1991 in baseball


1991 in baseball

Year in baseball
this year = 1991

Champions

Major League Baseball

*World Series: Minnesota Twins over Atlanta Braves (4-3); Jack Morris, MVP4TeamBracket | RD1=League Championship Series | RD2=World Series
RD1-seed1=| RD1-seed2=| RD1-seed3=| RD1-seed4=
RD1-seed1=East | RD1-team1=Toronto Blue Jays
RD1-seed2=West | RD1-team2=Minnesota Twins
RD1-score1=1 | RD1-score2=4
RD1-seed3=East | RD1-team3=Pittsburgh Pirates
RD1-seed4=West | RD1-team4=Atlanta Braves
RD1-score3=3 | RD1-score4=4
RD2-seed1=AL | RD2-team1=Minnesota Twins
RD2-seed2=NL | RD2-team2=Atlanta Braves
RD2-score1=4 | RD2-score2=3

*American League Championship Series MVP: Kirby Puckett
*National League Championship Series MVP: Steve Avery
*All-Star Game, July 9 at SkyDome: American League, 4-2; Cal Ripken, Jr., MVP

Other champions

*Caribbean World Series: Tigres de Licey (Dominican Republic)
*College World Series: LSU
*Japan Series: Seibu Lions over Hiroshima Toyo Carp (4-3)
*Little League World Series: Hsi Nan, Taichung, Taiwan

Awards and honors

*Most Valuable Player
**Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles, SS (AL)
**Terry Pendleton, Atlanta Braves, 3B (NL)
*Cy Young Award
**Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox (AL)
**Tom Glavine, Atlanta Braves (NL)
*Rookie of the Year
**Chuck Knoblauch, Minnesota Twins, 2B (AL)
**Jeff Bagwell, Houston Astros, 1B (NL)
*Manager of the Year Award
**Tom Kelly, Minnesota Twins (AL)
**Bobby Cox, Atlanta Braves (NL)

MLB Statistical Leaders

Major League Baseball final standings

National League

Events

January-June

*January 6 - Alan Wiggins, former lead-off hitter for the San Diego Padres and a key member of their 1984 pennant run, becomes the first baseball player known to die of AIDS. He was 32.
*January 7 - Pete Rose is released from Marion Federal Prison after serving a five-month sentence for tax evasion.
*January 8 - Rod Carew, Gaylord Perry and Ferguson Jenkins are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America, with Carew becoming the 22nd player to be named in his first year of eligibility.

*February 4 - The 12 members of the board of directors of the Hall of Fame vote unanimously to bar Pete Rose from the ballot. He will become eligible again only if the commissioner reinstates him by December 2005.

*February 26 - New York Yankees second baseman Tony Lazzeri and major league owner Bill Veeck are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

*April 8 - Just hours before the first pitch of the baseball season, MLB averts an umpires strike by reaching agreement with the Major League Umpires' Association on a new four-year contract.

*April 18 - The new Comiskey Park opens across the street from where the original stood in Chicago. A sold-out stadium sees the Detroit Tigers defeat the Chicago White Sox, 16-0.

*April 21 - The Chicago Cubs score five runs in the top of the eleventh inning, but the Pittsburgh Pirates comeback with six runs in the bottom of the inning for the victory; the greatest extra-innings comeback (in terms of runs) in Major League history.

*April 23 - Nick Leyva is fired as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, the first manager fired in 1991.

*May 1 - Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers records his seventh no-hitter, striking out Roberto Alomar for the final out in a 3-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

*May 1 - Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics records his 939th stolen base, eclipsing Lou Brock's all-time record.

*May 21 - Don Zimmer is fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs and replaced by Jim Essian. Zimmer is the second manager fired during the 1991 season.

*May 22 - John Wathan is fired as manager of the Kansas City Royals and replaced by Hal McRae. Wathan is the third manager fired in less than one month.

*May 23 - By stealing second base off of pitcher Ron Darling and catcher Rick Cerone of the New York Mets, Andre Dawson of the Chicago Cubs becomes the third player in baseball history to record 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. As of this date, the only other members of the 300-300 club are Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays. On the same day, Phillies starter Tommy Greene throws a no-hitter, and the Baltimore Orioles fire Frank Robinson and replace him with Johnny Oates. Robinson is the fourth manager fired on the season, and the third fired in three days.

