1981 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1981 throughout the world.

List of years in baseball

Champions

Major League Baseball

Division Series League Championship Series World Series
         
E1 New York Yankees 3
E2 Milwaukee Brewers 2
E New York Yankees 3
W Oakland Athletics 0
W1 Oakland Athletics 3
W2 Kansas City Royals 0
AL New York Yankees 2
NL Los Angeles Dodgers 4
E1 Philadelphia Phillies 2
E2 Montreal Expos 3
E Montreal Expos 2
W Los Angeles Dodgers 3
W1 Los Angeles Dodgers 3
W2 Houston Astros 2

NOTE: Due to a strike in mid-season, the season was divided into a first half and a second half. The division winner of the first half (denoted East 1, West 1) played the division winner of the second half (denoted East 2, West 2).

Other champions

International

Winter Leagues

College

Youth

Awards and honors

MLB statistical leaders

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Carney Lansford BOS .336 Bill Madlock PIT .341
HR Tony Armas OAK
Dwight Evans BOS
Bobby Grich CAL
Eddie Murray BAL
22 Mike Schmidt PHI 31
RBI Eddie Murray BAL 78 Mike Schmidt PHI 91
Wins Dennis Martínez BAL
Steve McCatty OAK
Jack Morris DET
Pete Vuckovich MIL
14 Tom Seaver CIN 14
ERA Sammy Stewart BAL 2.32 Nolan Ryan HOU 1.69

Major league baseball final standings

First half of season

American League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win % GB
East Division
1st New York Yankees 34 22 .607    --
2nd Baltimore Orioles 31 23 .574   2.0
3rd Milwaukee Brewers 31 25 .568   3.0
4th Detroit Tigers 31 26 .544   3.5
5th Boston Red Sox 30 26 .536   4.0
6th Cleveland Indians 26 24 .520   5.0
7th Toronto Blue Jays 16 42 .276 19.0
West Division
1st Oakland Athletics 37 23 .617    --
2nd Texas Rangers 33 22 .600   1.5
3rd Chicago White Sox 31 22 .585   2.5
4th California Angels 31 29 .517   6.0
5th Kansas City Royals 20 30 .400 12.0
6th Seattle Mariners 21 36 .368 14.5
7th Minnesota Twins 17 39 .304 18.0
National League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
1st Philadelphia Phillies 34 21 .618    --
2nd St. Louis Cardinals 30 20 .600   2.5
3rd Montreal Expos 30 25 .545   4.0
4th Pittsburgh Pirates 25 23 .521   5.5
5th New York Mets 17 34 .333 15.0
6th Chicago Cubs 15 37 .288 17.5
West Division
1st Los Angeles Dodgers 36 21 .632    --
2nd Cincinnati Reds 35 21 .625   0.5
3rd Houston Astros 28 29 .491   8.0
4th Atlanta Braves 25 29 .463   9.5
5th San Francisco Giants 27 32 .458 10.0
6th San Diego Padres 23 33 .411 12.5

Second half of season

American League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win % GB
East Division
1st Milwaukee Brewers 31 22 .585    --
2nd Boston Red Sox 29 23 .558   1.5
2nd Detroit Tigers 29 23 .558   1.5
4th Baltimore Orioles 28 23 .549   2.0
5th Cleveland Indians 26 27 .491   5.0
6th New York Yankees 25 26 .490   5.0
7th Toronto Blue Jays 21 27 .438   7.5
West Division
1st Kansas City Royals 30 23 .566    --
2nd Oakland Athletics 27 22 .551   2.0
3rd Texas Rangers 24 26 .480   5.5
4th Minnesota Twins 24 29 .453   6.0
5th Seattle Mariners 23 29 .442   6.5
6th Chicago White Sox 23 30 .434   7.0
7th California Angels 20 30 .400   8.5
National League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
1st Montreal Expos 30 23 .566    --
2nd St. Louis Cardinals 29 23 .558   0.5
3rd Philadelphia Phillies 25 27 .481   4.5
4th New York Mets 24 28 .462   5.5
5th Chicago Cubs 23 28 .451   6.0
6th Pittsburgh Pirates 21 33 .389   9.5
West Division
1st Houston Astros 33 20 .623    --
2nd Cincinnati Reds 31 21 .596   1.5
3rd San Francisco Giants 29 23 .558   3.5
4th Los Angeles Dodgers 27 26 .509   6.0
5th Atlanta Braves 25 27 .481   7.5
6th San Diego Padres 18 36 .333 15.5

