1979 National League Championship Series

The 1979 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion Cincinnati Reds and the National League East champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was the fourth time in the 1970s that the Pirates and Reds had faced off for the pennant; Cincinnati had won all three previous meetings in 1970, 1972 and 1975.

The Pirates won the series in a three-game sweep in what would be the last postseason appearance for both franchises until 1990.

1979 National League Championship Series
Team (Wins) Manager Season
Pittsburgh Pirates (3) Chuck Tanner 98–64, .605, GA: 2
Cincinnati Reds (0) John McNamara 90–71, .559, GA: 1½
DatesOctober 2–5
MVPWillie Stargell (Pittsburgh)
UmpiresJohn Kibler, Ed Montague, Jerry Dale, Frank Pulli, Dick Stello, Jim Quick
KDKA-TV (Pirates' broadcast)
WLWT (Reds' broadcast)
TV announcersNBC: Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek and Don Sutton
KDKA-TV: Milo Hamilton, Lanny Frattare, and Nelson Briles
WLWT: Ray Lane and Bill Brown
Radio announcersJack Buck and Jerry Coleman


Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds

Pittsburgh won the series, 3–0.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 October 2 Pittsburgh Pirates – 5, Cincinnati Reds – 2 (11 innings) Riverfront Stadium 3:14 55,006[1] 
2 October 3 Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 2 (10 innings) Riverfront Stadium 3:24 55,000[2] 
3 October 5 Cincinnati Reds – 1, Pittsburgh Pirates – 7 Three Rivers Stadium 2:45 42,240[3]

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 2, 1979 8:30 pm (ET) at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 10 0
Cincinnati 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
WP: Grant Jackson (1–0)   LP: Tom Hume (0–1)   Sv: Don Robinson (1)
Home runs:
PIT: Phil Garner (1), Willie Stargell (1)
CIN: George Foster (1)

Both sides threw their aces in Game 1 as 14-game winner John Candelaria started for the Pirates, and Tom Seaver started for the Reds. After Omar Moreno grounded out to start the game, a 45-minute rain delay stalled the contest. When play resumed, Seaver retired Tim Foli and Dave Parker for an unusually long 1-2-3 inning.

Pittsburgh struck first in the third inning when second baseman Phil Garner led off with an opposite-field home run. After Candelaria struck out, Omar Moreno hit a sinking liner to right that Dave Collins attempted a sliding shoestring catch on. The ball skidded off the wet Riverfront Stadium turf in front of Collins and rolled to the wall. The speedy Moreno ended up with a triple, but it could have easily been an inside-the-park homer if not for the hustle of Héctor Cruz in center. Foli then drove in Moreno with a sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 2–0 lead. Seaver then walked Dave Parker and Willie Stargell, but John Milner popped out to end the inning. The Reds tied it in the bottom of the fourth when George Foster hit a two-run homer into left center with Dave Concepción aboard. Despite a sore shoulder, Candelaria gutted out seven painful innings before giving way to Enrique Romo.

The score stayed at 2–2 until the top of the eleventh inning. Tim Foli and Parker singled off Reds reliever Tom Hume. Willie Stargell drilled a three-run homer to almost dead center to make it 5–2, Pirates. The Reds didn't go away silently, though. After Grant Jackson retired the first two batters in the bottom of the eleventh, Dave Concepción singled and George Foster walked. Don Robinson came on to replace Jackson and walked Johnny Bench to load the bases. At that point, Chuck Tanner visited the mound, and Willie Stargell jokingly asked Robinson, "Why don't you move to first and I'll pitch?" The barb relaxed Robinson, who settled down and struck out Ray Knight for the final out.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 3, 1979 3:15 pm (ET) at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Pittsburgh 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 11 0
Cincinnati 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 8 0
WP: Don Robinson (1–0)   LP: Doug Bair (0–1)

In another extra inning affair, the Pirates beat the Reds 3–2 to earn a road sweep and send the series to Pittsburgh needing just one win in three home games to make the 1979 World Series. The starting pitchers were Jim Bibby for the Pirates and Frank Pastore for the Reds.

Pastore helped himself with an RBI sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the second that scored Dan Driessen. Driessen was aboard after singling and moving to third on a Ray Knight single. In the top of the third, Tim Foli and Dave Parker led off with singles. Willie Stargell followed with a base hit to right, but he rounded first base too far and Reds right fielder Dave Collins threw behind him. Stargell was caught in a rundown and retired. Foli, however, surprisingly stayed at third instead of trying to score while Stargell was in the rundown. John Milner was walked intentionally, loading the bases, and Bill Madlock beat out a double-play grounder to score Foli with the tying run.

