BLAST FROM THE PAST: A look back at the summer of 1971WORTHINGTON — For five weeks during the summer of 1971, Carole King was on top of Billboard’s Top 40 with her two-sided record — featuring “It’s Too Late” on one side and “I Feel the Earth Move” on the flip side.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — For five weeks during the summer of 1971, Carole King was on top of Billboard’s Top 40 with her two-sided record — featuring “It’s Too Late” on one side and “I Feel the Earth Move” on the flip side.
While King’s dual hit was selling records and being played by radio disc jockeys across the country, Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott, James Irwin and Alfred Worden were successfully venturing on the fourth U.S. space flight which landed on the moon.
The crew was in space from July 26 – Aug. 6, including a trio of lunar walks by Scott and Irwin during the middle days of the trip. A space walk by Worden on the way home was also a highlight of Apollo 15’s journey.
While most Americans can name the crew of Apollo 11 from two years earlier, few remember much about the voyage of Scott, Irwin and Worden.
Can you name the hottest selling new car from that summer?
According to an advertisement in the Thursday, July 15, 1971 edition of the Daily Globe, it was the Plymouth Duster.
“Close Out of America’s No. 1 Selling Compact” ran the heading to the ad, which contained a picture lined deep with Dusters.
“Largest selection in 17 county area,” was in smaller print, followed by “1971 Plymouth Dusters” in larger print.
The picture of the Dusters was next, with more information below, including the contact information for Scholtes Motors, Inc. at 1215 Sherwood in Worthington.
My older brother, Dane, bought one of those Dusters and sold me his 1963 Dodge Coronet — with push-button transmission — and I had a “set of wheels” for the first time.
Who could name the starting pitchers for Major League Baseball’s 1971 All-Star Game?
Pitching for the American League was Vida Blue and throwing for the National League was Dock Ellis.
OK, what teams did they represent?
Blue, a lefty, was the ace of the upcoming Oakland Athletics and had an amazing record of 17-3 at the All-Star break, including 188 strikeouts.
Ellis was a hard-firing right-hander for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had a 10-game lead in the National League East at the break.
In stark contrast to this season — where all six division races are exceptionally close — 40 years ago, the gaps were wide in mid-July.
The closest spread was in the American League East where the Baltimore Orioles held a mere five-and-a-half game edge on the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees were 14½ games back with a 41-47 record.
The San Francisco Giants led the National League West by six games over the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Pittsburgh (57-31) had the best percentage (.648) of all 24 teams and held its 10-game advantage on both the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.
In the American League West, Oakland (55-32, .644) had the largest lead of all — owning an 11½ game spread on the Kansas City Royals, while the Minnesota Twins (41-46, .471) were in third place, 15 games behind Oakland.
Now, who could name the rest of the starters for the 1971 All-Star Classic, which amazingly featured a total of 20 future Hall of Famers?
Here’s one more question — name the three Willie’s who started for the National League?
Here was the batting order and line-up for the National League:
Willie Mays, Giants, CF; Hank Aaron, Atlanta Braves, RF; Joe Torre, St. Louis Cardinals, 3B; Willie Stargell, Pirates, LF; Willie McCovey, Giants, 1B; Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds, C; Glenn Beckert, Cubs, 2B; Bud Harrelson, Mets, SS and Ellis.
Here was the American League’s batting order and line-up:
Rod Carew, Twins, 2B; Bobby Murcer, Yankees, CF; Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox, LF; Frank Robinson, Orioles, RF; Norm Cash, Detroit Tigers, 1B; Brooks Robinson, Orioles, 3B; Bill Freehan, Tigers, C; Luis Aparico, Red Sox, SS and Blue.
Two legends — Earl Weaver of Baltimore managed the American League and Sparky Anderson of Cincinnati was in charge of the National League All-Stars.
How did the game go?
Played at fabled Tiger Stadium in Detroit with an American League partisan crowd of 53,599 fans watching, a trio of two-run homers by American League sluggers Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew lifted the AL to a 6-4 victory, snapping the National League’s eight-game winning streak.
Pinch-hitting for Blue, Jackson blasted a towering — estimated at close to 600 feet — shot off Ellis in the third inning and Robinson smacked a two-run round tripper later in the same frame, as the AL erased an early 3-0 deficit.
Bench belted a two-run homer off of Blue in the top of the second and Aaron’s solo blast in the top of the third inning accounted for the NL’s first three runs.
After the AL took its 4-3 lead in the bottom of the third, Killebrew delivered what turned out to be the decisive blow, belting a two-run blast over the fence in the sixth, lifting his team to a 6-3 edge.
A solo homer by Roberto Clementine in the top of the eighth — in his final All-Star at bat — closed the gap to 6-4 and tied an All-Star Game record with the sixth home run of the evening.