Overall record

American League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win % GB
East Division
1st Milwaukee Brewers 62 47 .569    --
2nd Baltimore Orioles 59 46 .562   1.0
3rd New York Yankees 59 48 .551   2.0
4th Detroit Tigers 60 49 .550   2.0
5th Boston Red Sox 59 49 .546   2.5
6th Cleveland Indians 52 51 .505   7.0
7th Toronto Blue Jays 37 69 .349 23.5
West Division
1st Oakland Athletics 64 45 .587    --
2nd Texas Rangers 57 48 .543   5.0
3rd Chicago White Sox 54 52 .509   8.5
4th Kansas City Royals 50 53 .485 11.0
5th California Angels 51 59 .464 13.5
6th Seattle Mariners 44 65 .404 20.0
7th Minnesota Twins 41 68 .376 23.0
National League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
1st St. Louis Cardinals 59 43 .578    --
2nd Montreal Expos 60 48 .556   2.0
3rd Philadelphia Phillies 59 48 .551   2.5
4th Pittsburgh Pirates 46 56 .451 13.0
5th New York Mets 41 62 .398 18.5
6th Chicago Cubs 38 65 .369 21.5
West Division
1st Cincinnati Reds 66 42 .611    --
2nd Los Angeles Dodgers 63 47 .573   4.0
3rd Houston Astros 61 49 .555   6.0
4th San Francisco Giants 56 55 .505 11.5
5th Atlanta Braves 50 56 .472 15.0
6th San Diego Padres 41 69 .373 26.0

Events

January–March

April–May

June–July

August–September

October–December

Movies

  • Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige (TV)

Births

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Deaths

January

  • January   3 – Lou Fette, 73, All-Star pitcher who posted a 41-40 record with a 3.15 ERA in 109 games for the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers, while leading the National League for the most shutouts in 1937 and 1939.
  • January   6 – Fred Stiely, 79, pitcher who played from 1929 through 1931 for the St. Louis Browns of the American League.
  • January   7 – Irv Stein, 69, pitcher for the 1932 Philadelphia Athletics of the American League.
  • January 17 – Owen Kahn, 75, pinch-hitter in one game for the 1930 Boston Braves.
  • January 26 – Ray Oyler, 42, shortstop known for his excellent glovework with the Detroit Tigers' 1968 champions, afterwards taken in the expansion draft by the Seattle Pilots.
  • January 27 – Huck Geary, 64, shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1942 to 1943.
  • January 30 – Marino Pieretti, 60, Italian pitcher who posted a 30-38 record with a 4.53 ERA for the Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians from 1945 to 1950.

February

  • February   2 – Al Van Camp, 77, first baseman/left fielder who played from 1928 to 1932 for the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.
  • February   4 – Grant Gillis, 70, utility infielder for the Washington Senators and Boston Red Sox between 1927 and 1929.
  • February   6 – Cactus Keck, 82, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds from 1922 to 1923.
  • February 15 – Cotton Pippen, 69, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers from 1936 to 1940, better known as the pitcher that struck out Ted Williams in his first major league at-bat.
  • February 19 – Sam Barnes, 81, second baseman for the Detroit Tigers in the 1921 season.
  • February 22 – Andy High, 83, National League third baseman who hit a .284 average in 1314 games for five different teams, and a member of the St. Louis Cardinals 1931 World Series Champions.
  • February 23 – Myrl Brown, 86, pitcher who posted a 3-1 record in seven games for the 1922 Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • February 25 – Frank McCrea, 84, backup catcher for the 1925 Cleveland Indians.

