Year In Review : 1978 American League
Off the field…
On November 18th, nine-hundred twelve followers of American cult leader Jim Jones and his "Peoples Temple" died in a remote South American jungle compound called "Jonestown". Some members were shot, others were forced to drink poison, but most willingly participated in what Jones said was an act of "revolutionary suicide." More than two-hundred eighty children were killed and Jones himself was found fatally wounded by a gunshot to the head.
San Francisco California Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first acknowledged homosexual elected to office, were assassinated in their chambers at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White. In 1985, White committed suicide in the garage of this Excelsior District home after a failed attempt to return to a normal life upon his release from prison.
U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiated two controversial treaties with Panama's dictator General Omar Torrijos to return the Panama Canal to Panama. Many felt that both agreements were invalid as the Panama Canal was purchased from Panama by the 1903 Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty "in perpetuity," which meant that it was to remain in U.S. hands forever.
In the American League…
On June 4th, the Baltimore Orioles selected a young eighteen-year old from Aberdeen Maryland named Cal Ripken, Jr. The high school senior played both pitcher and outfielder while hitting .492 and posting a 7-2 record on the mound with an astounding 0.70 ERA.
Ron Guidry, of the New York Yankees, set an American League record by becoming the first left-hander to strike out eighteen batters in a single game during a 4-0 win over the Anaheim Angels.
After going two-for-four against the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day, Angels' outfielder Lyman Bostock was killed in a bizarre shooting accident. During a domestic dispute on September 23rd, the twenty-seven year old was hit in the head with a .410 gauge shotgun blast by his uncle who was en-route to shooting his aunt. Bostock was a .311 hitter in his fourth season in the Major Leagues and his father; Lyman Sr. had been a star player in the Negro Leagues.
In the National League…
On May 20th, Pittsburgh Pirate captain Willie Stargell launched a 535-foot rocket off the Montreal Expos' Wayne Twitchell for his four-hundred seventh career home run at Olympic Stadium. It was the longest ball ever hit in the ballpark and put "Pops" on the all-time homer list beside Duke Snider.
Chicago Cubs manager Herman Franks and Montreal Expos skipper Dick Williams combined to use forty-five players in a nine inning game setting the all-time record. They also tied another Major League mark by utilizing fourteen different pitchers en route to a 10-8 Canadian victory.
On June 30th, during the first game of a 10-9, 10-5 doubleheader loss to the Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants slugger Willie McCovey hit his five-hundredth career home run off Jamie Easterly to become the twelfth member of the "500-HR" club.
Around the league…
The New York Times reported that the renovations on "The House That Ruth Built" were up to a staggering $95.6 million dollars and that it would have cost only $48.8 million to build a brand new Yankee Stadium.
Don Sutton threatened to sue umpire Doug Harvey after the official claimed to find three "doctored" balls belonging to the Dodger righty during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. After an investigation, Sutton was issued a warning from National League president Charles Feeney.
In what was a sign of things to come, major league umpires went on strike in August attempting to get better benefits. Amateur officiating crews were brought in to call thirteen games before a judge issued a formal restraining order sending the disgruntled picketers back to work.
U.S. District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley ruled that women reporters could no longer be banned from the locker rooms of all New York City sports teams. The decision was ultimately initiated after Sports Illustrated magazine sued the Yankees on the behalf of Melissa Ludtke after she was denied equal access during the 1977 post-season.