1972 National League Championship Series

The 1972 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates from October 7 to 11. Cincinnati won the series three games to two to advance to the World Series against the Oakland A's. The Reds became the first team in major league history to advance to the World Series without the best record in their respective league, made possible by the Junior and Senior Circuits each splitting into two divisions in 1969. In the previous three post seasons, the team with the best record in each league advanced to the World Series.

The 1972 NLCS ended with a dramatic ninth inning rally in the fifth and deciding game. The series was also notable as the last on-field appearance by Pittsburgh's future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who would die in a plane crash on December 31.

1972 National League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Cincinnati Reds (3) Sparky Anderson 95–59, .617, GA: ​10 12
Pittsburgh Pirates (2) Bill Virdon 96–59, .619, GA: 11
DatesOctober 7–11
UmpiresAugie Donatelli, Ken Burkhart, Doug Harvey, Billy Williams, John Kibler, Harry Wendelstedt
TV announcersJim Simpson, Sandy Koufax (Game 1)
Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek (Games 3–5)
NBC did not televise Game 2 due to conflicts with its NFL coverage.


Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati won the series, 3–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 7 Cincinnati Reds – 1, Pittsburgh Pirates – 5 Three Rivers Stadium 1:57 50,476[1] 
2 October 8 Cincinnati Reds – 5, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3 Three Rivers Stadium 2:43 50,584[2] 
3 October 9 Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 2 Riverfront Stadium 2:23 52,420[3] 
4 October 10 Pittsburgh Pirates – 1, Cincinnati Reds – 7 Riverfront Stadium 1:58 39,447[4] 
5 October 11 Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 4 Riverfront Stadium 2:19 41,887[5]

Game summaries

Game 1

Saturday, October 7, 1972 1:00 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0
Pittsburgh 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 X 5 6 0
WP: Steve Blass (1–0)   LP: Don Gullett (0–1)   Sv: Ramón Hernández (1)
Home runs:
CIN: Joe Morgan (1)
PIT: Al Oliver (1)

The Reds got a first-inning homer from second baseman Joe Morgan to take a short-lived 1–0 lead. But Pittsburgh bounced back with three in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by an RBI triple from Al Oliver and an RBI double from Willie Stargell. Pittsburgh never looked back, getting a two-run homer from Oliver in the fifth and coasting to the win behind the strong pitching of Steve Blass. The frustrated Reds ultimately stranded 11 baserunners, and their manager Sparky Anderson was ejected in the fourth inning. The time of game was a brisk 1 hour and 57 minutes.

Game 2

Sunday, October 8, 1972 1:00 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 8 1
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 7 1
WP: Tom Hall (1–0)   LP: Bob Moose (0–1)
Home runs:
CIN: Joe Morgan (2)
PIT: None

Cincinnati bounced back to even the series in Game 2. Pittsburgh starter Bob Moose allowed five consecutive hits to start the game. Bobby Tolan and Tony Pérez both hit two-run doubles to give the Reds a 4–0 lead and chase Moose. The Pittsburgh bullpen stopped the Reds offense, though, and the Pirates came back to make it a 4–3 game with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, as Milt May, Roberto Clemente and Dave Cash picked up RBIs. Joe Morgan homered in the eighth to give the Reds a crucial insurance run, and Cincinnati reliever Tom Hall finished a long and strong relief stint to get the victory.

Game 3

Monday, October 9, 1972 3:00 pm (ET) at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 7 0
Cincinnati 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 1
WP: Bruce Kison (1–0)   LP: Clay Carroll (0–1)   Sv: Dave Giusti (1)
Home runs:
PIT: Manny Sanguillén (1)
CIN: None

The series moved to Cincinnati and produced a tense, low-scoring contest. Cincinnati's Darrell Chaney and Bobby Tolan hit RBI singles in the bottom of the third to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Pittsburgh catcher Manny Sanguillén homered to cut the lead in half, and Rennie Stennett tied the game at 2 in the seventh with an RBI single. The Pirates scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a groundout by Sanguillen. Pirates closer Dave Giusti, came on in the eighth to shut the door on the Reds and earn the save.

