Year In Review : 1975 National League
Off the field…
Two assassination attempts were made on the life of U.S. President Gerald Ford, both in September. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a twenty-seven year-old disciple of Charles Manson, attempted to shoot the president in Sacramento on September 5, with a .45 caliber hand gun. Fortunately, an alert secret-serviceman wrestled the weapon from her before she could fire a shot. On September 22, Sara Jane Moore, forty-five, a civil rights activist, fired a .38 caliber revolver at Ford, but a bystander diverted the shot at the last second. Both women are currently in prison serving life sentences.
Jimmy Hoffa, the powerful and controversial leader of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971, disappeared from a restaurant parking lot in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Often alleged to have ties to organized crime, Hoffa had been convicted of fraud and jury tampering in 1964 and served four years in prison before his sentence was commuted by President Nixon. At the time of his mysterious abduction, he was trying to regain power in the union. Many felt that he had been killed by the Mafia and in 1983 he was declared legally dead.
On December 29th, a bomb at New York's LaGuardia Airport exploded killing eleven people and injuring seventy-five. To date, no one has ever been convicted, indicted, or even arrested for suspicion of having taken part in the act.
In the American League…
Fred Lynn, who would finish the season as the American League Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, knocked in ten runs himself during a 15-1 romping of the Detroit Tigers on June 18th. The Red Sox's rookie outfielder connected for a two-run home run in the first, a three-run blast in the second, a two-run triple and an infield single tying an American League record with sixteen total bases.
On September 22nd, a near impossible statistical oddity occurred when both brothers Gaylord Perry of the Texas Rangers and Jim Perry of the Oakland Athletics matched identical career win-loss records of 215-174.
October 21st witnessed one of the most dramatic homeruns in the history of the World Series. After a four day rain-delay, the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds resumed play at Fenway Park for an epic twelve-inning nail-biter. Carlton Fisk came up huge with a game-winning homer that deflected off of the left field foul pole (thanks to a little body language) tying the Series at three apiece and forcing a Game 7.
In the National League…
Pittsburgh Pirate second baseman Rennis Stennett became the first modern player to tally seven hits in a single nine-inning game. Stennett collected a triple, two doubles; four singles and scored five times during the 22-0 massacre over the Chicago Cubs while raising his average from .278 to .287. The last player with such a cramped scorecard was Baltimore's Wilbert Robinson in 1892.
Joe Torre of the New York Mets, tied a Major League record by hitting into four consecutive double plays during a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros. The future Yankees manager was recorded in the company of "Goose" Goslin, who had originated the feat in 1934 and Mike Kreevich who matched him in 1939.
New York Met Tom Seaver became the first pitcher in Major League history to record two-hundred plus strikeouts for eight consecutive years after he fanned the Pittsburgh Pirates Manny Sanguillen for a 3-0 victory and his twentieth win of the season.
Around the League…
Charles Finley's experimental position known as "the designated runner" came to an end after the Oakland Athletics owner released the prototype Herb Washington. The world-class sprinter had appeared in one-hundred five games while never batting and scored thirty-three runs plus thirty-one stolen bases in forty-eight attempts.
On April 8th, baseball's first black player/manager, Frank Robinson, made his debut as the skipper of the Cleveland Indians. Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson, threw out the first ball as the Tribe took on the visiting New York Yankees. Robinson sweetened the moment with a first-inning home run, the 575th of his career, and his team followed suite on the way to a 5-3 victory.
A pre-game ceremony honoring the United States Army's 200th birthday "backfires" at Shea Stadium after two 75mm artillery batteries from Fort Hamilton fire a twenty-one gun salute. After the smoke cleared there was a large hole in the center field fence and broken windows throughout the box seat areas. Following a quick clean up and repairs, the New York Yankees went on to defeat Nolan Ryan and the California Angels 6-4.
Baseball's winningest manager, Casey Stengel died on September 29th of cancer at the age of eighty-five. Stengel had managed the New York Yankees second dynasty for twelve years while winning ten American League pennants and seven World Series Championships. After leaving the Bronx Bombers, he went on to manage the Mets before being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.