1981 August

1stThe Reds begin a week-long training regimen at the University of Michigan. The team will work out on Ray Fisher Field, named after the ML pitcher, now 93, who threw for the Reds in 1919-20.


6th  As a result of the nearly 2-month interruption in play because of the strike the ML owners elect to split the 1981 season into 2 halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division (or a wild-card team if the same club wins both halves) meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series.  The last time the major leagues played a split season was 1892. The A’s, Yankees, Phillies, and Dodgers suddenly find themselves guaranteed playoff spots as first-half champions.

      NL owners agree to the $20.5 million sale of the Cubs to the Tribune Company. In three weeks, Cubs stockholders—led by Bill Wrigley’s with 81 percent—will approve the sale.

7th  At Anaheim, the Angels beat the Reds, 3–0, in an exhibition tune-up for the season.

9th  Expos C Gary Carter hits a pair of solo home runs and Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt adds a 2-run shot in the 8th off Rollie Fingers to give the NL a 5–4 win in the All-Star Game. It is the NL’s 10th win in a row and 17th in the last 18 games.

10th  After a 2-month wait, Pete Rose finally breaks Stan Musial’s NL hit record, singling off Mark Littell in Philadelphia’s 7–3 loss to St. Louis. Rose now has 3,631 career hits. A crowd of 60,561 cheers his 8th inning hit.

      Seattle’s Julio Cruz is caught stealing by California’s Ed Ott on a pitchout, ending his consecutive stolen base streak at 32. Cruz tied the AL record set by Willie Wilson.

The Dodgers re-open the season with a 4–0 victory over the Reds.

11th  The Brewers remain undefeated in the second half, sweeping a pair from host Cleveland, 6-5 and 6-1. Cecil Cooper is 5-for-5 in game 2, including a pair of homers.

14th  Mike Schmidt hits his 300th career home run off Mike Scott as Philadelphia beats the Mets 8–4.

      Mariners OF Jeff Burroughs hits 3 home runs and drives in 6 runs in a 13–3 win over the Twins, giving Seattle a split of a doubleheader. The Twins win the opener, 6-1.

15th  At Wrigley, the Cubs push across an unearned run in the 15th and defeat the Pirates, 4-3. Omar Moreno and Tim Foli have 4 hits for the Bucs.

16th  Eddie Murray bangs a pair of homers, including a grand slam, to drive in 6 runs for the Orioles, but the Birds come up short, losing to the White Sox, 8-7, in 10 innings.

19th  Bobby Grich has 3 hits, including a homer, in the Angels 6-3 victory over the Orioles.  Grich has hit safely in 21 straight games, a streak that began on May 21st. Grich missed eight weeks of action in June, July and early August due to injury.           

     The New York Yankees trade Pat Tabler to the Cubs in exchange for two players to be named later. Next year New York will receive Bill Caudill (April 1, 1982), whom the Yankees will trade to Seattle, and Jay Howell (August 2, 1982), who ill have productive years, mostly after leaving the Yanks.

      Al Woods drives in 3 runs and Lloyd Moseby knocks in 6 as the Blue Jays whip the Royals, 9-4.

20th  At the Kingdome, Mike “The Human Rain Delay” Hargrove singles in the 14th and scores the winning run as Cleveland edges Seattle, 6-5. Hargrove totals four walks in the game.

21stAt Anaheim, the Angles trounce the Indians, 12-2, as Rod Carew has 5 hits and Dan Ford has 4. Ford has a pair of doubles and a homer to drive in 5 runs. Ken Forsch (10-5) goes 9 innings, walking 3 and striking out zero.

     In a Pioneer League game at Helena, Lethbridge’s Sid Fernandez strikes out 21 Phillies batters. El Sid wins, 6–0.

      Alexandria Dukes (Carolina League) shortstop Angel Rodriguez, 20, is suspended from organized baseball for deliberately tipping off opposing Hispanic players as to which pitches were coming.

24th  In his first ML game, Kent Hrbek homers in the 12th inning to give the Twins a 3–2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The 21-year-old 1B grew up in Bloomington, MN, less than a mile from Metropolitan Stadium, and jumped directly to his hometown club from Class-A Visalia (California League), where he was hitting .380 with 27 HRs and 112 RBI.

      The Reds top the visiting Mets, 2–0, behind Bruce Berenyi’s 2-hitter.

25th  Chicago’s Dennis Lamp loses his no-hitter when the Brewers Robin Yount leads off the 9th inning with a bloop double. Lamp settles for a one-hit 5–1 win.

      Gary Carter clubs a grand slam and drives in 6 runs as the Expos spoil the Reds visit to Montreal, winning, 9-1.

26th  Cards SS Garry Templeton is suspended indefinitely and fined $5,000 by manager-GM Whitey Herzog after making obscene gestures to the crowd following his ejection in the 3rd inning of a 9–4 win over the Giants. He will return to the lineup on September 15th, but he won’t stay a Cardinal for long.

      Ron Cey has 5 hits and Steve Garvey drives in 5 runs as the Dodgers smoke the Pirates, 16-6. Mike Scioscia has 3 doubles, 3 runs and 3 RBIs as the Dodgers maintain their lead in the NL West.

27th  Behind a combined one-hitter by Ray Burris and Jeff Reardon, Montreal rolls to a 12-0 win over the visiting Reds. Ken Griffey has the lone hit for Cincy, while Terry Francona has 2 hits and 3 RBI for the Expos.

28th  Tim Laudner becomes the 2nd Twins player in 4 days to homer in his first ML game, a 6–0 win over the Tigers. In the race for the 2nd half winner, the Tigers (11–7) now lead the Twins by 1/2 game in the AL East.

Cleveland’s John Denny  shuts out Seattle, 1–0.

29th  Phillies farmhand Jeff Stone steals his 121st base of the season for Spartanburg (South Atlantic League), breaking the all-time professional record set last season by Alan Wiggins. Stone will finish the season with 122 SBs, a record that will not last through 1982.

30th  The Chicago White Sox trade Ivan Mesa, Ronnie Perry, cash and a player to be named (Randy Johnson. No, not that one) to the Twins in exchange for veteran Jerry Koosman.

31st  Royals manager Jim Frey is fired and replaced by Dick Howser, whose Yankees lost to Frey’s Royals in last season’s AL Championship Series. Kansas City was 10-10 in the 2nd half of the season, 30-40 overall.