More 1978 Baseball Season Headlines
Below are more headlines for the 1978 baseball season, including George Steinbrenner's wild year and Greg Nettles' outstanding World Series performance.
Gaylord Perry Takes 1978 Cy Young Award
Gaylord Perry (21-6, .778 win pct.) captured his second Cy Young Award in 1978 -- at age 42. He was the first hurler to capture the title in both circuits. For years, Perry was criticized for doctoring the ball -- using grease, jellies, Vaseline. Said Billy Martin: "When you stand next to Perry, he smells like a drugstore."
George Steinbrenner: Pure Yankee
George Steinbrenner symbolized the Yankees. He represented grit -- like the club's comeback in 1978 -- and arrogance by involving himself in the everyday affairs of managing. Steinbrenner changed managers in mid-1978, a move that sparked New York to the Series. Although he tried this maneuver several more times in his career, it never again brought success.
George Foster Tops National League in RBI
In 1978, George Foster whacked 40 homers, batted .281, and spearheaded the National League with 120 RBI. For the remainder of his 18-year career, the outfielder would be expected to duplicate his heroics in 1977 -- a goal he never achieved.
Jim Rice Named 1978 American League MVP
Not since Joe DiMaggio garnered 418 bases in 1937 had an American League player tallied 400 total bases until Jim Rice led the league with 406 in 1978. Rice batted .315, leading the circuit in homers (46), triples (15), hits (213), RBI (139), and slugging percentage (.600). His performance earned him the 1978 American League MVP Award. Rice ranks third on the all-time Red Sox list in round-trippers (379), RBI (1,423), and hits (2,403).
J.R. Richard Fans 303
J.R. Richard showcased his incredible fastball in 1978 while fanning a National League-high 303 batters. The Astro surpassed his personal record for strikeouts by 89, while also topping the loop in walks with 141. The 6'8" righty, when poised to pitch, appeared to hitters to be a power forward with a bazooka.
Bob Welch Saves Game Two
Dodger Bob Welch became a household name when he struck out Reggie Jackson to end game two of the 1978 World Series. With runners on first and second and two out, the reliever fanned Mr. October on a blazing 3-2 fastball to preserve the one-run victory. Welch paid the price of instant fame three days later, when he couldn't save the Dodgers in another 4-3 game.
1978 New York Yankees Cash in on Bill Russell Flub
Although Bill Russell was a solid member of the Dodger infield that comprised Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, and Davey Lopes, he may be best remembered for his weak composure during game five of the 1978 World Series. The deafening crowd noise in Yankee Stadium that day caused the usually unflappable Russell to bobble Roy White's routine first-inning grounder for an error. The Yankees went on to win the contest -- a game they had trailed 2-0 -- by a score of 12-2, setting a Series record with 16 singles.
Graig Nettles Stars at Third
Not since Brooks Robinson in the 1970 fall classic had a third baseman so dominated a World Series as did Graig Nettles in 1978. Although Nettles hit just .160 over the six-game tournament, his remarkable fielding more than made up for his weak bat. He was sensational in game three, making four incredible stops.
After winning that contest largely on Nettles' fielding, the Yankees went on to take the World Championship. On the season, Nettles whacked 27 homers and 93 RBI.
Find highlights from the 1978 baseball season on the next page.