1977 American League Championship Series

The 1977 American League Championship Series was a five-game series played between October 5 and 9, 1977, at Yankee Stadium (Games 1–2), and Royals Stadium (3–5). The Yankees took the series 3–2, and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series to take the title. Kansas City was given home-field advantage as it rotated back to the West Division; the Royals held a 102–60 record to the Yankees' 100–62 record.

1977 American League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
New York Yankees (3) Billy Martin 100–62, .617, GA: 2½
Kansas City Royals (2) Whitey Herzog 102–60, .630, GA: 8
DatesOctober 5–9
UmpiresJerry Neudecker, Russ Goetz, Jim McKean, Marty Springstead, Nick Bremigan, Bill Deegan
KBMA-TV (Royals' broadcast)
WPIX (Yankees' broadcast)
TV announcersNBC: Jim Simpson and Maury Wills (Game 1); Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale (Game 2); Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek (Games 3–5)
KBMA-TV: Denny Matthews and Fred White
WPIX: Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto, and Bill White
Radio announcersErnie Harwell and Ned Martin


This was the second straight year in which the Royals and the Yankees squared off in the ALCS. The year before in the 1976 ALCS, the Yankees took the series in five games on a Chris Chambliss home run in the ninth inning of Game 5.

This series, they would again win it in their last at bat.


Each game of the series was dominated by, mostly, hitting. However, the pitchers of each team held their own and it made for some exciting games.

The first game's matchup was Paul Splittorff (16–6) versus Don Gullett (14–4). Although the matchup seemed to not exactly be the classic Game 1 pitcher's duel, these two pitchers were the best of their profession for that season, although Gullett's was plagued with some shoulder injuries.


Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees

New York won the series, 3–2.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 5 Kansas City Royals – 7, New York Yankees – 2 Yankee Stadium 2:40 54,930[1] 
2 October 6 Kansas City Royals – 2, New York Yankees – 6 Yankee Stadium 2:58 56,230[2] 
3 October 7 New York Yankees – 2, Kansas City Royals – 6 Royals Stadium 2:19 41,285[3] 
4 October 8 New York Yankees – 6, Kansas City Royals – 4 Royals Stadium 3:08 41,135[4] 
5 October 9 New York Yankees – 5, Kansas City Royals – 3 Royals Stadium 3:04 41,133[5]

Game summaries

Game 1

Wednesday, October 5, 1977 3:15 pm (ET) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 7 9 0
New York 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0
WP: Paul Splittorff (1–0)   LP: Don Gullett (0–1)
Home runs:
KC: Hal McRae (1), John Mayberry (1), Al Cowens (1)
NYY: Thurman Munson (1)

The visiting Royals jumped on the sore-shouldered Don Gullett early and never looked back. Hal McRae hit a two-run home run in the first and Freddie Patek had a two-run double in the second. John Mayberry hit a two-run home run off of Dick Tidrow in the third. Thurman Munson provided the Yankee runs in the third with a two-run home run of his own, but that was the only blemish on a pitching gem by Paul Splittorff. Splittorff went eight strong innings and Doug Bird closed it in the ninth. Al Cowens added a home run for the Royals in the eighth off of Tidrow.

Game 2

Thursday, October 6, 1977 8:15 pm (ET) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 1
New York 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 1 X 6 10 1
WP: Ron Guidry (1–0)   LP: Andy Hassler (0–1)
Home runs:
KC: None
NYY: Cliff Johnson (1)

The Royals had hopes of putting the Yankees down 2–0 going back to KC, and for a while that appeared possible. Beating new-found Yankees' ace Ron Guidry would be a tough task. The Royals scraped a run in the third when Freddie Patek drove in Darrell Porter with a sacrifice fly.

Royals' starter Andy Hassler had a shutout going for four innings, but Cliff Johnson broke the drought with a home run in the fifth. The Yankees took a 2–1 lead in the same inning when Willie Randolph singled, Hassler balked him to second, and Bucky Dent drove him home with a single.

Hard base-running helped the Royals tie it in the sixth. Patek led off with a double and Hal McRae walked. The next batter, George Brett, grounded to Graig Nettles, who threw to Randolph at second to force McRae. McRae, however, barreled into Randolph with a body-block, breaking up the double play attempt and enabling Patek to score the tying run.

