debut.

With Rick Waits on the mound in the 6th‚ the Yankees Bucky Dent hits into a triple play. But the Yankees win‚ 3-2‚ with the margin a 2-run HR by Dave Winfield. The win goes to Dave Righetti (1-0).
May 23Minnesota and Kansas City go 14 innings without scoring before Willie Wilson‘s RBI single in the 15th ends it‚ 1-0. Paul Splittorff goes 11 innings while Scott Erickson goes 9.1 innings.
May 25Texas utility man Bill Stein drives in the winning run with a pinch single in the bottom of the 9th inning of a 4-3 win over Minnesota. It is Stein’s 7th consecutive pinch hit‚ a new AL record.

Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 3‚000th ML game‚ scoring the winning run in Boston’s 8-7 triumph over Cleveland. Yaz joins Ty Cobb‚ Stan Musial‚ and Hank Aaron as the only major leaguers to appear in 3‚000 games.

In the last regularly scheduled Memorial Day doubleheader this century, the Seattle Mariners sweep a pair from the Kansas City Royals, winning 7–1 and 5–2. Rookie Brian Allard goes the distance to win the opener and he’s supported by Gary Gray‘s third two-homer game in 10 days.

Dave Kingman bunts in the first inning, then hits a grand slam in the 2nd as the Mets roll over the Phils, 13-3. Greg Harris posts his first ML win.
May 27Angel 3B Doug DeCinces hits a pair of home runs for the 3rd time in 6 games to lead California to a 6-5 win over the Yankees. DeCinces also homered twice against Detroit on May 23rd and against the Yankees on May 25th. He had no homers this year prior to the streak.

With Kansas ahead 7-4 over the Mariners‚ Amos Otis taps a dribbler down the 3B line in the 6th inning. Mariner 3B Lenny Randle gets down on all fours as the ball rolls along the line‚ finally going foul. Royals manager Whitey Herzog protests that Randle was blowing the ball foul‚ while the third baseman argues he was merely pleading with it. Ump Larry McCoy rules in favor of Herzog and Otis gets a hit. Otis doesn’t score but the Royals win‚ 8-5.
May 28Angels manager Jim Fregosi‚ who led the club to a 22-25 record‚ 71?2 games off the pace in the AL West‚ becomes the 3rd AL skipper to be fired this month. He is replaced by Gene Mauch.
May 29A’s manager Billy Martin flies into a rage and heaves 2 handfuls of dirt on home plate umpire Terry Cooney‘s back after being ejected for arguing ball and strike calls. He will be suspended by AL president Lee MacPhail for 7 days.

Montreal trades OF Ellis Valentine to the Mets for P Jeff Reardon‚ OF Dan Norman‚ and a player to be named. Valentine will play just 159 games for the Mets‚ while Reardon will blossom into one of baseball’s best relievers.
May 31Playing before their 10th consecutive home sellout‚ the Dodgers pound the Reds 16-4 and raise their season attendance to 1‚026‚725 in 22 dates. It is the earliest any team has cracked the one million attendance barrier.

At Philadelphia‚ Steve Carlton runs his record to 8-0 with a 6-1 win over the Cardinals. For Carlton‚ it is his 10th win in a row over the Birds going back to May 1979.


June 2The Giants score 9 runs in the 4th against the Reds‚ which is enough to overcome Ron Oester‘s grand slam in the 5th. San Francisco wins‚ 15-7.
June 3Royals C Jerry Grote hits a grand slam (his first home run since 1976) and goes 3-for-4 with a club-record 7 RBI to lead Kansas City to a 12-9 win over Seattle. Grote had returned from a 2-year retirement to win a spot with the Royals as a free agent during spring training.
June 4The Cubs purchase Bobby Bonds from Texas and in his first game for the Cubs‚ Bonds trips on a seam in the field carpet at Three Rivers Stadium and breaks a bone in his right hand. He goes on the 21-day DL. The Pirates win‚ 5-4‚ in the 10th when Lacy triples and Berra singles him in.
June 5Houston’s Nolan Ryan passes Early Wynn as baseball’s all-time walk leader‚ walking 2 batters in a 3-0 win over the Mets to raise his total to 1‚777. Ryan also fans 10 batters while pitching a 5-hitter.
June 6The Cubs score 4 runs in the 4th inning‚ 3 on a pinch HR from Mike Tyson‚ to knock rookie phenom Fernando Valenzuela out of the game. The Cubs are victorious over the Dodgers 11-5 at Wrigley.
June 7Andre Dawson’s 4th inning single is Montreal’s only hit off Bruce Berenyi as the Reds win‚ 2-0‚ at Riverfront.
June 8The Angels use a 6-run 8th to defeat the Indians‚ 10-2. Fred Lynn provides little help making all 3 outs in the inning. He leads off with a fly out and ends the scoring with a DP.