*June 3 - Buck Rodgers becomes the fifth managerial casualty of the season, three in the N.L. East. Tom Runnels replaces Rodgers.

*June 10 - The National League votes to choose Miami, Florida, and Denver, Colorado, to form baseball teams for the 1993 season. They beat out Orlando, Florida, St. Petersburg, Florida, Washington, D.C. and Buffalo, New York.

July-December

*July 6 - The National League publicly announces its two expansion franchises for 1993: the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins.

*July 6 - John McNamara, winner of the 1979 N.L. West division with the Reds and 1986 American League pennant with the Red Sox is fired as manager of the Indians. He is replaced by Mike Hargrove. The firing is the sixth on the season and occurs just as the first half of the season ends.

*July 7 - Outside a restaurant in Arlington, Texas, American League umpire Steve Palermo is shot and paralyzed from the waist down after aiding a woman who was being mugged. The assailant is later sentenced to 75 years in prison.

*July 9 - Cal Ripken, Jr.'s three-run home run lifts the American League to a 4-2 win over the National League in the annual All-Star Game. Andre Dawson homers for the NL, who lose for the fourth straight year. Ripken, who also won the pre-game Home Run Derby, is named the game's MVP.

*July 13 - The Baltimore Orioles throw the first four-man no-hitter in baseball history as Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson combine for a 2-0 win against the Oakland Athletics.

*July 26 - Expos pitcher Mark Gardner pitches a no-hitter through nine innings but fails to complete it when his team fails to score against Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser and reliever Kip Gross. Gardner loses the no-hitter and the game in the tenth when the Dodgers get three hits and score the only run of the game. The Expos only get two hits.

*July 28 - Picking up where Gardner left off, Expos hurler Dennis Martinez throws a perfect game against the Dodgers. The Expos only get four hits, but they score two runs and give Martinez the thirteenth perfect game in major league history. Ron Hassey, Martinez's catcher, becomes the first player to catch two perfect games, having also caught Len Barker's in by|1981.

*August 11 - In only his second Major League game, and first Major League start, Wilson Alvarez throws a no-hitter as the Chicago White Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7-0. It is the fifth no-hitter of the 1991 season, not including Mark Gardner's nine inning no-hitter that was lost in the tenth on July 26.

*August 14 - Dave Winfield hits his 400th career home run for the California Angels against the Minnesota Twins. Winfield is the 23rd player in history to accomplish the feat.

*August 26 - The sixth no-hitter of 1991 is thrown by two-time Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen. The Kansas City Royals hurler no-hits the White Sox, 7-0, for his first career no-hitter. On the same day, the seventh managerial firing of 1991 occurs as the Angels, who have gone from first to last in less than one month, fire Doug Rader and replace him with the recently deposed Buck Rodgers.

*September 4 - Removing an "asterisk" which was never universally recognized, the Statistical Accuracy Committee decides to put Roger Maris' 61 home run season of 1961 ahead of Babe Ruth's 60 mark of 1927. Regarding the expunging of the asterisk, historian Bill Deane later points out, "It was an easy job: the asterisk never existed. Maris' record was, from 1962 until 1991, listed separately from Ruth's and was never actually defined by 'some distinctive mark.'" The eight-man panel also re-defines a no-hit game as one which ends after nine or more innings with one team failing to get a hit, thereby removing 50 games from the list that had previously been considered hitless, including the 1959 performance of Harvey Haddix's 12 perfect innings against the Braves and Jim Maloney's 1965 1-0 loss to the Mets in 11 innings. Another casualty is Ernie Shore's 27 straight outs in 1917, a game in which he relieved Ruth with a runner on and no outs in the first inning. It is now a combined no-hitter.

* September 11 - The Atlanta Braves, on the verge of a pennant, throw a three-man no-hitter at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium against the Padres. Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers, and Alejandro Pena combine to no-hit the Padres, the seventh no-hitter of 1991. Controversy ensues when Tony Gwynn apparently ends the no-hitter with two outs in the ninth but the official scorer rules it an error on Terry Pendleton.

