April 28 – Only hours after being swept by the Chicago White Sox in a three-game series at Comiskey Park, the New York Yankees fire Yogi Berra as manager 16 games into the season. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner does not fire Berra personally, but instead dispatches general manager Clyde King to deliver the news for him. Berra is replaced by Billy Martin, whom he replaced as manager after the 1983 season. It is the fourth of Martin's five stints as Yankee skipper. Berra vows after the slight to never again set foot in Yankee Stadium as long as Steinbrenner owns the team.
May 20 - 44-year old player-manager Pete Rose hits his first home run since 1982 in a 6-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Ironically, Rose would later hit his final career home run, also against the Cubs, on in a 7-5 win on September 6.
June 11 – In a 26-7 romp over the New York Mets, Von Hayes of the Philadelphia Phillies becomes the first player in MLB history to hit two home runs in the first inning of a game. Hayes leads off the bottom of the first with a homer, then hits a grand slam later in the frame. They are the only two home runs hit in the high-scoring affair.
July 4–5 – In a bizarre game at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, the New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 16-13 in a 19-inning contest that features Keith Hernandez hitting for the cycle, Mets manager Davey Johnson being ejected, and the Braves coming back to tie the game twice in extra innings, most notably in the bottom of the 18th. Pitcher Rick Camp, a career .074 hitter batting only because the Braves have no position players left, shockingly hits a solo home run in the 18th to re-tie the game at 11-11. At the end of the game, even though the date/time is July 5, 3:15 am, the Braves go ahead and shoot off their scheduled Fourth of July post-game fireworks for the fans who endure to the end. Ironically, Camp struck out to end the game.
September 8 – Pete Rose inserts himself into the Cincinnati Reds' lineup as a late addition, and picks up two singles, the second of which gives him 4,191 hits in his career, tying him with Ty Cobb for the career record. Being that the game is at Wrigley Field, the game is eventually called because of darkness after nine innings, resulting in a rare 5-5 tie.
September 11 – Eric Show of the San Diego Padres goes down in history for pitching Pete Rose's historic 4,192nd career hit; a line drive single to center field. It breaks the tie for the career record which Rose shares with Ty Cobb since September 8.
September 22 – At a hotel bar in Baltimore, the New York Yankees' pitcher Ed Whitson and manager Billy Martin get into a heated argument that spreads to other parts of the hotel. An ensuing fistfight results in Martin suffering a broken arm and bruised right side, while Whitson suffers a cracked rib and a split lip.
September 24 – At Wrigley Field, Andre Dawson of the Montreal Expos (a future Cub) joins Willie McCovey as the only players to hit two home runs in the same inning twice in their careers. The two home runs come in a 12-run fifth inning that gives the Expos a 15-2 lead against the Chicago Cubs. The Expos hold on to win 17-15 after nearly squandering the 13-run lead, as the Cubs score 13 runs in the last four innings, including five in the ninth; the final out is recorded with the tying run at bat. Dawson also hit two home runs in the third inning of the Expos' 19-0 pounding of the Atlanta Braves at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium on July 30, 1978.
October 6 – Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees becomes the second pitcher this year to record his 300th career win, in a 6-0 shutout of the Toronto Blue Jays. Although known as a knuckleballer, Niekro did not throw a knuckleball in this game until the final pitch in which he struck out Jays' designated hitter and former Atlanta Braves teammate Jeff Burroughs.
October 19 – Once he took the field for the Royals in Game 1 of the 1985 World Series, Lonnie Smith became the first player in major league history to play in the World Series against a team (St. Louis Cardinals) that traded him away during that same season.
