1st The Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, headed by Bud Selig, purchases the Seattle Pilots for $10,800,000. Although negotiations were conducted over a period of months, it was not until March 13 when a federal bankruptcy referee declared the Pilots bankrupt. Brewers tickets go on sale tomorrow.
6thIn the last home opener at Crosley Field, the Reds whip the Expos, 5–1, behind Jim Merritt. It is the first win for manager Sparky Anderson. The Reds have 3 homers in the 4th, when Lee May, Bernie Carbo, and Bobby Tolan connect. It is Carbo’s first ML hit. Joe Sparma takes the loss.
In the traditional opener in Washington DC, Detroit’s Mickey Lolich shuts out the Senators, 5–0. Dick Bosman is the losing pitcher.
7th ML Baseball returns to Wisconsin as the Brewers play their first game in Milwaukee, losing to California 12–0 before a crowd of 37,237.
OF Brant Alyea has 7 RBIs—a ML record for opening day—on 2 homers and 2 singles, to back Jim Perry as the Twins win their opener, 12–0, against the White Sox. Alyea will have 21 RBI in his first 12 games; in Perry’s first 4 starts Alyea will drive in 19 runs.
At Yankee Stadium, Mel Stottlemyre makes his 4th straight Opening Day start, joining Lefty Gomez and Jack Chesbro as the only Yankee hurlers to do so. The Red Sox counter with newly acquired Gary Peters, who allowed no earned runs in 32 spring training innings. Boston jumps out to a 4–0 lead in 5 innings, but the Yanks score 3 in the 6th to chase Peters. But that’s all the scoring as Boston wins, 4–3.
At LA, Gary Nolan of the Reds defeats the Dodgers, 4–0, on a 2-hitter. Both hits are by Willie Crawford, in the 4th and 9th.
8th The Phillies acquire minor league 1B Willie Montanez as partial compensation for their loss in the October 7, 1969, deal in which Curt Flood refused to report.
9th Baltimore OF Don Buford hits HRs from both sides of the plate during a 13–1 win over Cleveland. He’s the first O’s player to do it.
Cincinnati’s 21-year-old Wayne Simpson makes his ML debut, shutting out the Dodgers, 3–0 on 2 singles, one each in the 6th and 7th.
10th The Cubs are down 1–0 with 2 out in 9th to Montreal when Ron Santo singles and Johnny Callison homers for the 2–1 win. The Cubs will lose tomorrow then win 11 straight to take over 1st place. During the streak, however, they will suffer the loss of Hundley when he is rammed at home by the Cards Carl Taylor. Hundley will tear his knee and will be out month, then 2 more, until July 10, with surgery.
At the Astrodome, George Stone scatters six hits and Hank Aaron bangs a grand slam as Atlanta stops the Astros, 5-0.
11th San Francisco beats Cincinnati, 2–1, dropping the Reds one-half game out of first place. This will be the only day all season out of first for the Reds, who will set an NL record of 178 days leading the league.
13th Oakland uses gold-colored bases during the club’s home opener, but the Rules Committee subsequently bans this innovation. The Athletics win today, 2–1, over the Brewers. Reggie Jackson’s 2-run single and the 3-hit pitching of Hunter and Segui is enough to beat Marty Pattin.
14th San Francisco outslugs the Braves, 15–11, though Steve Whitaker doesn’t help much, striking out 5 times. Dick Dietz has a homer and 4 RBIs while Ken Henderson has 4 hits and 4 runs. His 9th inning grand slam breaks an 11-11 tie.
Tony Perez, Johnny Bench and Bobby Tolan homer in the Reds 6-1 win over the Padres. Tolan’s is a grand slam.
At Wrigley Field, Ken Holtzman pitches the Cubs to a 5–4 win over the Phillies. At the end of the game, hundreds of fans swarm the field, many of them climbing over the wall in right field. The melee prompts the Cubs management to install a restraint in RF, an 18-inch wire basket jutting out at an angle from the 11-foot high wall.
15th At Anaheim, Andy Messersmith taxes the patience of his manage, taking a one-hit shutout into the 6th inning against the Twins. Minnesota then unloads 6 hits, including 3 homers (Cesar Tovar, Leo Cardenas, Brant Alyea), one is Alyea’s grand slam, to score 8 runs and beat the Angels, 8-2.
16th Reds’ ace Jim Maloney suffers a severed Achilles tendon in his left leg while running the bases against the Dodgers in the 3rd inning. 19-year-old rookie Don Gullett, who earns his first ML victory, 12–2, with 5 innings of shutout ball, replaces him. Lee May collects 4 hits, including a grand slam. Maloney, 29, will never win another game in the majors.
17th Down 5–4 to the Giants in the bottom of the 9th, the Reds tie when Hal McRae socks a pinch homer. Tony Perez ends the game with a 3-run homer in the same inning. Bench, May, and Rose also homer for Cincy.
18th The Mets Nolan Ryan gives up a leadoff single to Denny Doyle, then shuts out the Phillies without another hit. Ryan fans 15 in the 7–0 triumph. For the light-hitting Doyle, it is the first of three one-hitters in which he has the lone hit.
The Reds score 7 runs in the 4th but the Giants roar back to win, 16–9, at Crosley Field. Ron Hunt has a grand slam for SF and Jim Johnson is the winner in his only ML decision. Ken Henderson has no hits but scores 4 runs: the last man to score 4 runs on no hits was Gilliam, in 1960.
The Twins batter the Athletics for 18 hits in winning, 11-5. Rod Carew is 5-for-5, Tony Oliva collects 4 hits, and Rick Renick hits the Twins’ second grand slam in 3 days. Don Mincher accounts for all the Oakland scoring with a pair of homers, both of Luis Tiant, who collects his first win as a Twin.
