1972 Major League Baseball season

The 1972 Major League Baseball season was the first to have games cancelled by a player strike. It was also the last season in which American League pitchers would hit for themselves on a regular basis; the designated hitter rule would go into effect the following season.

1972 MLB season
LeagueMajor League Baseball
DurationApril 15 – October 22, 1972
Top draft pickDave Roberts
Picked bySan Diego Padres
Regular season
Season MVPAL: Dick Allen (CHW)
NL: Johnny Bench (CIN)
AL championsOakland Athletics
  AL runners-upDetroit Tigers
NL championsCincinnati Reds
  NL runners-upPittsburgh Pirates
World Series

Labor strife and more moving

1972 was affected by a players' strike over pension and salary arbitration. The strike erased the first week and a half of the season, and the Leagues decided to just excise the lost portion of the season with no makeups. As a result, an uneven number of games were lost by each team; some as few as six, some as many as nine. The lack of makeups, even when they affected the playoffs, led to the Boston Red Sox losing the American League East by half a game to the Detroit Tigers.

1972 marked the first year for the Texas Rangers, who had moved to Arlington from Washington, D.C. (where they played as the Washington Senators) after the 1971 season. The team was one of the worst ever fielded by the franchise, losing 100 games for the first time since 1964. Manager Ted Williams hated it in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and resigned at the end of the season.

To make room for the Rangers in the American League West Division, one of the teams already in that division would have to switch to the East Division. Technically, both the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers were the easternmost teams in the West Division, but only one of them could move, although the Minnesota Twins lobbied to keep the Rangers in the East because it wanted both the Brewers and White Sox as division rivals. It was decided that Milwaukee, as the newer franchise, would make the move, even though the Chicago wanted to go to the East since five of the league's original franchises were in that division, and that the Cubs were in the National League East. The Brewers and White Sox would again become divisional rivals in 1994 with the formation of the American League Central, but this would last only through 1997, when Milwaukee transferred to the National League.

1972 would mark the Kansas City Royals' final year at Kansas City Municipal Stadium, as the next year they would move to Royals Stadium at the Truman Sports Complex in eastern Kansas City.

Most teams (18 of 24) switched from wool flannel uniforms to double knit uniforms made of nylon and rayon at the outset of 1972. The Pirates were first to adopt double knits when they moved from Forbes Field to Three Rivers Stadium in July 1970. The Cardinals switched at the start of the 1971 season, and the Orioles gradually phased out their flannels throughout 1971, becoming all-double knit in time for the postseason.

The Giants wore flannels until midseason, going to double knits at home only; the flannels would not be phased out for the road uniforms until 1973. The Red Sox switched to double knits midway through 1972. Only the Royals, Expos and Yankees wore flannels full-time during the 1972 season, and all three converted to double knits for 1973.

The World Series was won by the Oakland Athletics, the first of three straight behind the bats of Reggie Jackson and Bert Campaneris, and the pitching cadre of Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, and Vida Blue. Jackie Robinson, the first black player in MLB history, threw out the first pitch prior to Game 2 in what would be his last public appearance. He died two days after the series ended at age 53 due to complications from diabetes and heart failure.

The year ended on a sad note when Roberto Clemente died in an airplane crash off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on New Year's Eve, while participating in aid efforts after the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake.

Regular season standings

American League

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Detroit Tigers 86 70 0.551 44–34 42–36
Boston Red Sox 85 70 0.548 ½ 52–26 33–44
Baltimore Orioles 80 74 0.519 5 38–39 42–35
New York Yankees 79 76 0.510 46–31 33–45
Cleveland Indians 72 84 0.462 14 43–34 29–50
Milwaukee Brewers 65 91 0.417 21 37–42 28–49
AL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Oakland Athletics 93 62 0.600 48–29 45–33
Chicago White Sox 87 67 0.565 55–23 32–44
Minnesota Twins 77 77 0.500 15½ 42–32 35–45
Kansas City Royals 76 78 0.494 16½ 44–33 32–45
California Angels 75 80 0.484 18 44–36 31–44
Texas Rangers 54 100 0.351 38½ 31–46 23–54

National League

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Pittsburgh Pirates 96 59 0.619 49–29 47–30
Chicago Cubs 85 70 0.548 11 46–31 39–39
New York Mets 83 73 0.532 13½ 41–37 42–36
St. Louis Cardinals 75 81 0.481 21½ 40–37 35–44
Montreal Expos 70 86 0.449 26½ 35–43 35–43
Philadelphia Phillies 59 97 0.378 37½ 28–51 31–46
NL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Cincinnati Reds 95 59 0.617 42–34 53–25
Houston Astros 84 69 0.549 10½ 41–36 43–33
Los Angeles Dodgers 85 70 0.548 10½ 41–34 44–36
Atlanta Braves 70 84 0.455 25 36–41 34–43
San Francisco Giants 69 86 0.445 26½ 34–43 35–43
San Diego Padres 58 95 0.379 36½ 26–54 32–41


  League Championship Series
World Series
East Detroit 2  
West Oakland 3  
    AL Oakland 4
  NL Cincinnati 3
East Pittsburgh 2
West Cincinnati 3  

