April 2 – An opening day crowd of 52,922, the largest crowd in Memorial Stadium regular season history goes home disappointed as The Cleveland Indians and their winning pitcher Ken Schrom beats the Baltimore Orioles and their losing pitcher Mike Flanagan 6–4.
May 1 – The Atlanta Braves ended the New York Mets' record tying 11-game winning streak 7-2. Some Braves experts call it the highlight of the Braves' 1986 season. The Braves hit 4 home runs by 3 different players including 1978 NL Rookie of the Year Bob Horner.
May 2 – The Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees 7-4. Even worse, Yankees manager Lou Pinella was suspended 2 games for his run-in with umpire Tim Tschida. The Yankees still had a 14-7 record and first place in the Al East.
May 3 – The Lou Pinella less Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 as Don Mattingly tied a major League record with three sacrifice flys, while Rickey Henderson scored four runs.
July 22 – New York Metsthird basemanRay Knight incited a bench-clearing brawl at Riverfront Stadium against his former teammates, the Cincinnati Reds.Eric Davis, pinch-running for Reds player/manager Pete Rose in the tenth inning, stole second and third base. Knight took the throw from Mets catcherGary Carter late, brought his glove to Davis' face and knocked his helmet off. A stare-off ensued, followed by a right cross from Knight. The benches emptied and as a result of all the ejections from this fight, Mets manager brought back-up catcher Ed Hearn into the game, and moved Carter from behind the plate to third. Roger McDowell replaced Jesse Orosco on the mound, and Orosco went into right field. They traded positions with two outs in the eleventh, and McDowell traded positions with left fielderMookie Wilson with one out in the 12th. This rotation continued for the remainder of the game, which the Mets won in fourteen innings.
July 29 – Sparky Anderson of the Detroit Tigers becomes the first in baseball to achieve 600 career wins as a manager in both the American and National League.
Rookie Jim Traber and Larry Sheets hit consecutive home runs that capped a five-run third inning and Storm Davis continued his mastery over Texas as the Baltimore Orioles routed the Texas Rangers, 9-2 and put the team within 2.5 games of first place Boston Red Sox, but that would be the last piece of glory as the Orioles would collapse and finish 73-89, Earl Weaver's only losing season as Orioles manager.
August 11 – Cincinnati player-manager Pete Rose, 45, singled four times and doubled to set an NL record with the 10th five-hit game of his career. Rose drove in three runs in a 13–4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, to move one ahead of Max Carey for the record.
August 12 – Don Baylor of the Boston Red Sox set an AL record when he was hit by a pitch for the 25th time that season, breaking the record he shared with Bill Freehan (1968) and Norm Elberfeld (1911). Kansas City's Bud Black was the pitcher as the Royals completed a doubleheader sweep with a 6–5 victory.
August 14 – Pete Rose enjoys a 3-for-4 day, the last hit being the 4,256th and final hit of his career.
August 17 – Pete Rose inserts himself in as a pinch hitter, and takes a called third strike from San Diego Padres pitcher Goose Gossage to end a 9–5 loss for the Cincinnati Reds. It is Rose's final plate appearance (15,890), at-bat (14,503), and game (3,562), all of which are Major League career records.
September 3 – Billy Hatcher hit a home run in the top of the 18th inning to give the Houston Astros an 8–7 victory over the Chicago Cubs. The two teams began with 14 innings one day earlier, and use a major league record 53 players in the game.
September 17 – The New York Mets secure the National League East title with a 4–2 win over the visiting Chicago Cubs, for their 95th victory of the season. The Mets would finish the season at 108–54, the best record of any team during the 1980s.
October 5 - In the season's final day, The Mets beat The Pittsburgh Pirates 9–0 at Shea Stadium for their 108th game of the year. The team set franchise records for wins, home wins (55), road wins (53), home runs (148) a far cry from a team that hit 61 home runs in 1980, batting average (.263) and attendance (2,762,417) all for a team that this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
October 12 – In Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, the Boston Red Sox, trailing 3 games to 1 to the California Angels and two outs away from elimination, are rescued when Don Baylor delivers a two-run home run off Mike Witt to trim the Angel lead from 5–2 to 5–4. After Witt retires Dwight Evans for the second out, Gary Lucas relieves him and promptly hits Rich Gedman with his first (and only) pitch. Donnie Moore then relieves Lucas and, with one strike away from elimination, Dave Henderson crushes a pitch from Moore into the center field stands for a 6–5 lead. The Red Sox win 7–6 in extra innings (a Henderson sacrifice fly providing the winning run) and extend the series to another game.
