1972 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1972 throughout the world.

List of years in baseball

Labor strife and more moving

1972 was tainted 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 cancelled for each team; some as few as six, some as many as nine. The lack of makeups of those games, even when they affected 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. There would be no baseball in D.C. until 2005. 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 living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and resigned at the end of the season.

1972 would mark the Kansas City Royals' final year at Kansas City Municipal Stadium, as the next year they would move to Royals Stadium (later named Kauffman Stadium) at the Truman Sports Complex in suburban Kansas City.

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. 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.

Champions

Major League Baseball

  League Championship Series World Series
                 
East Detroit Tigers 2  
West Oakland Athletics 3  
    AL Oakland Athletics 4
  NL Cincinnati Reds 3
East Pittsburgh Pirates 2
West Cincinnati Reds 3  

Other champions

Winter Leagues

Awards and honors

Statistical leaders

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
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 Carlton PHI 27
ERA Luis Tiant BOS 1.91 Steve Carlton PHI 1.97
SO Nolan Ryan CAL 329 Steve Carlton PHI 310
SV Sparky Lyle NYY 35 Clay Carroll CIN 37
SB Bert Campaneris OAK 52 Lou Brock STL 63

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 .445 25
San Francisco Giants 69 86 .445 26.5
San Diego Padres 58 95 .379 36.5

Events

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

Births

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Deaths

January–March

  • 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–June

  • 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–September

  • 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
  • August 29 – Clem Hausmann, 53, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Athletics between 1944 and 1949
  • 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
  • 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
  • September 25 – Jerry Lynn, 56, second baseman for the 1937 Washington Senators

October–December

  • 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 17 – Johnny Rawlings, 80, shortstop for the 1921 New York Giants World Champions and later a manager in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
  • October 19 – Butch Glass, 74 pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1923 to 1930
  • 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
1971–72 Cuban National Series

The eleventh season of Cuba's primary amateur baseball league ended with a repeat champion. For the second straight year, Azucareros won the Cuban National Series, defeating Mineros 2-1 games in best-of-three-playoffs after the teams tied for the best record in the league.

1972 Amateur World Series

The 1972 Amateur World Series took place in Nicaragua and was won by Cuba.

There were 16 participating countries. It was also Cuba's 12th title in what was to become the Baseball World Cup.

1972 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1972 followed the system established one year earlier.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected three: Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, and Early Wynn.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It also selected three people: Lefty Gomez, Will Harridge, and Ross Youngs.

The Negro Leagues Committee met for the second time and selected Josh Gibson and Buck Leonard.

1972 Big League World Series

The 1972 Big League World Series took place from August 14–19 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Orlando, Florida defeated Inglewood, California in the championship game.

1972 Caribbean Series

The fifteenth edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 1972. It was held from February 1 through February 6 with the champions teams from Dominican Republic (Aguilas Cibaeñas), Mexico (Algodoneros de Guasave), Puerto Rico (Leones de Ponce) and Venezuela (Tigres de Aragua). The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, D.R., which boosted capacity to 14.000 seats, and the first pitch was thrown by Joaquín Balaguer, by then the President of Dominican Republic.

1972 Little League World Series

The 1972 Little League World Series took place between August 22 and August 26 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Taipei Little League of Taipei City, Taiwan, defeated the Edison Little League of Hammond, Indiana, in the championship game of the 26th Little League World Series.

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 Puerto Rico DC-7 crash

The 1972 Puerto Rico DC-7 Crash was an aviation accident that occurred on December 31, 1972, in Carolina, Puerto Rico. It is most notable for causing the death of Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente.

1972 Senior League World Series

The 1972 Senior League World Series was a baseball tournament for children aged 13 to 16 years old. It took place from August 15–20 in Gary, Indiana, United States. Pingtung, Taiwan defeated Oxnard, California in the championship game.

This year featured the debut of the Far East Region.

Flood v. Kuhn

Flood v. Kuhn, 407 U.S. 258 (1972), was a United States Supreme Court decision upholding, by a 5–3 margin, the antitrust exemption first granted to Major League Baseball (MLB) in Federal Baseball Club v. National League. It arose from a challenge by St. Louis Cardinals' outfielder Curt Flood when he refused to be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1969 season. He sought injunctive relief from the reserve clause, which prevented him from negotiating with another team for a year after his contract expired. Named as initial respondents were baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, MLB and all of its then-24 member clubs.

Although the Court ruled in baseball's favor 5–3, it admitted the original grounds for the antitrust exemption were tenuous at best, that baseball was indeed interstate commerce for purposes of the act and the exemption was an "anomaly" it had explicitly refused to extend to other professional sports or entertainment. That admission set in motion events which ultimately led to an arbitrator's ruling nullifying the reserve clause and opening the door for free agency in baseball and other sports.

The opinion has been criticized in several ways. It is seen by some as an overly strict and reflexive reliance on the legal doctrine of stare decisis that made an earlier mistake "uncorrectable". Even the text of the decision itself, mainly a seven-page introductory encomium to the game and its history by Justice Harry Blackmun that included a lengthy listing of baseball greats, came in for criticism. Some of the other justices, and Court observers, felt it was inappropriate for a judicial opinion. At the time of his later retirement and death, Blackmun would be remembered for it as much as Roe v. Wade.

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