1st Reds pitchers Don Gullett and Clay Carroll combine on a 2-hitter as the Reds beat the Dodgers, 1–0. The first hit is a single by Bill Russell off Gullett in the 8th.
Dick Bosman scatters 3 hits to beat the White Sox, 1–0, ending the Rangers 15-game losing streak. Wilbur Wood (24-17), making his 49th start of the year, takes the loss, allowing just 3 hits himself. His catcher Ed Hermann has caught all 49 starts of Wood’s, the most by a battery since 1884 when Hardie Henderson & C Sam Trott had 52 starts together for Baltimore in the AA (as noted by historian Walt Wilson). The 49 starts ties him for the 2nd highest in the 20th century. Wood will make 48 starts next year for the highest 2-year total in the 20th century.
Despite having to leave the game in the 5th after being hit on the cheek with a batted ball, Milt Pappas (17-7) records his 11th straight win for the Cubs. Decker and Aker complete the 3–0 shutout over the visiting Cards. The win clinches 2nd place in the NL East.
2nd Bill Stoneman of Montreal pitches his 2nd no-hitter, beating the Mets 7–0. The temperature at Jarry Park is 53 degrees as 7,184 watch the doubleheader split.
The Red Sox fall a half game behind Detroit, losing 4–1 to Mickey Lolich before 51,518 at Tiger Stadium. Trailing 1–0 in the 3rd, Carl Yastrzemski hits a triple with 2 on, but Luis Aparicio stumbles twice and scrambles back to 3B, where Yaz is tagged out.
Buddy Bradford clubs a pinch grand slam in the 8th inning to pull the White Sox into a 6–4 victory over the Twins. Bradford will end the year with 2 homers and 8 RBIs.
.3rd Pitcher Roric Harrison hits his only homer of the year, off Ray Lamb, as Baltimore beats Cleveland 4–3 in the 2nd game of a doubleheader. With the DH rule on the horizon, it will be the last HR hit by an AL pitcher until interleague play. Cleveland wins the opener, 6–5, in 10 innings Tom McCraw has 4 hits, including a HR, for the Tribe.
The Tigers clinch the AL East as Woodie Fryman beats Luis Tiant 3–1 for his 10th win. Chuck Seelbach picks up his 14th save and Al Kaline singles in the winning run for Detroit. Luis Tiant hits a single in the game; not until Clemens singles in 1996 will another Sox pitcher get a hit in the same game he pitches. Fryman also singles, off Tiant; not till interleague play in 1997 will another Tiger pitcher get a base hit.
After hitting a pinch RBI single in the top of the 9th to beat the Twins, 5–4, White Sox reliever Terry Forster steals 2B. Forster, later described by David Letterman as “a fat tub of goo,” is the last AL pitcher before interleague play to steal a base. Forster finished the year at .526 (10-for-19) and will finish his 16-year career with a .397 lifetime average (31-for-78).
Tom Seaver wins his 21st beating Montreal, 5-2, in the first of two. Steve Renko (1-10) takes the loss. Renko strikes out 7 batters, all in a row. The Mets take game 2 in 12 innings, 4-3.
Steve Carlton wins his 27th game for the last-place Phillies, (59-97), as they pound out 6 HRs in an 11–1 win over Chicago. Carlton’s total is the highest by a Phillies pitcher in 20 years. Don Money and Greg Luzinski hit back to back homers twice.
4th Ted Williams manages his final game as the Rangers lose to the Royals 4–0. Williams will be replaced by Whitey Herzog. It is the last game for the Royals manager Bob Lemon and the last game played at KC’s Municipal Stadium.
The Giants down the last-place Padres, 6-4, as Bobby Bonds has a 3-run homer and steals two bases. Nate Colbert has an RBI to finish the year with 111, a ML-record 22.7% of his team’s RBI total of 488.
Milwaukee’s Jim Lonborg completes a successful comeback year with his 14th win, a 3-hit 1–0 victory over the 4th place Yankees. Larry Gowell (0-1) allows a run in his 5-inning start, his second and last appearance in the majors. Gowell is a Seventh-Day Adventist and his refusal to pitch on Saturdays presumably hinders his career. He doubles in his only ML plate appearance, the last hit by an AL pitcher before the introduction of the DH. Bert Blyleven also hits a double today.
Nolan Ryan fails in his quest to win 20 as the Angels fall to the AL West winners, Oakland, 2–1. Ryan strikes out 10 to finish the year with 329 strikeouts, 4th on the all-time list behind Koufax, Waddell, and Feller.
5th Yutaka Fukumoto of the Hankyu Braves sets a Japanese single-season record of 113 stolen bases in a 130-game season.
7th Oakland defeats Detroit in the opening game of the AL Championship Series. The Tigers take a 2–1 lead in the 11th inning, but the A’s come back with 2 runs in the bottom of the frame. The winning run is scored on Al Kaline’s throwing error.
