The 1981 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1981 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 6, and ended on Sunday, October 11. The Division Series were created on August 6 in response to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, which caused the cancellation of roughly one-third of the regular season between June 12 and August 9; by the time play was resumed, it was decided that the best approach was to have the first-half leaders automatically qualify for postseason play, and allow all the teams to begin the second half with a clean slate.
|1981 National League Division Series|
|Dates||October 6 – 11|
|TV announcers||Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek|
|Radio announcers||Jerry Coleman and Sparky Anderson|
|Umpires||Jerry Dale, Jim Quick, Satch Davidson, John McSherry, Lee Weyer, Ed Montague|
|Dates||October 7 – 11|
|TV announcers||Dick Enberg and Tom Seaver|
|Radio announcers||Jack Buck and Joe Torre|
|Umpires||Terry Tata, Frank Pulli, Bruce Froemming, Billy Williams, John Kibler, Jerry Crawford|
The first half and second-half champions in both the East and West divisions would meet in best-of-five series, with the winners advancing to the NL Championship Series (NLCS). If the same team won both halves, a wild card team – the second-place team from both halves combined – would qualify for the postseason, but this proved unnecessary in both leagues. There were no plans to continue the format in later seasons, although the Division Series resumed in 1995 after both major leagues realigned into three divisions. The teams in the 1981 NLDS were:
The second-half champions played the first two games at home, with the first-half champions hosting the last three; the first-half champions all posted better records in their half of the season than the second-half champions did.
The results of the format were highly controversial, as the Cincinnati Reds failed to qualify for the postseason despite having the best record in baseball (66–42) over the full season; the St. Louis Cardinals, with the NL's second-best record (59–43), were also left out. The Reds had finished the first half of the season just a half-game behind the Dodgers, while the Cardinals finished the second half just a half-game behind the Expos, who were making their first postseason appearance after thirteen years of play.
Both series went the full five games. The home team won every game in both series save for one: Game 5 of the East Division series, which Montreal won 3–0 at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. The Dodgers and Expos went on to meet in the NL Championship Series. The Dodgers became the National League champion, and defeated the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1981 World Series.
Los Angeles won the series, 3–2.
|1||October 6||Los Angeles Dodgers – 1, Houston Astros – 3||Astrodome||-||44,836|
|2||October 7||Los Angeles Dodgers – 0, Houston Astros – 1 (11 innings)||Astrodome||3:39||42,398|
|3||October 9||Houston Astros – 1, Los Angeles Dodgers – 6||Dodger Stadium||-||46,820|
|4||October 10||Houston Astros – 1, Los Angeles Dodgers – 2||Dodger Stadium||-||55,983|
|5||October 11||Houston Astros – 0, Los Angeles Dodgers – 4||Dodger Stadium||2:52||55,979|
Montreal won the series, 3–2.
|1||October 7||Philadelphia Phillies – 1, Montreal Expos – 3||Olympic Stadium||2:30||34,237|
|2||October 8||Philadelphia Phillies – 1, Montreal Expos – 3||Olympic Stadium||2:31||45,896|
|3||October 9||Montreal Expos – 2, Philadelphia Phillies – 6||Veterans Stadium||2:45||36,835|
|4||October 10||Montreal Expos – 5, Philadelphia Phillies – 6 (10 innings)||Veterans Stadium||2:48||38,818|
|5||October 11||Montreal Expos – 3, Philadelphia Phillies – 0||Veterans Stadium||2:15||47,384|
|WP: Nolan Ryan (1–0) LP: Dave Stewart (0–1)|
LAD: Steve Garvey (1)
HOU: Alan Ashby (1)
Fernando Valenzuela faced Nolan Ryan, a matchup worthy of a pitcher's duel. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth. Tony Scott singled home Terry Puhl to score the game's first run, but Steve Garvey tied the game with a home run in the top of the seventh. The game would remain 1–1 into the bottom of the ninth. Dave Stewart retired the first two men, but Craig Reynolds singled and Alan Ashby slugged a two-run walk-off home run.