McRae's aggressive ploy seemed to ignite the Yankees in their half of the sixth. Thurman Munson singled with one out off of Hassler, then Lou Piniella singled with two outs off of Mark Littell. Johnson doubled in a run and after an intentional walk, an error by Brett on a Randolph grounder allowed two more runs to score to make it 5–2. Randolph also had an RBI single in the eighth off of Little.

Meanwhile, Guidry stymied the Royals, pitching a complete game and allowing the Royals only three hits and the two runs.

Game 3

Friday, October 7, 1977 7:15 pm (CT) at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 1
Kansas City 0 1 1 0 1 2 1 0 X 6 12 1
WP: Dennis Leonard (1–0)   LP: Mike Torrez (0–1)

At Kauffman Stadium, Dennis Leonard pitched a four-hit complete game to give the Royals a 2–1 series lead. After a one-out walk and single, Freddie Patek's RBI single off of Mike Torrez in the second put the Royas up 1–0. Next inning, Al Cowens's groundout with runners on second and third and no outs made it 2–0 Royals. The Yankees got on the board in the fifth when Graig Nettles singled with two outs and scored on Lou Pinella's double, but the Royals got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Hal McRae hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Cowens's groundout. Next inning, Torrez allowed a leadoff walk and single, then got two outs before being relieved by Sparky Lyle, who allowed a two-run double to Amos Otis. Next inning, George Brett hit a leadoff single and scored on John Mayberry's RBI double. The Yankees got a run in the ninth when Roy White doubled with one out and scored on first baseman Mayberry's error on Reggie Jackson's ground ball before Chris Chambliss grounded out to end the game.

Game 4

Saturday, October 8, 1977 12:15 pm (CT) at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 13 0
Kansas City 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 8 2
WP: Sparky Lyle (1–0)   LP: Larry Gura (0–1)

This game was a barn-burner early on, with the Yankees precariously clinging to the upper hand. New York jumped out to an early 4–0 lead after ​2 12 innings on RBIs by Thurman Munson, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, and Lou Piniella. The Royals clawed back in the home half of the third when Freddie Patek, having a fine series for himself, tripled and scored on a short fly ball hit by Frank White, barely beating Reggie Jackson's throw to the plate. George Brett tripled in a run in the same inning.

After Graig Nettles singled in a run in the fourth to make it 5–2, the Royals got two more in their half. With two outs, Patek doubled in a run, chasing Yankee starter Ed Figueroa. White doubled in Patek and Hal McRae drew a walk off reliever Dick Tidrow. At this point, Yankee manager Billy Martin made a gutsy move, bringing in his ace closer and AL Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle. Lyle was rarely used this early in a game, but Martin figured he was fresh, having only pitched one inning the whole series and, in Martin's own words, "I wanted my best pitcher out there."

But, the move paid off. Lyle shut the Royals down for the remaining ​5 13 innings, allowing only two hits and no runners past second base. The Yankees added insurance in the ninth on a Munson sacrifice fly.

Game 5

Sunday, October 9, 1977 7:15 pm (CT) at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 5 10 0
Kansas City 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 1
WP: Sparky Lyle (2–0)   LP: Dennis Leonard (1–1)

In order for the Yankees to advance to their second straight World Series, they would have to win again at the Royals' home park. To do that, they would have to beat their Game 1 nemesis, Paul Splittorff. Given that, Yankee manager Billy Martin decided to sit out Reggie Jackson on the grounds that he was 1-for-15 so far in the series and, in his own words, "can't hit Splittorff." Paul Blair started in right field and batted eighth.

The Royals struck for a pair in the first when Hal McRae singled and George Brett tripled him in. Brett slid hard into Graig Nettles at third and Nettles responded by kicking Brett, which started a bench-clearing brawl. Yankees' starting pitcher Ron Guidry rushed in to defend Nettles. After order was restored, Al Cowens drove in Brett with a groundout.

The Yankees crept back in the third on a Thurman Munson RBI single, but the Royals matched that in the bottom half on a double by McRae and RBI single by Cowens with one out. Martin then pulled Guidry, who had gotten hurt in the first-inning brawl. Mike Torrez came in and pitched shutout ball over the next ​5 13 innings.

