The 1971 American League Championship Series was a matchup between the East Division Champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division Champion Oakland A's. The Orioles swept the A's in three games, despite the fact that each team had won 101 games. The Orioles won their third consecutive pennant in the process, but lost the 1971 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was the first of ten ALCS series between 1971 and 1981 that featured either the Oakland A's or the Kansas City Royals. The only time neither team appeared in the ALCS during that period was in 1979.
|1971 American League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Hank Soar, Larry Napp, Lou DiMuro, Jake O'Donnell, Ron Luciano, Bill Kunkel|
KBHK-TV (Athletics' broadcast; Game 1 only)
WJZ-TV (Orioles' broadcast)
|TV announcers||NBC: Jim Simpson and Sandy Koufax (Game 2); Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek (Game 3)|
(NBC did not televise Game 1 due to conflicts with its NFL coverage.)
KBHK-TV: Monte Moore and Bob Elson (Game 1 only)
WJZ-TV: Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell, and John Gordon
Baltimore won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 3||Oakland A's – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 5||Memorial Stadium||2:23||42,621|
|2||October 4||Oakland A's – 1, Baltimore Orioles – 5||Memorial Stadium||2:04||35,003|
|3||October 5||Baltimore Orioles – 5, Oakland A's – 3||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||2:49||33,176|
|WP: Dave McNally (1–0) LP: Vida Blue (0–1) Sv: Eddie Watt (1)|
Dave McNally, a 20-game winner for the fourth season in a row, survived a rocky start to win the opener. He trailed, 3–0, after four innings pitched, giving up three doubles and a triple. The A's had McNally tottering in the second inning. With two runs home, a runner on second and none out, second baseman Dick Green came to bat. It was at this point that A's manager Dick Williams made the first of several ultra-cautious moves which were to fuel criticism of his playoff strategy. He ordered Green to sacrifice, which put runner Dave Duncan on third with one out.
The next batter was Blue, whose bunting ability is well known, Vida tried to squeeze the run home, But the O's had guessed correctly on what was coming. McNally pitched out and Duncan was nailed in a rundown. Blue proceeded to strike out, and the A's splurge was over. McNally gave up another run in the fourth, but that ended the A's scoring forays. Meanwhile, 24-game winner Blue yielded just one run and three hits during the first six innings.
However, disaster overtook Vida in the very next frame. Frank Robinson led off with a walk and Boog Powell struck out. Brooks Robinson's single sent Frank Robinson to second, after which Andy Etchebarren's fly to right advanced Frank Robinson to third. Now there were runners on first and third with two down, and Blue appeared likely to quell the flurry without damage. After all, he'd beaten the O's twice in two tries during the season. And the next hitter was shortstop Mark Belanger, hardly a nemesis to any pitcher. But Belanger rifled a single to center to score Frank Robinson and ignite thunderous cheering from the crowd of 42,621.
Then Curt Motton, pinch-hitter hero of a '69 Oriole playoff victory (Game 2) over Minnesota, stepped up to bat for McNally. Curt slammed a double to the left-field corner, plating Brooks Robinson and tying the score. Center fielder Paul Blair followed with the blow that doomed Blue, a two-run double to left. Reliever Eddie Watt blanked the A's the last two innings and Oakland was one game down. Skipper Williams was subjected to further sharpshooting for his failure to remove Blue, or even visit the mound, during the seventh-inning barrage.
Dave Johnson's error in the sixth inning was the only miscue between both teams in the series.
|WP: Mike Cuellar (1–0) LP: Catfish Hunter (0–1)|
BAL: Brooks Robinson (1), Boog Powell 2 (2), Elrod Hendricks (1)
Catfish Hunter held Baltimore to seven hits, but unfortunately for him, four of them were home runs. Boog Powell walloped two, Brooks Robinson and Elrod Hendricks the others. Cuellar displayed his usual pitching artistry, a baffling assortment of curves and change-ups which the A's solve for a mere six hits.
Typical of the A's super-cautious approach to their task was an incident in the sixth inning when they were trailing, 2–1. Reggie Jackson led off against Cuellar with a double. Cleanup hitter Tommy Davis was up next and to the surprise of everyone in the park, he bunted. The next two hitters were easy outs. Davis' sacrifice, it turned out, was not ordered by Williams.
|WP: Jim Palmer (1–0) LP: Diego Segui (0–1)|
OAK: Reggie Jackson 2 (2), Sal Bando (1)
Jim Palmer's performance in the deciding game was not among his most noteworthy—he permitted three home runs, two of them by the slugging Jackson and the other by Sal Bando. But all three shots were struck with the bases empty, and Palmer had more than enough to pitch Baltimore's pennant clincher for the third straight year. Loser of his only two starts against Baltimore during the season, Diego Segui reached the fifth inning of Game 3 with the score 1–1. Then he met his "Waterloo". The crusher was Brooks Robinson's two-run single. It came after Williams ordered an intentional pass to Hendricks. loading the bases.
