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.

1978 American League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
New York Yankees (3) Bob Lemon 100–63, .613, GA: 1
Kansas City Royals (1) Whitey Herzog 92–70, .568, GA: 5
DatesOctober 3–7
UmpiresLou DiMuro, Rich Garcia, Ron Luciano, Bill Kunkel, Dave Phillips, Terry Cooney
TV announcersKeith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Jim Palmer
Radio announcersErnie Harwell and Ned Martin


The Royals won 92 games that year and won the Western Division title by five games over the Texas Rangers. The Yankees overcame a midseason deficit of fourteen games and went on to win a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox to win the Eastern crown and finish with 100 wins.

Unlike the prior two ALCS which went five games, this one only took the Yankees four games to wrap up, and the Yankees went on to represent the American League in the 1978 World Series. Notable performers in this series included Reggie Jackson, who hit two home runs, and Chris Chambliss, who had six base hits in fifteen at bats. George Brett and Amos Otis were the hitting stars for the Royals.


New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals

New York won the series, 3–1.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 3 New York Yankees – 8, Kansas City Royals – 1 Royals Stadium 2:57 41,143[1] 
2 October 4 New York Yankees – 4, Kansas City Royals – 10 Royals Stadium 2:42 41,158[2] 
3 October 6 Kansas City Royals – 5, New York Yankees – 6 Yankee Stadium 2:13 55,445[3] 
4 October 7 Kansas City Royals – 1, New York Yankees – 3 Yankee Stadium 2:20 56,356[4]

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 3, 1978 7:30 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 1 1 0 2 0 0 3 0 7 16 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 2
WP: Jim Beattie (1–0)   LP: Dennis Leonard (0–1)   Sv: Ken Clay (1)
Home runs:
NYY: Reggie Jackson (1)
KC: None

Prior to the start of this game, both teams had to deal with bad news. Ron Guidry, he of the incredible 25–3 Cy Young Award-winning season, would be unavailable to start until Game 4, if played, at least. Guidry pitched the AL East division tie-breaker game against the Boston Red Sox and was starting to have arm trouble. Also, second baseman Willie Randolph would miss the entire postseason with a hamstring injury and be replaced by a platoon of Fred Stanley and Brian Doyle. For the Royals, star George Brett was suffering from a bout of hemorrhoids.

Without Guidry, the Yankees went with young Jim Beattie. Beattie pitched five shutout innings and Ken Clay went the rest of the way. The Royals would manage just two hits and one run off the two young pitchers.

Meanwhile, the Yankee bats knocked Dennis Leonard and Steve Mingori around for thirteen hits and four runs, Doyle chipping in an RBI single. Reggie Jackson put an exclamation point on the win with a three-run homer in the eighth off Al Hrabosky.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 4, 1978 2:30 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 0 0 2 2 0 4 12 1
Kansas City 1 4 0 0 0 0 3 2 X 10 16 1
WP: Larry Gura (1–0)   LP: Ed Figueroa (0–1)
Home runs:
NYY: None
KC: Freddie Patek (1)

Royals' starter Larry Gura pitched six shutout innings and won with relief help from Marty Pattin and Al Hrabosky. The Royals' hitting stars were Darrell Porter, Frank White, and Fred Patek with two RBIs each, Patek's on a home run.

Game 3

Friday, October 6, 1978 3:30 pm (ET) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 5 10 1
New York 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 2 X 6 10 0
WP: Goose Gossage (1–0)   LP: Doug Bird (0–1)
Home runs:
KC: George Brett 3 (3)
NYY: Reggie Jackson (2), Thurman Munson (1)

Yankee starter Catfish Hunter pitched a fine game, going six innings, except for one thing: three consecutive home runs by George Brett. Still, Hunter had a 4–3 lead after six thanks to a homer, RBI single, and sacrifice fly by Reggie Jackson. Jackson also scored a run in the fourth when Fred Patek overthrew Darrell Porter at home plate as Jackson was attempting to score on a hit by Lou Piniella.

The Royals, however, got to Goose Gossage in the top of the eighth. Amos Otis doubled to right and Porter singled him in to tie it. After a Clint Hurdle single, Porter scored the go-ahead run on a groundout by Al Cowens.