Game 4

Tuesday, October 10, 1972 3:00 pm (ET) at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 3
Cincinnati 1 0 0 2 0 2 2 0 X 7 11 1
WP: Ross Grimsley (1–0)   LP: Dock Ellis (0–1)
Home runs:
PIT: Roberto Clemente (1)
CIN: None

The Reds evened the series in Game 4 behind a sparkling two-hitter from left-handed hurler Ross Grimsley. The Reds scored three runs off Pirates starter Dock Ellis, aided by Pittsburgh errors in the first and fourth. Grimsley singled in another run in the sixth and the Reds eventually added three more. The run support was more than enough for Grimsley as he held the typically potent Pirates' offense in check. He yielded just two hits, both by Roberto Clemente. Pittsburgh got its lone run on a seventh-inning homer by Clemente.

Game 5

Wednesday, October 11, 1972 4:30 pm (ET) at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 0
Cincinnati 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 4 7 1
WP: Clay Carroll (1–1)   LP: Dave Giusti (0–1)
Home runs:
PIT: None
CIN: César Gerónimo (1), Johnny Bench (1)

Game 5 proved to be one of the more memorable postseason contests in baseball history. After rain delayed the start of the game for 90 minutes, Pittsburgh took an early 2–0 lead with second-inning RBIs from Richie Hebner and Dave Cash. The Reds got one back in the third on an RBI double by Pete Rose. But Pittsburgh inched further ahead with another run-scoring hit from Cash in the fourth. César Gerónimo cut the Pirates' lead to 3–2 with a homer in the fifth. The Pirate held onto their 1-run margin until a dramatic bottom of the ninth.

With the defending World Series champion Pirates three outs away from returning to defend their title, Reds catcher Johnny Bench homered off Pittsburgh closer Dave Giusti to tie the game. Tony Pérez singled and was replaced by pinch-runner George Foster. Denis Menke followed with another single as Foster moved to second base. Giusti was then replaced with Game 2 starter Bob Moose. A fly ball out advanced Foster to third. Darrell Chaney popped out as Foster stayed at third, before Moose uncorked a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Hal McRae scoring Foster with the winning run, as the hometown fans and the Reds players celebrated a return to the World Series, which they lost to the Oakland A's in an equally dramatic 7-game series.

Composite line score

1972 NLCS (3–2): Cincinnati Reds over Pittsburgh Pirates

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati Reds 6 0 3 2 1 2 2 1 2 19 42 4
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 2 0 2 4 1 2 1 0 15 30 4
Total attendance: 234,814   Average attendance: 46,963


  1. ^ "1972 NLCS Game 1 – Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1972 NLCS Game 2 – Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1972 NLCS Game 3 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1972 NLCS Game 4 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1972 NLCS Game 5 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

1972 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1972 Cincinnati Reds season consisted of the Reds winning the National League West title with a record of 95–59, 10½ games over the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They defeated the previous year's World Series Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1972 National League Championship Series, but lost to the Oakland Athletics in seven games in the 1972 World Series. The Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson.

The theme for the Reds was "Redemption" after a disastrous 1971 season that saw the Reds fall from a World Series participant in 1970 to a sub .500 team a year later. In fact, the March 13, 1972, Sports Illustrated edition featured the Reds on the front cover headlining "Redemption for the Reds." The Reds won 102 games in 1970, but only 79 a year later. A major catalyst for the Reds, Bobby Tolan, ruptured his Achilles' tendon in the winter of 1971, and he missed the entire '71 MLB season. Nearly every Reds regular, including Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez, Bernie Carbo and David Concepcion, had significant decreases in their production from 1970. The lone exception was popular first baseman Lee May, who set career highs in home runs (39) and slugging percentage (.532).

Reds fans, en masse, were shocked and dismayed when, on November 29, 1971, Cincinnati Reds General Manager Bob Howsam traded May, Gold Glove winning second baseman Tommy Helms and key utility man Jimmy Stewart to division rival Houston Astros for second baseman Joe Morgan, third baseman Denis Menke, pitcher Jack Billingham, little used outfielder Cesar Geronimo and minor leaguer Ed Armbrister. The trade turned out to be one of the best trades in Reds history. Morgan would escape the cavernous Houston Astrodome to a more hitter-friendly Riverfront Stadium home park. Surrounded by more talent in Cincinnati, Morgan would become one of the more productive power-speed players in the entire decade on his way to eventual induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Morgan and Geronimo would also go on to each win multiple Gold Glove awards, as Geronimo manned right field until 1974 when he would take over in center field. Billingham would go on to win 12 games in 1972 and 50 total in his first three years with the Reds. Billingham's best moments came in the 1972 World Series when he threw ​13 2⁄3 innings allowing no earned runs in collecting a win, a save, and a no decision in Game 7.