March

  • March   6 – Wade Lefler, 84, backup outfielder who played for the Boston Braves and Washington Senators during the 1924 season.
  • March   7 – Pee-Wee Wanninger, 78, backup shortstop for the Yankees, Red Sox and Reds, better known as the player who replaced Everett Scott with the Yankees in 1925 to end his then major league record of 1,307 consecutive games.
  • March   8 – Gowell Claset, 73, pitcher for the 1933 Philadelphia Athletics of the American League.
  • March 10 – Bob Elson, 76, broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox from 1931 to 1970, who also worked with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics.
  • March 11 – Vince Gonzales, 55, Cuban-born Mexican pitcher who played with the Washington Senators in 1955.
  • March 17 – Paul Dean, 67, pitcher who joined his older brother Dizzy on the St. Louis Cardinals, winning 19 games in each of his first two seasons – the brothers each won two games in the 1934 World Series.
  • March 17 – Joe Giebel, 89, backup catcher in three games for the 1913 Philadelphia Athletics.
  • March 19 – Zinn Beck, 95, backup infielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees, hitting .226 in 124 games between 1913 and 1918.
  • March 19 – Frank Lane, 85, general manager of the White Sox, Indians, Brewers and Cardinals known for his numerous trades.
  • March 20 – Gee Walker, 73, All-Star outfielder who played from 1931 through 1945 for the Tigers, White Sox, Senators, Indians and Reds, collecting a career batting average of .294, 1,991 hits, 223 stolen bases, and 124 home runs.
  • March 25 – Red Morgan, 97, third baseman for the 1906 Boston Americans, at the time of his death the oldest living former major leaguer.

April

  • April   2 – Ben Rochefort, 84, first baseman who appeared in two games with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1914.
  • April   3 – Clayton Lambert, 64, Cincinnati Reds pitcher in the 1946 and 1947 seasons.
  • April   6 – Steve Mesner, 63, third baseman for the Cubs, Cardinals and Reds in parts of six seasons, who led the National League for the most assists in 1945.
  • April 12 – Dick Hoover, 55, relief pitcher for the 1952 Boston Braves of the National League.
  • April 16 – Effa Manley, 84, owner of the Negro Leagues' Newark Eagles from 1935 to 1948.
  • April 27 – Emerson Dickman, 66, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox between 1936 and 1941, who later became a coach at Princeton University in the 1950s.

May

  • May 16 – Jim Finigan, 52, two-time All-Star second baseman and third baseman who played from 1954 to 1959 for the Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants and Baltimore Orioles.
  • May 26 – Bartolo Portuondo, 87, Negro league baseball player.
  • May 26 – George Smith, 79, pitcher who played from 1926 to 1930 for the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.

July

  • July   1 – Dan Daniel, 91, sportswriter for The Sporting News and various New York newspapers for over 50 years; also a member of baseball's Rules Committee.
  • July   8 – Merl Combs, 61, shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators and Cleveland Indians between 1947 and 1952.

August

  • August   2 – Dorothy Maguire, 62, All-Star catcher and member of two championship teams in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
  • August   9 – Sammy T. Hughes, 70, six-time All-Star second baseman of the Negro Leagues, mainly with the Elite Giants.

September

  • September   2 – George Lowe, 86, relief pitcher for the 1920 Cincinnati Reds.
  • September 13 – León Kellman, 54, legendary Panamanian catcher/manager who led his teams to three championships; also a four-time Negro League All-Star, as well as the first player in Mexican baseball history to hit two grand slams in the same game.

October

  • October   4 – Freddie Lindstrom, 75, Hall of Fame third baseman for the New York Giants who batted .311 lifetime, twice collecting 230 hits and batting .333 in the 1924 World Series at age 18; later coach at Northwestern.
  • October 17 – Johnny Peacock, 71, catcher for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Blue Jays/Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers, between 1937 and 1945.
  • October 22 – Taffy Wright, 70, outfielder for the Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics between the 1938 and 1949 seasons.
  • October 25 – Pete Reiser, 62, All-Star center fielder for the Brooklyn Dodgers who led the National League in batting and four other categories in 1941 and in steals twice, but whose fearless defensive style led to numerous injuries.

November

  • November   2 – Hugh East, 62, pitcher for the New York Giants in a span of three seasons from 1941–1943.
  • November   3 – Al Jurisich, 60, pitcher and member of the 1944 St. Louis Cardinals World Series Champion team.
  • November 10 – Ed Lagger, 69, pitcher who appeared in eight games for the 1934 Philadelphia Athletics.
  • November 15 – Steve Macko, 27, middle infielder and third baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs in the 1979 and 1980 seasons.
  • November 17 – Red Shea, 82, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants in parts of three seasons spanning 1918–1922.
  • November 27 – Frank Betcher, 93, backup infielder in 35 games for the 1910 St. Louis Cardinals.