Bill Voss connects for a grand slam and drives in 5 runs as California stops the visiting Royals, 7-1.
19thA first-inning double by Ken Henderson is the only hit off Wayne Simpson as the Reds beat the Giants, 6–0. This is Simpson’s 2nd shutout in 3 starts.
20th Willie Stargell belts a tremendous home run, off Jim Bouton, over the RF roof at Forbes Field to lead the Pirates to a 3–1 win over Houston.
21st The Reds clout 7 HRs by 6 different batters (Carbo (2), Bench, Rose, Concepcion, Perez, and Tolan) while the Braves counter with 3 HRs of their own (Carty, Cepeda, Millan) in a night game slugfest won by Cincinnati, 13–8. The 10 HRs, the 6 different batters for one team and 9 different batters for two teams, all tie or set NL records.
Cleveland scores 8 runs in the 5th inning and then holds on for a 10-7 win over the Red Sox. Ray Fosse hits a grand slam in the 5th and Graig Nettles adds a pinch homer.
22nd Tom Seaver strikes out 19 Padres, including the last 10 in succession in winning 2–1 for the Mets. Mike Corkin takes the loss. In this century, no one has ever struck out 10 in a row, a ML record. Counting the ten whiffs yesterday, the Pads have struck out 29 times in two games, a NL record that will be topped on June 14/15, 1998 when the Astros miss 32 times in two days. Jerry Grote adds one foul fly catch to his 19 putouts via K’s.
The Yankees and Senators battle for 18 innings before the Nats win, 2–1. The winning run scores on a walk to Ed Stroud, a single by Hank Allen, and a sac fly by Mike Epstein. The run, off Ron Klimkowski, makes a winner of Joe Grzenda.
The Cubs defeat the Cards, 7–5, ending Mike Torrez’s 11-game winning streak, going back to last year. Don Kessinger has 3 hits including an inside-the-park HR, and Billy Williams drives in 3 runs. Joe Torre homers for the Cards and Leron Lee hits his first ML homer.
23rd At Forbes Field, Hank Aaron homers and Orlando Cepeda belts a grand slam, but the Braves come up short, losing 8-6 to the Pirates.
24th At Tiger Stadium, the Senators score 6 runs in the 2nd inning off Mickey Lolich and top the Tigers, 6-2. Rick Reichardt hits a grand slam.
The Mets Jerry Koosman and the Dodgers Alan Foster match goose eggs for 9 innings before Tug McGraw (5 IP) and Jim Brewer (4IP) follow suit. McGraw walks 6, including 5 intentionally. The Dodgers finally push across a run in the bottom of the 15th against Ron Taylor, scoring on a single, a 6th intentional walk, and another single. Ray Lamb is the winning pitcher with 2 IP.
25th Tiger P Earl Wilson fans for the third out in the 7th inning against the Twins. On the third strike by Jim Kaat, Twins C Paul Ratliff traps the ball in the dirt, and must either throw to 1B or tag the batter. Instead he rolls the ball back to the mound, ignoring the fact that ump John Rice has not signaled a K. As the Twins head for their dugout, Tigers 3B coach Grover Resinger yells to Wilson to start running. The pitcher is around 3B when RF Brant Alyea running in retrieves the ball and throws to SS Leo Cardenas, who is standing by home. Wilson turns back to 3B but Cardenas and Alyea run him down for a 7-6-7 out on a 3rd strike. Ratliff gets an error and Wilson pulls a hamstring on the play. He leaves the game, trailing, 2–1, and Detroit ties it up 3–3 in the 9th. But Killebrew singles home Oliva in the bottom of the 9th for the 4-3 win. After the game, Detroit catcher Bill Freehan says “If Alyea had been hustling, Earl might have made it [home]. Tell him [Alyea] to start coming in and off the field a little quicker.” (as noted by Dave Smith).
In Pittsburgh, Willie Stargell hits a homer over the RF roof, the 2nd time he’s done it in a week, to help the Pirates edge the Braves, 8–7. Eighteen balls have been hit over the RF roof at Forbes Field, 7 by Stargell.
26th Don Buford hits a 3-run homer to give Baltimore a 10–9 victory over Kansas City. The Orioles take over first place and will not relinquish that position for the rest of the season.
Willie McCovey and Dick Dietz each hit grand slams as the Giants beat the Expos 11–1 in the first game of a doubleheader. This is a first in Giants history. McCovey adds another homer to back McCormick’s win. The Expos take the 2nd game, 3–2. Bobby Wine chips in by catching Willie Mays with the hidden ball trick (as noted by Bill Deane).
Bob Gibson strikes out 15 and allows 5 hits as the Cards beat the visiting Reds, 4–1.
The Cubs win their 10th straight, beating the Astros, 6–3, on 3 home runs. Williams and Hickman hit solos while Ron Santo belts a grand slam, off starter Larry Dierker. Fergy Jenkins (2-2) is the winner.
27thThe Cubs score an unearned run and beat Pittsburgh, 1–0, for their 11th straight win, their longest streak since 1945. Decker, with relief help in the 9th, is the winner. The Bucs will win tomorrow to stop the streak.
28thDave Marshall hits a 1st-inning grand slam, off Gaylord Perry, as the Mets score 5 runs. It holds up as they beat the Giants, 5-2.
29th Baltimore’s Paul Blair collects 3 homers and 6 RBIs in an 18–2 rout of the White Sox. Elrod Hendricks and Boog Powell also homer, each with 2 men on to back Jim Palmer.
30th In a 9–2 loss to the Braves, the Cubs Billy Williams becomes the first player in NL history to play in 1,000 consecutive games. Rico Carty hits a pair of homers, one a grand slam, and Hank Aaron homers for the Braves.