|WP: Joe Sambito (1–0) LP: Dave Stewart (0–2)|
Jerry Reuss was pitted against Joe Niekro. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless, but both teams had trouble scoring runs when they managed to get men on. Reuss pitched nine innings and Niekro eight. It remained 0–0 until the bottom of the eleventh. Dave Stewart was brought in once again, although having lost the last game. He surrendered back-to-back singles to open the inning. He was taken out and the bases were loaded thanks to an intentional walk to César Cedeño. The bullpen had managed to get two outs but pinch hitter Denny Walling hit the game winner, a single to right field.
|WP: Burt Hooton (1–0) LP: Bob Knepper (0–1)|
HOU: Art Howe (1)
LAD: Steve Garvey (2)
Houston was now one win away from winning their first ever postseason series and moving one step closer to the franchise's first pennant. However, Burt Hooton was there to stop the streaking Astros against Bob Knepper. Hooton held the Astros to three hits over seven innings and the bullpen held them to no hits through the last two innings. After an RBI double by Dusty Baker, Steve Garvey hit a two-run homer to make it 3–0 in the bottom of the first. Art Howe would drive the only run of the game for the Astros by hitting a leadoff home run in the third. The Dodgers would add insurance in the eighth. With two on and one out off of Joe Sambito, Bill Russell's RBI single, Reggie Smith's sacrifice fly, and Ken Landreaux's RBI single extended their lead to 6–1. Bob Welch pitched a scoreless ninth to keep the Dodgers in the series.
|WP: Fernando Valenzuela (1–0) LP: Vern Ruhle (0–1)|
LAD: Pedro Guerrero (1)
Fernando Valenzuela would take the hill for the Dodgers once again, this time against Vern Ruhle. Both pitchers would pitch complete games for their respective teams. Eventual co-World Series MVP Pedro Guerrero got the Dodgers on the board first with a homer in the bottom of the fifth. Bill Russell would drive in the potential winning run in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single. A two-out RBI single in the ninth would be all the Astros would get as the Dodgers won Game 4 2–1.
|WP: Jerry Reuss (1–0) LP: Nolan Ryan (1–1)|
Nolan Ryan was brought in on clinching day to win the Astros their first ever postseason series. Opposing him would be Jerry Reuss, who had pitched so well in Game 2. Thanks to a few walks and an error, the Dodgers struck for three runs in the bottom of the sixth. A two-out triple by Steve Garvey made it 4–0 Dodgers in the seventh. In the end, Reuss went the distance again and pitched a brilliant five-hit shutout to put the Dodgers in the 1981 National League Championship Series. In addition, the Dodgers avenged their loss to the Astros the previous year in a one-game playoff for the NL West title.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||3||0||0||0||1||3||3||3||0||0||0||13||32||3|
|Total attendance: 246,016 Average attendance: 49,203|
|WP: Steve Rogers (1–0) LP: Steve Carlton (0–1) Sv: Jeff Reardon (1)|
PHI: Keith Moreland (1)
In the other division series, the Expos, participating for the first time in post-season play (they would not make the playoffs again until 31 years later, as the Washington Nationals), would have to defeat the defending World Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. Steve Rogers faced Steve Carlton in Game 1 in Montreal, the first-ever MLB postseason game played outside the United States. A Gary Carter double scored the first Expo run in postseason history in the first. But the Phillies wasted no time in responding. Keith Moreland homered to lead off the second. The game was tied at one. A Chris Speier double gave the Expos the lead for good. Warren Cromartie would double in the third and final Expo run of the game. The score would remain the same. Rogers pitched 8 2⁄3 innings and gave up ten hits, but only one run was allowed. Jeff Reardon got the final out and the save. This was the Expos' first postseason victory.
|WP: Bill Gullickson (1–0) LP: Dick Ruthven (0–1) Sv: Jeff Reardon (2)|
MTL: Gary Carter (1)
Dick Ruthven was called on to stem the tide against Bill Gullickson. Chris Speier's RBI single in the second made it 1–0 Expos. Then a two-run homer in the third by Gary Carter made it 3–0. Gullickson was masterful, allowing only one run (on Pete Rose's RBI single in the eighth after a two-out double by Lonnie Smith) and six hits in 7 2⁄3 innings. Jeff Reardon got the save for the second consecutive game.
|WP: Larry Christenson (1–0) LP: Ray Burris (0–1)|
Ray Burris was called on in the potential clincher against Larry Christenson, hoping to keep the Phillies alive. In the second, Chris Speier's amazing postseason continued with another RBI single to give the Expos the lead. But Manny Trillo's two-run single in the bottom of the second gave the Phillies the lead. Two more RBI singles made it 4–1 in the sixth. Two more runs for the Phillies in the seventh gave them six for the night. The Expos would get another on a sac fly in the seventh but the score would remain 6–2 as the Phillies won.