But, the Yanks would not be denied. After a one-out single by Roy White, Royals manager Whitey Herzog replaced his starter, left-hander Paul Splittorff, with right-hander Doug Bird to face Thurman Munson. Munson then greeted Bird with a 460-foot, game-winning, two-run blast into the Yankee bullpen in deep left-center field.

Gossage retired the Royals in the ninth and got the win.

The other irony of this game, besides Brett's three homers in a losing effort, was that Reggie Jackson was so productive against Paul Splittorff after former manager Billy Martin's claims that Jackson couldn't hit Splittorff during the 1977 American League Championship Series the year prior.

Brett was the second player to hit three home runs in a League Championship Series game. Bob Robertson was the first, doing so in Game 2 of the 1971 NLCS.

Game 4

Saturday, October 7, 1978 8:30 pm (ET) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
New York 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 X 2 4 0
WP: Ron Guidry (1–0)   LP: Dennis Leonard (0–2)   Sv: Goose Gossage (1)
Home runs:
KC: None
NYY: Graig Nettles (1), Roy White (1)

Yankee manager Bob Lemon decided to use the sore-armed Ron Guidry to close out the series at Yankee Stadium. Guidry turned in an effective performance, going eight innings and giving up one run on seven hits and striking out seven.

It didn't start out that way, though. George Brett led the game off with a triple off Guidry and Hal McRae immediately followed by driving in Brett with a single. But, the Royals would come up zeros the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Graig Nettles tied it with a homer in the second inning, and Roy White hit the deciding homer in the fifth off Dennis Leonard.

Guidry left in the ninth after giving up a leadoff double to Amos Otis and Goose Gossage set down the next three Royal batters to close out the series and win their third straight AL Pennant.

Composite box

1978 ALCS (3–1): New York Yankees over Kansas City Royals

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 0 3 1 2 2 1 2 7 0 19 42 1
Kansas City Royals 3 4 1 0 1 1 3 4 0 17 35 4
Total attendance: 194,102   Average attendance: 48,526

See also


  1. ^ "1978 ALCS Game 1 – New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1978 ALCS Game 2 – New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1978 ALCS Game 3 – Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "1978 ALCS Game 4 – Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

1978 American League East tie-breaker game

The 1978 American League East tie-breaker game was a one-game extension to Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1978 regular season, played between the rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to determine the winner of the American League's (AL) East Division. The game was played at Fenway Park in Boston, on the afternoon of Monday, October 2.

The tie-breaker was necessitated after the Yankees and Red Sox finished the season tied for first place in the AL East with identical 99–63 (.611) records. Entering the final day of the season on Sunday, the Yankees had a one-game lead: they lost 9–2 to Cleveland while Boston shut out Toronto 5–0 to force the playoff. The Red Sox were the home team by virtue of a coin toss. In baseball statistics, the tie-breaker counted as the 163rd regular season game for both teams, with all events in the game added to regular season statistics.

Ron Guidry started for the Yankees, while Mike Torrez started for the Red Sox. The Yankees fell behind 2–0, with a home run by Carl Yastrzemski and an RBI single by Jim Rice. The Yankees took the lead in the seventh on a three-run home run by Bucky Dent. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 5–4, with Guidry getting the win, while Goose Gossage recorded a save. With the victory, the Yankees finished the regular season with a 100–63 (.613) record, and clinched the AL East championship, en route to winning the World Series. This was the first tie-breaker to be contested after the introduction of divisional play in 1969. As of 2018, the '78 Yankees remain the last team to have won the World Series after playing a tiebreaker.

1978 Kansas City Royals season

The 1978 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 92 wins and 70 losses. The team went on to lose in the 1978 American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees, 3 games to 1.

1978 Major League Baseball season

The 1978 Major League Baseball season saw the New York Yankees defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win their second consecutive World Series, and 22nd overall, in a rematch of the prior season's Fall Classic. The Yankees overcame clubhouse turmoil, a mid-season managerial change, and a 14-game mid-July deficit in the American League East en route to the championship. All four teams that made the playoffs in 1977 returned for this postseason; none of the four would return to the postseason in 1979.

Brad Peacock

Bradley J. Peacock (born February 2, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball (MLB). Peacock has also played in MLB for the Washington Nationals.

