February 4 – The 12 members of the board of directors of the Hall of Fame vote unanimously to bar Pete Rose from the ballot. He becomes eligible again only if the commissioner reinstates him by December 2005.
April 21 – The Chicago Cubs score five runs in the top of the eleventh inning, but the Pittsburgh Pirates come back with six runs in the bottom of the inning for the victory. It is the greatest extra-innings comeback (in terms of runs) in Major League history.
June 16 – Against the Montreal Expos at Stade Olympique, Otis Nixon of the Atlanta Braves becomes the first player to steal six bases in one game. He goes 3-for-5 at the plate and steals second and third after all three hits: in the first, third and ninth innings. He eventually scores in the former two innings but is stranded on third as the tying run in the ninth, as Ron Gant strikes out for the final out; the Expos defeat the Braves 7-6.
July 7 – Outside a restaurant in Arlington, Texas, American League umpire Steve Palermo is shot and paralyzed from the waist down after aiding a woman who was being mugged. The assailant is later sentenced to 75 years in prison.
July 26 – Montreal Expos pitcher Mark Gardner throws a no-hitter through nine innings, but does not complete it when his team fails to score against Los Angeles Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser and reliever Kip Gross. Gardner loses the no-hitter and the game in the tenth inning when the Dodgers get three hits and score the only run of the game. The Expos only get two hits.
August 11 – In only his second Major League game, and first Major League start, Wilson Álvarez throws a no-hitter as the Chicago White Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7–0. It is the fifth no-hitter of the 1991 season, not including Mark Gardner's nine inning no-hitter that is lost in the tenth on July 26.
September 4 – Removing an "asterisk" which is never universally recognized, the Statistical Accuracy Committee decides to put Roger Maris' 61 home run season of 1961 ahead of Babe Ruth's 60 mark of 1927. Regarding the expunging of the asterisk, historian Bill Deane later points out that it is an easy job and the asterisk never exists. Maris' record is, from 1962 until 1991, listed separately from Ruth's and is never actually defined by 'some distinctive mark.' The eight-man panel also re-defines a no-hit game as one which ends after nine or more innings with one team failing to get a hit, thereby removing 50 games from the list that is previously considered hitless, including the 1959 performance of the St. Louis Cardinals' Harvey Haddix, who pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, and the Cincinnati Reds' Jim Maloney's 1965 1–0 loss to the New York Mets in 11 innings. Another casualty is Boston Red Sox reliever Ernie Shore's 27 straight outs on June 23, 1917, a game in which he relieves Babe Ruth after Ruth is ejected for protesting a walk to Ray Morgan, the first Washington Senators batter he faces. Morgan is thrown out trying to steal second, and Shore retires all 26 men he faces in a 4–0 win‚ getting credit in the books for a perfect game.
September 15 – Smokey Burgess, a former major leaguer and previous holder of the record for most pinch-hits, dies at age 64.
September 16 – Otis Nixon, the league's leading base stealer and catalyst on the Atlanta Braves' run from last to first, fails a drug test and is suspended for sixty days, consisting of the rest of the 1991 baseball season and the first six weeks of the 1992 season. The Braves lose the first two games without Nixon but rebound to win the National League pennant.
October 3 – Chicago White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hits two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the White Sox to a 13–12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. In doing so, just nine months shy of his 44th birthday, Fisk becomes the oldest 20th-century player to collect a two-HR game. His 7th-inning grand slam off Steve Bedrosian also makes him the oldest major leaguer ever to hit a bases-loaded homer. Cap Anson, at 45, hits two home runs on this date in 1897, and is the oldest major league player to hit a pair.
October 5 – The Atlanta Braves become the second team in two weeks to go from last to first when they beat the Houston Astros, 5–2. Moments later, the San Francisco Giants eliminate their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, when Trevor Wilson pitches a 4–0 complete game shutout, handing the National League West division title to the Braves. John Smoltz gets his fourteenth win of the season as the Braves close out with eight consecutive wins after trailing the Dodgers by two with only ten games left to play.
October 8 – Despite finishing in second, their lowest finish in his 31⁄2 years as manager, the Boston Red Sox dismiss Joe Morgan and replace him with Butch Hobson. Morgan is the tenth manager fired in 1991.
October 18 – Jim Essian, who replaced Don Zimmer in May, is fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs, the thirteenth and last firing of a manager in 1991. The thirteen firings in a season set a major league record that still stands.
January 3 – Tom Baker, 77, pitcher who played from 1935 through 1938 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.
January 3 – Luke Appling, 83, Hall of Fame shortstop who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox, setting career record for most games at his position while batting a .310 average and 2,749 hits lifetime while winning two American League batting titles. Famous for his ability to foul off pitches, he retired with the seventh-most walks in MLB history (1,302), although his two years of World War II service deprived him of a chance to reach 3000 hits.
