|1972 MLB season|
|League||Major League Baseball|
|Duration||April 15 – October 22, 1972|
|Number of games||162 (scheduled)|
|Number of teams||24|
|Top draft pick||Dave Roberts|
|Picked by||San Diego Padres|
|Season MVP||AL: Dick Allen (CHW)|
NL: Johnny Bench (CIN)
|AL champions||Oakland Athletics|
|AL runners-up||Detroit Tigers|
|NL champions||Cincinnati Reds|
|NL runners-up||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|World Series MVP||Gene Tenace (OAK)|
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.
1972 was affected by a players' strike over pension and salary arbitration. The strike erased the first week and a half of the season, 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. 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 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
|Statistic||American League||National League|
|AVG||Rod Carew MIN||.318||Billy Williams CHC||.333|
|HR||Dick Allen CHW||37||Johnny Bench CIN||40|
|RBI||Dick Allen CHW||113||Johnny Bench CIN||125|
|Wins||Wilbur Wood CHW
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
|Team Name||Wins||%±||Home attendance||%±||Per Game|
|New York Mets||83||0.0%||2,134,185||-5.8%||27,361|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||85||-4.5%||1,860,858||-9.9%||24,811|
|Boston Red Sox||85||0.0%||1,441,718||-14.1%||18,484|
|St. Louis Cardinals||75||-16.7%||1,196,894||-25.4%||15,544|
|Chicago White Sox||87||10.1%||1,177,318||41.2%||15,094|
|New York Yankees||79||-3.7%||966,328||-9.8%||12,550|
|Kansas City Royals||76||-10.6%||707,656||-22.3%||9,190|
|San Francisco Giants||69||-23.3%||647,744||-41.4%||8,412|
|San Diego Padres||58||-4.9%||644,273||15.6%||8,053|