* September 13 - A piece of concrete weighing several tons falls in Montréal's Stade Olympique. It forces the Montréal Expos to play the remainder of their home games on the road.

* September 14 - Cecil Fielder of the Detroit Tigers hits what will be the only home run to ever exit Milwaukee County Stadium—during either the Braves' Milwaukee history (by|1953-by|1965) or Brewers' park history (by|1970-by|2000). The blast comes off Brewer pitcher Dan Plesac in the fourth inning of a 6-4 Tiger victory.

*September 15 - Smokey Burgess, a former major leaguer and previous holder of the record for most pinch-hits, dies at age 64.

*September 16 - Otis Nixon, the league's leading base stealer and catalyst on the Atlanta Braves' run from last to first, fails a drug test and is suspended for sixty days, consisting of the rest of the 1991 baseball season and the first six weeks of the 1992 season. The Braves lose the first two games without Nixon but rebound to win the pennant.

*September 22 - The Pittsburgh Pirates become the first National League East team since the 1976-77-78 Philadelphia Phillies to win consecutive division titles when they beat the Phillies, 2-1.

*September 29 - The Minnesota Twins become the first team to ever go from last place to first over the course of one season when a Chicago White Sox loss to Seattle clinches the American League West title. It is the Twins' first division crown since 1987. The New York Mets fire manager Bud Harrelson the same day, the eighth managerial firing of the year.

*October 2 - Tom Glavine becomes the first 20-game winner in the majors by beating the Cincinnati Reds. The win assures Glavine of the Cy Young Award when it is given in November.

*October 2 - The Toronto Blue Jays capture their third American League East title since 1985 by beating the California Angels, 6-5. The same day, the Blue Jays become the first team to ever play before more than four million fans in a single season.

*October 3 - Chicago White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hits two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the White Sox to a 13-12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. In doing so, just nine months shy of his 44th birthday, Fisk becomes the oldest 20th-century player to collect a two-HR game. His 7th-inning grand slam off Steve Bedrosian also makes him the oldest major leaguer ever to hit a bases-loaded homer. Cap Anson, at 45, hit two home runs on this date in 1897, and is the oldest major league player to hit a pair.

*October 5 - The Atlanta Braves become the second team in two weeks to go from last to first when they beat the Houston Astros, 5-2. Moments later, the San Francisco Giants eliminate their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers when Trevor Wilson pitches a 4-0 complete game shutout, handing the National League West division title to the Braves. John Smoltz gets his fourteenth win of the season as the Braves close out with eight consecutive wins after trailing the Dodgers by two with only ten games left to play.

*October 6 - David Cone of the New York Mets ties a National League record by striking out 19 Philadelphia Phillies in a 7–0 Mets win.

*October 7 - Leo Durocher, who is credited with the phrase 'nice guys finish last,' dies at the age of 86. The same day, the Yankees fire Stump Merrill, the ninth manager fired in 1991.

*October 8 - Despite finishing in second, their lowest finish in his 3 1/2 years as manager, the Red Sox fire Joe Morgan and replace him with Butch Hobson. Morgan is the tenth manager fired in 1991.

*October 9 - Tom Trebelhorn becomes the eleventh managerial casualty of 1991 despite a record of 40-19 and a finish over .500 with the Brewers.

*October 10 - Despite the large number of firings, the Mets hire Jeff Torborg as their new manager, replacing the fired Bud Harrelson. On the same day, however, the Seattle Mariners fire Jim Lefebvre, the twelfth firing of 1991.

*October 18 - Jim Essian, who replaced Don Zimmer in May, is fired as manager of the Cubs, the thirteenth and last firing of a manager in 1991. The thirteen firings set a record that still stands.

*October 27 - The Minnesota Twins become the World Series Champions with a 1-0 victory behind Jack Morris' masterful 10-inning shutout. Gene Larkin's single off Atlanta Braves reliever Alejandro Peña scores Dan Gladden with the game's only run. The game is the first Game Seven to go into extra innings since the 1924 World Series between the Washington Senators and New York Giants. Morris is named the Series MVP for the Twins, who win all four games at home while losing all three in Atlanta. Four of the seven games are decided on the final pitch, while five are decided by a single run, and three in extra innings. All are Series records.