Awards and honors

Statistical leaders

Statistic American League National League
AVG Rod Carew MIN .318 Billy Williams CHC .333
HR Dick Allen CHW 37 Johnny Bench CIN 40
RBI Dick Allen CHW 113 Johnny Bench CIN 125
Wins Wilbur Wood CHW
Gaylord Perry CLE
24 Steve Carlton1 PHI 27
ERA Luis Tiant BOS 1.91 Steve Carlton1 PHI 1.97
SO Nolan Ryan CAL 329 Steve Carlton1 PHI 310
SV Sparky Lyle NYY 35 Clay Carroll CIN 37
SB Bert Campaneris OAK 52 Lou Brock STL 63

1 National League Triple Crown Pitching Winner

Major league baseball final standings

American League final standings

American League
Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
Detroit Tigers 86 70 .551
Boston Red Sox 85 70 .548 0.5
Baltimore Orioles 80 74 .519 5
New York Yankees 79 76 .510 6.5
Cleveland Indians 72 84 .462 14
Milwaukee Brewers 65 91 .417 21
West Division
Oakland Athletics 93 62 .600
Chicago White Sox 87 67 .565 5.5
Minnesota Twins 77 77 .500 15.5
Kansas City Royals 76 78 .494 16.5
California Angels 75 80 .484 18
Texas Rangers 54 100 .351 38.5

National League final standings

National League
Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
Pittsburgh Pirates 96 59 .619
Chicago Cubs 85 70 .548 11
New York Mets 83 73 .532 13.5
St. Louis Cardinals 75 81 .481 21.5
Montreal Expos 70 86 .449 26.5
Philadelphia Phillies 59 97 .378 37.5
West Division
Cincinnati Reds 95 59 .617
Houston Astros 84 69 .549 10.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 85 70 .548 10.5
Atlanta Braves 70 84 .455 25
San Francisco Giants 69 86 .445 26.5
San Diego Padres 58 95 .379 36.5




Mike Lieberthal
Gold-Glove-winning All Star catcher Mike Lieberthal






  • January 2 – Glenn Crawford, 58, outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies in the 1940s
  • January 21 – Dick Loftus, 70, outfielder for the Brooklyn Robins from 1924–25
  • February 9 – Chico Ruiz, 33, infielder for the Cincinnati Reds and California Angels
  • February 28 – Dizzy Trout, 56, All-Star pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who led the AL in wins in 1943 and was MVP runnerup the following year
  • March 11 – Zack Wheat, 83, Hall of Fame left fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers who held team career records for games, hits, doubles and triples, a lifetime .317 hitter who retired with the 10th-most hits in history
  • March 16 – Pie Traynor, 72, Hall of Fame third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates who batted .320 lifetime and established a record for career games at third base; was named the best ever at his position in 1969
  • March 19 – Gordie Hinkle, 66, catcher for the 1934 Boston Red Sox
  • March 28 – Donie Bush, 84, shortstop of the Detroit Tigers for 14 seasons who led AL in walks five times and was a superlative bunter; later managed Pittsburgh to the 1927 NL pennant
  • March 30 – Davy Jones, 91, outfielder with the Detroit Tigers who organized a 1912 walkout to protest Ty Cobb's suspension for attacking a heckler


  • April 2 – Gil Hodges, 47, 8-time All-Star first baseman for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers who drove in more runs than any other player during the 1950s and managed the "Miracle Mets" to the 1969 World Series title
  • April 3 – Alvin Crowder, 73, pitcher who had three 20-win seasons with the Browns and Senators, known for his mastery against the Yankees
  • May 15 – John Milligan, 68, pitcher who played from 1928 through 1934 for the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators
  • May 20 – Hoge Workman, 72, pitcher for the 1924 Boston Red Sox, who also played and coached for Cleveland teams of the National Football League
  • May 22 – Dick Fowler, 51, Canadian pitcher who won 66 games with the Philadelphia Athletics, including a no-hitter
  • May 24 – Bill Moore, 68, catcher for the 1927 Boston Red Sox
  • May 29 – Moe Berg, 70, catcher who served as a spy for the U.S. government both during and after his playing career
  • June 9 – Del Bissonette, 72, first baseman who twice batted .300 for the Brooklyn Dodgers


  • July 31 – Rollie Hemsley, 65, All-Star catcher for seven teams, later a coach and minor league manager
  • August 13 – George Weiss, 77, executive who solidified the New York Yankees dynasty as the club's farm director and general manager from 1932 to 1960, then became the Mets' first team president
  • August 24 – J. Roy Stockton, 79, St. Louis sportswriter from the 1910s to the 1950s, also a sportscaster and author of books on baseball
  • September 2 – Jim Brillheart, 68, who pitched for the Senators, Cubs and Red Sox, and one of the few pitchers in baseball history to appear in over 1,000 games
  • August 29 – Clem Hausmann, 53, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics between 1944 and 1949
  • September 6 – Charlie Berry, 69, American League catcher for eleven seasons, later an AL umpire from 1942 to 1962 who worked in five World Series and five All-Star Games; also played in the NFL and officiated numerous NFL Championship Games
  • September 16 – Eddie Waitkus, 53, All-Star first baseman who was shot in 1949 by a teenaged female admirer who lured him to her hotel room