January 4 – Bill Byrd, 83, seven-time All-Star pitcher for the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues, who was among the last hurlers to throw the spitball.
January 4 – Eric Rodin, 60, backup outfielder for the 1954 New York Giants.
January 6 – Bobby Estalella, 79, Cuban outfielder for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Athletics in nine seasons spanning 1935–1949, who drew a three-year suspension for trying to jump to the Mexican League in 1946.
January 6 – Alan Wiggins, 32, speedy second baseman for the San Diego Padres and the Baltimore Orioles from 1981 to 1987, who batted .341 in the 1984 postseason.
January 15 – Lyle Judy, 77, second baseman who played briefly for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1935.
January 17 – Marv Breuer, 76, pitcher who played from 1939 to 1943 with the New York Yankees, and also a member of the 1941 World Series champion team.
January 18 – Herb Harris, 77, pitcher for the 1936 Philadelphia Phillies.
January 19 – Roy Weatherly, 75, center fielder who played with the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and New York Giants in part of ten seasons spanning 1936–1946, and a member of the 1943 American League Champion Yankees.
January 25 – Hoot Evers, 69, two-time All-Star outfielder for the Detroit Tigers who led the American League in triples during the 1950 season.
January 27 – Dale Long, 64, All-Star first baseman who set a MLB record by hitting home runs in eight consecutive games for the 1956 Pittsburgh Pirates.
February 3 – Walter Brown, 75, pitcher for the St. Louis Browns in 1947.
February 6 – Alex McColl, 96, pitcher who played with the Washington Senators in 1933 and 1934.
February 7 – George Detore, 84, backup infielder for the Cleveland Indians from 1930 to 1931, who later spent more than five decades as a Minor league player-manager, as well as scouting for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1986.
February 15 – Julio González, 70, Cuban pitcher for the 1949 Washington Senators.
February 22 – Jimmy Pattison, 82, pitcher for the Brooklyn Robins in the 1929 season.
February 24 – Joe Munson, 90, outfielder who played from 1925 to 1926 for the Chicago Cubs.
February 26 – Jimmy Zinn, 96, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians in four seasons between 1919 and 1929, who also played or managed in the minors during 23 seasons spanning 1915–1939.
March 1 – Ken Smith, 89, sportswriter who covered the New York Giants from 1925 until the team moved to San Francisco in 1958, who also served as director of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from 1963 to 1979.
March 7 – Cool Papa Bell, 87, Hall of Fame center fielder of the Negro Leagues, prominently with the St. Louis Stars, who was legendary for his speed on the bases.
March 9 – Jim Hardin, 47, an 18-game winning pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 1968 and in 1970, when they won the World Series.
March 30 – Sid Schacht, 73, relief pitcher for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Braves in two seasons from 1950 to 1951.
April 1 – Frankie Gustine, 73, Three-time All-Star infielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1939 through 1948, primarily at second base (1940–1942; 1946), shortstop (1943–1945), and at third base (1947–1948), who hit a career high .297 in 1947, while leading all National League players in games played and all third basemen in putouts and assists.
April 3 – Whitey Miller, 75, pitcher for the New York Giants in 1944, and one of many players who only appeared in the majors during World War II.
April 4 – Johnny Moore, 89, outfielder for the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies in parts of 10 seasons spanning 1928–1945, who collected a solid .307 average with 73 home runs and 452 RBIs in 846 games played.
April 10 – Sammy Holbrook, 80, backup catcher for the Washington Senators in 1935.
April 11 – Walker Cooper, 76, nine-time All-Star catcher for six National League teams and a .285 hitter in 18 seasons, including five seasons hitting .300 or better and a MVP runner-up for 1943 St. Louis Cardinals.
April 12 – Gene Lillard, 77, pitcher/infielder who played with the Chicago Cubs in 1936 and 1939 and for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1940, and also a player or manager in 19 minor league seasons between 1936 and 1954, in which he led the Pacific Coast League in home runs in 1933 (43) and 1935 (56), and the Arizona–Texas League in batting average (.364) in 1948.
April 16 – Al Verdel, 69, pitcher who played briefly for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1944 season.
April 17 – Les Mallon, 85, infielder/outfielder who hit a .283 average in 383 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves between 1931 and 1935.
April 18 – Sheldon Jones, 69, pitcher who posted a 54-57 record and a 3.96 ERA in 260 games for the New York Giants, Boston Braves and Chicago Cubs between 1946 and 1953.