The Seattle Mariners take Oral Roberts University righthander Mike Moore with the first pick overall in the annual amateur draft. The Cubs take Wichita State’s Joe Carter with the 2nd pick while the Angels take Dick Schofield‚ son of a former major leaguer‚ with the 3rd pick. The Mets take Terry Blocker with the 4th and Toronto takes Matt Williams with the #5. San Diego selects Kevin McReynolds with #6 and use their 3rd round pick to take San Diego State outfielder Tony Gwynn. Later in the day the San Diego Clippers will select Gwynn in the 10th round of the NBA draft. The Yankees use their first round pick to take Stanford QB John Elway while the Ranger pick Yale’s Ron Darling with #9. Darling is the 4th Ivy Leaguer to be picked in the 1st round. The Braves fare worst in the draft as their #1 pick Jay Roberts will never hit above .208 in the minors‚ and no other picks make it to the Bigs. The Reds select high school catcher Lanell Cuver as their top pick‚ but do better on the 4th round‚ picking Paul O’Neill.

The Reds swap 1B Harry Spilman to Houston for Rafael Landestoy.
June 10Phillies 1B Pete Rose singles off Nolan Ryan in the first inning to tie Stan Musial as the NL’s all-time hit leader with 3‚630‚ then strikes out in his next 3 at bats. Rose’s single is the only hit off Ryan until the 8th inning‚ when Philadelphia scores 5 times for a 5-4 win over Houston.
June 11The White Sox beat the Yankees 3-2‚ handing pitcher Doug Bird his first loss since August 16‚ 1978. The journeyman righthander had won 12 consecutive decisions.

In St. Louis‚ the Cardinals beat Fernando Valenzuela 2-1‚ but the Dodgers still are a half-game in front of Cincinnati a day before the players’ strike begins.

The Reds (35-21) win their 7th straight‚ topping the Mets‚ 2-1‚ in New York. For the Reds it is their 7th straight win and pulls them to a half game behind the Dodgers.
June 12At 12:30 A.M.‚ after meeting with the owners for most of the previous day‚ players’ union chief Marvin Miller announces‚ “We have accomplished nothing. The strike is on‚” thus beginning the longest labor action to date in American sports history. By the time the season resumes on August 10th‚ 706 games (38 percent of the ML schedule) will have been canceled.
June 16Cubs owner Bill Wrigley announces his plan to sell the team to the Tribune Company for $20.5 million. The sale will end 65 years of the Wrigley family ownership of the team.
June 23Dave Koza scores Marty Barrett with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 33rd inning‚ giving Pawtucket a 3-2 win over Rochester and ending the longest game in professional baseball history. The game had been suspended April 19th after 32 innings and 8 hours‚ 7 minutes of play‚ but the continuation took only 18 minutes to complete. Bob Ojeda pitches one inning to earn the win. Future ML stars Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken go a combined 6-for-25.


July 31Fifty days after the strike began‚ the players and owners finally hammer out an agreement that features a complicated pooling system for free-agent compensation. Free agents will be classified according to their statistics‚ with teams losing “Type A” players entitled to select one player from the available compensation pool. Each team will be allowed to withhold 26 players from the pool‚ while a maximum of 5 clubs can agree not to sign any Type A free agents and therefore not have to contribute to the pool at all.


August 1The Reds begin a week-long training regimen at the University of Michigan. The team will work out on Ray Fisher Field‚ named after the ML pitcher‚ now 93‚ who threw for the Reds in 1919-20.
August 6As a result of the nearly 2-month interruption in play because of the strike the ML owners elect to split the 1981 season into 2 halves‚ with the first-place teams from each half in each division (or a wild-card team if the same club wins both halves) meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The last time the major leagues played a split season was 1892. The A’s‚ Yankees‚ Phillies‚ and Dodgers suddenly find themselves guaranteed playoff spots as first-half champions.

