1981 in baseball

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

Champions[edit]

Major League Baseball[edit]

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[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

MLB statistical leaders[edit]

  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[edit]

First half of season[edit]

Second half of season[edit]

Overall record[edit]

Events[edit]

January–March[edit]

April–May[edit]

June–July[edit]

  • June 5 - Nolan Ryan issues the 1,777th walk in his career, breaking the record previously held by Early Wynn.
  • June 8 - With their twelfth pick in the June amateur draft, the New York Mets select Roger Clemens. He declines, 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.
  • 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 23 - Minor league teams from Pawtucket and Rochester finish a 33 inning game that started on April 18th. In total, it lasted eight hours and 25 minutes; the longest professional baseball game up to that time. Future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. go a combined 6-for-25 in the game.

August–September[edit]

October–December[edit]

Movies[edit]

Births[edit]

January[edit]

February[edit]

March[edit]

April[edit]

May[edit]

June[edit]

July[edit]

August[edit]

September[edit]

October[edit]

November[edit]

December[edit]

Deaths[edit]

January[edit]

  • January 3 - Lou Fette, 73, All-Star pitcher who posted a 41-40 record and a 3.15 ERA in 109 games with the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers, 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 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 30-38 record and a 4.53 ERA for the Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians from 1945 to 1950.

February[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.

June[edit]

July[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • August 2 - Dorothy Maguire, 62, All-Star catcher and member of two championship teams in the AAGPBL.
  • August 9 - Sammy T. Hughes, 70, 6-time All-Star second baseman of the Negro Leagues, mainly with the Elite Giants.

September[edit]

  • 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, was a four-time Negro League All-Star, and became the first player in Mexican baseball history to hit two grand slams in the same game.

October[edit]

  • 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[edit]

December[edit]

  • 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.