1981 Season News

In the first game of an April 19th doubleheader, the Oakland Athletics set a Major League mark for most consecutive wins at the start of the season after running their record to 11-0 with a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.

On Friday, May 15th, Cleveland Indians pitcher Len Barker (the 1980 American League strikeout leader) fanned eleven batters on the way to a 3-0 triumph over the Toronto Blue Jays for the ninth perfect game in 20th century history.

The Milwaukee Brewers' Rollie Fingers became the first relief pitcher ever to win the American League MVP Award, edging the Oakland A's Rickey Henderson 319-308. The lanky right-hander with the handlebar mustache went on to become one of the greatest relief artists in all of baseball, lasting seventeen years and compiling the record for most career saves (three-hundred forty-five) as well as World Series saves (seven).

Philadelphia ace Steve Carlton struck out the side (Tim Raines, Jerry Manuel, and Tim Wallach) in the first inning of a 6-2 Phillies victory over the Montreal Expos on April 29th to become the first lefthander in Major League history (and sixth pitcher overall) to record three-thousand career strikeouts.

The Executive Board of the Players' Association voted unanimously to strike on May 29th due to the unresolved issue of free-agent compensation. The deadline was extended briefly, however, after the Players' Association's unfair labor complaint was heard by the National Labor Relations Board.

At 12:30 A.M on June 12th, union chief Marvin Miller announced the player's strike beginning the longest labor action to date in American sports history. By the time the season finally resumed on August 10th, seven-hundred six games (38 percent of the Major League schedule) had been canceled.

Due to the two-month strike, Major League owners elected to split the 1981 season into two halves, with the first-place teams from each half in each division meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. As a result, the Oakland A's, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Dodgers were guaranteed playoff spots as first-half league champions.
1981 American League East
Team Record GB
Milwaukee Brewers 62-47 -
Baltimore Orioles 59-46 1.0
New York Yankees 60-49 2.0
Detroit Tigers 59-48 2.0
Boston Red Sox 59-49 2.5
Cleveland Indians 52-51 7.0
Toronto Blue Jays 37-69 23.5
1981 American League West
Team Record GB
Oakland Athletics 64-45 -
Texas Rangers 57-48 5.0
Chicago White Sox 54-52 8.5
Kansas City Royals 50-53 11.0
California Angels 51-59 13.5
Seattle Mariners 44-65 20.0
Minnesota Twins 41-68 23.0
1981 National League East
Team Record GB
St. Louis Cardinals 59-43 -
Montreal Expos 60-48 2.0
Philadelphia Phillies 59-48 2.5
Pittsburgh Pirates 46-56 13.0
New York Mets 41-62 18.5
Chicago Cubs 38-65 21.5
1981 National League West
Team Record GB
Cincinnati Reds 66-42 -
Los Angeles Dodgers 63-47 4.0
Houston Astros 61-49 6.0
San Francisco Giants 56-55 11.5
Atlanta Braves 50-56 15.0
San Diego Padres 41-69 26.0
American League Team Stats
Team W L PCT RS RS/G RA RA/G HR HRA AVG OBP SLG ERA BBA SOA FPCT DP
Oakland Athletics 64 45 0.587 458 4.20 403 3.70 104 80 0.247 0.312 0.379 3.30 370 505 0.980 74
Milwaukee Brewers 62 47 0.569 493 4.52 459 4.21 96 72 0.257 0.312 0.391 3.91 352 448 0.982 135
Baltimore Orioles 59 46 0.562 429 4.09 437 4.16 88 83 0.251 0.328 0.379 3.70 347 489 0.983 114
New York Yankees 59 48 0.551 421 3.93 343 3.21 100 64 0.252 0.327 0.391 2.90 287 606 0.982 100
Detroit Tigers 60 49 0.550 427 3.92 404 3.71 65 83 0.256 0.331 0.368 3.53 373 476 0.985 109
Boston Red Sox 59 49 0.546 519 4.81 481 4.45 90 90 0.275 0.341 0.399 3.81 354 536 0.979 108
Texas Rangers 57 48 0.543 452 4.30 389 3.70 49 67 0.270 0.326 0.369 3.40 322 488 0.984 102
Chicago White Sox 54 52 0.509 476 4.49 423 3.99 76 73 0.272 0.331 0.387 3.47 336 529 0.979 113
Cleveland Indians 52 51 0.505 431 4.18 442 4.29 39 67 0.263 0.329 0.351 3.88 311 569 0.978 91
Kansas City Royals 50 53 0.485 397 3.85 405 3.93 61 75 0.267 0.325 0.383 3.56 273 404 0.982 94
California Angels 51 59 0.464 476 4.33 453 4.12 97 81 0.256 0.328 0.380 3.70 323 426 0.977 120
Seattle Mariners 44 65 0.404 426 3.91 521 4.78 89 76 0.251 0.311 0.368 4.23 360 478 0.979 122
Minnesota Twins 41 68 0.376 378 3.47 486 4.46 47 79 0.240 0.293 0.338 3.98 376 500 0.978 103
Toronto Blue Jays 37 69 0.349 329 3.10 466 4.40 61 72 0.226 0.384 0.330 3.82 377 451 0.974 102
National League Team Stats
Team W L PCT RS RS/G RA RA/G HR HRA AVG OBP SLG ERA BBA SOA FPCT DP
Cincinnati Reds 66 42 0.611 464 4.30 440 4.07 64 67 0.267 0.336 0.385 3.73 393 593 0.981 99
St. Louis Cardinals 59 43 0.578 464 4.55 417 4.09 50 52 0.265 0.336 0.377 3.63 290 388 0.981 108
Los Angeles Dodgers 63 47 0.573 450 4.09 356 3.24 82 54 0.262 0.322 0.374 3.01 302 603 0.980 101
Montreal Expos 60 48 0.556 443 4.10 394 3.65 81 58 0.246 0.316 0.370 3.30 268 520 0.980 88
Houston Astros 61 49 0.555 394 3.58 331 3.01 45 40 0.257 0.319 0.356 2.66 300 610 0.980 81
Philadelphia Phillies 59 48 0.551 491 4.59 472 4.41 69 72 0.273 0.340 0.389 4.05 347 580 0.980 90
San Francisco Giants 56 55 0.505 427 3.85 414 3.73 63 57 0.250 0.320 0.357 3.28 393 561 0.978 102
Atlanta Braves 50 56 0.472 395 3.73 416 3.92 64 62 0.243 0.305 0.349 3.45 330 471 0.976 93
Pittsburgh Pirates 46 56 0.451 407 3.99 425 4.17 55 60 0.257 0.311 0.369 3.56 346 492 0.979 106
New York Mets 41 62 0.398 348 3.38 432 4.19 57 74 0.248 0.309 0.356 3.55 336 490 0.968 89
San Diego Padres 41 69 0.373 382 3.47 455 4.14 32 64 0.256 0.313 0.346 3.72 414 492 0.977 117
Chicago Cubs 38 65 0.369 370 3.59 483 4.69 57 59 0.236 0.303 0.340 4.01 388 532 0.974 103