The Pirates score 3 in the first and top the Reds 5–1 in the NLCS opener as Joe Morgan and Al Oliver smash homers.
8th During his club’s 5–0 win in the 2nd game of the ALCS, Oakland’s Bert Campaneris fires his bat at Detroit P Lerrin LaGrow. Campy, who had been hit by a pitch on the ankle, is fined and suspended for the rest of the series and for the first 7 games of the 1973 season. He will be allowed to play in the World Series, however. LaGrow is also thrown out of the game, but Detroit manages just 3 hits against Blue Moon Odom.
Cincinnati opens the game with 5 straight hits against Pittsburgh’s Bob Moose and wins 5–3 to even the NLCS.
9th The Pirates edge the Reds 3–2 as Manny Sanguillen homers and drives in the winning run in the 8th. Pittsburgh comes within one game of clinching the LCS.
10th Ross Grimsley of the Reds allows but 2 hits—a single and a HR by Roberto Clemente—to even the series with a 7–1 victory. Grimsley says that Clemente’s homer—the final of his career–“was a fastball. It got about six inches of the plate. It was high, about eight inches over his head and I just couldn’t see how he could possibly hit that ball, let alone hit it out of the park. That guy is absolutely incredible.”
The Tigers bounce back behind Joe Coleman’s 14 strikeouts to beat Oakland 3–0. Bill Freehan’s HR supplies the firepower.
11th The Pirates lead the Reds 3–2 in the bottom of the 9th inning of the final game of the NL series. Johnny Bench homers to tie the game, and 2 singles and a Bob Moose wild pitch later, the Reds are NL champs.
The Tigers even the AL series with a 10th-inning 3-run rally to beat the A’s 4–3. Jim Northrup bats in the game winner after Dave Hamilton walks home the tying run.
12th Oakland takes the AL flag with a 2–1 win in the 5th game of the LCS. The A’s Reggie Jackson steals home, but pulls a hamstring in the process, sidelining him for the WS.
13th Commissioner Kuhn announces that Bert Campaneris will be allowed to play in the WS.
14th Catcher Gene Tenace becomes the first player ever to homer in each of his first 2 WS at bats, leading the A’s to a 3–2 opening-game win over the Reds.
15th The A’s win 2–1 as Joe Rudi clouts a HR and makes a game-saving catch in the 9th to back up Catfish Hunter’s pitching before an afternoon crowd of 53,224, a record for Cincinnati. The A’s take a 2-game advantage as the Series moves to Oakland.
17th Rain and hail in Oakland postpone the 3rd game of the Series.
18th With the rainout yesterday, game 5 is quickly re-scheduled for this afternoon. With runners at 2B and 3B and a 3-2 count, A’s manager Dick Williams instructs Rollie Fingers to fake a pitchout to give an intentional walk. Fingers breaks off a strike to catch Johnny Bench looking. Gene Tenace stands wide for the expected ball 4, then ducks behind the plate to take strike 3. Perez is then walked intentionally and Menke pops out. Blue Moon Odom strikes out 11, but Cincinnati’s Jack Billingham is the winner, 1–0.
19th The A’s score twice in the bottom of the 9th on 4 straight singles—3 by pinch hitters to win the 4th game 3-2.
20th Pete Rose begins the scoring with a first-pitch HR off Catfish Hunter, and ends it with a 9th-inning RBI single, as the Reds stay alive with a 5–4 triumph.
The Cubs trade P Tom Phoebus to the Braves for INF Tony LaRussa. LaRussa will play just one game for the Cubs, scoring the winning run as a pinch runner in next year’s Opener.
21st The Reds send the Series to its 7th game with an 8–1 victory, the only game of the Series decided by more than one run. Bench has a HR and Bobby Tolan and Cesar Geronimo each drive in 2 runs.
22nd The A’s win their first World Championship in 42 years with a 3–2 victory in game 7. Gene Tenace has 2 RBI in the game. Tenace, who had only 5 HRs in the regular season has 4 in the WS, is named MVP.
24th Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson dies of heart disease at age 53. Robinson had become the first black ML player of this century with the 1947 Dodgers.
Three longtime infielders are released by their respective clubs: Bill Mazeroski (Pirates), Maury Wills (Dodgers), and Julian Javier (Reds).
25thIn a fairly even swap of talent, the Pirates trade P Gene Garber to the Royals for pitcher Jim Rooker. However, after a year Garber will move back to the NL.
27th The Yankees ship Danny Walton to the Twins for C Rick Dempsey. Walton spent the 1972 season in the minors, while young Dempsey had cups of coffee with the Twins the past 4 seasons.
31st Gaylord Perry wins the AL Cy Young award by a 64-58 margin over Chicago’s Wilbur Wood. Perry won 24 games for the 5th-place Indians.
The Phillies trade IF Don Money and 2 others to the Brewers for 4 pitchers, including Jim Lonborg and Ken Brett.