NL owners agree to the $20.5 million sale of the Cubs to the Tribune Company. In three weeks‚ Cubs stockholders-led by Bill Wrigley’s with 81 percent-will approve the sale.
August 7At Anaheim‚ the Angels beat the Reds‚ 3-0‚ in an exhibition tune-up for the season.
August 9Expos C Gary Carter hits a pair of solo home runs and Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt adds a 2-run shot in the 8th off Rollie Fingers to give the NL a 5-4 win in the All-Star Game. It is the NL’s 10th win in a row and 17th in the last 18 games.
August 10After a 2-month wait‚ Pete Rose finally breaks Stan Musial‘s NL hit record‚ singling off Mark Littell in Philadelphia’s 7-3 loss to St. Louis. Rose now has 3‚631 career hits. A crowd of 60‚561 cheers his 8th inning hit.

Seattle’s Julio Cruz is caught stealing by California’s Ed Ott on a pitchout‚ ending his consecutive stolen base streak at 32. Cruz tied the AL record set by Willie Wilson.

The Dodgers re-open the season with a 4-0 victory over the Reds.
August 14Mike Schmidt hits his 300th career home run off Mike Scott as Philadelphia beats the Mets 8-4.

Mariners OF Jeff Burroughs hits 3 home runs in a 13-3 win over the Twins‚ giving Seattle a split of a doubleheader.
August 21In a Pioneer League game at Helena‚ Lethbridge’s Sid Fernandez strikes out 21 Phillies batters. El Sid wins‚ 6-0.
August 24In his first ML game‚ Kent Hrbek homers in the 12th inning to give the Twins a 3-2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The 21-year-old 1B grew up in Bloomington‚ MN‚ less than a mile from Metropolitan Stadium‚ and jumped directly to his hometown club from Class-A Visalia (California League)‚ where he was hitting .380 with 27 HRs and 112 RBI.

The Reds top the visiting Mets‚ 2-0‚ behind Bruce Berenyi‘s 2-hitter.
August 25Chicago’s Dennis Lamp loses his no-hitter when the Brewers Robin Yount leads off the 9th inning with a bloop double. Lamp settles for a one-hit 5-1 win.
August 26Cards SS Garry Templeton is suspended indefinitely and fined $5‚000 by manager-GM Whitey Herzog after making obscene gestures to the crowd following his ejection in the 3rd inning of a 9-4 win over the Giants. He will return to the lineup on September 15th.
August 28Tim Laudner becomes the 2nd Twins player in 4 days to homer in his first ML game‚ a 6-0 win over the Tigers. In the race for the 2nd half winner‚ the Tigers (11-7) now lead the Twins by 1/2 game in the AL East.

Cleveland’s John Denny shuts out Seattle‚ 1-0.
August 29Phillies farmhand Jeff Stone steals his 121st base of the season for Spartanburg (South Atlantic League)‚ breaking the all-time professional record set last season by Alan Wiggins. Stone will finish the season with 122 SBs‚ a record that will not last through 1982.
August 31Royals manager Jim Frey is fired and replaced by Dick Howser‚ whose Yankees lost to Frey’s Royals in last season’s AL Championship Series. Kansas City was 10-10 in the 2nd half of the season‚ 30-40 overall.


September 2The Indians John Denny stops Oakland‚ 2-0‚ for his 2nd straight shutout.
September 4In the conclusion of the longest game in Fenway Park history‚ the Mariners beat the Red Sox 8-7 in 20 innings on Joe Simpson‘s run-scoring triple. The game began on September 3rd‚ but was suspended after 19 innings.
September 5Milwaukee’s Jim Slaton pitches a no-hitter for 8 innings‚ then is knocked out of the box in the 9th without retiring a batter. Two singles and a HR cut the Brewers’ lead to 5-3‚ but Rollie Fingers retires the final 3 batters for his 22nd save.
September 6Despite having won the first-half pennant‚ Yankee manager Gene Michael is replaced by Bob Lemon‚ who managed the club in 1978-79. The Yankees are only 2 games above .500 in the 2nd half of the season.

The Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela shuts out the Cardinals‚ 5-0‚ to tie a record of 7 shutouts by a NL rookie. He shares the record with Irv “Cy the Second” Young (1905)‚ Grover Alexander (1911)‚ and Jerry Koosman (1968).

John Denny beats California‚ 2-0. It is the Indian hurler’s 3rd straight shutout.
September 7Dave Magadan is named MVP as West Tampa‚ FL‚ defeats Richmond‚ VA‚ 6-4 to win the American Legion World Series. Magadan was 11-for-24 at the plate and also pitched a complete-game win over Omaha.
September 8Houston’s Cesar Cedeno is fined $5‚000 but not suspended after attacking a fan during the Astros 3-2 loss to the Braves. Witnesses said that 3 men in the box seats had been loudly berating Cedeno’s wife and making remarks about the 1973 incident in which he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the accidental shooting death of a young woman in the Dominican Republic.

Citing his “lack of communication” with the players‚ the Expos fire manager Dick Williams and replace him with Jim Fanning‚ who has been an executive with the club since it joined the NL in 1969.
September 10The Reds send Doug Bair to the Cards for P Joe Edelen and 2B Neil Fiala.
September 11Ron Oester clips a 10th inning homer to give the Reds a 3-2 win over the visiting Dodgers.
September 12Red Sox rookie Bob Ojeda no-hits the Yankees for 8 innings at Yankee Stadium before Rick Cerone and Dave Winfield lead off the 9th with back-to-back doubles. Reliever Mark Clear preserves a 2-1 win.
September 17Fernando Valenzuela sets the NL rookie record with his 8th shutout of the season‚ a 2-0 three-hitter versus the Braves. He ties the ML mark of Russ Ford (1910) and Reb Russell (1913).
September 18The Brewers top the Orioles 5-1 to move into 1st place in the AL East by 1/2 game.
September 19Reds reliever Joe Edelen allows just one hit in 6 innings of shutout relief as the Reds down the Dodgers‚ 7-3. Dodger 2B Jack Perconte ties the ML record with 12 assists.
September 20Twins rookie Gary Gaetti homers in his first ML at bat‚ off Charlie Hough (2-1) but Texas beats the Twins‚ 4-3.
September 21Steve Carlton fans 12 Expos in 10 innings to break Bob Gibson‘s NL strikeout record (Carlton now has 3‚128)‚ but the Phillies lose to the Expos 1-0 in 17 innings. Montreal’s Bryn Smith retires just one batter‚ but picks up his first ML victory.
September 23Dennis Martinez (14-4) earns a win for Baltimore when Jim Dwyer hits a game-ending homerun off Dan Petry of Detroit in the 9th inning to break up a scoreless tie.
September 25The Phils drub the Cubs‚ 9-2‚ behind Mike Schmidt and Gary Mathews. Mathews drives in 5 runs while Schmidt adds his 11th homer in his last 12 games at Wrigley. He has hit 33 there.
September 26Nolan Ryan no-hits the Dodgers 5-0 to become the only ML pitcher to toss 5 career no-hitters. Ryan had shared the record of 4 with Dodger great Sandy Koufax‚ but had not pitched a no-hitter since June 1‚ 1975. The 34-year-old Ryan strikes out 11 and retires the last 19 batters in a row while lowering his league-leading ERA to 1.74.
September 27In the first game of a doubleheader with Chicago‚ Oakland ties an AL record with 8 straight singles in the bottom of the first inning‚ but blows its 5-0 lead and loses 9-5. The White Sox take the nightcap 10-3.
September 30In the last ML game at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium‚ Kansas City clinches at least a tie for the AL West 2nd-half title with a 5-2 win over the Twins. Next season‚ the Twins will play in the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.


October 1Needing a win to go into first place in the NL West‚ the Reds lose to Nolan Ryan and the Astros‚ 8-1. Houston wins two out of 3 with the Reds to finish first by 1.5 games.
October 3In Cincinnati‚ Bob Horner homers twice and scores the winning run on Ron Oester‘s 8th-inning throwing error to give the Braves a 4-3 win over the Reds and give the Astros the 2nd-half title in the NL West. Cincinnati‚ which lost the first-half title to the Dodgers by one-half game‚ will finish with the best overall record (66-42) in the major leagues‚ but will not make the playoffs.