January 16 – Ken Chase, 71, pitcher for the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and New York Giants between 1936 and 1943
January 28 – Bobby Young, 60, second baseman who hit .248 in an eight-year career with the Cardinals, Browns, Orioles and Indians from 1948–58
January 30 – Joe Bradshaw, 87, pitcher for the 1929 Brooklyn Robins
February 10 – Johnny Mokan, 89, outfielder who hit .291 in 582 games for the Pirates and Phillies between 1921 and 1927
February 12 – Van Lingle Mungo, 73, All-Star pitcher whose antics delighted Brooklyn Dodgers fans; led NL in strikeouts, shutouts and innings once each
February 17 – George Washington, 77, outfielder who hit .268 with two home runs for the Chicago White Sox from 1935–36
February 20 – Syl Johnson, 84, pitcher who posted a 112-117 record with four different teams, and a member of the 1931 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals
February 26 – George Uhle, 86, pitcher for the Indians and Tigers who won 200 games and is credited with having developed the slider pitch in the 1920s; also batted .289, one of the highest averages for a pitcher
March 1 – George Banks, 46, third baseman/outfielder who hit .219 in 106 games for the Twins and Indians from 1962 to 1966
March 8 – Al Todd, 83, catcher for the Phillies, Pirates, Dodgers and Cubs between 1932 and 1943
March 10 – Bob Nieman, 58, left fielder for six teams who batted .300 twice for the Orioles; first player to hit home runs in his first two major league at-bats, later a scout
March 17 – Ike Pearson, 68, pitcher who played for the Phillies and White Sox between 1939 and 1948
March 25 – Curt Barclay, 53, pitcher who posted a 10-9 record with a 3.48 for the Giants from 1957 to 1959
March 25 – Joe Wood, 65, infielder who played briefly for the 1943 Detroit Tigers
April 8 – Joe Sullivan, 74, knuckleball pitcher for three teams from to 1935 to 1941, and a member of the 1935 World Champion Detroit Tigers
April 16 – Benny Zientara, 67, second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1940s
April 23 – Bob Wilson, 60, right fielder for the 1958 Los Angeles Dodgers
April 23 – Whitey Wistert, 73, pitcher for the 1934 Cincinnati Reds, and a World War II veteran
May 4 – Bill Kunkel, 48, AL umpire since 1968 who worked two World Series and four ALCS; previously a relief pitcher for the Athletics and Yankees, and father of major league shortstop Jeff Kunkel
May 5 – Joe Glenn, 76, catcher for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox, who caught Babe Ruth during his last pitching game in 1933, and also caught Ted Williams in a rare relief appearance in 1940
May 6 – Kirby Higbe, 70, All-Star pitcher for five NL teams who won 22 games for the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers
May 6 – Red Peery, 78, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Braves between 1927 and 1929
May 11 – Bud Teachout, 81 pitcher and outfielder for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals from 1930 to 1932
May 14 – Harry Byrd, 60, All-Star pitcher and Rookie of the Year in 1952, who posted a 46-54 career record with a 4.35 ERA for five teams of the American League
May 14 – Bill Morley, 95, second baseman for the 1913 Washington Senators
May 16 – Johnny Broaca, 73, pitcher who posted a 44-29 record with a 4.08 ERA in 121 games for the Yankees and Indians from 1934 to 1939
May 21 – Archie McKain, 74, left-handed reliever who posted a 26-21 record with a 4.26 ERA and 16 saves for the Red Sox, Tigers and Browns from 1937–43
May 21 – Grover Powell, 44, left-handed pitcher for the 1963 New York Mets, who hurled a four-hit shutout in his first start but was struck out in the face by a Donn Clendenon pitch in his next start and never won other game; his uniform #41, previously worn by Clem Labine, was retired by the Mets
May 23 – Whitey Wilshere, 72, pitcher who posted a 10-12 record with a 5.28 ERA for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1934 through 1936
May 29 – Billy Zitzmann, 89, outfielder who hit a .267 career average with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh between 1919 and 1929
May 31 – Jake Early, 70, catcher who hit .241 with 32 home runs and 264 RBI in 747 games for the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns from 1939 to 1949
June 2 – Dorothy Mueller, 59, All-Star pitcher and a member of three champion teams of the AAGPBL from 1947 to 1953
June 10 – Bob Prince, 68, broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1948 to 1975
June 23 – Alf Anderson, 71, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 1940s
June 26 – Wes Schulmerich, 83, outfielder who hit .289 in 429 games with the Boston Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds from 1931 to 1934
July 2 – Guy Bush, 83, pitcher who won 176 games, most with the Chicago Cubs, but was best remembered for having given up Babe Ruth's last home run
July 14 – Larry Drake, 64, outfielder who played from 1945 through 1948 for the Washington Senators and Philadelphia Athletics
July 24 – Ted Kleinhans, 86, left handed reliever who posted a 4-9 record with a 5.08 ERA and one save for the Reds, Yankees and Phillies from 1934 to 1938
July 27 – Smoky Joe Wood, 95, pitcher for the Red Sox who posted a 34-5 record with a 1.91 ERA in 1912, and went on to win three games in the World Series against the New York Giants; after wearing out his arm by age 26 with a record of 117-57, returned as an outfielder with the Indians and batted .366 while platooning in 1921; later coached at Yale for 20 years
July 27 – Carl Yowell, 82, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in the 1920s
August 3 – Cloy Mattox, 82, backup catcher who hit a .167 average for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics
August 7 – Johnny Rucker, 68, center fielder who hit .272 in 705 games for the New York Giants from 1940-'46, leading his team in at-bats (622), hits (179), doubles (38), triples (9) and runs (95) during the 1941 season
August 16 – Dick Drott, 49, pitcher for the Cubs and Colt .45s from 1957-'63, who posted a 15-11 record with a 3.58 in his season debut, ending third in the Rookie of the Year vote behind pitcher Jack Sanford (19-8, 3.08) and first baseman Ed Bouchee (.293, 17 HR, 76 RBI)
August 20 – Clarence Fieber, 71, left handed reliever for the 1932 Chicago White Sox
August 21 – Roy Luebbe, 84, backup catcher for the 1925 New York Yankees