Dave Cripe

David Gordon Cripe (born April 7, 1951 in Ramona, California) is a former Major League Baseball player, known best for his three years of play with the Omaha Royals of the American Association. Cripe played for the Kansas City Royals for less than a month at the end of the 1978 season, leaving the team just before it competed in the 1978 American League Championship Series. He batted and threw right-handed.

George Brett

George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953) is a retired American baseball third baseman and designated hitter who played 21 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Kansas City Royals.

Brett's 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in major league history and 16th all-time. He is one of four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average (the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial; Albert Pujols currently fulfills all three conditions, but is still an active player). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 on the first ballot and is the only player in MLB history to win a batting title in three different decades.

Brett was named the Royals' interim hitting coach in 2013 on May 30, but stepped down from the position on July 25 in order to resume his position of vice president of baseball operations.

Jim Beattie (baseball)

James Louis Beattie (born July 4, 1954) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He also served as the Montreal Expos' General Manager from 1995 to 2001, and was the Baltimore Orioles general manager with Mike Flanagan from 2003 to 2005. As of 2010, Beattie served as a professional scout in the Toronto Blue Jays organization through the 2018 season. Beattie retired from his decades-long career in the MLB at the end of the 2018 season. Beattie starred in baseball and basketball at South Portland High School in South Portland, Maine.

Jim Spencer

James Lloyd Spencer (July 30, 1947 – February 10, 2002) was a Major League Baseball first baseman. Born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, the left-handed Spencer was recognized for his excellent fielding ability, but also served in later years as a designated hitter.

Keith Jackson

Keith Max Jackson (October 18, 1928 – January 12, 2018) was an American sports commentator, journalist, author and radio personality, known for his career with ABC Sports (1966–2006). While he covered a variety of sports over his career, he is best known for his coverage of college football from 1952 until 2006, and his distinctive voice, with its deep cadence and operatic tone considered "like Edward R. Murrow reporting on World War II, the voice of ultimate authority in college football."

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.

Ron Luciano

Ronald Michael Luciano (June 28, 1937 – January 18, 1995) was an American Major League Baseball umpire from 1969 to 1979 in the American League. He was known for his flamboyant style, clever aphorisms, and a series of published collections of anecdotes from his colorful career.

Thurman Munson

Thurman Lee Munson (June 7, 1947 – August 2, 1979) was an American professional baseball catcher who played 11 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees (1969–1979). A seven-time All-Star, Munson had a career batting average of .292 with 113 home runs and 701 runs batted in (RBIs). Known for his outstanding fielding, he won the Gold Glove Award in three consecutive years (1973–75).

Born in Akron, Ohio, Munson was selected as the fourth pick of the 1968 MLB draft and was named as the catcher on the 1968 College Baseball All-American Team. Munson hit over .300 in his two seasons in the minor leagues, establishing himself as a top prospect. He became the Yankees' starting catcher late in the 1969 season, and after his first complete season in 1970, in which he batted .302, he was voted American League (AL) Rookie of the Year. Considered the "heart and soul" of the Yankees, Munson was named captain of the Yankees in 1976, the team's first since Lou Gehrig. That same year, he won the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, making him the only Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards.

Munson led the Yankees to three consecutive World Series appearances from 1976 to 1978, winning championships in the latter two years. He is the first player in baseball history to be named a College Baseball All-American and then in MLB win a Rookie of the Year Award, MVP Award, Gold Glove Award, and World Series championship. He is also the only catcher in MLB postseason history to record at least a .300+ batting average (.357), 20 RBIs (22), and 20 defensive caught stealings (24).

During an off day in the summer of 1979, Munson died at age 32 while practicing landing his Cessna Citation aircraft at Akron–Canton Airport. He suffered a broken neck as result of the crash, and his cause of death was asphyxiation. The Yankees honored him by immediately retiring his uniform 15, and dedicating a plaque to him in Monument Park.

Willie Wilson (baseball)

Willie James Wilson (born July 9, 1955) is a former professional baseball player. He played nineteen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, and Chicago Cubs. He was an outfielder known for his speed and ability as an effective leadoff hitter. Wilson's career total of 668 stolen bases currently ranks him in 12th place all-time among major leaguers.

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