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1979 World Series

1979 World Series Team / Wins Manager Season Pittsburgh Pirates(4) Chuck Tanner98-64, .605 Baltimore Orioles(3) Earl Weaver102-57, .642
Dates: October 10October 17 MVP: Willie Stargell (Pittsburgh) (at 39 was the oldest in history) Television: ABC TV announcers: Keith Jackson (Games 1-2; Games 6-7)
Al Michaels (Games 3-5)
Howard Cosell
Don Drysdale Radio network: CBS Radio announcers: Vin Scully
Sparky Anderson Umpires: Jerry Neudecker (AL)
Bob Engel (NL)
Russ Goetz (AL)
Paul Runge (NL)
Jim McKean (AL)
Terry Tata (NL) Future Hall of Famers: Pirates: Willie Stargell.
Orioles: Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer. ALCS: Baltimore Orioles over California Angels (3-1) NLCS: Pittsburgh Pirates over Cincinnati Reds (3-0) World Series  < 19781980 > 

The 1979 World Series matched the National League's Pittsburgh Pirates (98-64) against the American League's Baltimore Orioles (102-57), with the Pirates coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the Series in seven games. The Pirates were famous for adopting Sister Sledge's hit anthem "We Are Family" as their theme song.

Stargell, pitcher Bruce Kison, and catcher Manny Sanguillen were the only players left over from the 1971 Pirates team that faced the Orioles. Orioles' pitcher Jim Palmer, Mark Belanger, and manager Earl Weaver were the only ones who were still with the team that faced the Pirates in 1971.

In this Series, it was the American League team's "turn" to play by National League rules, meaning no designated hitter and the Orioles' pitchers would have to bat. While this resulted in Tim Stoddard getting his first major league hit and RBI in Game 4, overall, it hurt the Orioles because Lee May, their designated hitter for much of the season and a key part of their offense, was only able to bat three times in the whole series.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the last team to win Game 7 of the World Series on the road.

Willie Stargell, the series MVP, hit .400 with a record seven extra-base hits and matched Reggie Jackson's record of 25 total bases, set in 1977.

Contents

Background

Baltimore Orioles

These same two teams met at the beginning of the decade, in 1971. Earl Weaver's Orioles had won the first two games of that series only to lose to Danny Murtaugh's Pirates in seven. This time Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner was looking to win a Series of his own. Gone were the likes of slugger Boog Powell and defensive wizard Brooks Robinson - shortstop Mark Belanger and pitcher Jim Palmer were the only two remaining players from the 1971 roster. A young (23 year old) "Steady Eddie" Murray was a staple at first-base and an emerging superstar. The only other real "star" hitter on the team was right-fielder Ken Singleton who set career highs in home runs, 35, and runs batted in, 111, in the regular season. Center fielder Al Bumbry provided the speed, 37 swipes, and outfielder Gary Roenicke and third-baseman Doug Decinces provided some additional power. The talented pitching staff was captained by veteran catcher Rick Dempsey. The starters were led by 1979 Cy Young Award winner, Mike Flanagan (23-9, 3.08), Scott McGregor (13-6, 3.35), Steve Stone (11-7, 3.77) and Jim Palmer (10-6, 3.30). The bullpen helped with 30 wins against only 13 losses led by Don Stanhouse (7-3, 21 saves) and Tippy Martinez (10-3, 2.88). The Orioles won the American League East rather easily, finishing 8 games ahead of 2nd place Milwaukee Brewers.

Pittsburgh Pirates

On the other hand, these Pittsburgh Pirates struggled early in the season eventually winning the National League East by just 2 games over the Montreal Expos. Only after getting infielders, Tim Foli (from the New York Mets) and Bill Madlock (from the San Francisco Giants), did the Pirates start winning consistently. The great Roberto Clemente had inspired the 1971 team toward the title and the key ingredient to this team was his successor and spiritual leader, 38-year-old Willie "Pops" Stargell. His clubhouse demeanor, a simple good-heartedness and friendly manner, helped keep the Pirates loose during a tight divisional race with a surprise sweep of the always powerful Cincinnati Reds in the divisional playoffs.

The Bucs lineup featured the National League leader in stolen bases, Omar Moreno with 77; team runs batted in leader, Dave Parker with 98, and 2-time batting champion, Bill Madlock (1975, 1976). Madlock would add two more batting titles in 1981 and 1983. The pitching staff was a ragtag bunch led by the "Candy-Man", John Candelaria's 14 wins (9 losses) with five other pitchers winning 10 or more games. The tall and lean Kent Tekulve had 31 saves, good for 2nd in the league, while winning 10 games.

