1972 MLB season
LeagueMajor League Baseball
SportBaseball
DurationApril 15 – October 22, 1972
Number of games162 (scheduled)
153–156 (actual)[1]
Number of teams24
TV partner(s)NBC
Draft
Top draft pickDave Roberts
Picked bySan Diego Padres
Regular season
Season MVPAL: Dick Allen (CHW)
NL: Johnny Bench (CIN)
Postseason
AL championsOakland Athletics
  AL runners-upDetroit Tigers
NL championsCincinnati Reds
  NL runners-upPittsburgh Pirates
World Series
ChampionsOakland Athletics
  Runners-upCincinnati Reds
World Series MVPGene Tenace (OAK)
MLB seasons

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.

Labor strike and more moving

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.

Standings

Postseason

Bracket

  League Championship Series
(ALCS, NLCS)
World Series
                 
East Detroit 2  
West Oakland 3  
    AL Oakland 4
  NL Cincinnati 3
East Pittsburgh 2
West Cincinnati 3  

Awards and honors

Statistical leaders

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

Home Field Attendance

Team Name Wins Home attendance Per Game
New York Mets[2] 83 0.0% 2,134,185 -5.8% 27,361
Detroit Tigers[3] 86 -5.5% 1,892,386 18.9% 24,261
Los Angeles Dodgers[4] 85 -4.5% 1,860,858 -9.9% 24,811
Cincinnati Reds[5] 95 20.3% 1,611,459 7.4% 21,203
Houston Astros[6] 84 6.3% 1,469,247 16.5% 19,081
Boston Red Sox[7] 85 0.0% 1,441,718 -14.1% 18,484
Pittsburgh Pirates[8] 96 -1.0% 1,427,460 -4.9% 18,301
Philadelphia Phillies[9] 59 -11.9% 1,343,329 -11.1% 17,004
Chicago Cubs[10] 85 2.4% 1,299,163 -21.4% 16,872
St. Louis Cardinals[11] 75 -16.7% 1,196,894 -25.4% 15,544
Chicago White Sox[12] 87 10.1% 1,177,318 41.2% 15,094
Montreal Expos[13] 70 -1.4% 1,142,145 -11.5% 14,643
New York Yankees[14] 79 -3.7% 966,328 -9.8% 12,550
Oakland Athletics[15] 93 -7.9% 921,323 0.7% 11,965
Baltimore Orioles[16] 80 -20.8% 899,950 -12.0% 11,688
Minnesota Twins[17] 77 4.1% 797,901 -15.2% 10,782
Atlanta Braves[18] 70 -14.6% 752,973 -25.2% 9,654
California Angels[19] 75 -1.3% 744,190 -19.7% 9,302
Kansas City Royals[20] 76 -10.6% 707,656 -22.3% 9,190
Texas Rangers[21] 54 -14.3% 662,974 1.2% 8,610
San Francisco Giants[22] 69 -23.3% 647,744 -41.4% 8,412
San Diego Padres[23] 58 -4.9% 644,273 15.6% 8,053
Cleveland Indians[24] 72 20.0% 626,354 5.9% 8,134
Milwaukee Brewers[25] 65 -5.8% 600,440 -17.9% 7,601

Events

Births

January–March

Gold-Glove-winning All Star catcher Mike Lieberthal
Gold-Glove-winning All Star catcher Mike Lieberthal

April–June

July–September

October–December

Deaths

January–March

April–June

July–September

October–December

References

  1. ^ "1972 Final Standings". Retrosheet. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  2. ^ "New York Mets Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Detroit Tigers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Cincinnati Reds Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  7. ^ "Boston Red Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Chicago Cubs Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "Chicago White Sox Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Washington Nationals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "New York Yankees Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Oakland Athletics Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Baltimore Orioles Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "Minnesota Twins Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "Atlanta Braves Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "Los Angeles Angels Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  20. ^ "Kansas City Royals Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Texas Rangers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "San Francisco Giants Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  23. ^ "San Diego Padres Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  24. ^ "Cleveland Indians Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  25. ^ "Milwaukee Brewers Attendance, Stadiums and Park Factors". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  26. ^ Arlin misses no-hitter by a strike as ball bounces over Roberts' head
  27. ^ "HOUSTON ASTROS VS ATLANTA BRAVES SEPTEMBER 20, 1972 BOX SCORE". www.baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved September 15, 2020.