October 15 – In the longest game in post-season history (until the 2005 National League Division Series), the Mets beat the Astros 7–6 in 16 innings to earn their first trip to the World Series since 1973. New York scores three runs in the top of the 9th to force extra innings. The Mets score three more runs in the top of the 16th, and Houston answers with two of its own before Jesse Orosco fans Kevin Bass to end the game.
October 25 – With the Red Sox leading 5–3 in Game 6 of the World Series, and just one out away from winning their first championship since 1918, the Red Sox give up hits to Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight, and pitcher Bob Stanley throws a wild pitch that allows Mitchell to score. Then Mookie Wilson hits a slow grounder that keeps bouncing, right between the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing Knight to score to give the New York Mets an improbable 6–5 win. Boston's Calvin Schiraldi absorbs the loss.
The Minnesota Twins announce interim manager Tom Kelly will be their new skipper for the 1987 season. Kelly, who replaced Ray Miller late in the season, will compile a losing record (1140–1244) in his career, but wins two World Championships during his 16-year tenure as the Twins manager.
St. Louis Cardinals reliever Todd Worrell, who led the National League with 36 saves, receives the Rookie of the Year honors. Worrell had helped St. Louis to the 1985 World Series as a late-season call-up but was still a rookie the next season as defined by the BBWAA.
November 25 – Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics, who hit .240 with 33 home runs and 117 RBI, wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award with 16 of 28 first place votes, with the others going to Wally Joyner of the California Angels (.290, 22, 100). Canseco also becomes the first Athletics franchise player to win the award since pitcher Harry Byrd in 1952. Canseco's .240 batting average is the lowest ever for a Rookie of the Year position player.
January 1 – Bill Hall, 57, backup catcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates over part of three seasons spanning 1954–1958.
January 2 – Bob Finley, 70, catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies during the 1943 and 1944 seasons.
January 2 – Bill Veeck, 71, executive who owned the Cleveland Indians (1946–1949), St. Louis Browns (1951–1953) and Chicago White Sox (1959–1961 and 1976–1980); broke the American League's color barrier by signing Larry Doby in 1947 and brought Cleveland its second-ever World Series title in 1948; perhaps best remembered for the wacky promotions he used to draw crowds and entertain fans at the ballpark, which included using midget Eddie Gaedel in a 1951 Browns game, and installing fireworks in the Comiskey Parkscoreboard.
January 3 – Chico Hernández, 70, Cuban backup catcher who played from 1942 to 1943 for the Chicago Cubs.
January 7 – Joe Burns, 85, catcher who played eight games for the 1924 Chicago White Sox.
January 10 – Roy Johnson, 90, pitcher in ten games for 1918 Philadelphia Athletics who became a minor league manager; longtime employee of the Chicago Cubs as a coach (1935–1939, 1944–1953) and scout; interim manager of Cubs for one game (May 3, 1944).
January 11 – Grover Resinger, 70, minor-league player and manager and an MLB coach for the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and California Angels for all or part of seven seasons between 1966 and 1976.
January 12 – Eddie Solomon, 34, trustworthy relief pitcher who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox over ten seasons spanning 1973–1982.
January 13 – Mike Garcia, 62, three-time All-Star pitcher who played for three teams in 14 seasons from 1948–1961, mostly with the Cleveland Indians in a span of 12 years, winning 142 games for the Indians, including 20 or more wins and leading the American League in earned run average twice each, being also a member of their storied 'Big Four' pitching rotation in its 1954 season, along with Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and Early Wynn, as they started 147 of the 156 games of the team, while posting a collective record of 93–36 and 2.85 ERA, guiding the Indians to the World Series for the first time in six years and the third in 34 years.
January 28 – Tom Grubbs, 91, pitcher who played for the New York Giants in its 1920 season.
Red Ruffing Goudey Card
February 13 – Ed McGhee, 61, fourth outfielder who played with the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox over part of four seasons spanning 1950–1955.
February 17 – Red Ruffing, 80, Hall of Fame and six-time All-Star pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in a span of 22 seasons from 1924 to 1947, whose 273 career victories included four straight 20-win seasons for the Yankees from 1936 to 1939, also helping the team win six World Series titles and going 7–2 in nine series decisions, while hitting a .269/.306/.389 slash line with 36 home runs and 273 runs batted in in 882 regular games, including at least a .303 batting average eight times.
February 20 – Bob Rice, 86, third baseman who played for the 1926 Philadelphia Phillies.
February 25 – George Susce, 78, backup catcher and longtime coach whose MLB career spanned more than 40 years; played sporadically (146 career games) for the Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Browns and Cleveland Indians in all or parts of eight seasons between 1929 and 1944; his son pitched in the American League during the 1950s.