The Mets lose 5-4 to the Expos‚ though New York’s Mike Cubbage hits an 8th inning home run‚ off Jeff Reardon. It is Cubbage’s last ML at bat.

Bob Johnson of Texas hits a game-ending homer in the 9th off the Angel’s Angel Moreno to give Texas a 1-0 win.

The Brewers (since 1970) and Expos (1969) clinch their first-ever post-season appearances. Milwaukee beats Detroit 2-1 to wrap up the 2nd-half title in the AL East‚ while Montreal edges New York 5-4 to win the NL East’s 2nd playoff spot.
October 4With one game remaining in the season‚ the Mets fire manager Joe Torre and his entire coaching staff. The team finishes 41-62.

The Reds Mario Soto fires a one-hitter‚ beating the Braves‚ 3-0. The only Atlanta hit is a 2nd inning single by Chris Chambliss.
October 5Kansas City shuts out Cleveland 9-0 in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader to clinch the 2nd-half title in the AL West. The 2nd game is canceled as irrelevant.
October 6In the National League Western Division playoff opener‚ Nolan Ryan pitches the Astros to a 3-1 win over LA.

Oakland coasts past KC to a 4-0 victory behind the 4-hit complete-game shutout of Mike Norris in the opening game of the American League Western Division playoff.
October 7The Expos down Philley 3-1 in game one of the National League Eastern Division playoff.

Ron Davis and Goose Gossage provide a 1-2 relief punch that Milwaukee cannot survive‚ losing to the Yankees 5-3 in the opening game of the American League Eastern Division playoff.

Houston pitching continues to sparkle as 3 pitchers combine to shut out the Dodgers for 11 innings‚ resulting in a 1-0 Astro victory‚ and putting Houston up 2 games to none in the-best-of-5 series.

Another series of excellent pitching: the A’s Steve McCatty goes the distance in a 2-1 win over the Royals.

Atlanta fires manager Bobby Cox. Eight days later‚ Cox will sign a one-year contract to manage the Toronto Blue Jays.
October 8Philley loses to the Expos by an identical 3-1 score‚ putting them in the hole 2 games to none.

Dave Righetti and Davis and Gossage in relief are too much for the Brewers as they are shut out 3-0. All the Yankee scoring comes on HRs by Reggie Jackson and Lou Piniella.
October 9The Phillies bats wake up‚ collecting 13 hits in a 6-2 win over Montreal. Montreal chips in with 4 errors.

Facing elimination‚ the Dodgers get the pitching this time and down Houston 6-1.

The Brewers‚ also facing elimination‚ beat the Yanks in the 8th inning 5-3 on Paul Molitor‘s solo home run. Ted Simmons clubs a 2-run homer and Randy Lerch pitches 6 solid innings for the win.

The A’s sweep Kansas City by winning 4-1. In the 3 games‚ last year’s pennant winners score only 2 runs.
October 10A pinch homer by George Vukovich in the bottom of the 10th inning gives Tug McGraw and the Phillies a 6-5 win over Montreal and ties up the series 2-2.

Another series is tied up at 2-2 as Fernando Valenzuela wins over the Astros 2-1.

On a cold day in New York‚ Milwaukee stays alive by winning 2-1. This is the 3rd series knotted at 2-all.
October 11Steve Rogers wins the playoff for Montreal over Philadelphia by twirling a 6-hit shutout and knocking in 2 of his team’s runs in a 3-0 victory.

After being down 2 games to none‚ LA shuts out Houston 4-0 behind Jerry Reuss to take the playoff.

Yankee bats are too much for the Brewers. Three HRs‚ including the 2nd of the series by Jackson‚ and 13 hits provide a 7-3 win and a trip to the ALCS.
October 13Los Angeles takes game one of the NLCS 5-1 over Montreal.

In the ALCS opener against Oakland‚ Yankee pitching once again asserts itself‚ as Tommy John‚ Ron Davis‚ and Goose Gossage combine to hold up Graig Nettles‘s first-inning 3-run double 3-1.

The Padres fire manager Frank Howard and his entire coaching staff. San Diego finished last in the NL West in each half of the season.
October 14In game 2 of the ALCS‚ Yankee Graig Nettles singles twice in a 7-run 4th inning to become the first player ever to collect 2 hits in one inning in LCS play. New York sets LCS records for runs and hits (19) in a 13-3 rout of Oakland.