Each team smacked three homers, but two of the National League’s blasts were solo home runs.
What an outstanding game it was?
The “cast” was truly a collection of “all-stars” with a grand total of 20 selected players — and both managers — later being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The National League had 11 of players — Aaron, Bench, Lou Brock (Cardinals) Steve Carlton (Cardinals) Clemente, Ferguson Jenkins (Cubs) Juan Marichal (Giants) Mays, McCovey, Tom Seaver (Mets) and Stargell — who would later enter the Hall.
Nine of the American Leaguers — Aparicio, Carew, Jackson (Athletics) Al Kaline (Tigers), Killebrew (Twins), Jim Palmer (Orioles), Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Yastrzemski — would also later be enshrined among the best of Major League Baseball history.
What a true “classic” was played in Detroit — 40 years ago — on Tuesday evening, July 13, 1971.
Area sports’ highlights from the Summer of ‘71
On the day of the All-Star Game preview, there was a picture — on the Daily Globe sports page — of the 1971 Worthington Cubs who were opening First Night League amateur baseball playoff action against Fulda on Wednesday night.
Members of the Cubs included Bruce Kruger, Craig Rogers, Tom Osterberg, Bruce Wendling, Tom Rogers, Marlin Kuhl, Tom Melcher, Kenny Hamman, Terry Nickel, Bob Espeset, Charley Suss, Mike Reeves, Gary Sonju, Denny Anderson, Don Olson, Charles Hatz and Wayne Klumper.
Sonju, the player-manager, was a top pitcher for the Cubs that summer.
On that same page was a brief story about a high-scoring game played on the previous Sunday between Adrian and Hadley — the final game of Gopher League regular-season action.
Gene Scheidt had four hits in five trips to the plate to lead Adrian to a 12-11 victory, while Greg Johnson “smashed a four-bagger” for Hadley.
In Wednesday night action, the Windom Pirates received an ace pitching performance from Lakefield’s Ken Wilson — 18 strikeouts — in a two-hit shutout of the Slayton Rockets.
Franz Boelter, Jim Nelson and Jeff Spielman each had two hits for Windom.
Pat Baumgartner ripped a pair of home runs and strong relief pitching by Jim Broich helped Wilmont edged Rushmore, 6-4, in the opening round of the Gopher League playoffs.
Fulda’s Verlin Koster struck out eight Cubs and twirled a complete-game shutout, as the Giants won their first game of the summer, blanking Worthington, 4-0, in the opener of their playoff series.
In a youth golf tournament held at the Worthington Country Club, the following youngsters performed well, within their respective flights: Frank Fager, Tim Christensen, Roger Nelson, Craig Silver, John Christensen, Mike Brower, Chris Lowry, Monte Tolsma, Jim Motl, Curt Silver, John Benson, Rick Carrick, Wade Johnson, Pete Suby, Kevin Lease, Chuck Bernaby, Dan Christensen, Robbie Cuff, Bruce Benson, Pete Schissel, Mark Rademacher, Dave Schissel, Dave Nerem and Kevin Meyer.
The Cubs came back, behind the shutout pitching performance of Rod Hehenberger (nine strikeouts, no walks, five hits) to claim a 4-0 victory over the Giants in Game 2 of their playoff series.
Organized by Worthington High School head track and field coach Doug Perry, young athletes from nine area towns came to Trojan Field for the summer’s second All-Comers Track Meet, which included several stellar performances.
On the last weekend in July, the Worthington American Legion baseball team won the Sub-District 4 championship with a 6-0 victory over Lismore.
Tom Suby (eight strikeouts) pitched a five-hit shutout for Worthington, which smacked eight hits in the game, including two each from Craig Rogers (double) and Rich Bruns.
Kelly Ingenthron and Bob Espeset both had doubles in the game for Worthington, while Tom Harens and Denny Hitzemann each slapped singles.
Slayton’s Denny Beers (13 strikeouts) pitched a four-hit shutout that same weekend, as the Rockets eliminated the Cubs from the First Night League playoffs, 5-0.
Dave McClintock belted a two-run homer in the fourth inning to spark Slayton’s offense.
MSHSL seeks fans’ input for Centennial
Next March will mark the 100th edition of the fabled Minnesota High School state boys’ basketball tournament.
Members of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) staff are seeking public input to determine a number of to stories from tournaments past.
The six categories — from both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments — include greatest state tournament games, best state tournament finishes, best state tournament shots, best state tournament teams, best state tournament players and best state tournament coaches.
The poll is available until July 31 and will be reviewed by members of the league staff and a panel of basketball experts, but results will not be released until the 2012 state tournaments.
I have a few thoughts on some of these topics — like Jeff Nessler’s tremendous game-winning (from halfcourt) shot in the 1972 Class A championship game — and I will present some of them in the next “Blast From the Past.”