1970 October

1st  In a 9–5 loss to Pittsburgh, Dal Maxvil of the Cardinals completes the most impotent offensive season (minimum 150 games) in NL history, setting records for fewest at bats (399), hits (80), doubles (5), long hits (7), and lowest batting (.201) and slugging (.223) averages.

The final game at Philadelphia’s Connie Mack Stadium is played, the Phillies beating the Expos 2–1 in 10 innings and escape the cellar. A trickle of fans started running onto the field beginning in the 8th inning when the rosin bag was stolen in between innings. One fan grabbed the arm of left fielder Ron Stone just as he started after a ball hit by John Bateman. The ball falls safely, putting the tying run on. With the game’s end, the crowd of 31,822 responds by swarming onto and destroying the field and stadium.  A post-game ceremony with 67 prizes to be awarded, is canceled.

The Angels Alex Johnson grounds out and then hits 2 singles to edge Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski for the AL batting title, .3290 to .3286. Johnson leaves the game after his 2nd hit as the Angels go 13 innings to top the White Sox, 5–4. Yastrzemski goes 12-for-20 over his last 6 games. The Red Sox ended their season September 30th.

Fergie Jenkins allows two hits—two doubles by Ken Singleton, and Joe Pepitone hits a 2-run homer to beat the Mets, 4–1. The win puts the Cubs in 2nd place in the NL East, with the Mets in 3rd.

The Senators end the season with a 3–2 loss to the host Orioles, and finish the season with 14 straight losses.  The O’s win their 11th straight, setting a club-record winning streak. Frank Robinson homers for the Orioles, his 475th homer, tying him for 12th on the all-time list with Musial.

Detroit P John Hiller ties an AL record by striking out 7 straight batters and allowing 2 hits as the Tigers beat Cleveland, 1–0. Throwing his first CG since June of last year, Hiller fans the side in the 3rd and 4th and strikes out the first batter in the 5th.

2nd  Billy Martin is announced as the new Tiger manager, replacing Mayo Smith, who was fired a day earlier. The A’s Charlie Finley fires manager John McNamara and replaces him with Dick Williams.

3rd  Pitcher Mike Cuellar contributes a grand slam as the Orioles explode for 7 runs in the 4th inning to rout the Twins 10–6 in the opening game of the AL Championship Series. This is the first homer hit by a pitcher in the LCS and the only homer hit by one this century in the ALCS.

Pete Rose’s RBI single in the 10th inning breaks up a scoreless game as the Reds win the NLCS opener 3–0 over Pittsburgh. Gary Nolan gets the shutout victory for Cincinnati, as Dock Ellis takes the loss.

4th  ML umpires return after a one-day walkout in quest of higher wages. Minor league umps had been pressed into service for the opening LCS games the day before. There had been rumors of a strike for several days as negotiations between the umpires and ML baseball had reached an impasse.

Bobby Tolan leads the Reds to a 3–1 win as Cincinnati continues to roll over the Pirates in the NLCS. Tolan tallies 3 hits, including a HR, and scores all 3 of his team’s runs.

Dave McNally hurls Baltimore to a 2-0 ALCS lead as the Orioles blast the Twins 11–3. Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva hit home runs in a losing cause.

5th  Johnny Bench and Tony Perez homer as the Reds beat the Pirates 3–2, while Jim Palmer pitches Baltimore to a 6–1 win over Minnesota. Both teams thus complete sweeps of their respective LCS and advance to the World Series.

St. Louis trades controversial slugger Dick Allen to Los Angeles for 2B Ted Sizemore and C Bob Stinson.

9th  The Tigers trade Denny McLain to the Senators in an 8-player deal that also sees OF Elliott Maddox, 22-year-old 3B Aurelio Rodriguez, and P Joe Coleman change teams. This ranks as one of Detroit’s best trades ever.

10th  Baltimore overcomes a 3–0 deficit to beat the Reds 4–3 in the WS opener at Riverfront Stadium as Boog Powell, Ellie Hendricks, and Brooks Robinson contribute home runs to the winning effort. The Jackson Five sing the National Anthem.

11th  Boston’s Tony Conigliaro (OF) and California’s Doug Griffin (2B) switch clubs in a 6-player swap.

The Orioles again overcome a 3–0 deficit to win 6–5, as Powell hits his second WS round-tripper. Baltimore takes a 2-0 advantage in games.

13th  The Orioles win their 3rd straight over the Reds 9–3, with winning pitcher Dave McNally slugging a grand slam off Wayne Granger, the only one by a pitcher in WS history. Frank Robinson and Don Buford also contribute homers, and 3B Brooks Robinson continues his excellence with the glove, as he makes 2 spectacular grabs in the field.

14th  After Casey Stengel throws out the first pitch, Lee May’s 8th-inning 3-run homer gives the Reds their first Series win, 6–5. RF Pete Rose throws out Brooks Robinson at the plate and homers in the 5th. The loss ends the Orioles’ 17-game winning streak, which started at the end of the regular season.

15th  For the third time the Orioles overcome a 3–0 deficit to bury the Reds, 9–3, and win the World Championship 4 games to one. Frank Robinson and Merv Rettenmund each homer and drive in 2 runs. Brooks Robinson, the “human vacuum cleaner,” easily wins the WS MVP award. The Orioles clubhouse celebration is sparked by relief pitcher Moe Drabowsky, who lights up Commissioner Bowie Kuhn with a hot foot. As he later told Bob Cairns in Pen Men, “I stuck a book of matches under his foot and then got a can of lighter fluid, ran a trail all the way back through the room about 40 feet away, all the way into the training room. So I lit it up from back there and all of a sudden you see the flame snake out to where the book was, and it exploded and it lit Bowie up real good.”

18th  Sachio Kinugasa takes his place in the starting lineup of the Hiroshima Carp, playing 3B. Over the next 17 years he will play in 2,215 consecutive games—the durability record of professional baseball, topping Lou Gehrig’s 2,130.

23rdLong-time Senator and Twins fan favorite (to boo) Sherry Robertson is killed in a one-car accident following a hunting outing. Robertson, nephew of Nats owner Clark Griffith, played for the Senators and served this past year as a Twins coach, taking time off from his job as Farm Team Director in order to qualify for a higher pension.  Robertson is the brother of Twins president Cal Griffith and the brother-in-law of AL prexy Joe Cronin.