Montreal downs LA‚ 3-0‚ behind Ray Burris‘s 5-hitter. Tim Raines has 3 hits.
October 15The Yankees wrap up their 33rd AL pennant with a 4-0 win over the A’s‚ completing a 3-game sweep of the ALCS.

Less than a year after leading the club to its only World Championship‚ Phillies manager Dallas Green jumps to the Cubs to become their general manager.
October 16Montreal wins 4-1 over Los Angeles behind Steve Rogers. White’s 3-run HR is the big blow in the 4-run 5th inning.
October 17Tied 1-1 going into the 8th‚ Steve Garvey‘s 2-run homer puts LA ahead in what will be a 7-1 victory over the Expos. The series is now tied 2-2.
October 19In game 5 of the NLCS‚ Rick Monday hits a solo home run with 2 out in the top of the 9th against Montreal’s Steve Rogers to give Los Angeles a 2-1 victory and a trip to the World Series. The loss‚ played in bitterly cold conditions in Montreal‚ will be known as Blue Monday.
October 20In a WS rematch of the 1978 teams‚ the Yankees take game one over the Dodgers 5-3. Bob Watson‘s 3-run homer in the first is the big blow as Guidry goes 7 innings for the win. Gossage closes down a Dodger rally in the 8th.
October 21Goose Gossage gets his 2nd save in as many days as he preserves Tommy John’s win 3-0 in game 2. Bob Watson has two hits and an RBI.

In a little-noted trade‚ the Cardinals and Yankees swap minor leaguers; New York receives lefty Bob Sykes‚ while the Cardinals get 22-year-old outfielder Willie McGee. Sykes’s arm troubles will reoccur‚ and he’ll last one more season in the minors.
October 22Dallas Green hires one of his Phillie coaches‚ Lee Elia‚ to manage the Cubs.
October 23Despite an uncharacteristic poor performance (9 hits‚ 7 walks) Fernando Valenzuela goes the distance in the Dodgers’ 5-4 come-from-behind win. The deciding run scores on a double play. Starter Dave Righetti lasts just two innings‚ walking 2 and allowing 5 hits‚ but reliever George Frazier takes the loss. Ron Cey has a 3-run homer for LA. Starters Valenzuela and Righetti are the first two Rookies of the Year to oppose each other in the WS since Willie Mays and Gil McDougald in 1951.

Joe Torre signs a 3-year contract to manage the Braves.
October 24Another come-from-behind victory for LA 8-7‚ helped by poor Yankee fielding in the outfield‚ ties the Series at 2 games apiece.
October 25Back-to-back HRs by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager off Yankee ace Ron Guidry give the Dodgers their 3rd consecutive win 2-1.

After his club loses game 5 of the World Series‚ Yankee owner George Steinbrenner scuffles with 2 (he says) fans in a hotel elevator and emerges with a fat lip and a broken hand.
October 28Pedro Guerrero drives in 5 runs and the Bert Hooton and the Dodgers beat the Yankees 9-2 to win the World Series in 6 games. In a remarkable post season‚ the Dodgers came from behind to win 3 series (down 2-0 to Houston and 2-1 to Montreal in the best-of-5 series). Guerrero‚ Ron Cey‚ and Steve Yeager (2 home runs) are named co-MVPs‚ while OF Dave Winfield and relief pitcher George Frazier are the goats for New York. Winfield was just 1-for-21‚ while Frazier tied a WS record by losing 3 games. The record was set by the White Sox Lefty Williams in 1919‚ but Williams‚ one of the 8 “Black Sox‚” probably was losing on purpose.
October 29Bill Giles‚ the Phillies vice president for the past 11 years‚ heads a group of investors which purchases the club for just over $30 million‚ the highest price paid to date for a ML club. Giles is the son of longtime NL president Warren C. Giles.


November 3Brewers Rollie Fingers (28 saves‚ 1.04 ERA) wins the AL Cy Young Award‚ collecting 22 of 28 possible first-place votes. The other 6 go to Oakland’s Steve McCatty.
November 4The Reds trade OF Ken Griffey to the Yankees for P Fred Toliver and minor-leaguer Brian Ryder. Griffey was about to become a free agent.

