1979 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1979 throughout the world.

List of years in baseball

Champions

Major League Baseball

  League Championship Series
NBC
World Series
ABC
                 
East Baltimore Orioles 3  
West California Angels 1  
    AL Baltimore Orioles 3
  NL Pittsburgh Pirates 4
East Pittsburgh Pirates 3
West Cincinnati Reds 0  

Other champions

Winter Leagues

Awards and honors

MLB statistical leaders

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Fred Lynn BOS .333 Keith Hernandez STL .344
HR Gorman Thomas MIL 45 Dave Kingman CHC 48
RBI Don Baylor CAL 139 Dave Winfield SDP 118
Wins Mike Flanagan BAL 23 Joe Niekro HOU
Phil Niekro ATL
21
ERA Ron Guidry NYY 2.78 J. R. Richard HOU 2.71

Major league baseball final standings

American League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win % GB
East Division
1st Baltimore Orioles 102   57 .642    --
2nd Milwaukee Brewers   95   66 .590   8
3rd Boston Red Sox   91   69 .569 11.5
4th New York Yankees   89   71 .556 13.5
5th Detroit Tigers   85   76 .528 18
6th Cleveland Indians   81   80 .503 22
7th Toronto Blue Jays   53 109 .327 50.5
West Division
1st California Angels   88   74 .543    --
2nd Kansas City Royals   85   77 .525   3
3rd Texas Rangers   83   79 .512   5
4th Minnesota Twins   82   80 .506   6
5th Chicago White Sox   73   87 .456 14
6th Seattle Mariners   67   95 .414 21
7th Oakland Athletics   54 108 .333 34
National League
Rank Club Wins Losses Win %   GB
East Division
1st Pittsburgh Pirates 98 64 .605    --
2nd Montreal Expos 95 65 .594   2
3rd St. Louis Cardinals 86 76 .531 12
4th Philadelphia Phillies 84 78 .519 14
5th Chicago Cubs 80 82 .494 18
6th New York Mets 63 99 .389 35
West Division
1st Cincinnati Reds 90 71 .559    --
2nd Houston Astros 89 73 .549   1.5
3rd Los Angeles Dodgers 79 83 .488 11.5
4th San Francisco Giants 71 91 .438 19.5
5th San Diego Padres 68 93 .422 22
6th Atlanta Braves 66 94 .413 23.5

Events

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

  • October 17 – In Game Seven of the World Series, Willie Stargell hits his third home run of the Series to send the Pittsburgh Pirates to their third straight win over the Baltimore Orioles, to win the World Series Championship. Stargell wins Series MVP honors. The Pirates came back from a deficit of 3 games-to-1.
  • October 23 – Yankee manager Billy Martin gets into a barroom fight with Joseph Cooper, a marshmallow salesman from Minnesota. Six days later, Martin is fired from the Yankees and replaced with Dick Howser.

November

  • November 13 – For the first time ever, there will be League co-MVPs as Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals shares the National League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award with Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stargell is the oldest person to win this award (since broken by Barry Bonds in 2004). The Pirates have thus won (or shared) all four "Most Valuable Player" awards for the season (All-Star Game, National League Championship Series, World Series, and National League regular season). This is the first such sweep in Major League history (Stargell had won the awards for the NLCS, World Series, and National League regular season, while teammate Dave Parker won the All-Star Game award).
  • November 20 – California Angels outfielder and DH Don Baylor wins the American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .296 with 36 home runs and a major league-leading 120 runs scored and 139 runs batted in. Baylor receives 20 of 28 first-place votes to become the first Angel ever to win MVP honors.
  • November 26 – Third baseman John Castino, who batted .285 for the Minnesota Twins, and shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who hit .287 for the Toronto Blue Jays, tie for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, each receiving seven of the 28 first-place votes. The deadlock precipitates a change in the voting system, effective in 1980.
  • November 28 – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who posted a 17–10 record with a 3.46 ERA for a sub-.500 team, receives 20 of first-place 24 votes to earn the National League Rookie of the Year honors. Right fielders Jeffrey Leonard of the Houston Astros (3) and Scot Thompson of the Chicago Cubs (1) receive the other votes.

December

Movies

Births

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Deaths

January–March

  • January 9 – Charley Stis, 94, who spent more than six decades in professional baseball as a player, manager, scout and umpire
  • January 25 – Charlene Barnett, 50, who played second base in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1949 to 1952 and was a member of three champion teams
  • February 7 – Warren Giles, 82, president of the National League from 1951 to 1969, and of the Cincinnati Reds from 1937 to 1951
  • February 8 – Alex Gaston, 85, catcher for the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox between 1920 and 1929
  • February 8 – Art Williams, 44, the first black umpire in the National League, working from 1972 to 1977 including the 1975 NLCS
  • February 26 – Forrest Thompson, 60, left-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators in the late 1940s
  • March 2 – Dale Alexander, 75, first baseman who batted .331 in five seasons with the Tigers and Red Sox, winning the 1932 batting title, before an injury ended his career; later a scout
  • March 29 – Luke Easter, 63, first baseman in the Negro Leagues who had 100 RBI in each of his first two seasons with the Cleveland Indians

