Year In Review : 1970 American League
Off the field...
After large numbers of North Vietnamese troops entered Cambodia in 1969. Premier Lon Nol assumed control of the government, while Prince Sihanouk was in Peking, and pledged to force the removal of the occupying military. Initially, the invaders agreed to withdraw, but then announced their support for Sihanouk, who had promised to fight the new government. President Nixon announced that U.S. troops would join with South Vietnamese troops to invade the border areas of Cambodia and eliminate all Communist sanctuaries.
Four students were killed at Kent State University after Ohio National Guardsmen clashed with anti-war protesters. The students were engaged in a rally condemning President Nixon's approval for a massive incursion into Cambodia. While appearing on television on April 30th, Nixon announced that the invasion was for a limited period, and was to save American lives, and claimed that American forces would not advance more than twenty-one miles into the country.
Monday Night Football debuted on ABC, with Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson, and Don Meredith all giving play-by-play. The on-camera camaraderie in the booth as well as the groundbreaking approach to covering the game resulted in the development of several multi-camera and play-by-play technologies that are still being used today. As a result, Monday Night Football has become the most successful and longest-running primetime sports series in television history.
In the American League...
Baltimore's Frank Robinson hit two successive grand slams during a 12-2 Orioles triumph over the Washington Senators becoming just the seventh major leaguer to ever accomplish the feat. The back-to-back historic blasts were the only grand slams Robinson ever hit as a "Blackbird".
The Kansas City Royals set an unwanted Major League mark on August 3rd after falling 10-8 to the Baltimore Orioles for the twenty-third time in two seasons.
Tommy Harper of the Milwaukee Brewers matched thirty stolen bases with his thirtieth home run of the year to become the fifth major leaguer to go 30-30 in the same season. Incidentally, the stats added up as the resulting 4-2 win over the Anaheim Angels marked the Brewers "60th" of the year.
In the National League...
On July 8th, San Francisco Giant Jim Ray Hart tied a modern Major League record with six runs batted in during one inning with all coming in the fifth. The "bay area brawler" slammed a three run home run and three run triple and eventually hit for the cycle en route to a 13-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
The New York Mets' Tom Seaver set a Major League record after striking out nineteen Padres, including the last ten in succession, during an April 22nd, 2-1 victory over San Diego. The feat topped every pitcher ever to take the mound in the 20th Century and no one had ever struck out ten in a row to date.
Atlanta Braves icon "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron collected his three-thousandth hit with an infield single as well as his five-hundred seventieth home run off of Wayne Granger during a 7-6, 15-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds on May 17th.
Around the League...
St. Louis Cardinals' Golden Glove outfielder Curt Flood filed a civil lawsuit against Major League Baseball in an effort to challenge their contract reserve clause. Flood refused to report to the Philadelphia Phillies after being traded and contended that the rule violated federal antitrust laws. Flood eventually lost his $4.1 million suit later in the year after Federal Judge Irving Ben Cooper upheld the legality of the clause. However, Cooper did recommend changes in the reserve system, to be achieved through negotiation between both players and owners.
"X-5" baseballs, a new experimental brand claiming to travel faster and farther than traditional balls was field tested during all Major League Spring Training games in both Arizona and Florida. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered a halt to their use after a three week trial period, which had ended with inconclusive results.
All-Star Game voting was finally returned to the fans as punch-card ballots debuted in major league ballparks across the nation. It was the first time since 1958 that the exhibition's squads were not entirely selected by managers, coaches and players.
Both players and management agreed to end their labor dispute on June 8th by settling on a new standard contract. Among the compromises that benefited the players was a raise in the minimum league salary from $10,000 to $12,000 per season.