Year In Review : 1977 American League
Off the field…
In a seven hour period during the night of July 19-20, at least twelve inches of rain fell in the mountainous region around Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The emerging flood swept through the area, resulting in the deaths of seventy-seven people and damage in excess of $200 million. Despite the disaster, it paled in comparison to the first major flood that had devastated the area in 1889 killing 2,200 people.
David Berkowitz, also known as the "Son of Sam" terrorized the New York City area for over a year with a series of random shootings. Berkowitz had typically made victims of people in parked cars with a .44-caliber pistol and later explained that he adopted the name "Son of Sam" because of the "demons" in his neighbor Sam Carr's dog that "made him do it." Originally the serial killer pleaded insanity, but was later found competent to stand trial for six murders and seven attempted murders. After being found guilty on all counts, he was sentenced to twenty-five years to life for each of the murders.
The American Agricultural Movement was organized to preserve the family farm system and to seek 100% parity for all agricultural products. The nationwide farmer's strike resulted when their demands were not met by the United States Government by midnight, December 13th, but eventually subsided by March 1978 without the farmers accomplishing their goals.
In the American League…
Baseball's first black manager hired became the first also fired after Frank Robinson was let go by the struggling Cleveland Indians, who were 26-31 and in fourth place in the American League East by June. Jeff Torborg was named as his replacement.
On the Forth of July, the Boston Red Sox set off some "fireworks" of their own as they launched eight home run blasts out of Fenway Park, tying a Major League record and beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-6. The home run derby ended a nine-game losing streak and featured round-trippers by Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrezemski, George Scott, Butch Hobson and Bernie Carbo.
On October 18th, Reggie Jackson officially became "Mr. October" after hitting three consecutive homeruns and five RBIs during Game 6 of the World Series. The New York Yankees followed his lead and went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for their first World Championship title since 1962. Jackson finished the Series with five home runs, eight runs batted in and a .450 average.
In the National League…
During an 8-0 victory (in what be his last game in Shea Stadium as a Met until 1983) New York ace Tom Seaver sat down Dan Driessen, of the Cincinnati Reds, for his 2,397th K, passing Sandy Koufax for the twenty-third spot on the all-time strikeout kings list.
Three Atlanta Braves, Gary Matthews, Biff Pocoraba and Pat Rockett pulled off the impossible after they executed a triple steal over the San Diego Padres en-route to a 7-3 victory on September 11th.
Lou Brock stole the nine-hundredth base of his career and the thirty-fifth of the season during the opening game of a September 30th doubleheader between his St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. The "Redbirds" went on to win the game 7-2.
Around the League…
Mary Shane became the first female play-by-play announcer in Major League Baseball history after she was signed by the Chicago White Sox to broadcast their games for the 1977 season.
As part of a promotional night to debut the new "Reggie Bar", a candy bar named after Reggie Jackson, fans at Yankee Stadium received free samples. The marketing scheme backfired though as fans threw hundreds of them back onto the field forcing the game to be halted until the ground crew was able to clear them away.
Despite a miserable 54-107 record, the Toronto Blue Jays boasted a home attendance of 1,701,052 during their debut season (by comparison, the Seattle Mariners drew 1,338,511) — the most ever for a Major League expansion team through this season.
Prior to the start of the '77 season, the Toronto Blue Jays had agreed to a trade that would send veteran pitcher Bill Singer to the New York Yankees for the then, little used, left-hander Ron Guidry. All bets were off though after the front office realized that Singer was on the cover of their printed media guide. By the end of the season, Singer had gone 2-8 and retired while Guidry compiled a 16-7 record and an impressive 2.82 ERA.