The Yankees began to claw back in the eighth. Right-hander Doug Bird relieved Splittorff after Willie Randolph led off the inning with a single. With one out, Piniella singled Randolph to third. With the "unhittable" Splittorff out of the game, Martin decided to send Jackson to the plate to hit for Cliff Johnson. Jackson put aside all frustrations over not starting the game and came through with a pinch-hit RBI single to cut the Royal lead to 3–2.

The Royals mounted a threat in their half of the eighth. Torrez walked both Amos Otis and Pete LaCock with two outs, but relief ace Sparky Lyle came in and struck out Cookie Rojas, the Royals' DH playing in what would be his last major-league game.

With apparently very little confidence in regular closer Mark Littell, who struggled in 1977, Royals manager Whitey Herzog sent Game 3 stopper Dennis Leonard out to preserve the lead in the ninth. Leonard, unaccustomed to short relief, yielded a bloop single to Paul Blair and walked Roy White (pinch hitting for Bucky Dent) with no outs. Herzog, going with percentages, replaced Leonard with another normal starter, left-hander Larry Gura. The strategy backfired as Gura gave up a game-tying RBI single to Mickey Rivers, with White reaching third. Herzog then brought in Littell, who retired Willie Randolph on a deep drive to center as White tagged and scored the go-ahead run. Munson was retired, but Piniella hit a grounder to third that Brett threw away at first, scoring Rivers with the final run.

Lyle then retired the Royals in the ninth, the final outs coming when Freddie Patek hit into a double play. As the Yankees celebrated, Patek sat in the dugout, dejected, for several minutes. (Coincidentally, it was Patek's 33rd birthday that day.) Tony Kubek, commentating for NBC, summed up: "The Yankees know how to win."

Composite box

1977 ALCS (3–2): New York Yankees over Kansas City Royals

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 1 2 4 1 3 3 0 2 5 21 46 2
Kansas City Royals 4 3 7 2 1 3 1 1 0 22 42 5
Total attendance: 234,713   Average attendance: 46,943


  1. ^ "1977 ALCS Game 1 – Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1977 ALCS Game 2 – Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1977 ALCS Game 3 – New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1977 ALCS Game 4 – New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. ^ "1977 ALCS Game 5 – New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

1977 Kansas City Royals season

The 1977 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing first in the American League West with a record of 102 wins and 60 losses. They went on to lose the 1977 American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees, 3 games to 2.

1977 Major League Baseball season

The 1977 Major League Baseball season. The American League had its third expansion as the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays began play. However, the National League did not expand, thus they remained at twelve teams, to the AL's fourteen, until the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins joined in 1993.

1977 World Series

The 1977 World Series was the 74th edition of Major League Baseball's (MLB) championship series. The best-of-seven playoff was contested between the New York Yankees, champions of the American League (AL) and defending American League champions, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, champions of the National League (NL). The Yankees defeated the Dodgers, four games to two, to win the franchise's 21st World Series championship, their first since 1962, and the first under the ownership of George Steinbrenner. The Series was played between October 11 and 18, broadcast on ABC.

During this Series, Reggie Jackson earned his nickname "Mr. October" for his heroics. Billy Martin won what would be his only World Series title as a manager after guiding the Yankees to a second straight pennant.

1978 American League Championship Series

The 1978 American League Championship Series was held between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals for the third consecutive year.

Billy Martin

Alfred Manuel Martin Jr. (May 16, 1928 – December 25, 1989), commonly called "Billy", was an American Major League Baseball second baseman and manager who, in addition to leading other teams, was five times the manager of the New York Yankees. First known as a scrappy infielder who made considerable contributions to the championship Yankee teams of the 1950s, he then built a reputation as a manager who would initially make bad teams good, before ultimately being fired amid dysfunction. In each of his stints with the Yankees he managed them to winning records before being fired by team owner George Steinbrenner or resigning under fire, usually amid a well-publicized scandal such as Martin's involvement in an alcohol-fueled fight.

Martin was born in a working-class section of Berkeley, California. His skill as a baseball player gave him a route out of his home town. Signed by the Pacific Coast League Oakland Oaks, Martin learned much from Casey Stengel, the man who would manage him both in Oakland and in New York, and enjoyed a close relationship with him. Martin's spectacular catch of a wind-blown Jackie Robinson popup late in Game Seven of the 1952 World Series saved that series for the Yankees, and he was the hitting star of the 1953 World Series, earning the Most Valuable Player award in the Yankee victory. He missed most of two seasons, 1954 and 1955, after being drafted into the Army, and his abilities never fully returned; the Yankees traded him after a brawl at the Copacabana club in New York during the 1957 season. Martin bitterly resented being traded, and did not speak to Stengel for years, a time during which Martin completed his playing career, appearing with a series of also-ran baseball teams.

