1981 in baseball

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

List of years in baseball

ChampionsEdit

Major League BaseballEdit

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 championsEdit

International

Winter Leagues

College

Youth

Awards and honorsEdit

MLB statistical leadersEdit

  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 standingsEdit

First half of seasonEdit

Second half of seasonEdit

Overall recordEdit

EventsEdit

January–MarchEdit

April–MayEdit

June–JulyEdit

  • June 5 – Nolan Ryan issues the 1,777th walk in his career, breaking the record previously held by Early Wynn.
  • June 7 - The Houston Astros trade pitcher Joaquin Andujar to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Tony Scott.
  • June 8 – With their twelfth pick in the June amateur draft, the New York Mets select Roger Clemens. He declines to sign, deciding instead to attend the University of Texas at Austin. He is drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round (19th overall) of the 1983 Major League Baseball draft.
    • The Chicago Cubs select outfielder Joe Carter with their first round selection.
  • June 10 – Pete Rose hits a Nolan Ryan pitch in his first at-bat for the 3,630th safe hit of his career; tying Stan Musial's National League record for career hits. He would strike out in his next three at-bats in the game, however, in his bid to break the record.
  • June 12 – After meeting with major league owners for most of the previous day, players' union chief Marvin Miller announces, "We have accomplished nothing. The strike is on", thus beginning the longest labor action to date in baseball history. By the time the season resumes on August 10, 706 games (38 percent of the season schedule) will have been canceled.
  • June 16 – In the midst of the players' strike, William Wrigley III announces the sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Tribune Company for $20 million. This ends the decades-long association between the Wrigley family and the Cubs.
  • June 20 - Bernie Carbo signs a minor league with the Detroit Tigers. He plays in just 19 games for their Triple A team in Evansville.
  • June 23 – The Pawtucket Red Sox beat the Rochester Red Wings, 3-2, in the 33rd inning of the longest game in professional baseball history. This game had started 67 days earlier was halted in the early morning of April 19, with the score tied 2-2 after 32 innings and more than eight hours of game time. The game ended 18 minutes after it resumed, with Dave Koza hitting an RBI-single that brought Marty Barrett with the winning run. Future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. participated for Pawtucket and Rochester, respectively.
  • July 11 - The Pittsburgh Pirates sign undrafted amateur free agent Bobby Bonilla.

August–SeptemberEdit

October–DecemberEdit

  • October 3 – Bob Horner hits two home runs and scores the winning run to give the Atlanta Braves a 4–3 win over the Cincinnati Reds, and give the Houston Astros the second-half title in the NL West division. Cincinnati, which lost the first-half title to the Dodgers by one-half game, will finish with the best overall record (66-42) in the major leagues, but will miss the playoffs due to not winning either half's division title.
  • October 3 – The Milwaukee Brewers (playing since 1970) and Montreal Expos (since 1969) clinch their first postseason appearances. Milwaukee beats Detroit 2–1 to wrap up the second-half title in the AL East division, while Montréal edges the Mets 5–4 to win the NL East division's second playoff spot. (St. Louis finishes with the best overall record in the NL East but misses the playoffs for the same reason as the Cincinnati Reds. St. Louis would make up for the heartbreak the following season).
  • October 5 – The Kansas City Royals shut out Cleveland 9–0 in the first game of a scheduled doubleheader to clinch the second-half title in the AL West division. The second game is canceled as irrelevant. This was a make-up game after the scheduled season ended the day before.
    • Mark Fidrych is released by the Detroit Tigers. Fidrych had been an all-star and rookie of the year a few seasons prior, and became a pop culture figure in baseball.
  • October 19 – Rick Monday of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a ninth inning home run to break a 1-1 tie, and secure a Game five victory in the National League Championship Series. The losing Montréal Expos had been leading the series 2 games-to-one in what would be their only post season appearance.
  • October 21 - The New York Yankees trade outfielder Willie McGee to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Bob Sykes. The trade would go on to be lopsided as McGee would become an all-star for the Cardinals, whereas Sykes would never pitcher a game on the major league level for the Yankees and would be out of organized baseball after the 1982 season.
  • October 26 - The Pittsburgh Pirates released Kurt Bevacqua.
  • October 28 – Pedro Guerrero drives in five runs, and pitcher Burt Hooton and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Yankees, 9–2, to win the 1981 World Series in six games. In a remarkable postseason, the Dodgers rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the Astros in the division series, they rallied from a 2 games to 1 deficit against the Expos in the National League Championship series, and they rallied from a 2-0 deficit against the Yankees in the World Series. Guerrero, Ron Cey and Steve Yeager are named co-MVPs.
  • October 28- Pitcher George Frazier of the New York Yankees makes dubious history when he is credited with the loss in game six of the world Series, making him the first pitcher with three losses in a best of seven series since Lefty Williams of the Chicago White Sox in 1919.
  • November 4 The Cincinnari Reds trade outfielder Ken Griffey Sr. to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor leaguer Brian Ryder and a player to be named later. On December 9th, the Yankees sent pitcher Freddie Tolliver to the Reds to complete the trade.
  • November 11 – Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers wins the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the first rookie to win the award.
  • November 20 – In a blockbuster three team trade, the Cleveland Indians send catcher Bo Díaz to the Philadelphia Phillies; the Phillies sent Lonnie Smith to the St. Louis Cardinals; the Cardinals sent pitchers Silvio Martinez and Lary Sorensen to the Indians, and the Phillies sent a player to be named later to the Indians. The Phillies sent Scott Munninghoff to the Indians on December 9 to complete the trade.
  • November 25 – Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers becomes the first relief pitcher ever to win the American League MVP Award, edging Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics, 319 to 308. Fingers saved 28 games while posting a significant 1.04 ERA.
  • December 2 – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela became the third consecutive Dodgers player to be named National League Rookie of the Year. The Mexican left-hander posted a 13-7 record with a 2.48 ERA and led the NL in strikeouts (180), games started (25), complete games (11), shutouts (eight) and innings pitched (192​13). His 13 wins tied him with Steve Carlton in second place behind Tom Seaver, who finished with 14. Valenzuela also made his first All-Star appearance and received both the Cy Young Award and TSN Rookie of the Year.
  • December 6 - The Philadelphia Philles sell the contract of Bob Boone to the California Angels.
  • December 18 - The Cincinnati Reds trade Ray Knight to the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielder Cesar Cedeno.

MoviesEdit

BirthsEdit

JanuaryEdit

FebruaryEdit

MarchEdit

AprilEdit

MayEdit

JuneEdit

JulyEdit

AugustEdit

SeptemberEdit

OctoberEdit

NovemberEdit

DecemberEdit

DeathsEdit

JanuaryEdit

  • 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, 43, 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.

FebruaryEdit

  • 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.

MarchEdit

  • 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.

AprilEdit

  • 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.

MayEdit

  • 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.

JuneEdit

JulyEdit

  • 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.

AugustEdit

  • 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.
  • August 12 – George Lyons, 90, pitched in a total of 33 games with the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns in the 1920s.

SeptemberEdit

  • 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.

OctoberEdit

  • 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.

NovemberEdit

  • 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.

DecemberEdit

  • December 10 – John F. Kieran, 89, New York sportswriter and radio and television personality who authored books on numerous subjects.
  • 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.

[1]

SourcesEdit

  1. ^ Major League Baseball Players Who Died in 1981. Baseball Reference. Retrieved on January 8, 2017.