April–June

  • April 3 – Harry Simpson, 53, outfielder and first baseman who led the AL in triples twice
  • April 6 – Al Evans, 62, longtime catcher for the Washington Senators, later a minor league manager
  • April 6 – Rudy Kallio, 86, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1918–19) and Boston Red Sox (1925); later a coach for Triple-A Portland Beavers and scout for the Chicago Cubs
  • April 18 – Lindsay Deal, 67, outfielder for the 1939 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • May 3 – Tom Jenkins, 81, outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns in the early 1920s
  • June 8 – Muriel Coben, 58, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League pitcher, and member of a Canadian women's curling champion team
  • June 17 – Duffy Lewis, 91, left fielder for the Boston Red Sox who starred on three champions and mastered Fenway Park's sloping left field
  • June 18 – Hal Trosky, 66, first baseman for the Indians who batted .302 lifetime and had six 100-RBI seasons

July–September

  • July 12 – Tom Lovelace, 81, pinch hit in one game with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1922.
  • July 22 – Amos Strunk, 90, a center fielder for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1908 and 1924 and a member of four World Series champion teams
  • August 2 – Thurman Munson, 32, 7-time All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees since 1969 who batted .300 five times and won the 1976 MVP award; 1970 Rookie of the Year won three Gold Gloves and batted .357 in 30 postseason games
  • August 9 – Walter O'Malley, 75, owner of the Dodgers franchise since 1950, during which time the team won four World Series titles; he moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and constructed Dodger Stadium
  • September 4 – Turkey Stearnes, 78, center fielder in the Negro Leagues who led the Negro National League in home runs six times while batting .350

October–December

  • October 22 – John Drebinger, 88, sportswriter for The New York Times for 41 years
  • November 18 – Freddie Fitzsimmons, 78, knuckleball pitcher who won 217 games for the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers
  • December 4 – Bert Delmas, 68, infielder for the 1933 Brooklyn Dodgers
  • December 15 – Stan Hack, 70, 5-time All-Star third baseman for the Chicago Cubs who batted .301 lifetime and posted a .394 career on-base percentage, the highest of any 20th-century third baseman; scored 100 runs seven times and led NL in hits and steals twice each
1978–79 Cuban National Series

Sancti Spíritus won its only Cuban National Series in 1979, edging Villa Clara and Vegueros to win the league with an impressive 39-12 record.

1979 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1979 followed the system in place since 1978, except that players who appeared on fewer than 5% of BBWAA ballots would now no longer be eligible in future elections.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Willie Mays.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Warren Giles and Hack Wilson.

1979 Big League World Series

The 1979 Big League World Series took place from August 11–18 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States. West Hempstead, New York defeated Orlando, Florida in the championship game.

1979 Caribbean Series

The twenty-second edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was played in 1979. It was held from February 4 through February 9 with the champions teams from Dominican Republic (Aguilas Cibaeñas), Mexico (Mayos de Navojoa), Puerto Rico (Criollos de Caguas) and Venezuela (Navegantes del Magallanes). The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which boosted capacity to 18.000 seats.

1979 European Baseball Championship

The 1979 European Baseball Championship was held in the Netherlands and was won by Italy for the third time in a row. The Netherlands finished as runner-up.

1979 Japan Series

The 1979 Japan Series was the 30th edition of Nippon Professional Baseball's postseason championship series. It matched the Central League champion Hiroshima Carp against the Pacific League champion Kintetsu Buffaloes. The Carp defeated the Buffaloes for their first Japan Series championship in team history.

1979 Little League World Series

The 1979 Little League World Series took place between August 21 and August 25 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Puzih Little League of Taipei, Taiwan, defeated the Campbell Little League of Campbell, California, in the championship game of the 33rd Little League World Series.

1979 Senior League World Series

The 1979 Senior League World Series took place from August 14–19 in Gary, Indiana, United States. Taichung, Taiwan defeated Tampa, Florida twice in the championship game. It was Taiwan's eighth straight championship.

Disco Demolition Night

Disco Demolition Night was a baseball promotion on Thursday, July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois that ended in a riot. At the climax of the event, a crate filled with disco records was blown up on the field between games of the twi-night doubleheader between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Many of those in attendance had come to see the explosion rather than the games and rushed onto the field after the detonation. The playing field was so damaged by the explosion and by the fans that the White Sox were required to forfeit the second game to the Tigers.

In the late 1970s, dance-oriented disco music was popular in the United States, particularly after being featured in hit films such as Saturday Night Fever (1977). Disco sparked a backlash from rock music fans. This opposition was prominent enough that the White Sox, seeking to fill seats at Comiskey Park during a lackluster season, engaged Chicago shock jock and anti-disco campaigner Steve Dahl for the promotion at the July 12 doubleheader. Dahl's sponsoring radio station was 97.9 WLUP, so admission was discounted to 98 cents for attendees who turned in a disco record; between games, Dahl was to destroy the collected vinyl in an explosion.

White Sox officials had hoped for a crowd of 20,000, about 5,000 more than usual. Instead, at least 50,000—including tens of thousands of Dahl's adherents—packed the stadium, and thousands more continued to sneak in after gates were closed. Many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. After Dahl blew up the collected records, thousands of fans stormed the field and remained there until dispersed by riot police.

The second game was initially postponed, but forfeited by the White Sox the next day by order of American League president Lee MacPhail. Disco Demolition Night preceded, and may have helped precipitate, the decline of disco in late 1979; some scholars and disco artists have described the event as expressive of racism and homophobia. Disco Demolition Night remains well known as one of the most extreme promotions in Major League history.

Yukon, Oklahoma

Yukon is a city in Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States. It is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. The population was 22,709 at the 2010 census. Founded in the 1890s, the town was named in reference to a gold rush in Yukon Territory, Canada, at the time. Historically, Yukon served as an urban center for area farmers and the site of a large milling operation. It is now considered primarily a bedroom community for people who work in Oklahoma City.

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