*November 18 - Bobby Bonilla leaves the Pirates for the Mets and becomes the first five million dollar a year player in major league baseball history.

Movies

*"Talent for the Game"

Deaths

January-March

*January 3 - Luke Appling, 83, Hall of Fame shortstop who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox, setting career record for most games at his position while batting .310 lifetime and winning two AL batting titles; famous for his ability to foul off pitches, he retired with the 7th-most walks in history; his two years of World War II service deprived him of a chance to reach 3000 hits
*January 4 - Bill Byrd, 83, 7-time All-Star pitcher for the Negro Leagues' Baltimore Elite Giants, among the last to throw the spitball
*January 6 - Bobby Estalella, 79, Cuban outfielder for three AL teams who drew a three-year suspension for trying to jump to the Mexican League
*January 6 - Alan Wiggins, 32, second baseman for the Padres and Orioles who batted .341 in the 1984 postseason
*January 25 - Hoot Evers, 69, All-Star outfielder for the Tigers who led AL in triples in 1950
*January 27 - Dale Long, 64, All-Star first baseman who hit home runs in a record eight consecutive games for the 1956 Pirates
*February 24 - Joe Munson, 90, outfielder who played from 1925 to 1926 for the Chicago Cubs
*March 1 - Ken Smith, 89, sportswriter who covered the New York Giants from 1925 until the team moved to San Francisco in 1958; later served as director of the Hall of Fame from 1963 to 1979
*March 7 - Cool Papa Bell, 87, Hall of Fame center fielder of the Negro Leagues, prominently with the St. Louis Stars, who was legendary for his speed on the bases

April-June

*April 11 - Walker Cooper, 76, 9-time All-Star catcher for six NL teams who batted .300 five times; MVP runnerup for 1943 Cardinals
*April 16 - Al Verdel, 69, pitcher for the 1944 Philadelphia Blue Jays, and one of many player who only appeared in the majors during World War II
*April 20 - Bucky Walters, 82, 6-time All-Star pitcher whose 198 victories included three 20-win seasons for the Cincinnati Reds; the NL's 1939 MVP, he led league in ERA twice and had two wins in 1940 World Series
*May 13 - Hal Gregg, 69, All-Star pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and New York Giants from 1943 to 1952, who was the winning pitcher during the historic debut of Jackie Robinson
*May 20 - Pete Runnels, 63, All-Star infielder for the Senators and Red Sox who won two AL batting titles with Boston
*June 15 - Happy Chandler, 92, Hall of Fame executive who left the U.S. Senate to serve as baseball commissioner from 1945 to 1951, and presided over the integration of the major leagues
*June 22 - Marv Owen, 85, third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox from 1931 through 1940, who was one of the hard-hitting Tigers infield that included Hank Greenberg (1B), Charlie Gehringer (2B) and Billy Rogell (SS)
*June 26 - Johnny Johnson, 76, pitcher for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in the 1940s

July-September

*August 7 - Jimmy Cooney, 96, shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves between 1917 and 1928, who turned an unassisted triple play in 1927
*August 9 - Hank Majeski, 74, third baseman who set an AL record at his position with a .989 fielding percentage for the 1947 Athletics
*September 15 - Smoky Burgess, 64, 6-time All-Star catcher for five teams who held the record for career pinch hits (145) until 1979

October-December

*October 7 - Leo Durocher, 86, manager who led the Brooklyn Dodgers to their first pennant in 21 years in 1941, and drove the New York Giants to two pennants and an unexpected 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series; retired with 2008 victories, second most in NL history; previously an All-Star shortstop and captain of the Cardinals' "Gashouse Gang"
*October 21 - Bobby Coombs, 83, relief pitcher for the 1933 Philadelphia Athletics and 1943 New York Giants
*October 25 - George Brunet, 56, pitcher for nine teams who led AL in losses twice with the Angels and had over 3000 strikeouts in the minor leagues
*November 11 - Heinz Becker, 75, German-born first baseman who was a key reserve on the last Cubs team to win a pennant (1945)
*December 12 - Ken Keltner, 75, 7-time All-Star third baseman for the Cleveland Indians best known for his plays which ended Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941


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