March 3 – Paul Castner, 89, pitcher for the 1923 Chicago White Sox.
March 7 – Jimmy Moore, 82, outfielder who played from 1930 to 1931 for the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Athletics.
March 12 – Fred Hancock, 65, shortstop who played for the Chicago White Sox in 1949.
March 13 – Jack Warner, 82, third baseman whose career spanned from 1921 through 1946, including stints in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Brooklyn Robins and Philadelphia Phillies during eight seasons between 1925 and 1932.
March 15 – Bill Patton, 73, backup catcher for Philadelphia Athletics in the 1935 season.
March 24 – Hank Grampp, 82, pitcher who played for the Chicago Cubs in the 1927 and 1929 seasons.
March 25 – George Grant, 83, pitcher who played for the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates in a span of seven seasons from 1923 to 1931.
March 26 – Mel Bosser, 72, pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1945 season.
April 9 – Dick Kokos, 58, fourth outfielder who played for the St. Louis Browns and Baltimore Orioles over part of five seasons spanning 1948–1954.
April 10 – Luther Harvel, 80, whose baseball career spanned nearly five decades, playing center field for the Cleveland Indians in 1924 and in the minor leagues in 14 seasons between 1929 and 1949, managing from 1933 to 1949, and later scouting for the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers in a span of eight years from 1967 through 1974.
April 14 – Doc Land, 82, center fielder who played in 1929 for the Washington Senators.
April 18 – George Durning, 87, right fielder for the 1925 Philadelphia Phillies.
April 20 – Eddie Feinberg, 68, middle infielder/utility player for the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1938 and 1939 seasons.
April 27 – Marty Karow, 81, one of the finest all-around athletes in Ohio State University history during the early 1920s, who later played at shortstop and third base for the Boston Red Sox in its 1927 season.
April 28 – Pat Seerey, 63, strikeout-prone outfielder who played from 1943 through 1949 for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox; one of a select group of players who have hit four home runs in a single game, accomplishing the feat on July 18, 1948, at Shibe Park, Philadelphia, against the Athletics.
April 30 – Bill Higdon, 62, outfielder who played for the Chicago White Sox in its 1949 season.
May 1 – Ed Wells, 85, pitcher who played for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns in all or part of eleven seasons spanning 1923–1934, posting an overall record of 68–69 and a 4.65 ERA, leading the American League in shutouts in 1926 and winning a 1932 World Series ring while pitching for the Yankees.
May 4 – Hugh "Hal" Luby, 72, second and third baseman in 120 games with the Philadelphia Athletics (1936) and New York Giants (1944); a fixture in Pacific Coast League, principally for the Oakland Oaks and San Francisco Seals over nine seasons spanning 1938–1948, playing 866 consecutive games between 1939 and 1943; batted .296 in 2,824 minor-league games and amassed 3,165 hits, earning an induction into the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame.
May 4 – Paul Richards, 77, catcher, manager and executive; played in 523 games over eight MLB seasons between 1932 and 1946 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers; member of 1945 World Series champion Tigers, starting six of the series' seven games behind the plate; managed the Chicago White Sox (1951–1954 and 1976) and Baltimore Orioles (1955–1961); concurrently served as general manager (GM) of the Orioles from October 1954 through 1958, helping build the club that dominated the American League in the late 1960s and early 1970s; also helped build the Houston Colt .45s and Astros franchise as GM of the expansion team from September 1961 through 1965, then served as GM of the Atlanta Braves (1966–1972).
May 28 – Paul Florence, 86, backup catcher for the 1926 New York Giants, whose baseball career spanned almost 60 years, while playing 12 seasons in the minor leagues and later working as a scout and executive in the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros organizations.
May 31 – Dixie McArthur, 84, pitcher who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in its 1914 season.
June 5 – Joe Mulligan, 72, pitcher for the 1934 Boston Red Sox.
June 5 – Jesse Winters, 82, pitcher who played from 1919 through 1923 for the New York Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.
June 21 – Arnie Portocarrero, 54, pitcher who played with the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics from 1954 to 1957 and for the Baltimore Orioles from 1958 to 1960; as a rookie, was the winningest pitcher for the Athletics, who lost 103 games that year; enjoyed his career-best season in 1958, when he won 15 games for the Orioles, fifth most wins in the American League, finishing tenth in earned run average (3.25), including three shutouts and five consecutive complete game victories.
June 24 – Loy Hanning, 68, pitcher who played for the St. Louis Browns over part of two seasons spanning 1939–1942.
