The 1979 American League Championship Series was a best-of-five series that pitted the East Division champion Baltimore Orioles against the West Division champion California Angels, who were making their first postseason appearance. The Orioles won the Series three games to one and would go on to lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1979 World Series.
|1979 American League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Larry Barnett, Dale Ford, Jim Evans, Don Denkinger, Al Clark, Greg Kosc|
KTLA (Angels' broadcast)
WMAR-TV (Orioles' broadcast)
|TV announcers||NBC: Dick Enberg, Wes Parker and Sparky Anderson|
KTLA: Don Drysdale, Ron Fairly, and Al Wisk
WMAR-TV: Chuck Thompson and Brooks Robinson
|Radio announcers||Ernie Harwell and Bill White|
Baltimore won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 3||California Angels – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 6 (10 innings)||Memorial Stadium||3:10||52,787|
|2||October 4||California Angels – 8, Baltimore Orioles – 9||Memorial Stadium||2:51||52,108|
|3||October 5||Baltimore Orioles – 3, California Angels – 4||Anaheim Stadium||2:59||43,199|
|4||October 6||Baltimore Orioles – 8, California Angels – 0||Anaheim Stadium||2:56||43,199|
|WP: Don Stanhouse (1–0) LP: John Montague (0–1)|
CAL: Dan Ford (1)
BAL: John Lowenstein (1)
Game 1 was a match-up of Nolan Ryan in his final season with the Angels, and Jim Palmer for the Orioles. The Angels jumped out to the early lead when Dan Ford homered in the top of the first. The Angels extended the lead to 2–0 in the third when Rick Miller singled and scored on Ford's double. The Orioles tied it in the bottom of the third when Doug DeCinces reached on a two-base error by Bobby Grich, Rick Dempsey doubled to left and scored DeCinces, and a single by light-hitting Mark Belanger scored Dempsey with the tying run. In the bottom of the fourth, Pat Kelly singled, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly. A Rod Carew single and a Grich double tied it in the sixth, and the game stayed tied until the tenth. John Montague gave up a single to DeCinces, who moved to second on a bunt by Rich Dauer. Terry Crowley pinch-hit for Dempsey and popped to center. Hoping to get to Belanger, a .167 hitter during the season, the Angels walked Al Bumbry. Pinch-hitter John Lowenstein then hit a three-run walk-off homer to take Game 1 for the Orioles, 6–3. Don Stanhouse was the winner while Montague wound up the loser. The win gave the Orioles a 1–0 lead in the best-of-five series.
|WP: Mike Flanagan (1–0) LP: Dave Frost (0–1)|
CAL: Dan Ford (2)
BAL: Eddie Murray (1)
A sensational comeback effort by the Angels fell just short and the Orioles swept the home games to take a 2–0 lead in the best of five series. Game 2 pitted eventual Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan against Dave Frost. And the early going was all Orioles.
For the second straight day, Dan Ford hit a first-inning homer to give the Angels a 1–0 lead. But the Orioles came back quickly in the bottom of the first. Bumbry singled and stole second, and Kiko Garcia walked. The inning seemed harmless when Frost got Ken Singleton to ground into a 6–4–3 double play that put Bumbry at third with two out. But Eddie Murray singled to tie it, Lowenstein walked, Pat Kelly singled to score Murray, and DeCinces' single plus a Dan Ford error plated two runs to give the Orioles a quick 4–1 lead.
After Dempsey grounded out to lead off the second, Bumbry again singled and again stole second. Garcia's single scored Bumbry, and that was all for starter Frost. Mark Clear relieved Frost and promptly gave up a single to Singleton and a three-run homer to Murray to give ace Flanagan a seemingly insurmountable 8–1 lead after two innings. A DeCinces walk preceded singles by Bumbry and Garcia to make it 9–1 after three.