|WP: Tug McGraw (1–0) LP: Jeff Reardon (0–1)|
MTL: Gary Carter (2)
PHI: Mike Schmidt (1), Gary Matthews (1), George Vukovich (1)
Arguably the best game of the series took place in Game 4. Scott Sanderson started against Dickie Noles. The Phillies jumped out to a 2–0 lead in the first on a two-run homer by Mike Schmidt. Keith Moreland's two-run single made it 4–0 in the third. But the Expos refused to go quietly. Gary Carter homered to lead off the fourth to make it 4–1. A Jerry White sac fly made it 4–2 in the fifth. The Expos would tie the game thanks to Chris Speier's RBI single and he would later score. Gary Matthews would homer to give the Phillies the lead. Gary Carter would double to tie the game again in the seventh. In the bottom of the tenth, George Vukovich would walk the game off with a leadoff homer off Jeff Reardon. It tied the series at two games apiece and set up the clinching Game 5.
|WP: Steve Rogers (2–0) LP: Steve Carlton (0–2)|
In Game 5, the defending Champions sent their best, Steve Carlton, to the mound. Carlton would once again face Steve Rogers. Carlton was hoping to avenge his Game 1 loss. Both pitchers kept the game scoreless into the fifth inning. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Rogers. In what proved to be the series winning hit, Rogers singled to center that would score Larry Parrish and Chris Speier. An RBI double by Parrish in the sixth made it 3–0. That would be all Rogers would need. He allowed only six hits and one walk in a complete game shutout of the defending World Champions. His brilliance led the Expos to the NLCS and their first ever postseason series win. To date, this is the only postseason series win by the Expos/Nationals franchise.
|Total attendance: 203,170 Average attendance: 40,634|
The 1933 World Series featured the New York Giants and the Washington Senators. The Giants won in five games for their first championship since 1922 and their fourth overall. The Giants easily defeated the Senators behind pitching aces "King" Carl Hubbell and "Prince" Hal Schumacher.
Majority owner John McGraw retired as manager in 1932 after 30 years at the helm, naming his protégé, young star first baseman Bill Terry, recently the last .400 hitter in the National League, as his player-manager successor. Somewhat similarly, former superstar hurler Walter Johnson also retired in 1932 as Senator manager in favor of young star shortstop Joe Cronin as their new player-manager. (McGraw watched the Series from the stands, and died four months later.)
The Senators were the surprise team of 1933, breaking a seven-year monopoly on the AL title jointly held by the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics from 1926 to 1932. But this could also be called a joint 13-year monopoly by all three, since the Senators had also won in 1924 and 1925 and the Yankees won from 1921 to 1923. 43 year old future Hall of Famer Sam Rice, in his last year with the Senators, had only one at bat during the series, picking up a pinch hit single in the second game.1981 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1981 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West.1981 Los Angeles Dodgers season
The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers season got off to a strong start when rookie pitcher Fernando Valenzuela pitched a shutout on opening day, starting the craze that came to be known as "Fernandomania." Fernando went on to win both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards.
The season was divided into two halves because of a players strike in mid-season. The Dodgers won the Western Division of the National League in the first half and advanced to the playoffs. They beat the Houston Astros in a divisional playoff and the Montreal Expos in the National League Championship Series before beating the New York Yankees to win the World Series.1981 Philadelphia Phillies season
The Philadelphia Phillies' 1981 season was a season in American baseball.Billy Williams (umpire)
William George Williams, Jr. (September 19, 1930 – September 22, 1998) was a National League umpire from 1963 through 1987. He wore uniform number 24 for most of his career.Dave Stewart (baseball)
David Keith Stewart (born February 19, 1957), nicknamed "Smoke", is an American professional baseball executive, pitching coach, sports agent, and retired starting pitcher, and also served as the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). The Los Angeles Dodgers' 16th-round selection in the 1975 MLB draft, Stewart's MLB playing career spanned from 1978 through 1995, winning three World Series championships while compiling a career 3.95 earned run average (ERA) and a 168–129 won–lost record, including winning 20 games in four consecutive seasons. He pitched for the Dodgers, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, and Toronto Blue Jays.