With Rose, Morgan and a healthy Tolan at the top of the lineup, a rejuvenated Bench was the recipient as the Reds' cleanup hitter. Rebounding from the 1971 disaster when Bench only drove in 61 runs, he slammed 40 home runs and had a major league-best 125 RBI. Bench also walked a career-high 100 times on his way to NL MVP honors.

Cincinnati got off to a slow start, winning only eight of their first 21 games before winning nine straight. The Reds were still only 20–18 when they went into Houston to play the retooled Astros for a four-game series, May 29 – June 1, at the Astrodome, a notorious pitchers park. But the Reds scored 39 runs in the series and won all four games. The Reds went into the July 23 All-Star break with a 6½ game lead over the Astros and an 8-game lead over the Dodgers. Neither team seriously threatened the Reds in the second half.

Reds ace Gary Nolan won 13 of his 15 decisions by July 13, only 79 games into the season. But Nolan suffered a series of neck and shoulder ailments that forced him out of the All Star game and limited him to a total of 25 starts. He spent much of the second-half on the disabled list resting and then rehabbing. He won two games after the All-Star break. Nolan still finished second in the National League in ERA (1.99) to Philadelphia's Steve Carlton (1.97). Morgan (122 runs scored, 16 home runs, 73 RBI, 58 stolen bases, .292 average) finished fourth in MVP voting, while Rose (107 runs, 198 hits, 11 triples, .307 avg.) and reliever Clay Carroll (37 saves, 2.25 ERA) were 12th and 13th, respectively, in the MVP voting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, three games to two, in an exciting 1972 National League Championship Series, the first time in its four-year history the NLCS had gone five games. The World Series against the Oakland A's was equally as epic, with the Reds falling in Game 7, 3–2, the sixth game of the series decided by a single run.

1972 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 91st season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 86th in the National League. The defending World Series champion Pirates finished first in the National League East with a record of 96–59. The team was defeated three games to two by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 National League Championship Series. Despite losing the series, the Pirates put up a good fight, unlike the last time the two teams met in the playoffs. In game 5, the Pirates led 3-2 in the 9th inning, and were 3 outs away from pulling off a major upset over the Reds. All looked good until the Pirates collapsed in the 9th inning and allowed 2 runs to score, with the walk off run coming on a wild pitch.

Al Michaels

Alan Richard Michaels (born November 12, 1944) is an American television sportscaster.

Now employed by NBC Sports after nearly three decades (1977–2006) with ABC Sports, Michaels is known for his many years calling play-by-play of National Football League games, including nearly two decades with ABC's Monday Night Football and over a decade with NBC Sunday Night Football. He is also known for famous calls in other sports, including the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics and the earthquake-interrupted Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. Michaels' move from ABC to NBC in 2006 was notable as it was part of an agreement between the two networks' parent companies, The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal, respectively, that allowed Disney to take ownership of the intellectual property of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from NBCUniversal.

Bill Virdon

William Charles Virdon (born June 9, 1931) is an American former professional baseball outfielder, manager, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB). Virdon played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1965 and in 1968. He served as a coach for the Pirates and Houston Astros, and managed the Pirates, Astros, New York Yankees, and Montreal Expos.

After playing in Minor League Baseball for the Yankees organization, Virdon was traded to the Cardinals, and he made his MLB debut in 1955. That year, Virdon won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. He slumped at the beginning of the 1956 season, and was traded to the Pirates, where he spent the remainder of his playing career. A premier defensive outfielder during his playing days as a center fielder for the Cardinals and Pirates, Virdon led a strong defensive team to the 1960 World Series championship. In 1962, Virdon won a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Following the 1965 season, he retired due to his desire to become a manager.