December

  • December 10 – John F. Kieran, 89, New York sportswriter and radio and television personality who authored books on numerous subjects.[1]
  • December 22 – Ed Gallagher, 71, pitcher for the 1932 Boston Red Sox.
  • December 28 – John Bischoff, 87, catcher for the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox in the 1920s, and one of the first foreign ballplayers to play in Cuban baseball.

[2]

Sources

  1. ^ John F. Kieran Obituary. Find-A-Grave. Retrieved on January 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Major League Baseball Players Who Died in 1981. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on January 8, 2017.
1980–81 Cuban National Series

The 20th Cuban National Series was 51 games long, and Vegueros, from Pinar del Río Province, won its second title, outdistancing Villa Clara and Citricultores.

1981 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1981 followed the system in place since 1978.

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

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Rube Foster and Johnny Mize. Foster would be one of two people from the Negro Leagues elected in seventeen years before introduction of a separate ballot in 1995.

1981 Big League World Series

The 1981 Big League World Series took place from August 15–22 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. Taipei, Taiwan defeated Puerto Rico in the championship game.

1981 European Baseball Championship

The 1981 European Baseball Championship was held in the Netherlands and was won by the Netherlands. Italy finished as runner-up.

1981 Intercontinental Cup (baseball)

The 1981 Intercontinental Cup was held in Canada. Eight teams competed in the tournament which was won by the United States national baseball team.

1981 Junior League World Series

The 1981 Junior League World Series (then known as the "Senior Little League World Series for 13-year-olds") took place from August 18–21 in Taylor, Michigan, United States. Boardman, Ohio defeated Richmond, Virginia in the championship game.

This was the inaugural JLWS.

1981 Little League World Series

The 1981 Little League World Series took place between August 25 and August 29 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Taiping Little League of Taichung, Taiwan, defeated the Belmont Heights Little League of Tampa, Florida, in the championship game of the 35th Little League World Series.

This was the fifth consecutive title for Taiwan. As of 2018, this is the longest LLWS winning streak by any single country or U.S. state.

1981 Major League Baseball strike

The 1981 Major League Baseball strike was the first work stoppage in Major League Baseball since the 1972 Major League Baseball strike that resulted in regular season games being cancelled. Overall, it was the fourth work stoppage since 1972, but actions in 1973, 1976, and 1980 did not result in any regular season games being cancelled. The strike began on June 12 and forced the cancellation of 713 games (or 38 percent of the Major League schedule) in the middle of the regular season. The two sides reached an agreement on July 31, and play resumed on August 9 with the All-Star Game, with regular season play resuming one day later.

An estimated US$146 million was lost in player salaries, ticket sales, broadcast revenues, and concession revenues. The players lost $4 million a week in salaries while the owners suffered a total loss of $72 million.

1981 Nippon Professional Baseball season

The 1981 Nippon Professional Baseball season was the 32nd season of operation for the league.

1981 Senior League World Series

The 1981 Senior League World Series took place from August 17–22 in Gary, Indiana, United States. Georgetown, Delaware defeated Danville, California in the championship game.

Taiwan's streak of nine consecutive SLWS titles ended as they finished in third place. The mark of nine straight championships still stands for all divisions of Little League baseball, and softball.

1981 Topps

This a list with brief descriptions of Topps trading card products for 1981. All sets listed are standard size (2.5 X 3.5 inches) unless noted.

Baseball at the 1981 World Games

The World Games I baseball competition was held on July 27-30, 1981, at San Jose Municipal Stadium in San Jose, California. The 1981 Games were the first World Games, an international quadrennial multi-sport event, and were held in California's Santa Clara Valley. Teams from the United States, Australia, South Korea and Panama participated.

Longest professional baseball game

The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, two teams from the Triple-A International League, played the longest game in professional baseball history. It lasted 33 innings, with 8 hours and 25 minutes of playing time. 32 innings were played April 18/19, 1981, at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and the final 33rd inning was played June 23, 1981. Pawtucket won the game, 3–2.

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