The Angels, however, fought back valiantly. In the sixth, a Carew double and Carney Lansford single made it 9–2. Singles by Baylor and Downing followed by a sacrifice fly from Grich made it 9–3. In the eighth, the Angels got within striking distance by scoring three runs and chasing Flanagan. The inning began with a walk to pinch hitter Merv Rettenmund, who Dickie Thon replaced at first. A Murray error put two on with nobody out, and Lansford's single sent Thon home with the fourth run and Flanagan to the showers. Don Stanhouse, known by the moniker "Stan The Man Unusual" took the hill with Carew at third, Lansford at first and nobody out. He got Ford to line out to second for the first out of the inning, but Baylor's single scored Carew and sent Lansford to third. Stanhouse then got Downing on a sacrifice fly that scored Lansford and ended the inning on ground out to Grich. But the Angels, left for dead a few innings earlier, were back in it.
In the ninth, pinch hitter Larry Harlow walked but was forced at second by Rick Miller. Long-time Dodger standout Willie Davis, playing in his last professional game, pinch-hit for Thon and doubled to left putting runners at second and third and the tying run at the plate in the person of eight-time batting champion Carew. Carew grounded to second for the second out, while Miller scored and Davis went to third. With two outs and the tying run at the plate, Carney Lansford singled to make it 9–8. Dan Ford continued his rather fine LCS with a single that put the tying run at third. MVP Don Baylor was walked to load the bases with two outs. And Stanhouse put an end to the proceedings by inducing Downing to ground to DeCinces at third to end the game.
Despite a valiant comeback effort, the Angels now were facing elimination.
|WP: Don Aase (1–0) LP: Don Stanhouse (1–1)|
CAL: Don Baylor (1)
Two outs from making it to the World Series, the Orioles had to wait another day as the Angels rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning to take game three and cut Baltimore's lead in the series to 2–1.
Dennis Martínez took the mound against Frank Tanana and small ball netted the Angels a run in the first when Lansford singled, stole second, and came home on Ford's single to make it 1–0 California. The Orioles tied it in the fourth when Ken Singleton doubled, moved to third on Murray's single and scored on Lee May's follow-up single. The Angels regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Don Baylor homered to make it 2–1. The Orioles tied it in the sixth but left the dugout angry when they turned bases loaded and nobody out into only one run.
Singleton reached on a base hit to center and Murray followed with another single. A walk to Lee May loaded the bases and brought Don Aase in to relieve Tanana. Aase got out of the jam when DeCinces hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Singleton, pinch hitter John Lowenstein walked, and Rich Dauer hit a seeming sacrifice fly to center for the second out that Rick Miller turned into a double play by gunning down Murray at home to keep the score 2–2.
In the seventh inning, Al Bumbry tripled and scored on Terry Crowley's single to give the Orioles their first lead of the day. It stayed that way until the ninth. Martinez had his work cut out for him as the three hitters he was scheduled to face were 1979 MVP Baylor, eight-time batting champion Rod Carew, and third in the AL in 1979 in hitting Brian Downing. He got Baylor to fly out, but Carew doubled. Earl Weaver yanked Martinez and replaced him with Don Stanhouse. A walk to Downing put the winning run on first, and disaster struck when Bumbry dropped a fly ball by Grich that scored Carew to tie it and put Downing on second with only one out. Larry Harlow doubled to center and the Angels had won in dramatic fashion, 4–3.
Don Aase got the win with four innings of relief while Stanhouse, who faced only three hitters got the loss.
|WP: Scott McGregor (1–0) LP: Chris Knapp (0–1)|
BAL: Pat Kelly (1)
Scott McGregor closed out the series for the Orioles by pitching a complete game shutout gem, allowing only six hits (all singles) and getting out of a bases loaded situation in the 5th. In the third, Baltimore loaded the bases on two singles and a walk off of Chris Knapp with no outs when Ken Singleton's sacrifice fly and Eddie Murray's RBI single put them up 2–0. Next inning, Doug DeCinces doubled with one out off of Dave LaRoche, then scored on Rick Dempsey's double. In the seventh, Dempsey drew a leadoff walk and scored on Singleton's two-out double. After an intentional walk, Gary Roenicke's RBI single made it 5–0 Orioles. John Montague received Dave Frost and allowed a three-run home run to Pat Kelly to cap the scoring at 8–0 Orioles.
|Total attendance: 191,293 Average attendance: 47,823|
The 1979 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. The Orioles finished first in the American League East division of Major League Baseball with a record of 102 wins and 57 losses. They went on to defeat the California Angels in the 1979 American League Championship Series, 3 games to 1, before losing in the 1979 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 games to 3.1979 California Angels season
The 1979 California Angels season involved the Angels finishing first in the American League West with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses. They went on to lose to the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 American League Championship Series, three games to one.Buzzie Bavasi
Emil Joseph "Buzzie" Bavasi (; December 12, 1914 – May 1, 2008) was an American executive in Major League Baseball who played a major role in the operation of three franchises from the late 1940s through the mid-1980s.
