1971 Washington Senators
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s)Bob Short
Manager(s)Ted Williams
Local televisionWTOP – (Warner Wolf,
Ray Scott, Tony Roberts)
Local radioWWDC (FM)
(Ron Menchine, Tony Roberts)
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The 1971 Washington Senators season involved the Senators finishing fifth in the American League East with a record of 63 wins and 96 losses (.396). This was the Senators' eleventh and last season in Washington, D.C.; they moved to Arlington, Texas, and became the Texas Rangers in 1972. The previous Senators (now Minnesota Twins) were in Washington from 1901 through 1960.

The move to Texas left Washington without a Major League Baseball team for 33 seasons, until the Montreal Expos of the National League relocated there in 2005 and became the current Washington Nationals.

Offseason

Opening Day 1971

Regular season

The acquisition of former Cy Young Award winner Denny McLain did not pay dividends for the franchise. Amid constant run-ins with no-nonsense Washington manager Ted Williams, McLain lost 22 games in 1971.[5]

Relocation to Texas

By the end of the 1970 season, Senators owner Bob Short had issued an ultimatum: unless someone was willing to buy the Senators for $12 million, he would not renew his lease at RFK Stadium and move elsewhere. Several parties offered to buy the team, but all fell short of Short's asking price.

Short was especially receptive to an offer from Arlington mayor Tom Vandergriff, who had been trying to get a major league team to play in the Metroplex for over a decade. Years earlier, Charlie Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics, sought to move his team to Dallas, but the idea was rebuffed by the other AL team owners.

Arlington's hole card was Turnpike Stadium, a 10,000-seat park which opened in 1965 to house the AA Dallas–Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League. Built to major league specifications, it was located in a natural bowl, and only minor excavations were necessary to expand the park to major-league size.

After Vandergriff offered a multimillion-dollar up-front payment, Short finally decided to pull up stakes and move. On September 20, 1971, he got his wish, receiving approval from AL owners to move the franchise to Arlington for the 1972 season.

Washington fans were outraged, leaving public relations director Ted Rodgers with the unenviable task of putting a positive spin on such events as fans unfurling a giant banner that contained Short's name, preceded by a popular four-letter invective. A photo of the banner appeared on the front page of a DC newspaper the following day.

Fan enmity came to a head in the team's last game in Washington, on September 30. Thousands of fans simply walked in without paying because the security guards left early in the game, swelling the paid attendance of 14,460 to around 25,000. The Senators led 7–5 with two outs in the top of the ninth. Just then, fans poured onto the field, thinking the final out had already been made. A teenager scooped up first base and ran away. With no security guards in sight, the game was forfeited to the Yankees, 9–0.

Opening Day starters

Season standings

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Baltimore Orioles 101 57 0.639 53–24 48–33
Detroit Tigers 91 71 0.562 12 54–27 37–44
Boston Red Sox 85 77 0.525 18 47–33 38–44
New York Yankees 82 80 0.506 21 44–37 38–43
Washington Senators 63 96 0.396 38½ 35–46 28–50
Cleveland Indians 60 102 0.370 43 29–52 31–50