April 20 – Bucky Walters, 82, six-time National League All-Star pitcher, as well as a Triple Crown and MVP winner in 1939, whose 198 career victories included three 20-win seasons for the Cincinnati Reds, while leading the team to the 1940 World Series championship over the Detroit Tigers with a 2–0 record and a 2.38 ERA in two complete games, including a shutout and hitting a home run in Game 5, to join Jesse Haines (1926) as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat in Series history.
April 21 – Dick Weik, 63, relief pitcher who played for the Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers during five seasons between 1948 and 1954.
April 26 – Nate Andrews, 77, National League All-Star pitcher who played with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants in eight seasons between 1937 and 1946.
May 3 – Frank Leja, 55, part-time first baseman who played in three seasons for the New York Yankees (1954–1955) and the Los Angeles Angels (1962).
May 4 – Bill Macdonald, 62, pitcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1950 and 1953 seasons.
May 9 – Mary Reynolds, 90, All-Star player/manager in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
May 13 – Hal Gregg, 69, All-Star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Giants from 1943 to 1952, who was the winning pitcher during the historic debut of Jackie Robinson in 1947.
May 15 – Ken Jones, 88, pitcher for the 1924 Detroit Tigers and the 1930 Boston Braves.
May 20 – Pete Runnels, 63, three-time All-Star infielder who played with the Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and Houston Colt .45's from 1951 to 1964, and a two-time American League champion bat while playing for Boston in 1960 (.320) and 1962 (.326).
May 24 – Pat Scantlebury, 73, Panamanian pitcher for the 1956 Cincinnati Reds, who was mostly known for his time in the Negro leagues when he was considered Panama's first Professional baseball star on foreign soil.
May 28 – Roy Cullenbine, 77, outfielder from 1938–1947 for the Detroit Tigers, Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Browns, Washington Senators, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians; a two-time All-Star in 1941 and 1944 and member of the 1945 World Series Champion Tigers, who collected almost as many walks (853) as he did hits (1,072), ending with a .276 average and a .408 on-base percentage in a ten-season career, while ranking among the American League leaders in walks for seven consecutive seasons from 1941 through 1947.
May 30 – Jim Magnuson, 44, pitcher who played in parts of three seasons for the Chicago White Sox (1970–1971) and the New York Yankees (1973).
July 2 – Al Glossop, 76, second baseman who played for the New York Giants, Boston Bees, Philadelphia Phillies, Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in parts of five seasons spanning 1939–1946.
July 15 – Johnny Vergez, 85, third baseman who played from 1931 through 1936 for the New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, and also a member of the 1933 World Series Champion Giants.
July 22 – Jack Albright, 70, shortstop for the 1947 Philadelphia Phillies.
July 24 – Howie Carter, 86, backup infielder for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1926 season.
August 1 – Chris Short, 53, two-time All-Star pitcher who played from 1959 through 1973 for the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers, while posting a 135–132 record with a 3.43 ERA and 1629 strikeouts in 501 pitching appearances.
August 4 – Sammy White, 64, 1953 All-Star catcher for the Boston Red Sox, who became the only 20th-century player to score three runs in one inning (1953), caught Mel Parnell's no-hitter (1956), and broke up Bob Feller's no-hit bid with a 7th inning single (1955).
August 7 – Jimmy Cooney, 96, shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves between 1917 and 1928, who turned an unassisted triple play in 1927.
August 9 – Hank Majeski, 74, third baseman for seven teams in 13 seasons from 1939 to 1955 and a member of the 1954 American League Champion Cleveland Indians, who set an American League record at his position with a .989 fielding percentage while playing for the 1947 Philadelphia Athletics.
August 12 – Chick Starr, 80, backup catcher for the Washington Senators in 1935 and 1936.
August 24 – Tony Martínez, Cuban-born shortstop who played from 1963 through 1966 for the Cleveland Indians.
September 5 – Loyd Christopher, 71, outfielder who played with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs in the 1945 season and for the Chicago White Sox in 1947.
September 8 – Clem Koshorek, 66, backup infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1952 and 1953.
September 8 – Lou Rosenberg, 87, second baseman/shortstop for the 1923 Chicago White Sox.
September 9 – Les Rock, 79, first baseman who played for the Chicago White Sox in 1936.
September 11 – Lois Florreich, 64, AAGPBL pitcher who set an American all-time season record for lowest earned run average with a 0.67 mark.
September 15 – Smoky Burgess, 64, six-time All-Star catcher and a member of the 1960 World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, who started his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1949 and also saw action with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox through 1967, hitting .295 with 126 home runs and 673 RBIs, while leading National League catchers in fielding percentage three times and setting a Major League record of 145 career pinch-hits, a mark broken by Manny Mota in 1979.
September 20 – Chet Morgan, 81, center fielder who played briefly for the Detroit Tigers in the 1935 season.
September 20 – Steve Peek, 77, pitcher who posted a 4-2 record in 17 games for the 1941 World Series Champion New York Yankees in his only major league season.