The Phillies announce that Pat Corrales will manage the club in 1982‚ replacing Dallas Green‚ who quit to become Cubs GM.
November 11Fernando Valenzuela becomes the first rookie ever to win a Cy Young Award‚ edging the Reds Tom Seaver 70-67 for NL honors. He was the first rookie since Herb Score in 1955 to lead his league in strikeouts with 180.
November 14The Indians trade 8-year veteran Duane Kuiper to the Giants for P Ed Whitson. Kuiper hit one homer in 8 years and as a parting gift the Indians give him a plaque of the seat where the homer landed.
November 15Cubs INF Steve Macko dies of cancer at the age of 27. He did not play at all in 1981 because of the illness‚ but hit .250 in 25 games in 1979-80.
November 16After eleven seasons as the announcer for the White Sox. Harry Caray signs a two-year contract with WGN to broadcast the Cubs games. Caray says that the Sox move to cable television is the reason he jumped to the North Side.
November 18Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt wins his 2nd consecutive NL MVP Award‚ joining Ernie Banks and Joe Morgan as the only NL players to win the award back-to-back. Schmidt hit .316 with 31 HRs and 91 RBI in the abbreviated season and also led the league in runs and walks.

Dick Williams‚ fired by the Expos on September 7th‚ is named manager of the Padres. It is the 5th club Williams has managed since taking over the Red Sox in 1967.
November 25Rollie Fingers becomes the first relief pitcher ever to win the AL MVP Award‚ edging Oakland’s Rickey Henderson 319-308.
November 27The Tigers trade OF Steve Kemp to the White Sox for OF Chet Lemon.
November 30Yankees P Dave Righetti (8-4‚ 2.06 in 1981) wins the AL Rookie of the Year Award.


December 2Fernando Valenzuela becomes the 3rd consecutive Dodger to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Expos OF Tim Raines‚ who hit .304 with 71 stolen bases‚ is 2nd.
December 4Oakland signs free-agent OF-1B Joe Rudi‚ who hit just .180 in 49 games for the Red Sox last season‚ to a 2-year contract.
December 8In the first major deal of the winter meetings‚ the Cubs trade P Mike Krukow to the Phillies for pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larson and versatile Keith Moreland.
December 9One day after announcing that manager Bob Lemon will return in 1982‚ the Yankees announce that former manager Gene Michael‚ whom Lemon replaced on September 6th‚ will return as manager for the 1983 season. They won’t wait that long.

The Dodgers trade 1979 Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe‚ unhappy with his exile to the Dodger bullpen‚ and infielder Jack Perconte to the Indians for OF Jorge Orta. Orta will hit just .217 for the Dodgers next season‚ while Sutcliffe will lead the AL in ERA.

The Giants trade OF Larry Herndon to the Tigers for pitcher Dan Schatzeder and minor leaguer Mike Chris.
December 10In what would be a blockbuster swap of outstanding young shortstops‚ the Cardinals trade Garry Templeton and OF Sixto Lezcano to the Padres for Ozzie Smith and P Steve Mura. The deal is put on hold‚ however‚ when Smith is unable to work out an acceptable contract with his new club.

The Royals send vet Clint Hurdle to the Reds for P Scott Brown
December 11Veteran free-agent infielders Joe Morgan and Mark Belanger sign one-year contracts with the Giants and Dodgers‚ respectively.

Seattle trades OF Tom Paciorek to the White Sox for C Jim Essian‚ IF Todd Cruz‚ and Rod Allen.
December 15Free-agent P Ron Guidry re-signs with the Yankees for a reported $3.6 million over 4 years.
December 18The Reds swap 3B Ray Knight to the Astros for OF Cesar Cedeno.
December 21Twenty-two-year-old Royals pitcher Mike Jones‚ who was 6-3‚ with a 3.20 ERA in the 2nd half of 1981 and was projected to be the club’s 3rd starter next year‚ is listed in guarded condition after crashing his car while driving under the influence near Rochester‚ NY. Jones will not pitch in the majors again until 1984.
December 23The Yankees sign free-agent OF Dave Collins for a reported $750‚000 a year for at least 3 years. Collins hit .272 for the Reds in 1981 and stole 79 bases in 1979.