Record vs. opponents


Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
Team BAL BOS CAL CWS CLE DET KC MIL MIN NYY OAK WSH
Baltimore 9–9 7–5 8–4 13–5 8–10 6–5 9–3 10–2 11–7 7–4 13–3
Boston 9–9 6–6 10–2 11–7 12–6 1–11 6–6 8–4 7–11 3–9 12–6
California 5–7 6–6 8–10 8–4 6–6 8–10 6–12 12–6 6–6 7–11 4–8
Chicago 4–8 2–10 10–8 3–9 7–5 9–9 11–7 7–11 5–7 11–7 10–2
Cleveland 5–13 7–11 4–8 9–3 6–12 2–10 4–8 4–8 8–10 4–8 7–11
Detroit 10–8 6–12 6–6 5–7 12–6 8–4 10–2 6–6 10–8 4–8 14–4
Kansas City 5–6 11–1 10–8 9–9 10–2 4–8 8–10 9–9 5–7 5–13 9–3
Milwaukee 3–9 6–6 12–6 7–11 8–4 2–10 10–8 10–7 2–10 3–15 6–6
Minnesota 2–10 4–8 6–12 11–7 8–4 6–6 9–9 7–10 8–4 8–10 5–6
New York 7–11 11–7 6–6 7–5 10–8 8–10 7–5 10–2 4–8 5–7 7–11
Oakland 4–7 9–3 11–7 7–11 8–4 8–4 13–5 15–3 10–8 7–5 9–3
Washington 3–13 6–12 8–4 2–10 11–7 4–14 3–9 6–6 6–5 11–7 3–9


Notable transactions

Roster

1971 Washington Senators
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Paul Casanova 94 311 63 .203 5 26
1B Don Mincher 100 323 94 .291 10 45
2B Tim Cullen 125 403 77 .191 2 26
SS Toby Harrah 127 383 88 .230 2 22
3B Dave Nelson 85 329 92 .280 5 33
LF Frank Howard 153 549 153 .279 26 83
CF Del Unser 153 581 148 .255 9 41
RF Larry Biittner 66 171 44 .257 0 16

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Dick Billings 116 349 86 .246 6 48
Elliott Maddox 128 258 56 .217 1 18
Bernie Allen 97 229 61 .266 4 22
Lenny Randle 75 215 47 .219 2 13
Tommy McCraw 122 207 44 .213 7 25
Jeff Burroughs 59 181 42 .232 5 25
Joe Foy 41 128 30 .234 0 11
Mike Epstein 24 85 21 .247 1 9
Richie Scheinblum 27 49 7 .143 0 4
Jim French 14 41 6 .146 0 4
Don Wert 20 40 2 .050 0 2
Curt Flood 13 35 7 .200 0 2
Frank Fernández 18 30 3 .100 0 4
Tom Ragland 10 23 4 .174 0 0
Jim Mason 3 9 3 .333 0 0
Rick Stelmaszek 6 9 0 .000 0 0
Bill Fahey 2 8 0 .000 0 0

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Dick Bosman 35 236.2 12 16 3.73 113
Denny McLain 33 216.2 10 22 4.28 103
Pete Broberg 18 124.2 5 9 3.47 89
Mike Thompson 16 66.2 1 6 4.86 41

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Casey Cox 54 124.1 5 7 3.98 43
Bill Gogolewski 27 124.1 6 5 2.75 70
Jim Shellenback 40 120.0 3 11 3.53 47
Gerry Janeski 23 61.2 1 5 4.96 19
Jackie Brown 14 47.0 3 4 5.94 21

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Denny Riddleberger 57 3 1 1 3.23 56
Horacio Piña 56 1 1 2 3.59 38
Joe Grzenda 46 5 2 5 1.92 56
Paul Lindblad 43 6 4 8 2.58 50
Darold Knowles 12 2 2 2 3.52 16

Farm system

See also: Minor League Baseball

Level Team League Manager
AAA Denver Bears American Association Del Wilber
AA Pittsfield Senators Eastern League Joe Klein
A Burlington Senators Carolina League Whitey Kurowski
A Anderson Senators Western Carolinas League Frank Gable and Bill Haywood
A-Short Season Geneva Senators New York–Penn League Frank Gable

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Denver

Notes

  1. ^ Denny McLain page at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Curt Flood page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ "Joe Foy Stats".
  4. ^ Ed Stroud page at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ "Denny McLain at Baseball Library". Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  6. ^ "1971 Washington Senators Roster by Baseball Almanac".
  7. ^ Darold Knowles page at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ Stan Thomas page at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ Mike Cubbage page at Baseball Reference
  10. ^ "Joe Foy Stats".
  11. ^ Jim French page at Baseball Reference

References