Bando's homer cut the A's deficit to 3–2 in the sixth. But in the seventh, Frank Robinson's double and Darold Knowles' wild pitch put Baltimore out of danger. The Orioles collected 12 hits off Segui and his four successors, with Don Buford's triple and two singles leading the way.
|Total attendance: 110,800 Average attendance: 36,933|
The 1971 Oakland Athletics season involved the A's finishing first in the American League West with a record of 101 wins and 60 losses. In their first postseason appearance of any kind since 1931, the A's were swept in three games by the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series.Blue Moon Odom
Johnny Lee "Blue Moon" Odom (born May 29, 1945) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1964 to 1976 for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago White Sox. Odom won three consecutive World Series championships with the Athletics in 1972, 1973 and 1974.Boog Powell
John Wesley "Boog" Powell (born August 17, 1941) is an American former professional baseball first baseman and left fielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers between 1961 and 1977. He was with the Orioles’ World Series Champion teams in 1966 and 1970, the American League Champion teams in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and the American League East Division Champion teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974. The four-time All-Star won the American League's Most Valuable Player award in 1970 and in 1964 posted a .606 slugging percentage to lead the American League.Darold Knowles
Darold Duane Knowles (born December 9, 1941) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. During his Major League Baseball (MLB) career, Knowles played with the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Senators, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Montreal Expos, and St. Louis Cardinals, between 1965 and 1980. He batted and threw left-handed. In the 1973 World Series, Knowles became the first pitcher to appear in all seven games of a World Series. In 2014, he was hired as the pitching coach of the Florida State League's Dunedin Blue Jays.Dave Duncan (baseball)
David Edwin Duncan (born September 26, 1945) is an American pitching consultant for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). He is also a former professional baseball catcher and pitching coach. He began his MLB playing career in 1964 and played again consecutively from 1967 to 1976 for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and Baltimore Orioles.After retiring as a player, Duncan served as the pitching coach for the Indians, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals. Four pitchers he coached won the Cy Young Award in 1983, 1990, 1992, and 2005. He was also a member of four World Series champion teams in 1972, 1989, 2006, and 2011. Each year from 1983 to 2011, Duncan worked with former manager Tony La Russa on the White Sox, Athletics, and Cardinals. Following the 2013 season, he became a pitching consultant for the Diamondbacks.Hank Soar
Albert Henry Soar (August 17, 1914 – December 24, 2001) was an American football running back and defensive back in the National Football League who went on to have a long career as an umpire in Major League Baseball. Soar played nine seasons for the New York Giants (1937–1944, 1946), and caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 1938 NFL Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers at the Polo Grounds.Jake O'Donnell
James Michael "Jake" O'Donnell (born January 25, 1937 in Philadelphia) is a former sports official who worked as a National Basketball Association (NBA) referee for 28 seasons from 1967 to 1995, and also as an umpire in Major League Baseball for four seasons from 1968 to 1971. He is the only person to officiate All-Star games in both Major League Baseball and the NBA.Mayo Smith
Edward Mayo "Catfish" Smith (January 17, 1915 – November 24, 1977) was an American professional baseball player, manager, and scout, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics. Smith had a 39-year baseball career from 1933 to 1971. He is also the namesake of the "Mayo Smith Society", the Detroit Tigers international fan club that awards the "King Tiger Award," each year.
Smith served as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (1955–1958), Cincinnati Reds (1959), and Detroit Tigers (1967–1970), compiling a managerial record of 662–612 (.520). He received The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award in 1968 after the Tigers won the American League (AL) pennant by 12 games with a record of 103–59 (.636) and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series. ESPN has ranked Smith's decision to move Mickey Stanley to shortstop for the 1968 World Series as the third "gutsiest call" in sports history.
Smith also played professional baseball for 18 seasons from 1933 to 1950, including one season in MLB, with the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics. He spent his most productive years in the International League playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs (1937–1939) and Buffalo Bisons (1940–1944) and in the Pacific Coast League with the Portland Beavers (1946–1948). Smith also spent 13 years in the New York Yankees organization as a minor league manager from 1949 to 1954 and as a "super scout" and "trouble shooter" from 1959 to 1966.
|American League teams|
|National League teams|
division titles (9)
|AL Wild Card|
|Minor league |
|AL West Division|
|AL Wild Card (3)|
|AL Division Series|
|NL Division Series|