  • October 9 – Dave Bancroft, 81, Hall of Fame shortstop for four NL teams, known for his defensive skill and also batting over .300 five times; captain of the New York Giants' pennant winners from 1921–1923
  • October 24 – Jackie Robinson, 53, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers who broke baseball's color line in 1947 after starring in the Negro Leagues; he became the NL's 1949 MVP and batted .311 in a 10-year major league career
  • November 2 – Freddy Parent, 96, shortstop in the Red Sox' first seven seasons, and the last surviving participant of the inaugural 1903 World Series
  • November 26 – Wendell Smith, 58, sportswriter for Pittsburgh and Chicago newspapers since 1937 who became the BBWAA's first black member and helped ease Jackie Robinson's entry into the major leagues; also a Chicago sportscaster since 1964
  • December 20 – Gabby Hartnett, 72, Hall of Fame catcher for the Chicago Cubs who virtually clinched the 1938 pennant with a home run, he established career records for games and home runs as a catcher and was the NL's 1935 MVP
  • December 31 – Roberto Clemente, 38, right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1955; a lifetime .317 hitter, 12-time All-Star and winner of 12 Gold Gloves who was a 4-time batting champion and the NL's 1966 MVP, he collected his 3000th base hit in September

External links

1972 Atlanta Braves season

The 1972 Atlanta Braves season was the seventh season in Atlanta along with the 102nd season as a franchise overall.

1972 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1972 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing third in the American League East with a record of 80 wins and 74 losses.

1972 Boston Red Sox season

The 1972 Boston Red Sox season was the 72nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League East with a record of 85 wins and 70 losses, ½ game behind the Detroit Tigers. Due to the cancellation of games missed during the 1972 Major League Baseball strike, Detroit played (and won) one more game than Boston, allowing them to finish with a record of 86–70, winning the division by ½ game.

1972 Chicago Cubs season

The 1972 Chicago Cubs season was the 101st season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 97th in the National League and the 57th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished second in the National League East with a record of 85–70.

1972 Chicago White Sox season

The 1972 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 73rd season overall, and 72nd in the American League. They finished with a record 87–67, good enough for second place in the American League West, 5½ games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics.

1972 Cleveland Indians season

The 1972 Cleveland Indians season was the 72nd in franchise history. The team finished fifth in the American League East with a record of 72–86, 14 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

1972 Houston Astros season

The 1972 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The team finished second in the National League West with a record of 84–69, 10½ games behind the Cincinnati Reds and just a percentage point ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1972 Kansas City Royals season

The 1972 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing fourth in the American League West with a record of 76 wins and 78 losses.

1972 Major League Baseball strike

The 1972 Major League Baseball strike was the first players' strike in Major League Baseball history. The strike occurred from April 1 to 13, 1972.

1972 Minnesota Twins season

The 1972 Minnesota Twins finished 77–77, third in the American League West.

1972 Montreal Expos season

The 1972 Montreal Expos season was the fourth season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in fifth place in the National League East with a record of 70–86, 26½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1972 National League Championship Series

The 1972 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates from October 7 to 11. Cincinnati won the series three games to two to advance to the World Series against the Oakland A's. The Reds became the first team in major league history to advance to the World Series without the best record in their respective league, made possible by the Junior and Senior Circuits each splitting into two divisions in 1969. In the previous three post seasons, the team with the best record in each league advanced to the World Series.

The 1972 NLCS ended with a dramatic ninth inning rally in the fifth and deciding game. The series was also notable as the last on-field appearance by Pittsburgh's future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who would die in a plane crash on December 31.

1972 New York Mets season

The 1972 New York Mets season was the 11th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Led by manager Yogi Berra, the team had an 83–73 record and finished in third place in the National League's Eastern Division.

1972 New York Yankees season

The 1972 New York Yankees season was the 70th season for the Yankees in New York, and the 72nd season overall. The team finished with a record of 79–76, finishing 6½ games behind the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Ralph Houk. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.

1972 San Diego Padres season

The 1972 San Diego Padres season was the fourth season in franchise history.

1972 San Francisco Giants season

The 1972 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 90th year in Major League Baseball, their 15th year in San Francisco, and their 13th at Candlestick Park. The Giants finished in fifth place in the National League West with a record of 69–86. It was their first losing season in San Francisco and the franchise's first losing season since 1957, which was the franchise's final year in New York.

1972 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1972 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 91st season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 81st season in the National League. The Cardinals went 75–81 during the season and finished fourth in the National League East, 21½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1972 Texas Rangers season

The Texas Rangers 1972 season involved the Rangers finishing sixth in the American League West with a record of 54 wins and 100 losses. This was the Rangers' first season in Texas, as well as the club's first year in the AL West, after playing their first 11 seasons in Washington, D.C., and from 1969 to 1971 in the American League East.

1972 MLB season by team
AL East
AL West
NL East
NL West
Pre-modern era
Modern era
See also

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