He was best known as the general manager of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers from 1951 to 1968, during which time the team captured eight National League pennants and its first four World Series titles. He was previously a key figure in the integration of minor league baseball in the late 1940s while working for the Dodgers organization. He went on to become the first president of the San Diego Padres (1968–77); then, between 1977 and 1984, as general manager, he assembled the California Angels teams which made that franchise's first two postseason appearances. His sons Peter Bavasi and Bill Bavasi have also served as big league general managers.Eddie Murray
Eddie Clarence Murray (born February 24, 1956), nicknamed "Steady Eddie", is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman and designated hitter. Spending most of his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles, he ranks fourth in team history in both games played and hits. Though Murray never won a Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, he finished in the top ten in MVP voting several times. After his playing career, Murray coached for the Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003. In the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (2001), Murray is described as the fifth-best first baseman in major league history. He was 77th on the list of the Baseball's 100 Greatest Players by The Sporting News (1998).Jim Fregosi
James Louis Fregosi (April 4, 1942 – February 14, 2014) was an American professional baseball shortstop and manager, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1961 to 1978, primarily for the Los Angeles / California Angels. He would later move on to the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Having been the Angels’ most productive and popular player for that franchise’s first eleven years of play, Fregosi quickly became its first star. He led the American League (AL) in defensive double plays twice, winning the 1967 Gold Glove Award, and, upon leaving the team, ranked ninth in AL history, with 818 double plays. Fregosi holds the franchise record with 70 career triples; several of his other team records, including career games (1,429), hits (1,408), doubles (219), runs (691), and runs batted in (546), were broken by Brian Downing over the course of the 1986 through 1989 seasons.
Fregosi returned to the team as manager, guiding it to its first-ever postseason appearance in 1979, and later managed the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1993 National League pennant.
In February, 2014, Fregosi suffered a stroke while on a MLB alumni cruise. He was taken to a hospital in Florida for treatment, where he was put on life support. Subsequently, after having suffered multiple additional strokes in the hospital, Fregosi was removed from life support and died a few hours later. At the time of his death, he was the top advance scout for the Atlanta Braves.Rich Dauer
Richard Fremont Dauer (born July 27, 1952) is an American baseball former infielder and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB). He spent his entire 10-year MLB playing career with the Baltimore Orioles, winning the 1983 World Series. He was primarily a second baseman, but also played third base. Following his career as a player, he spent 19 seasons as an MLB coach for numerous teams, winning the World Series in 2017 as the first base coach for the Houston Astros.
He was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 2012.Rick Dempsey
John Rikard Dempsey (born September 13, 1949) is an American former professional baseball player. He played for 24 seasons as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1969 to 1992, most notably for the Baltimore Orioles. Dempsey was known for being one of the best defensive catchers of his era.Rick Miller (baseball)
Richard Alan (Rick) Miller (born April 19, 1948) is an American former outfielder in Major League Baseball from 1971 to 1985. Miller attended Grand Rapids Union High School and was a star athlete in the Grand Rapids City League. He spent 12 of his 15 seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox, he also played with the California Angels. Miller was an accomplished fielder who won a Gold Glove in 1978 for his play in center field.
In a 15-year career covering 1482 games, Miller compiled a .269 batting average (1046-for-3887) with 552 runs, 28 home runs and 369 RBI. Defensively, he recorded a .986 fielding percentage at all three outfield positions and first base. In the postseason, in the 1975 World Series and 1979 American League Championship Series, he batted .222 (4-for-18) with 2 runs scored.
In 2007, Miller was named as the manager of the Nashua Pride of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, a team he managed through the end of the 2008 season. In 2012, he was named the manager of the New Bedford Bay Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.Miller is the brother in law of former teammate Carlton Fisk, having married Fisk's sister Janet.