The Pirates took the lead in the fifth when Phil Garner sent a sinking liner towards Dave Collins in right that Collins attempted a shoestring catch on, much like his attempt in Game 1. Collins appeared to have caught the ball, but umpire Frank Pulli ruled he trapped it, giving Garner a base hit. Garner moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bibby and scored on a double by Foli. Bibby left after seven innings with discomfort in his neck, having held the Reds to four hits and the single run.

The Reds mounted a threat in the eighth against the Pirate bullpen. Left-hander Grant Jackson retired lefty-hitting Joe Morgan for the first out, but Chuck Tanner, managing by percentages, brought in Enrique Romo to face right-handed hitting Dave Concepción. The move backfired as Romo gave up back-to-back singles to Concepción and George Foster. Kent Tekulve relieved Romo to face Johnny Bench and, on his second pitch to Bench, wild-pitched the runners to second and third. Tekulve recovered to strike out Bench, intentionally walked Dan Driessen, and then retired Ray Knight for the last out.

Tekulve encountered trouble in the ninth. With one out, Héctor Cruz, batting for Tom Hume, doubled. Collins then doubled in Cruz to tie the game. Tekulve was then replaced by lefty Dave Roberts, but Roberts walked Morgan. Tanner then brought in Game 1 saver Don Robinson, who struck out Concepción and retired Foster on a groundout to end the threat.

The Pirates won it in the tenth when Moreno singled, went to second on a bunt by Foli and scored on Parker's single. Robinson retired the Reds in the tenth and the Pirates had a two games to none lead over the Reds. Robinson got the win and Doug Bair got the loss.

Game 3

Friday, October 5, 1979 3:15 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cincinnati 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 8 1
Pittsburgh 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 X 7 7 0
WP: Bert Blyleven (1–0)   LP: Mike LaCoss (0–1)
Home runs:
CIN: Johnny Bench (1)
PIT: Willie Stargell (2), Bill Madlock (1)

The Pirates made it to their first World Series since 1971 with a blowout win to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds. The starting pitchers were Bert Blyleven for the Pirates, and Mike LaCoss for the Reds. For the second time in three games, the start was delayed by rain.

After allowing a hit in the first, the Pirates got on the board quickly when leadoff hitter Omar Moreno, a pain in the Reds' side all series, singled and stole second. Tim Foli then grounded to LaCoss, who tried to catch Moreno in a rundown between second and third, but Moreno reached third safely and Foli to first. Dave Parker then hit a sacrifice fly for a 1–0 Pirates lead.

In the second, Phil Garner tripled and scored on Foli's sacrifice fly. LaCoss was then replaced by Fred Norman, who gave up Willie Stargell's second home run of the series and another homer to Bill Madlock in the third. Stargell doubled home two more runs in the fourth for a 6–0 Pirate lead and essentially clinched the NLCS MVP.

The Reds got one run back in the fifth when Johnny Bench homered, but it was their last run of the year. The Pirates got that run back in the eighth when Garner scored on an error by Cesar Geronimo, the only error committed in the entire series. Blyleven went the distance and the Pirates had completed an unexpected sweep in advancing to the 1979 World Series. To date, this is the Pirates most recent pennant.

Composite box

1979 NLCS (3–0): Pittsburgh Pirates over Cincinnati Reds

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 1 4 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 3 15 28 0
Cincinnati Reds 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 5 23 1
Total attendance: 152,246   Average attendance: 50,749


  1. ^ "1979 NLCS Game 1 - Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "1979 NLCS Game 2 - Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  3. ^ "1979 NLCS Game 3 - Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.

External links

1979 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates had 98 wins and 64 losses and captured the National League East Division title by two games over the Montreal Expos. The Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds to win their ninth National League title, and the Baltimore Orioles to win their fifth World Series title – and also their last playoff series victory to date. The disco hit "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge was used as the team's theme song that season.

2009 Major League Baseball season

The 2009 Major League Baseball season began on April 5, 2009, the regular season was extended two days for a one-game playoff between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins to decide the American League Central Division champion. The postseason began the next day with the Division Series. The World Series began on October 28, and ended on November 4, with the New York Yankees defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. This was the second time the season was completed in November. The only other occasion was the 2001 World Series, because of the delaying of the end of that season due to the September 11 attacks as November baseball would be guaranteed when Game 4 was played on Sunday, November 1. Had the 2009 World Series gone the full seven games, Game 7 would've been played on November 5, the latest date ever scheduled for a World Series game. American League champion had home field advantage for the World Series by virtue of winning the All-Star Game on July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, 4–3. In addition, the annual Civil Rights Game became a regular season game, and was played June 20 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the host Cincinnati Reds lost to the Chicago White Sox in an interleague game, 10–8. Both teams wore replicas of their 1965 uniforms in the contest.

Bill Robinson (outfielder)

William Henry Robinson, Jr. (June 26, 1943 – July 29, 2007) was an American professional baseball outfielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1966 to 1983, for several teams. He also played some first and third base. Robinson batted and threw right-handed.