Virdon managed in Minor League Baseball until returning to the Pirates as a coach in 1968. He served as manager of the Pirates in 1972 and 1973, before becoming the manager of the Yankees in 1974. During the 1975 season, the Yankees fired Virdon, and he was hired by the Astros. After being fired by the Astros after the 1982 season, Virdon managed the Expos in 1983 and 1984. Virdon won The Sporting News' Manager of the Year Award in 1974, his only full season working for the Yankees, and in 1980, while managing the Astros. He returned to the Pirates as a coach following his managerial career, and remains with the Pirates as a guest instructor during spring training.

Bob Miller (baseball, born 1939)

Robert Lane Miller (February 18, 1939 – August 6, 1993) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball.

Miller played for three World Series champions—the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers, 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates—five league champions and four division winners, as well as for four teams that lost 100 or more games in a season.Miller played for ten teams during his major league career, tying a modern-day record (since 1900) with Dick Littlefield that has since been broken. He played with three teams in each of three seasons: the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs in 1970; the Cubs, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971; and the Padres, Detroit Tigers and New York Mets in 1973.Steve Treder of Hardball Times described Miller as a "whatever-is-needed utility pitcher". Former teammate Roy Hartsfield, who managed the Toronto Blue Jays when Miller was the team's pitching coach, called him "The Christian", a nickname he earned "because he suffers so much", noting that Miller was a part-time reliever with a sore arm, but that "when we came up with some other sore arms on the staff he would come in and suffer a few innings."His 12 consecutive losses at the start of the 1962 season with the Mets stood as a club record until it was broken by Anthony Young in 1993.

Bruce Kison

Bruce Eugene Kison (February 18, 1950 – June 2, 2018) was an American professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball. He pitched from 1971–85 for three teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates (1971–79), California Angels (1980–84) and Boston Red Sox (1985). Kison won two World Series championships with the Pirates, both over the Baltimore Orioles. He batted and threw right-handed.

During a 15-year career, Kison compiled 115 wins with 88 losses, 1,073 strikeouts, and a 3.66 ERA.

Cincinnati Reds award winners and league leaders

This article is a list of baseball players who are Cincinnati Reds players that are winners of Major League Baseball awards and recognitions, Reds awards and recognitions, and/or are league leaders in various statistical areas.

George Foster (baseball)

George Arthur Foster (born December 1, 1948) is an American former professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball from 1969 to 1986. One of the most feared right-handed sluggers of his era, he was a key piece of the Cincinnati Reds' "Big Red Machine" that won consecutive World Series in 1975 and 1976.

Foster led the National League in home runs in 1977 and 1978, and in RBIs in 1976, 1977, and 1978. He won the NL's Most Valuable Player Award in 1977 and a Silver Slugger Award in 1981.

Hocus Pocus (song)

"Hocus Pocus" is a song by the Dutch rock band Focus, written by keyboardist, flautist and vocalist Thijs van Leer and guitarist Jan Akkerman. It was recorded and released in 1971 as the opening track of their second studio album, Moving Waves.

An edited version was released as a single (with "Janis" as the B-side) on the Imperial Records, Polydor and Blue Horizon labels in Europe in 1971, but it did not chart in the UK until 1973. A faster re-recording, "Hocus Pocus 2", was released as a single (with "House of the King" as the B-side) in Europe in 1972. "Hocus Pocus" c/w "Hocus Pocus II" [sic] was released as a single on the Sire Records label in the United States and Canada in 1973.It reached No. 20 in the UK, No. 18 in Canada, and No. 9 in the US during the spring and summer of 1973. It re-entered the UK charts at No. 57 on 6 June 2010 after being featured heavily on The Chris Moyles Show and in a Nike TV advert shown during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The song has been covered by the Vandals, and was recorded on their debut LP, When in Rome Do as The Vandals in 1984.

Jim McGlothlin

James Milton McGlothlin (October 6, 1943 – December 23, 1975), nicknamed "Red", was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. Born in Los Angeles, he graduated from Reseda High School in 1961 and was signed the following year by the Los Angeles Angels. During a nine-year MLB career, he pitched for California Angels (1965–1969), Cincinnati Reds (1970–73) and Chicago White Sox (1973). McGlothlin threw and batted right-handed and was listed as 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and 185 pounds (84 kg).

