1971 Leaders & Numbers

Once-pudgy Joe Torre dieted off the field and feasted on opposing pitchers with a whopper of a campaign. Recent-suffering Yankee fans believed, for the moment, that they’d finally found Mickey Mantle’s successor in the historic line of pinstriped icons with Bobby Murcer. Look out, Bambino: Hank Aaron raced past 600 lifetime home runs and belted a career-high 47 at age 37. Merv Rettenmund, later cited by David Letterman as the best-known pro athlete among his fellow alums at Ball State, thrived in what was strangely his only year among 13 seasons playing everyday. Amos Otis, shipped from the Mets after he refused to play third base, fit in far more comfortably in the Kansas City outfield. Willie Stargell promised free chicken from his own fast-food chain every time he hit a homer; 48 blasts later, Pittsburgh’s poultry lovers were yelling fowl. Tom Seaver was at his most brilliant with career bests in ERA and strikeouts (289)—and still they gave the Cy Young Award to Ferguson Jenkins, who had four more wins but an ERA one full run higher. Think about it: Vida Blue allowed less than one total base per inning pitched. The joke about the hefty Mickey Lolich was that he couldn’t pitch his weight in innings thrown, and some still didn’t think that after he logged 376 in 1971. The math on Dave Roberts: 2.10 ERA + 14-17 record = life with the sickly Padre offense. Al Downing took a pay cut with the Dodgers to get out of Milwaukee, and got a big raise in results.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1971
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Hank Aaron Atlanta 139 .327 495 95 162 22 3 47 118 50 21 2 1 1 9
2. Joe Torre St. Louis 161 .363 634 97 230 34 8 24 137 43 20 4 4 1 18
3. Willie Stargell Pittsburgh 141 .295 511 104 151 26 0 48 125 63 20 7 0 0 8
4. Lou Brock St. Louis 157 .313 640 126 200 37 7 7 61 71 5 1 64 19 5
5. Bobby Bonds San Francisco 155 .288 619 110 178 32 4 33 102 56 6 5 26 8 10
6. Rusty Staub Montreal 162 .311 599 94 186 34 6 19 97 61 13 9 9 5 21
7. Willie Mays San Francisco 136 .271 417 82 113 24 5 18 61 101 11 3 23 3 8
8. Billy Williams Chicago 157 .301 594 86 179 27 5 28 93 59 18 3 7 5 17
9. Lee May Cincinnati 147 .278 553 85 154 17 3 39 98 40 2 4 3 0 13
10. Roberto Clemente Pittsburgh 132 .341 522 82 178 29 8 13 86 21 5 0 1 2 19
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1971
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Bobby Murcer New York 146 .331 529 94 175 25 6 25 94 78 13 0 14 8 9
2. Roy White New York 147 .292 524 86 153 22 7 19 84 79 7 7 14 7 10
3. Don Buford Baltimore 122 .290 449 99 130 19 4 19 54 74 15 7 15 7 2
4. Tony Oliva Minnesota 126 .337 487 73 164 30 3 22 81 17 8 2 4 1 21
5. Norm Cash Detroit 135 .283 452 72 128 10 3 32 91 52 7 7 1 0 5
6. Merv Rettenmund Baltimore 141 .318 491 81 156 23 4 11 75 85 2 4 15 6 13
7. Reggie Smith Boston 159 .283 618 85 175 33 2 30 96 59 4 5 11 3 15
8. Frank Robinson Baltimore 133 .281 455 82 128 16 2 28 99 61 11 9 3 0 22
9. Reggie Jackson Oakland 150 .277 567 87 157 29 3 32 80 58 5 6 16 10 7
10. Amos Otis Kansas City 147 .301 555 80 167 26 4 15 79 38 2 2 52 8 18
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1971
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Tom Seaver New York 1.76 20 10 .667 0 1 36 35 286.1 303 56 59 2 5 4 1 7 3 24
2. Don Sutton Los Angeles 2.54 17 12 .586 1 0 38 37 265.1 310 75 50 5 5 5 0 20 8 21
3. Don Wilson Houston 2.45 16 10 .615 0 0 35 34 268 287 73 76 4 6 6 0 14 8 16
4. Dave Roberts San Diego 2.10 14 17 .452 0 0 37 34 269.2 309 65 52 9 4 5 0 12 4 37
5. Al Downing Los Angeles 2.68 20 9 .690 0 0 37 36 262.1 328 78 81 3 12 3 1 11 4 26
6. Ferguson Jenkins Chicago 2.77 24 13 .649 0 0 39 39 325 461 100 31 6 3 5 4 10 12 14
7. Ken Forsch Houston 2.53 8 8 .500 0 0 33 23 188.1 210 53 48 5 8 4 0 14 5 17
8. Juan Marichal San Francisco 2.94 18 11 .621 0 0 37 37 279 369 91 50 6 6 3 1 10 1 21
9. Steve Blass Pittsburgh 2.85 15 8 .652 0 0 33 33 240 298 76 60 8 4 2 0 4 7 15
10. Don Gullett Cincinnati 2.66 16 6 .727 0 3 35 31 217.2 278 65 59 6 3 2 0 2 2 25
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1971
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Vida Blue Oakland 1.82 24 8 .750 0 0 39 39 312 300 63 85 3 9 4 1 7 7 23
2. Wilbur Wood Chicago 1.91 22 13 .629 1 0 44 42 334 374 71 60 2 6 7 0 27 12 24
3. Pat Dobson Baltimore 2.90 20 8 .714 1 0 38 37 282.1 362 91 61 2 6 2 0 16 10 28
4. Mel Stottlemyre New York 2.87 16 12 .571 0 0 35 35 269.2 315 86 63 6 5 4 0 6 6 28
5. Mickey Lolich Detroit 2.92 25 14 .641 0 0 45 45 376 509 122 90 2 7 7 0 18 10 22
6. Clyde Wright California 2.99 16 17 .485 0 0 37 37 276.2 317 92 72 10 7 3 0 5 9 30
7. Mike Cuellar Baltimore 3.08 20 9 .690 0 0 38 38 292.1 379 100 77 1 3 1 0 12 16 27
8. Mike Hedlund Kansas City 2.71 15 8 .652 0 0 32 30 205.2 238 62 71 1 2 1 0 4 5 21
9. Joe Coleman Detroit 3.15 20 9 .690 0 0 39 38 286 338 100 93 3 7 7 1 16 10 22
10. Rudy May California 3.02 11 12 .478 1 0 32 31 208.1 227 70 81 6 0 2 0 6 9 14

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1971 Awards


NL MVP
Joe Torre, St. Louis

AL MVP
Vida Blue, Oakland


NL Cy Young Award
Ferguson Jenkins, Chicago

AL Cy Young Award
Vida Blue, Oakland


NL Rookie of the Year
Earl Williams, Atlanta

AL Rookie of the Year
Chris Chambliss, Cleveland


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Bob Gibson, St. Louis
C Johnny Bench, Cincinnati
1B Wes Parker, Los Angeles
2B Tommy Helms, Cincinnati
3B Doug Rader, Houston
SS Bud Harrelson, New York
OF Bobby Bonds, San Francisco
OF Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh
OF Willie Davis, Los Angeles


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Jim Kaat, Minnesota
C Ray Fosse, Cleveland
1B George Scott, Boston
2B Dave Johnson, Baltimore
3B Brooks Robinson, Baltimore
SS Mark Belanger, Baltimore
OF Paul Blair, Baltimore
OF Amos Otis, Kansas City
OF Carl Yastrzemski, Boston