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A stroll through the 1972
2002-07-13 02:09
by Mike Carminati

A stroll through the 1972 Baseball Guide, 30 years later

First, the cover features Joe Torre, Tony Oliva, Fergie Jenkins, and Vida Blue.

P. 28 has the Chicago Cubs team picture. They were the last club to display the team photo as disembodied heads arranged around the team logo. This was popular years ago, but had been replaced with the photo of the team seated with bodies attached. The Cubs did that at least into the Herman Franks era (I remember the baseball card).

P. 136 features the last team photo of the Washington Senators with then manager Ted Williams sitting front and center with a ticked-off expression on his face.

P. 118 features a picture of the four 20-game winners on the Orioles staff: Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mikeuellar, and Pat Dobson. Each is gripping the ball differently. McNally got the knuckleball, Dobson a slider, Palmer a change, Cuellar is just goofing around.

Here's a quote from page 277 re. The highlights of '71: "Hank Aaron hit his 600th Home run as he continued to challenge Babe Ruth's heroic record of 714..."

The Guide goes to great lengths to castigate the Senators for moving to Texas (they devote 8 pages punctuated by headlines like "Four Clubs Not In Favor of Move"). You have to remember that historically, The Sporting News and the Guides were basically an adjunct to the majors. Then it has an article on how Richard Nixon had decided to adopt his native Angels as his home team after calling the Senators move "heart-breaking." I'm glad that the country was doing so well that he could devote his time to such matters.

My favorite article in the review of 1971, is an article on p. 311 (35 or so pages into the 40-page review section) entitled "Supreme Court Agreed to Hear Flood Case". The article contains only one paragraph o the case (half of it is devoted to the owners NLRB case with the umps). Here it is:

The Supreme Court, however, did agree to hear the Curt Flood case. The Flood suit, which has the support of the Players Association, was filed on January 16, 1970, and challenged the reserve system as an antitrust violation and contended that the players were victims "of a form of peonage and involuntary servitude." A district court dismissed the suit on August 1, 1970, and on April 7 a three-judge U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal. This made two strikes against Flood but on October 11, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the Flood case. A final decision was expected in early summer of 1972.

This after two pages on Flood's aborted return with Washington with the following headlines "Flood Drew Advance Equal to Half Salary", "Curt Began as a Regular, But Was Platooned Later", and "Flood's Varied Investments Fizzled." Don't mess with the owners. To add insult to injury the first page of the '71 review contains runs down the three grievances that players won in '71 (Alex Johnson to treat "emotional disturbance" the same as physical ailments-15 pages are devoted to the largely forgotten story, Tony Conigliari sued for pay when he took time off to treat his ever-worsening eye, and Clete Boyer for his being released by the Braves for talking to the press). They also employ the word "jump" as in "Player A jumped his contract" incessantly as if it were 1890 and they were rushing off to join the Players League.

P. 342, features a Phillies player with the number 20. But it's not who you would expect, Schmidt has not been called up yet. It's Roger Freed.

P. 348 lists the Firemen of the Year. Dave Guisti (Pirates) and Ken Sanders (Brewers) are the recipients. They are the only men in their respective leagues with 30 or more saves.

On p. 370, the editors felt compelled to list the 19 players who played in both leagues.

On p. 378, the major-league hotels are listed. If you look in the old Reach and Spalding Guides (both pre-1940) and the old Sporting News Guides, you will find the hotels used by visiting ballplayers listed. This held some cache for the designated hotels. However, publicizing that now would pose somewhat of a security problem. I can't believe things were still so simple in 1972. Wow.

The leading pitcher for the American Association is one James (soon to be J.R.) Richard. For the International League, Bobby Grich is the leading batter, Buzz Capra (huh?) the leading pitcher, and George Sisler, Jr. the president. In the PCL, Tommy Hutton (I guess he did not yet own Seaver) is the leading batter. The Teaxs League has Enos Cabell and Wayne Garland as leaders. Art Howe lead the Carolina League in batting (the lower leagues didn't designate anyone as a batting/pitching leader per se). Goose Gossage and Sid Monge were ERA leaders as starters in the Midwest League. Bob Bailer and Al Bumbry were leaders in the Northern League. And George Brett is 9th in batting in the Pioneer League.

The team attendance is listed on p. 597. Only four AL teams top one million (Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, and NewYork). While in NL all but one team (San Diego) has at least one million fans; LA and the Mets have over 2 million in attendance. Now, doesn't make sense why the AL, trying to generate offense and fan interest, instituted the DH while the NL opted not to.

. . .

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