Joe Hague

Joe Clarence Hague (April 25, 1944 – November 5, 1994) was a professional baseball player. Over his eight-year career, Hague spent six in Major League Baseball. In 430 major league games, Hague batted .239 with 141 runs, 286 hits, 41 doubles, 10 triples, 40 home runs, and 163 runs batted in (RBIs). Over his major league career, Hague played first base (232 games), and outfield (272 games). Hague played for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds in his six-year major league career.

Over his minor league career, Hague batted .279 with 515 hits, 109 doubles, 18 triples, and 75 home runs in 510 games. Like in his major league career, Hague played both first base (352 games) and outfield (20 games) in the minors. Hague played with four different teams that three levels of the minor leagues in his career. His first professional team was the Class-A Cedar Rapids Cardinals followed by the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, and eventually the Triple-A Tulsa Oilers. Hague made his major league debut on September 19, 1968. He went on to play for the Triple-A Tulsa Oilers for a second time (1969) and the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians (1973) in the minors.

Johnny Bench

Johnny Lee Bench (born December 7, 1947) is an American former professional baseball catcher who played in the Major Leagues for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bench is a 14-time All-Star selection and a two-time National League Most Valuable Player. He was a key member of the Big Red Machine that won six division titles, four National League pennants, and two consecutive World Series championships. Known for his prowess on both offense and defense, ESPN has called him the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Julián Javier

Manuel Julián (Liranzo) Javier (born August 9, 1936 in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic), better known as Julián Javier [hoo-lee-AN hah-vee-ER], is a former Major League Baseball second baseman. Called Hoolie by his teammates, he was also nicknamed "The Phantom" by Tim McCarver for his ability to avoid baserunners sliding into second base. He is the father of former big-leaguer Stan Javier.

Ken Burkhart

Kenneth William Burkhart (born Burkhardt) (November 18, 1916 – December 29, 2004) was an American right-handed pitcher and umpire in Major League Baseball. From 1945 through 1949 he played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1945–48) and Cincinnati Reds (1948–49), and he served as a National League umpire from 1957 to 1973.

Pittsburgh sports lore

In Pittsburgh sports lore history, many extraordinary events have contributed to the city's sports franchises winning — and almost winning — titles. Other events in the city's sports history have been iconic for other reasons.

University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands

The University of Cincinnati Bearcat Bands (often accompanied by the phrase The UC Band Is Damn Good or TUCBIDG) make up the university's athletic band program and are distinct and separate from the College Conservatory of Music. The Bearcat Bands serve as both an academic class and a student group as an independent department within the Division of Student Life.

Vic Davalillo

Víctor José Davalillo Romero [da-va-LEE-yo] (born July 30, 1939) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder for the Cleveland Indians (1963–68), California Angels (1968–69), St. Louis Cardinals (1969–70), Pittsburgh Pirates (1971–73), Oakland Athletics (1973–74) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1977–80). Davalillo batted and threw left-handed.Davalillo was a leadoff hitter known for his speedy baserunning and capable defensive ability. Later in his career, he became a valuable utility player and a record-setting pinch hitter. Davalillo also had an exceptional career in the Venezuelan Winter League where he is the all-time leader in total base hits and in career batting average.


Wiping, also known as junking, is a colloquial term of art for action taken by radio and television production and broadcasting companies, in which old audiotapes, videotapes, and telerecordings (kinescopes), are erased, reused, or destroyed. Although the practice was once very common, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, wiping is now practiced much less frequently.

Older video and audio formats were both much more expensive (relative to the amount of material that could be stored) and took up much more storage space than modern digital video or audio files, making their retention more costly, and there was more incentive to recycle the media for reuse or (in the case of film media) any silver content than to preserve the content, thus increasing the incentive of discarding existing broadcast material to recover storage space and material for newer programs.

The advent of domestic audiovisual playback technology (e.g., videocassette and DVD, and particularly with the rise of digital media in the 1990s) has made wiping less beneficial, as the cost of producing and maintaining copies of telecasts dropped dramatically. In addition, broadcasters also later realized how much commercial potential from home video, cable television and online streaming usage of their archived material was possible and that served as an incentive to preserve their recordings. To the extent that wiping still exists, it is primarily only used to erase ephemeral content with little to no intrinsic value.


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