Stewart was an MLB All-Star and was known for his postseason performance – winning one World Series Most Valuable Player Award and two League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Awards – and for staring down batters when pitching to them. After his playing career, he served as a pitching coach for the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, and Blue Jays and as an assistant GM. General managers he has worked under include: Sandy Alderson, Kevin Towers, Gord Ash, and Dean Taylor. He later became a sports agent based in San Diego until the Diamondbacks hired him as GM at the end of the 2014 season.Dick Ruthven
Richard David Ruthven (born March 27, 1951) is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played 14 years (1973-1986) in Major League Baseball (MLB), with the National League Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. His career marks include a win-loss record of 123-127, 4.14 ERA, and 1145 career strikeouts. While his 1978 Phillies won the National League East title and the 1980 World Series, his Cubs went on to win the 1984 NL East title.
He attended Irvington High School, Fremont, and California State University, Fresno. He has three children, Erik, Sean, and Tyler Ruthven.Jerry Dale
Jerry Parker Dale (born April 3, 1933) is a former professional baseball umpire who worked in the National League from 1970 to 1985, wearing uniform number 3 for most of his career, and the last NL umpire to wear number 3 as it was retired for Hall-of-Fame umpire Al Barlick. Dale umpired 1,987 major league games in his 16-year career. He umpired in one World Series (1977), two All-Star Games (1972 and 1980, three National League Championship Series (1973, 1976 and 1979), and the 1981 National League Division Series.On April 25, 1985, Dale was released from the National League due to a knee injury. In May of that year, Dale filed a federal suit against the Major League Umpires Association, targeting Richie Phillips, the union's legal counsel and negotiator. Dale alleged that Phillips failed to respond to numerous attempts to acquire the union's legal and financial data. The suit also challenged the legality of a $120,000 assessment taken from the umpires after the 1984 World Series, with Dale claiming that the umpires had not given consent. Dale also appealed his dismissal from the NL in 1986, and won a disability settlement.Dale was the home plate umpire for Rick Wise's no-hitter on June 25, 1971. After his umpiring career ended, Dale became an adjunct professor of business and social science at Maryville College, Tennessee, as well as an African safari tour guideJoe Niekro
Joseph Franklin Niekro (November 7, 1944 – October 27, 2006) was an American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He was the younger brother of pitcher Phil Niekro, and the father of Major League pitcher and first baseman Lance Niekro. Born in Martins Ferry, Ohio, Niekro attended Bridgeport High School in Bridgeport, Ohio and attended West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia. During a 22-year baseball career, he pitched from 1967–1988 for seven different teams, primarily for the Houston Astros.John Kibler
John William Kibler (January 9, 1929 – February 18, 2010) was an umpire for the National League from 1965 to 1989. He wore uniform number 9 for most of his career.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.Larry Christenson
Larry Richard Christenson (born November 10, 1953)), nicknamed "L.C.", is an American former professional baseball pitcher, who played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career for the Philadelphia Phillies, from 1973–1983.
During his high school years, Christenson was noted more for his basketball than baseball skills. In 1972, he graduated from Marysville High School. As Philadelphia’s first-round draft pick in the 1972 draft, Christenson was selected third, overall. A short time later, he began his professional career with the Phillies’ Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Pulaski Phillies of the Appalachian League. Both his first MiLB and MLB hits were home runs and he is tied with Rick Wise for most home runs (11) by a pitcher in Phillies history.
Christenson made his MLB debut on April 13, 1973, beating the National League (NL)-rival New York Mets, 7–1, while pitching a complete game. At the time, he was the youngest player in MLB at age 19; he would remain so until 18-year-old David Clyde debuted for the Texas Rangers, that June 27.
Christenson would bounce back and forth from the majors to the minors until 1975, when the Phillies called him up to stay. He went 11–6 that season and would become a key cog on Phillies teams that would win three straight NL Eastern Division titles, from 1976 to 1978. Christenson would have his best seasons those three years: 1976, going 13–8 with a 3.68 earned run average (ERA); 1977 (his best season), when he went 19–6 with a 4.06 ERA, winning 15 of his last 16 decisions; and 1978, where he slipped to 13–14, despite posting a career-best ERA of 3.24. In the 1978 National League Championship Series, Christenson was the Phillies’ Game 1 starter.
