2nd Mets manager Gil Hodges dies of a heart attack at West Palm Beach, Florida, 2 days shy of his 48th birthday. Yogi Berra is named manager.
5th For the first time in history, the ML season fails to open due to a general player strike. The strike, announced April 1st, will erase 86 games from the ML schedules.
The Mets trade OF Ken Singleton, 1B-OF Mike Jorgensen, and IF Tim Foli to the Expos for OF Rusty Staub.
9th President Richard Nixon recommends that both sides of the baseball dispute meet with J. Curtis Counts, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
13th The end of the baseball strike is announced, with an abbreviated schedule to start 2 days later.
15th Reggie Jackson sports a mustache as the A’s top the Twins 4–3 in 11 innings. Jackson is reported as the first ML player with facial hair since Wally Schang in 1914.
The Reds play their home opener 10 days after it was originally scheduled, and lose to the Dodgers, 3–1. Cincy’s only run is a homer by Denis Menke in his first at bat as a Red.
The Astros acquire P Jerry Reuss, a .500 pitcher for 3 years with the Cardinals, for Scipio Spinks and Lance Clemons.
16th In Chicago, 22-year-old rookie Burt Hooton of the Cubs no-hits the Phillies 4–0. It is Hooton’s 4th ML game over 2 seasons and he has allowed just 8 hits in 30 innings. Throwing his knucklecurve, Hooton walks 7 and fans 7.
With a rainout yesterday, the Orioles and Yankees decide to open the season in Baltimore with a doubleheader. But rain wipes out the nightcap and the O’s win the rain-shortened opener before just 11,995 fans, 3–1. There is one out in the bottom of the 7th when the game is called. The O’s score an unearned run in the 2nd and Brooks Robinson knocks in two more to back Pat Dobson’s pitching. After a long rain delay, Doyle Alexander pitched the 7th for the O’s.
Hitting for the cycle, Dave Kingman drives in 6 runs to lead the Giants to a 10–6 win over the Astros. The third sacker makes out in his final at bat after clouting a 3-run homer in the 7th. Sudden Sam McDowell, making his NL debut, pitches 5 2/3 innings for the win despite allowing 3-run homers to Bob Watson and Tommy Helms.
18th In Atlanta, Tommy John makes his NL debut and pitches the Dodgers to a 3–1 victory over the Braves. He scatters 4 hits in 7 innings.
Giants slugger Willie McCovey breaks his right arm in a collision with John Jeter during a 5-1 win over the Padres. He will be out until June 3rd.
19th Steve Carlton, facing his former teammates for the first time, scatters 3 hits in outdueling Bob Gibson and the Cardinals, 1–0. The lone run comes on a Willie Montanez triple and a single by Johnson.
20th The Orioles manage just 2 hits off Tom Timmerman and Chuck Seelbach, but still beat Detroit, 1–0. Paul Blair’s solo homer is the difference in Pat Dobson’s win.
21st The Rangers celebrate their first game in their new home, Arlington Stadium, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, by outscoring the Angels, 7–6.
A pinch hit double by Jim Fairey allows the unbeaten Expos to defeat the Cardinals, 2–1. The Cardinals strand 15 runners, including 3 in the 9th. At the plate, losing pitcher Rick Wise, one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, leaves a record-tying 9 runners on base.
Dave McNally spins a 3-hitter as the Orioles shut out the Indians, 6-0. Milt Wilcox allows a run in 7+ innings but the Birds score 5 in the 9th, 4 on a grand slam by Boog Powell.
22nd The Braves smash 5 homers, including Hank Aaron’s first of the year and #640 of his career, in defeating the Reds, 11–7. Williams belts 2, and Brown and Rico Carty one apiece.
Buddy Bell drives in 5 runs on a double and grand slam as the Indians whip the Orioles, 9-2. Jim Palmer (0-2) takes the loss.
At Fenway the Red Sox score 8 runs off Fritz Peterson in 5 innings, though just 2 are earned, as they beat the Yankees, 11-7. New third baseman Rich McKinney contributes 4 errors behind Peterson, but does have 3 hits, including a homer.
23rdSending 14 men to the plate, the Astros erupt for 10 runs in the 9th to defeat the Giants, 13–7. Cesar Cedeno collects 5 hits, including 2 in the 9th when he drives in 3 runs. May has a 3-run homer in the 9th
Greg Luzinski homers in the 9th to tie the score, then triples and scores in the 11th to give the Phils a 5–4 victory over the Pirates. Luzinski also doubles and scores in the 2nd.
25thPhillies lefty Steve Carlton allows only a leadoff single to Chris Speier in beating the Giants, 3–0, for his 2nd shutout in a row. Carlton strikes out 14 to tie the club record for lefties. Juan Marichal (1-2) takes the loss.
26th Mike Andrew belts a 7th inning grand slam and Dick Allen ends it with a 2-run walkoff homer in the 10th a the White Sox defeat the Indians, 7-5.
27th The Padres fire manager Preston Gomez and replace him with Don Zimmer. The Pads are 4-8, one of four NL West teams below .500.
28th Cubs 1B Joe Pepitone, sidelined with a stomach ailment, returns to the lineup and smashes 2 three-run homers as the Cubs beat the Reds, 10-8. It’s the Cubs first win in 9 games and Fergie Jenkins first win of the year. Monday and Cardenal also homer for Chicago.
Tommie Agee’s grand slam highlights a 5-run 8th as the Mets top the host Dodgers, 5-1. Jon Matlack is the winner.
29th Leading the Phillies 4–0, San Diego ace Steve Arlin loses a no hitter in 9th with 2 outs when manager Don Zimmer pulls his third baseman in close. Denny Doyle then bounces a ball over the third baseman’s head. Arlin finishes with a one-hitter, beating Steve Carlton. Doyle also had the only hit to defeat the Reds Gary Nolan in 1971 and the only hit in a Nolan Ryan one-hitter in 1970.
At Yankee Stadium, the Twins drop the Yankees, 2-0, as Harmon Killebrew drives in both runs with a 1st inning standup triple. His long drive to CF rattles around the monuments before finally being retrieved by Bobby Murcer. Jim Kaat goes 6 innings and Dave LaRoche throws 3 innings of hitless relief.
30th Ed Herrmann’s 6th inning grand slam, off Joe Coleman, propels the White Sox to a 6-3 win against the host Tigers.
At Municipal Stadium, the Indians push across 2 runs in the 16th to edge the Royals, 5-3. Ray Lamb is the winner with 5 innings of shutout ball and Gaylord Perry earns the save with an inning.