The last team for whom Martin played, the Minnesota Twins, gave him a job as a scout, and he spent most of the 1960s with them, becoming a coach in 1965. After a successful managerial debut with the Twins' top minor league affiliate, the Denver Bears, Martin was made Twins manager in 1969. He led the club to the American League West title, but was fired after the season. He then was hired by a declining Detroit Tigers franchise in 1971, and led the team to an American League East title in 1972 before being fired by the Tigers late in the 1973 season. He was quickly hired by the Texas Rangers, and turned them for a season (1974) into a winning team, but was fired amid conflict with ownership in 1975. He was almost immediately hired by the Yankees.

As Yankee manager, Martin led the team to consecutive American League pennants in 1976 and 1977; the Yankees were swept in the 1976 World Series by the Cincinnati Reds but triumphed over the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in the 1977 World Series. The 1977 season saw season-long conflict between Martin and Steinbrenner, as well as between the manager and Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson, including a near brawl between the two in the dugout on national television, but culminated in Martin's only world championship as a manager. He was forced to resign midway through the 1978 season after saying of Jackson and Steinbrenner, "one's a born liar, and the other's convicted"; less than a week later, the news that he would return as manager in a future season was announced to a huge ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. He returned in 1979, but was fired at season's end by Steinbrenner. From 1980 to 1982, he managed the Oakland Athletics, earning a division title with an aggressive style of play known as "Billyball", but he was fired after the 1982 season. He was rehired by the Yankees, whom he managed three more times, each for a season or less and each ending in his firing by Steinbrenner. Martin died in an automobile accident in upstate New York on Christmas night, 1989, and is fondly remembered by many Yankee fans.

Freddie Patek

Freddie Joseph Patek (; born October 9, 1944), nicknamed The Flea or The Cricket, is an American former professional baseball shortstop who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and California Angels. At 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) tall, he was the shortest MLB player of his time.

Joe Zdeb

Joseph Edmund Zdeb (born June 27, 1953) is a former professional baseball outfielder. He played all or part of three seasons in Major League Baseball with the Kansas City Royals from 1977 to 1979, primarily as a left fielder.

John Mayberry

John Claiborn Mayberry (born February 18, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball player who was active from 1968 to 1982 for the Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees. He was a two-time All Star.

Ken Clay

Kenneth Earl Clay (born April 6, 1954) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. Following his brief major league career, Clay had several run ins with the law. Most recently, he was sentenced to five years in jail for grand theft for creating a fake sales order at the Sarasota, Florida copy machine office in which he worked.Drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft, he soon emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in the Yankees' organization. However, he never lived up to his potential, and was eventually traded away by the Yankees after three seasons in which he went 6-14 with a 4.72 earned run average. Clay's lack of success at the major league level is often cited as the catalyst for Yankees owner George Steinbrenner's desire to build his team through free agency and trades rather than relying upon his own farm system.

The Bronx Is Burning

The Bronx Is Burning (stylized as The Bronx is Burning) is a television drama that debuted on ESPN on July 10, 2007, after the 2007 MLB Home Run Derby. It is an eight-episode mini-series adapted from Jonathan Mahler's best-selling book, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning. The book focuses on baseball's triumph over the turmoil and hysteria of 1977 New York City and how the New York Yankees came to embody the hopes and fears of an unforgettable summer with Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson's warfare under George Steinbrenner's leadership.

The show stars Daniel Sunjata, Oliver Platt, and John Turturro, while executive producers Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins, Joe Davola, writer and executive producer James Solomon, and director Jeremiah Chechik work on the show. The series is produced by ESPN Original Entertainment in conjunction with Tollin/Robbins Productions. Filming began on September 18, 2006, in Connecticut and New York. The 2007 debut of the series marked the 30th anniversary of the 1977 World Series win for the Yankees, the first under Steinbrenner. After airing on ESPN, the episodes were placed on ABC on Demand.


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