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1972 Major League Baseball season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1972 MLB season
LeagueMajor League Baseball
DurationApril 15 – October 22, 1972
Number of games162 (scheduled)
153–156 (actual)[1]
Number of teams24
TV partner(s)NBC
Top draft pickDave Roberts
Picked bySan Diego Padres
Regular season
Season MVPAL: Dick Allen (CWS)
NL: Johnny Bench (CIN)
AL championsOakland Athletics
  AL runners-upDetroit Tigers
NL championsCincinnati Reds
  NL runners-upPittsburgh Pirates
World Series
ChampionsOakland Athletics
  Runners-upCincinnati Reds
World Series MVPGene Tenace (OAK)
 MLB seasons

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.

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Labor strike 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, cancelling 86 games, 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, who played one more game (156 to 155).

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 White Sox 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 would become division rivals of the Twins and White Sox in 1994 with the formation of the American League Central, but this would last only through 1997, when Milwaukee transferred to the National League and became a division rival of the Cubs (the Brewers and Twins continue to face each other every year through interleague play).

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. The Royals had hoped to move out of Municipal after the 1971 season, but a series of labor strikes forced the team to spend one more year at the old facility, which hosted the Athletics from 1955-67 (and the National Football League's Chiefs from 1963–71).

Most teams (16 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, but continued to wear flannels occasionally. Only the Royals, Expos and Yankees wore flannels full-time during the 1972 season, and all three converted to double knits for 1973 (the Royals waited to switch uniforms until their new stadium opened).

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 modern 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.




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 CWS 37 Johnny Bench CIN 40
RBIs Dick Allen CWS 113 Johnny Bench CIN 125
Wins Wilbur Wood CWS
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

Home field attendance

Team name Wins Home attendance Per game
New York Mets[2] 83 0.0% 2,134,185 -5.8% 27,361
Detroit Tigers[3] 86 -5.5% 1,892,386 18.9% 24,261
Los Angeles Dodgers[4] 85 -4.5% 1,860,858 -9.9% 24,811
Cincinnati Reds[5] 95 20.3% 1,611,459 7.4% 21,203
Houston Astros[6] 84 6.3% 1,469,247 16.5% 19,081
Boston Red Sox[7] 85 0.0% 1,441,718 -14.1% 18,484
Pittsburgh Pirates[8] 96 -1.0% 1,427,460 -4.9% 18,301
Philadelphia Phillies[9] 59 -11.9% 1,343,329 -11.1% 17,004
Chicago Cubs[10] 85 2.4% 1,299,163 -21.4% 16,872
St. Louis Cardinals[11] 75 -16.7% 1,196,894 -25.4% 15,544
Chicago White Sox[12] 87 10.1% 1,177,318 41.2% 15,094
Montreal Expos[13] 70 -1.4% 1,142,145 -11.5% 14,643
New York Yankees[14] 79 -3.7% 966,328 -9.8% 12,550
Oakland Athletics[15] 93 -7.9% 921,323 0.7% 11,965
Baltimore Orioles[16] 80 -20.8% 899,950 -12.0% 11,688
Minnesota Twins[17] 77 4.1% 797,901 -15.2% 10,782
Atlanta Braves[18] 70 -14.6% 752,973 -25.2% 9,654
California Angels[19] 75 -1.3% 744,190 -19.7% 9,302
Kansas City Royals[20] 76 -10.6% 707,656 -22.3% 9,190
Texas Rangers[21] 54 -14.3% 662,974 1.2% 8,610
San Francisco Giants[22] 69 -23.3% 647,744 -41.4% 8,412
San Diego Padres[23] 58 -4.9% 644,273 15.6% 8,053
Cleveland Indians[24] 72 20.0% 626,354 5.9% 8,134
Milwaukee Brewers[25] 65 -5.8% 600,440 -17.9% 7,601


Television coverage

NBC was the exclusive national TV broadcaster of MLB. While the network had occasionally aired a limited number of Monday night games in past seasons, 1972 was the first year that NBC signed a contract for a regular slate of Monday Night Baseball.[28] The network continued to air the weekend Game of the Week, the All-Star Game, both League Championship Series, and the World Series.



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, 73, 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


  1. ^ "1972 Final Standings". Retrosheet. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "New York Mets Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Detroit Tigers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Cincinnati Reds Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "Boston Red Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Chicago Cubs Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "Chicago White Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Washington Nationals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "New York Yankees Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Baltimore Orioles Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Minnesota Twins Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Atlanta Braves Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Los Angeles Angels Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Kansas City Royals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Texas Rangers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "San Francisco Giants Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "San Diego Padres Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Milwaukee Brewers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  26. ^ Arlin misses no-hitter by a strike as ball bounces over Roberts' head
  27. ^ "HOUSTON ASTROS VS ATLANTA BRAVES SEPTEMBER 20, 1972 BOX SCORE". Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  28. ^ "TV to test prime-time ball games". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). Associated Press. February 23, 1971. p. 1C.
This page was last edited on 17 July 2024, at 21:30
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