"Pops" Stargell would hit three home runs in this series becoming the oldest player to win both the regular season MVP and the World Series MVP. His "Family" would come back after losing the first 3 out of 4 games giving Earl Weaver and his Orioles a déjà vu nightmare, the Bucs coming back to win in 7 games.

Summary

NL Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs AL Baltimore Orioles (3)

Game Score Date Location Attendance 1 Pittsburgh Pirates - 4, Baltimore Orioles - 5 October 10Memorial Stadium53,735[1]2 Pittsburgh Pirates - 3, Baltimore Orioles - 2 October 11Memorial Stadium53,739[2]3 Baltimore Orioles - 8, Pittsburgh Pirates - 4 October 12Three Rivers Stadium50,848[3]4 Baltimore Orioles - 9, Pittsburgh Pirates - 6 October 13Three Rivers Stadium50,883[4]5 Baltimore Orioles - 1, Pittsburgh Pirates - 7 October 14Three Rivers Stadium50,920[5]6 Pittsburgh Pirates - 4, Baltimore Orioles - 0 October 16Memorial Stadium53,739[6]7 Pittsburgh Pirates - 4, Baltimore Orioles - 1 October 17Memorial Stadium53,733[7]

Matchups

Game 1

Wednesday, October 10, 1979 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Pittsburgh 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 4 11 3 Baltimore 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 5 6 3

WP: Mike Flanagan (1-0)  LP: Bruce Kison (0-1)  
HRs:  PIT – Willie Stargell (1)  BAL – Doug DeCinces (1)

On a cold wet October night, the 1979 World Series got off to an ugly start. The Orioles scored five runs in the first, two on a throwing error by second baseman Phil Garner, one on a wild pitch by starter Bruce Kison, and the final two on a homer by Doug DeCinces. The Pirate relief corps held the Orioles in check as the Pirates clawed their way back on the strength of four hits by Dave Parker and a homer by Willie Stargell. The rally fell short, and the O's escaped with a 5-4 win.

1960 World Series hero Bill Mazeroski threw out the first ball in Game 5.

Game 2

Thursday, October 11, 1979 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Pittsburgh 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 11 2 Baltimore 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 6 1

WP: Don Robinson (1-0)  LP: Don Stanhouse (0-1)  SV: Kent Tekulve (1)  
HRs:  BAL – Eddie Murray (1)

This time, the Pirates struck first with two in the second on an RBI single by Bill Madlock and a sacrifice fly by catcher Ed Ott. The Orioles countered in the bottom half of the inning with an Eddie Murray solo homer. Murray would also tie the game in the sixth by doubling in Ken Singleton. Murray tried to put the Orioles ahead in the same inning by tagging and attempting to score on a line-out to right by John Lowenstein, but Dave Parker threw him out easily. Making the decision to send Murray that much more odd was the fact that Parker's throw to the plate arrived well ahead of him. Murray tried to bowl Ott over at the plate, but the stocky Ott held fast, staying on his feet.

Murray also made a questionable base running decision in the eighth. With Murray on second with no outs, Lowenstein grounded into the hole between short and third and Tim Foli made a sensational stop. Murray inexplicably stopped between second and third, and Foli threw to Madlock to force him out, and then Madlock threw to Phil Garner at second to force Doug DeCinces and complete an unusual double play. Murray would not collect another hit or RBI for the rest of the Series.

The Pirates went ahead in the top of the ninth on a two-out single by Ott, a walk to Garner, and a clutch single by pinch-hitter Manny Sanguillen. Ott barely slid past the outstretched arms of catcher Rick Dempsey to score the winning run. Kent Tekulve retired the side in the ninth for the save.

Game 3

Friday, October 12, 1979 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Baltimore 0 0 2 5 0 0 1 0 0 8 13 0 Pittsburgh 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 9 2

WP: Scott McGregor (1-0)  LP: John Candelaria (0-1)  
HRs:  BAL – Benny Ayala (1)

With left-hander John Candelaria taking the mound for the Pirates, Oriole manager Earl Weaver made a couple of lineup changes, hoping to spark more offense. He led off with Kiko Garcia, playing shortstop in place of light-hitting Mark Belanger, and used Benny Ayala in place of Al Bumbry. Ayala and Garcia were both right-handed hitters. The moves paid off as Ayala slammed a two-run homer in the third, and Garcia sparked a five-run rally in the fourth with a bases-loaded triple as part of a 4-for-4, 4 RBI evening. O's starter