July 3 – Bill McCahan, 65, pitcher who posted a 16–14 record and 3.84 ERA in 57 games for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1946 to 1949, including a no-hitter game against the Washington Senators in 1947.
July 4 – Oscar Roettger, 86, first baseman and pitcher who played for the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Robins and Philadelphia Athletics over part of four seasons from 1923 to 1932; brother of Wally Roettger.
July 6 – Eddie Yuhas, 61, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals during two seasons from 1952 to 1953.
July 8 – Johnny Cooney, 85, pitcher, outfielder and first baseman for the Boston Bees and Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees in 20 seasons from 1921 to 1944; a longtime coach who also managed the Braves in for the final five weeks of 1949 during the medical leave of Billy Southworth; son and brother of big-league players.
July 8 – Skeeter Webb, 76, middle infielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Athletics over part of 12 seasons between 1932 and 1948.
July 14 – Wally Holborow, 72, pitched in 21 MLB games for the 1944–1945 Washington Senators and 1948 Philadelphia Athletics.
July 20 – Bill Steinecke, 79, catcher who played four games for 1931 Pirates but whose long minor-league career as a player and manager spanned 1925 to 1964.
Ted Lyons in 1930
July 25 – Ted Lyons, 85, Hall of Fame and All-Star pitcher who spent his entire 21-year career with the Chicago White Sox, from 1923 through 1942, and again in 1946; served in United States Marine Corps in the Pacific during wartime; compiled a 260–230 record and 3.67 ERA in 594 games for a usually mediocre team, while leading the American League in wins, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts twice each; went 22–15 with AL-leading totals of 29 complete games and 297+2⁄3 innings for a 62–92 team in 1930; completed every one of his 20 starts in 1942, at the age of 41, going 14–6 and leading the league with a 2.10 ERA; threw a no-hitter in 1926 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, which took just one hour and 45 minutes to complete; managed the White Sox from May 26, 1946 through 1948, posting a 185–245 record; then served as pitching coach of Detroit Tigers and Brooklyn Dodgers between 1949 and 1954.
July 26 – Webb Schultz, 88, pitcher who played for the 1924 Chicago White Sox.
July 27 – Bud Hafey, 73, outfielder who played for the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies in a span of three seasons from 1935 to 1939.
July 28 – Cliff Melton, 74, left-handed pitcher for the New York Giants over all or part of eight seasons spanning 1937–1944; went 20–9 (2.61) as rookie for pennant-winning Giants.
July 28 – Joe Oeschger, 94, pitcher known for his durable arm while pitching for six different teams in 12 seasons from 1914 to 1925, who shares an MLB record for the most innings pitched while playing for the Boston Braves in 1920, locked in a pitching duel with Leon Cadore of the Brooklyn Dodgers during 26 innings in a 1–1 tie eventually called because of darkness, as both pitchers had gone the distance.
July 30 – Mickey Heath, 82, first baseman who played from 1931 to 1932 for the Cincinnati Reds.
August 9 – Clarence Maddern, 64, outfielder for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians over part of three seasons spanning 1946–1951.
August 11 – Tom Gorman, 67, who pitched for the New York Giants in 1939 and went on to serve as a National League umpire from 1951 to 1976, working in five World Series, five All-Star games, two NL Championship Series and nine no-hitters, before becoming a league supervisor.
August 17 – Walt Lanfranconi, 69, pitcher who played with the Chicago Cubs in 1941 and for the Boston Braves in 1947.
August 17 – Sammy Vick, 91, part-time right fielder who played for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox during five seasons between 1917 and 1921.
August 22 – Charlie Eckert, 89, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in a span of three seasons from 1919 to 1922.
August 24 – George Diehl, 68, pitcher for the Boston Braves in the 1942 and 1943 seasons.
September 2 – Jim Wilson, 64, whose career spanned more than four decades as an MLB pitcher, scout and front-office executive; played for five teams in 12 seasons between 1945 and 1958, primarily with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves from 1951 to 1954; selected to the All-Star team three times (representing both leagues) and gained fame by pitching the first no-hitter game in Milwaukee MLB history in 1954; general manager of Milwaukee Brewers (1973–1974) and head of the MLB Scouting Bureau (1974–1985).