October 2 – William Shea, 84, partner of the prominent law firm of Shea & Gould and founder of the Continental League, which was instrumental in bringing National League baseball back to New York City with the New York Mets, as well as the man for whom Shea Stadium was named.
October 7 – Leo Durocher, 86, manager who led the Brooklyn Dodgers to their first pennant in 21 years in 1941 and drove the New York Giants to two titles and an unexpected 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series, while retiring with 2,008 victories for the second most in National League history, and also previously an All-Star shortstop and captain of the historic 1934 St. Louis Cardinals Gashouse Gang.
October 8 – Ed Hanyzewski, 71, pitcher who played from 1942 through 1946 for the Chicago Cubs.
October 9 – Charlie Moss, 80, pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1934 to 1936.
October 11 – Clay Kirby, 43, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos in eight seasons from 1969 to 1976, who posted a 10-6 record in 19 starts in 1975, helping lead the Big Red Machine to the National League pennant and its eventual World Series title.
October 21 – Bobby Coombs, 83, relief pitcher for the 1933 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1943 New York Giants.
October 21 – Jim Hamby, 94, catcher for the New York Giants in parts of the 1926 and 1927 seasons, who also had a solid 10-season career in the minors from 1922 to 1933.
October 25 – Joe Bokina, 81, pitcher for the 1936 Washington Senators.
October 25 – George Brunet, 56, durable and reliable pitcher who played either in the major or minor leagues every season from 1953 through 1985, which includes 15 major league seasons for ten teams from 1956 through 1971, while setting an all-time minor league record with 3,175 strikeouts and the Mexican League career record for shutouts with 55.
October 26 – Bill Bevens, 75, pitcher for the New York Yankees from 1944 to 1947 and also part of the 1947 World Series Champion Yankees.
October 29 – Jimmie Coker, 65, solid backup catcher who played with the Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds in parts of ten seasons spanning 1958–1967.
October 31 – Dixie Parsons, 75, catcher who played for the Detroit Tigers in 1939 and from 1942 to 1943.
November 11 – Heinz Becker, 75, German-born first baseman who was a key reserve on the Chicago Cubs team which won its last National League pennant in 1945.
November 15 – Jack Franklin, 72, pitcher who played briefly for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1944 season.
November 17 – Smead Jolley, 89, outfielder for the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox from 1932 to 1933, who later enjoyed a successful career in the minor leagues, while amassing a .366 average and 278 home runs in 14 seasons, most of them for the Oakland Oaks and San Francisco Seals.
November 21 – Bryan Stephens, 71, pitcher who played from 1947 to 1948 with the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns.
November 22 – Roy Zimmerman, 75, first baseman for the 1945 New York Giants, and one of several ballplayers who only appeared in the majors during World War II.
November 24 – Carl Sawatski, 64, fine defensive catcher and solid hitter for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals between 1954 and 1963, who helped the Braves win the 1957 World Series and the 1958 National League pennant.
November 28 – Stan Wentzel, 74, center fielder who played with the Boston Braves in 1945.
December 1 – Buster Mills, 83, outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians in a span of seven seasons from 1934–1946, who later coached during 12 seasons and became the interim manager of the 1953 Cincinnati Redlegs as a replacement for Rogers Hornsby, who had resigned before the season ended.
December 4 – Dan McGee, 80, backup shortstop for the 1934 Boston Braves.
December 4 – Herb Thomas, 90, outfielder/infielder in 74 games for the Boston Braves and the New York Giants between 1924 and 1927, and a Minor league player or manager in a 16-season career from 1922 to 1946, who also served in both World War I and World War II.
December 7 – Jute Bell, 91, Negro league baseball pitcher from 1923 through 1931, and later a long-time basketball coach at Knoxville College who led the Bulldogs to Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament championships in 1956 and 1958.
December 10 – Ed Murphy, 73, first baseman who played for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1942 season.
December 11 – Dick Kelley, 51, pitcher who played from 1964 through 1968 with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves teams and for the original San Diego Padres in 1969 and 1971.
December 12 – Ken Keltner, 75, seven-time All-Star third baseman who played for the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox during 13 seasons from 1937 to 1950, whose two impressive, backhanded defensive plays prevented Joe DiMaggio from extending his amazing 56-game hitting streak.
December 17 – Jesse Flores, 77, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Athletics from 1942 to 1947 and the Cleveland Indians in 1950, who later became a long-time scout for the Minnesota Twins, credited with signing future Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven to his first contract.
December 20 – Hal Finney, 86, back up catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in part of five seasons spanning 1931–1936.
December 20 – Don Williams, 56, pitcher who played briefly for the Minnesota Twins in the 1963 season.