After his playing days ended, Robinson moved on to a very successful coaching career. He is cited as having been a key mentor in Darryl Strawberry's career, as well as several other young players he coached with the New York Mets.

Overall, Robinson collected three World Series rings, with the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (as a player), and as first base coach for both the 1986 Mets and 2003 Florida Marlins.

Charlie Leibrandt

Charles Louis Leibrandt, Jr. (; born October 4, 1956) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1979 to 1993 for the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers. Leibrandt was a productive pitcher throughout his 14-year career, and a member of the 1985 World Series champion Royals team.

Don Sutton

Donald Howard Sutton (born April 2, 1945) is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a right-handed pitcher. He played for 23 total major league seasons as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. He won a total of 324 games, 58 of them shutouts and five of them one-hitters, and he is seventh on baseball's all-time strikeout list with 3,574.

Sutton was born in Clio, Alabama. He attended high school and community college in Florida before entering professional baseball. After a year in the minor leagues, Sutton joined the Dodgers. Beginning in 1966, he was in the team's starting pitching rotation with Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen. Sixteen of Sutton's 23 MLB seasons were spent with the Dodgers. He registered only one 20-win season, but he earned double-digit wins in almost all of his seasons.

Sutton entered broadcasting after his retirement as a player. He has worked in this capacity for several teams, the majority being with the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Ed Ott

Nathan Edward Ott (born July 11, 1951 in Muncy, Pennsylvania), is an American former professional baseball catcher and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates and California Angels, between 1974 and 1981. He was a left-handed batter and threw right-handed.

Frank Pulli

Frank Victor Pulli (March 22, 1935 – August 28, 2013) was a baseball umpire, working in the National League from 1972 until 1999. During his career, he officiated in four World Series (1978, 1983, 1990 (crew chief), and 1995), six National League Championship Series (1975, 1979, 1986, 1991, 1993, and 1997), four National League Division Series (1981, 1995, 1996 and 1998), and two All-Star games (1977 and 1988--crew chief). He also officiated in the April 8, 1974 game in which Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record.Pulli was born in Easton, Pennsylvania and died in Palm Harbor, Florida on August 28, 2013, due to complications from Parkinson's disease. Pulli wore uniform number 14 during his career.

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.

John McNamara (baseball)

John Francis McNamara (born June 4, 1932) is a retired American professional baseball manager, coach and player. After spending over 15 years in the minor leagues as a player and player-manager, McNamara helmed six Major League Baseball teams for all or parts of 19 seasons between 1969 and 1996. He directed the 1986 Boston Red Sox to the American League pennant, and was named his league's "Manager of the Year" by both the BBWAA and The Sporting News. However, the Red Sox were defeated by the New York Mets in seven games in the 1986 World Series when they failed to hold a two-run, two-out, two-strike lead in Game 6, and a three-run advantage in Game 7.

John Milner

John David Milner (December 28, 1949 – January 4, 2000) was an American first baseman and left fielder in Major League Baseball. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, he grew up a huge Hank Aaron fan, even appropriating his idol's nickname, "The Hammer." He was a member of the 1979 "We Are Family" Pittsburgh Pirates team that won the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Phil Garner

Philip Mason Garner (born April 30, 1949) is an American former baseball player and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as an infielder with the Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants from 1973 to 1988. He was manager of the Astros from July 14, 2004 to August 27, 2007, leading Houston to a World Series appearance in 2005.

Tim Foli

Timothy John Foli (born December 8, 1950), is an American former professional baseball player, coach and minor league manager. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a shortstop for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, California Angels and New York Yankees from 1970 to 1985. At age 17, Foli was the first pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in 1968 and went on to be a member of the 1979 World Series champion Pirates. Foli was known as a fiery player who was a reliable fielder but only an average hitter. Foli was a free swinger, especially in 1982 when he walked only 14 times, the lowest total ever for 150 or more games played (Ozzie Guillén broke Foli's notorious record three years later). His free swinging did not aim for the fences, however, as he averaged less than two home runs per season.

His lack of power, combined with a lack of running speed (averaging approximately a stolen base every 20 games) resulted in Foli typically batting either second in the lineup or near the bottom. Although he accumulated few walks, Foli was also one of the most difficult to strike out, posting the league's best strikeout percentage three times and finishing in the top ten five times. Foli compiled a .333 batting average in the 1979 postseason, contributing to Pittsburgh's last World Championship. He was an accomplished bunter, finishing in the league top ten in sacrifice hits eight times including an American League-leading 26 in 1982.

Defensively, Foli led league shortstops in fielding percentage in 1980 and 1982. He led the National League in double plays twice, in total chances twice, and in putouts once. Foli's defensive low occurred on September 9, 1972, when he committed three errors in one inning, leading to three runs in Montreal's 8–3 loss.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.