Thereafter, injuries would begin to plague Christenson's career. He began the 1979 season on the disabled list (DL), with elbow problems, missing the first month. Later, that June, Christenson broke his collarbone during a charity bicycle ride and missed several weeks. He ended up with a 5–10 record that season. In 1980, Christenson started off 3–0, but went on the DL, again, and had elbow surgery. He recovered to finish the season 5–1 and start Game 4 of the 1980 World Series, but was knocked out of the game in the first inning.
In 1981, Christenson posted a less-than-stellar 4–7 record, but notched a win in the 1981 National League Division Series, against the Montreal Expos. His last injury-free season was 1982, when he made 32 starts and went 9–10.
In 1983, Christenson went under the knife for elbow surgery for the final time, after a 2–4 start. He failed to make the postseason roster and the Phillies gave him his unconditional release on November 10 of that year, his 30th birthday.
Christensen tried for several years, spent in his home state of Washington, to rehabilitate from his numerous surgeries, but was unable to return to baseball. He began a career in institutional investing in 1985, and currently is president of Christenson Investment Partners, which works with institutional asset managers and investors. Christenson resides in the Philadelphia area. He has two adult daughters; Claire and Libby. Christenson maintains his ties with the Phillies and is well known locally for his work on behalf of numerous charities.Lee Weyer
Lee Howard "Big Lee" Weyer (September 3, 1936 – July 4, 1988) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the National League from 1961 until his death. In a 1987 Sports Illustrated poll of National League catchers, Weyer was rated the best at calling balls and strikes. He was the home plate umpire on September 11, 1985 in Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium when Pete Rose collected his 4,192nd hit to break Ty Cobb's career record, and was the third base umpire in the April 8, 1974 game in which Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record of 714 career home runs.Major League Baseball division winners
This is a list of division champions (since 1969) and wild-card winners (since 1994) in Major League Baseball.Mike Schmidt
Michael Jack Schmidt (born September 27, 1949) is an American former professional baseball third baseman who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies. Schmidt was a twelve-time All-Star and a three-time winner of the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player award (MVP), and he was known for his combination of power hitting and strong defense. As a hitter, he compiled 548 home runs and 1,595 runs batted in (RBIs), and led the NL in home runs eight times and in RBIs four times. As a fielder, Schmidt won the National League Gold Glove Award for third basemen ten times. Schmidt was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995 and is often considered the greatest third baseman in baseball history.Having an unusual batting stance, Schmidt turned his back somewhat toward the pitcher and rocked his rear end back-and-forth while waiting for a pitch. By standing far back in the batter's box, he made it almost impossible to jam him by pitching inside. Schmidt was one of the best athletes of his era; teammate Pete Rose once said, "To have his body, I'd trade him mine and my wife's, and I'd throw in some cash."Tim Wallach
Timothy Charles Wallach (born September 14, 1957), nicknamed "Eli", is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1980 to 1996 for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, and California Angels. He is the bench coach for the Miami Marlins.
Wallach played college baseball for the Cal State Fullerton Titans, and won the Golden Spikes Award in 1979. He made his MLB debut with the Expos in 1980 and played for them through 1992, before playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers and California Angels, retiring in 1996. During his career, Wallach was a five-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner.Vern Ruhle
Vernon Gerald Ruhle (January 25, 1951 – January 20, 2007), was an American professional baseball right-handed pitcher and coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily for the Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros for thirteen seasons, from 1974 to 1986.Warren Cromartie
Warren Livingston Cromartie (born September 29, 1953) is an American former professional baseball player best remembered for his early career with the Montreal Expos. He and fellow young outfielders Ellis Valentine and Andre Dawson were the talk of Major League Baseball (MLB) when they came up together with the Expos in the late seventies. Nicknamed "Cro", he was incredibly popular with the fans in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He won the 1989 Nippon Professional Baseball Most Valuable Player Award during his career playing baseball in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.Woodie Fryman
Woodrow Thompson Fryman (April 12, 1940 – February 4, 2011), was an American professional baseball pitcher, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for six teams, across 18 seasons (1966–1983). A two-time National League (NL) All-Star, he helped lead the Detroit Tigers to the 1972 American League Championship Series.
|American League teams|
|National League teams|