August 25 – Dick Wakefield, 64, All-Star left fielder who played for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and New York Giants between 1941 and 1952
August 26 – Stu Clarke, 79, backup infielder who hit .273 in 61 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1929 to 1930
August 27 – Johnny Lindell, 68, 1943 All-Star outfielder, who hit .273 in a 12-year career, posted an 8-18 record with a 4.47 ERA as a pitcher, and won three World Series rings with the Yankees in 1943, 1947 and 1949
August 31 – Lefty Smoll, 71, pitcher for the 1940 Philadelphia Phillies
September 4 – Art Bramhall, 74, backup infielder for the 1935 Philadelphia Phillies
November 12 – Augie Walsh, 81, pitcher who went 4-10 with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1927 to 1928
November 14 – Oscar Harstad, 93, pitcher who posted a 3-5 record with a 3.40 ERA in 32 games for the 1915 Cleveland Indians
November 14 – Luke Nelson, 91, relief pitcher who posted a 3-0 mark with a 2.96 ERA in nine appearances with the 1919 New York Yankees
November 15 – Riggs Stephenson, 87, left fielder who batted .336 lifetime while usually platooning, mainly with the Cubs
November 23 – Sam West, 81, All-Star center fielder for the Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns who batted .300 eight times
November 25 – Ray Jablonski, 58, All-Star third baseman, mainly with the Cardinals, Reds and Giants, who had 100 RBI in his first two seasons
November 26 – Monk Sherlock, 81, first baseman who hit .324 in 92 games for the 1930 Philadelphia Phillies
November 30 – Jim Grant, 91, pitcher for the 1923 Philadelphia Phillies
December 6 – Burleigh Grimes, 92, Hall of Fame pitcher, most notably for the Dodgers, who won 270 games with five 20-win seasons using the spitball, of which he was the last permitted practitioner; later a manager and coach
December 8 – Dave Madison, 64, relief pitcher who played from 1950 through 1953 for the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Browns and New York Yankees
December 14 – Roger Maris, 51, All-Star right fielder who hit 61 home runs in 1961 to break Babe Ruth's long-standing record, earning his second consecutive MVP award, but whose career faltered under the public stress accompanying the accomplishment
December 17 – Elmer Bowman, 88, pinch-hitter for the 1920 Washington Senators
December 17 – Ken O'Dea, 72, All-Star catcher who hit a .255 average with 40 home runs and 323 RBI in a 12-year career with three teams, and was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals teams that won the World Series in 1942 and 1944
December 21 – Joe Genewich, 88, pitcher who went 73-92 with the Boston Braves and New York Giants from 1922 to 1930, who led Major League pitchers with 17 putouts in the 1917 season
December 26 – Les Bell, 84, third baseman who hit .290 with 66 home runs and 509 RBI in a nine-season career with three teams, and a member of the 1926 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals
December 26 – Jim Bilbrey, 61, pitcher for the 1949 St. Louis Browns
The 24th Cuban National Series saw Pinar del Río's Vegueros walk away with the title, outdistancing Camagüey by seven games. The Vegueros roster included such luminaries as Luis Giraldo Casanova, Omar Ajete and Omar Linares.
The 1985 Asian Baseball Championship was the thirteenth continental tournament held by the Baseball Federation of Asia. The tournament was held in Perth, Australia; the first time that the tournament had been held outside the continent of Asia. The tournament was won by Japan; their eighth Asian Championship.China made their first appearance at the tournament—finishing 5th—and became the sixth team to contest the championship, while Philippines did not participate—the first time that one of the original four teams to participate had not appeared at the tournament. Defending champions South Korea (2nd), Chinese Taipei (3rd) and Australia (4th) were the other participants.
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1985 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 two, Lou Brock and Hoyt Wilhelm.
The BBWAA petitioned the Hall of Fame Board of Directors to reconsider the eligibility of Ken Boyer, Curt Flood and Ron Santo with the intention of restoring their names to the 1985 ballot. Each had failed to achieve 5% in their first years on the ballot (Boyer, 1975–79, Flood, 1977–79 and Santo, 1980). The Board approved and Boyer, Flood and Santo returned to the ballot.
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 also selected two players, Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan.
The twenty-seventh edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) of baseball was played in 1985. It was held from February 2 through February 7 with the champion teams from Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey), Mexico (Tomateros de Culiacán), Puerto Rico (Metropolitanos de San Juan) and Venezuela (Tiburones de la Guaira). The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in Mazatlán, Mexico.
The 1985 Japan Series was the 36th edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's postseason championship series. It matched the Central League champion Hanshin Tigers against the Pacific League champion Seibu Lions. Making their first appearance in the Japan Series since 1964, the Tigers finally won their first Japan Series championship. To this day, it remains the only Japan Series title won by the Tigers.
The 1985 Little League World Series took place between August 20 and August 24 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The National Little League of Seoul, South Korea, defeated the Mexicali Little League of Mexicali, Mexico, in the championship game of the 39th Little League World Series.
This is the only Championship Game that featured two non-United States teams, as the team from Mexico represented the West Region of the United States. Seoul became the second team to repeat as LLWS champions, joining Monterrey, Mexico, who won in 1957 and 1958.
The 1985 Major League Baseball strike was the fifth work stoppage in Major League Baseball since the 1972 Major League Baseball strike. The strike ran only two days, August 6 and 7. 23 of the 25 games which were scheduled for those days were made up later in the season.
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