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Washington Senators Last Game - 1971 The Washington Senators' 71st and last season in the American League came to a sad and strange end on September 30, 1971. Some 14,000 disenchanted fans came to RFK stadium one last time to see the home team play the New York Yankees in a meaningless contest. Many brought along insulting and obscene banners denouncing team owner Bob Short who had announced the team was relocating to Texas for the 1972 season. Love was showered on the players, though. Even the most mediocre Senators were given hearty cheers when they first came to bat. The loudest ovation was saved for slugging fan favorite Frank Howard who responded with a home run. However, things began to turn ugly in the eighth inning just after the Senators had taken a 7-5 lead. Here's Shirley Povich's account of what happened as it appeared in the next day's Washington Post: "As if in sudden awareness that the end of major-league baseball in Washington was only one inning way, the mood hardened. 'We want Bob Short!' was the cry that picked up in loud and angry chorus, and it was the baying-fury sound of a lynch mob. Then a swarm of young kids, squirts who wouldn't know what it had meant to have a big-league team all these years, or what it would mean to lose one, flooded onto the field from all points of the stands. A public address announcement warned that the home team could forfeit the game unless the field was cleared, and pretty soon the game resumed. It got as far as two out in the ninth, the Senators' 7-5 lead intact, no Yankee on base, when one young rebel from the stands set off again. He grabbed first base and ran off with it. Some unbelievers, undaunted by the warning of forfeit, cheered, and from out of the stands poured hundreds, maybe a couple of thousand fans. They took over the infield, the outfield, grabbed off every base as a souvenir, tried to get the numbers and lights from the scoreboard or anything else removable, and by their numbers left police and the four umpires helpless to intervene. The mad scene on the field, with the athletes of both teams taking refuge in their dugouts, brought official announcement of Yankees 9, Senators 0, baseball's traditional forfeit count almost since Abner Doubleday notched the first baseball score on the handiest twig at Cooperstown. But by then the crowd-mood was philosophical, 'So what?' Or more accurately, 'So what the hell?' The Senators were finished, even if the ball game wasn't."
Tags: baseball  riot  1971  Washington  Senators 
Added: 16th January 2012
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Steve on 2012-01-16 
I was a Washington Senator fan and remember this well. I could not follow them to Texas even though my brother did. A glutton for punishment I became a New York Met fan.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2012-01-16 
Baseball historians know the 1971 Senators were the last team of the second Washington AL franchise. The first was an original AL team in 1901. It relocated to Minnesota in 1961. Washington was granted a new AL team (along with the L.A. Angels) for 1961 and stayed in D.C. until that last game on September 30, 1971.

Interestingly, the Senators--a fifth-place team in the six team AL East-- had the highest admission prices in the AL in 1971.
Posted by: eric1957 on 2012-01-22 
I don't know who the writer was that said this: Wasahington. First in war. First in peace. And last in the American League.
Posted by: Garvoon on 2012-02-17 
I'm well aware of both Senators teams and was a die-hard fan, going to my very first Nats game in 1957 (I was 7) to see them play the Indians at Griffith stadium. I was in the Navy and stationed up in NY when the Nats played at Yankee stadium (the OLD stadium) ... Denny McLean (spelling) was pitching and we one 1-0 ... that was my last Senators game. NOW, I go to the Nationals games at Nationals park and really love the National League ... no designated hitter ... plus, we have Zimmerman, Zimmermann and Strassburg! BTW, the first NEW Senators game against the OLD Senators (Twins) that I saw, we won 14-4.

Play ball!
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