There are a lot of interesting things to say about the 1974 MLB standings. For one thing, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West. For another, John Montefusco makes his major league debut. Lou Brock stole 105 bases in a game against Phillies pitchers Dick Ruthven & Bob Boone. The year also saw the end of the legendary Al Downing’s career, who tallied 104 stolen bases in a single season.
Los Angeles won the National League West
After finishing runners-up to Chicago Cubs in 1974, Los Angeles won 1975 the National League West. That season, the team won 106 games and reached the World Series for the first time in 29 years. The team won 106 games in 2018 and reached the postseason for only the ninth time in franchise history. The team lost six games in the World Series to the Atlanta Braves.
The National League has seen teams such as the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers win the championship. In recent years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been dominant in the National League West and are on their way to winning the 2020 World Series. The National League East is also a highly competitive division with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals being among the top contenders.
The Dodgers won for the second consecutive year the National League West. After a disastrous start to the year, the Dodgers broke out of their hitting slump. They won 37 of their 54 remaining games to win the NL East, denying the NL East their second consecutive division title. However, the Dodgers’ NLCS win was not a significant upset. Los Angeles’ pitching staff, led by Don Sutton, pitched 17 innings for one run and two hits.
The teams finished within three games of each other during the wild card era, but they still managed to win the division. The division was won by the Dodgers by eight games in 1997, while the Giants won it by six. In 2002, both teams reached the postseason, but San Francisco won the Wild Card game and won the World Series. Los Angeles and San Francisco have never finished in close races.
John Montefusco, SF Giants, makes his major league debut
On September 3, 1974, SF Giants’ John Montefuso made his major league debut. He pitched nine innings of relief and hit his first pitch, scoring a home run. The Giants won 9-5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gary Gaetti scored his 200th career home run against Charlie Hough on that day, nine years after he had hit his first major league homerun against Hough.
He was born in Long Branch, New Jersey and signed as a Giants free agent in 1972. He had great pitching experience, including at a community college. He also pitched semi-pro ball for several years. In the minors, he went 9-2 with the Decatur Commodores in 1973 and then went 15-12 with two teams in 1974. He made his major league debut in 1973 and decided to call Montefusco. He went 3-2 in seven games with San Francisco.
Montefusco pitched in the majors for nine seasons, and earned his nickname ‘The Count.’ He also played for the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves in the majors. He pitched well in the majors, earning nine wins and a.285 ERA. He was a fan favorite and was well-known for his brilliance and cockiness.
His first two seasons in major leagues were disappointing but he was back to his best the next year. After a disappointing year with the Padres, Montefusco was traded to the New York Yankees and won 15 games with a 2.88 ERA. He struck out 215 batters in 1975 and led the league with six shutouts. Although he would never be as impressive as he was in his first two years, he would continue to pitch in the majors for another three seasons.
Graig Nttles hits four homers during a doubleheader
Graig Nettles has hit four home runs in his career. Melvin Mora hit a solo homer in the first inning. Brian Allard scored the other. The game ended when rain halted play in the top of the fourth.
Graig Nttles hit four consecutive home runs against his former team, Cleveland Indians. The seventh inning saw a triple by Nettles. This doubleheader ends with a split in Cleveland, but Nettles ties the major league record with 11 home runs in April. George Mitterwald of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits three home runs. Burt Hooton of Chicago gives up 16 hits over eight innings.
He hits four home runs in the first game and also hits a walk-off to win the game. His five home runs in two games match the record of Stan Musial, who hit 20 home runs during his first two seasons. He was only 17 years old, but his career was already well on the rise. His success was fueled by his ability to hit home runs in his prime.
Graig Nttles, who was playing against Larry Demery, hit a 375-foot homer, but he was called out. He was still credited for a single and three RBIs. Rain forced the game to be reduced to eight innings, and the Indians won the series. The Indians won the series with a 2-1 victory.
The Red Sox and Yankees were locked in a Pennant race until August. Both teams were still in the hunt in September. The Yankees won AL East while the Red Sox finished in 3rd. Graig Nettles hit four home runs in one game and a doubleheader to win the division.
Graig Nettles hit four home runs during a doubleheader in September, 1934. During the first game, the Browns scored four runs, but the Athletics stayed on top and won the game 5-0. Graig Nettles hit four home runs during a doubleheader on September 10, 1934.
Al Downing’s career
Downing performed an average of 75 gigs per year in the late 70s and early 1980s. His first album in ten years, One of a Kind, ranked third on the American Roots Country chart. His album also featured 14 memorable tracks, including a cover of the Bob Dylan song “Runaway Train.” Downing performed on the Grand Ole Opry in the early 2000s. He also received the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame nomination.
1964 was Downing’s first major league debut. He was a hard-throwing left-hander who led the league in strikeouts. His best season came with the Dodgers, where he finished third in the Cy Young balloting and finished with a 2.68 ERA. Aaron and Downing were reunited in 1974 at the 25th anniversary Aaron’s home run. Downing slugged his first major-league home run.
By the time Downing’s career ended in 1974, he had already earned a small collection of honors. His seventeen-inning road opener against the Atlanta Braves against the New York Yankees in 1974 became immortal, with Downing’s shaky performance bringing down Aaron’s 715th career home run. Downing had only pitched three frames of springtraining and had already allowed seven home runs to Aaron.
In addition to being an all-star in 1967, Downing also won the National League Comeback Player Award in 1971. Downing is not regretful about his performance, despite the loss in the 1974 World Series. While he faced some of the best players in baseball, Downing was able to relate to Aaron’s struggles in the 1960s. Although he is not a well-known pitcher, his success shows the power of the Yankees’ fans.
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