Hank Greenberg, Hall of Famer and two-time MVP
September 4 – Hank Greenberg, 75, Hall of Fame and five-time All-Star first baseman and left fielder who won MVP awards at both positions; member of four Detroit Tigers World Series teams which won championships in 1935 and 1945; led the American League in home runs and runs batted in four times each, including career-highs with 58 HR in 1938 and 184 RBI in 1937; won the 1945 AL pennant on last day with a grand slam, ending his career with a slash line of .313/.412/.605 with 331 homers and 1,276 RBI in 1,134 games; after finishing his playing career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947, he became a front office executive, serving as farm system director (1948) and general manager (1949–1957) of Cleveland Indians and vice president/GM (1959–1961) of Chicago White Sox; held ownership stakes in Indians (1956–1957) and White Sox (1959–1961 and 1976–1980).
September 11 – Otho Nitcholas, 77, pitcher who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in its 1945 season.
September 12 – Jim Shilling, 72, middle infielder and third baseman who divided his playing time between the Cleveland Indians and the Philadelphia Phillies in 1939.
September 27 – Chuck Sheerin, 77, part-time infielder for the 1936 Philadelphia Phillies.
October 3 – Vince DiMaggio, 74, oldest brother of Joe and Dom, two-time All-Star center fielder who played for the Boston Bees, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants in a span of ten seasons from 1935 to 1946, whose career highlights included batting 21 home runs and 100 runs batted in for the 1941 Pirates, four grand slams for the Phillies from 1945 to 1946, and collecting a home run, triple, single, a pair of runs and one RBI over three at-bats in the 1943 All-Star Game.
October 8 – Max Surkont, 64, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, Boston and Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Giants over nine seasons from 1949 through 1957, who set a major league record with eight consecutive strikeouts while pitching for the Braves in 1953, as the record stood until 1970, when future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver struck out ten in a row.
October 9 – Jo-Jo White, 77, starting center fielder for the Detroit Tigers teams that won the American League pennant in 1934 and the 1935 World Series, who also played for the Philadelphia Athletics and Cincinnati Reds and later coached for five teams from 1959 through 1969, including a brief stint as a manager with Cleveland Indians in August 1960; father of Mike White.
October 10 – Russ Van Atta, 80, pitcher for the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Browns over a seven-season career from 1933 to 1939, who made history in his debut pitching a four-hit shutout against the Washington Senators, 16–0, while recording four hits in four at-bats, becoming the only American League pitcher ever to get four hits in his major league debut, as well as one of only seven players in AL history to do so in a debut game, being the last the Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, who registered four singles in his first MLB appearance with the Minnesota Twins in 1984.
Norm Cash in 1966
October 12 – Norm Cash, 51, first baseman who appeared in just 71 games with the Chicago White White Sox from 1958 to 1959 before becoming a fixture of the Detroit Tigers for the next 15 years, winning the American League batting title with a .361 average in 1961 and gaining a World Series ring in 1968, being selected to five All-Star Games, collecting 40 home runs and 132 RBI in 1961, 30 or more homers four more times and at least 20 in six seasons, as he holds Tigers career defensive records at first base in games (1,912), putouts (14,926), assists (1,303), double plays (1,328) and fielding average (.992), while his 373 home runs with the Tigers rank second in franchise history behind Al Kaline (399).
October 19 – George Pipgras, 86, American League starting pitcher, umpire and scout, who played for the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox over 11 seasons spanning 1923–1935, leading the American League with 24 wins, 38 starts and 300+2⁄3 innings in 1928, also winning four World Series rings with the Yankees between 1923 and 1932, while umpiring from 1939 to 1945, including officiating in the 1944 World Series as well as the 1940 All-Star Game, finishing his baseball career supervising umpires from 1946 to 1949 and working as a scout for the Red Sox.
October 23 – Paul Gehrman, 74, pitcher for the 1937 Cincinnati Reds.
October 26 – Ed Holley, 87, pitcher who played with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates over part of four seasons spanning 1928–1934.
November 3 – John Middleton, 86, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in its 1922 season.
November 12 – Rocky Stone, 68, pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1943.
November 13 – Dixie Upright, 60, slugging minor league first baseman who made nine appearances as a pinch-hitter by the St. Louis Browns in 1953, going 2-for-8 with a home run, one RBI and three runs scored.
November 13 – Les Webber, 71. pitcher who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians in part of six seasons spanning 1942–1948.
November 30 – Roy Bruner, 69, one of many ballplayers who interrupted their careers to serve during wartime, pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1939 through 1941 before becoming a bomber pilot with the rank of lieutenant, flying in 50 missions in Europe while being shut down on at least one occasion.
December 5 – George Abrams, 87, pitcher who made three relief appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in its 1923 season.
December 7 – John Bogart, 86, pitcher who played with the Detroit Tigers in 1920.
December 8 – Pip Koehler, 84, part-time outfielder for the 1925 New York Giants.