More 1979 Baseball Season Headlines
Dave Winfield Knows RBI
Drafted by four ballclubs in three sports (baseball, basketball, and football) after his senior year at the University of Minnesota, Dave Winfield was a decade ahead of Bo Jackson in the versatility department. In 1979, Winfield hit .308 (for the second consecutive year) with 34 homers (third in the National League) and 118 RBI (tops in the circuit). The 12-time All-Star also led the loop with 333 total bases and came in fourth with a .558 slugging average that year.
Bruce Sutter Wins 1979 National League Cy Young Award
In 1979, Bruce Sutter saved 37 games for the fifth-place Cubs and won his second consecutive All-Star Game, as he mastered what some considered at the time to be a spitter or a trick pitch. His efforts earned him the 1979 National League Cy Young Award. Sutter took the Cubs to arbitration that year, winning a $700,000 salary -- a staggering amount for that era.
Joe Niekro Wins 21 Games
Despite being viewed as the lesser of the two knuckleballing brothers, Joe Niekro fashioned a career year in 1979, winning 21 games to tie brother Phil Niekro for the lead in the National League. Unlike his older sibling, however, the Astro hurler lost just 11 games to yield a .656 winning percentage (second in the loop).
Baylor Named 1979 American League MVP
Don Baylor enjoyed his greatest season, winning the 1979 American League Most Valuable Player Award while leading the Angels to a West Division title. Batting .296 and smacking 36 homers that season, Groove headed the loop with 139 RBI and 120 runs scored.
Kent Tekulve Saves Pirates
Following an eight-year apprenticeship in the minors, Kent Tekulve emerged in the mid-1970s as the bullpen stopper for the Pirates. In 1979, the stork-like righty saved 31 games and set a World Series record by protecting the lead in games two, six, and seven of the fall classic.
Willie Stargell Shines on Defense during 1979 World Series
Although his bat did most of his talking during his career, Willie Stargell was a better than average fielder who won more than a few of the stars on his cap for outstanding defensive play.
Lou Brock Hangs Up Spikes
Lou Brock topped off his 19-year career with a .304 average and 21 stolen bases in 1979. While becoming the career leader in swipes (938), Brock stole 50 or more cushions for a record 12 consecutive seasons. At the plate and on the bases, he usually won the psychological battle against the pitcher.
Mike Flanagan Wins 1979 American League Cy Young Award
Following in the footsteps of Mike Cuellar and Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan in 1979 became the third Oriole pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award. The lefty's 23-9 record led the loop and his five shutouts tied for first place that season. Traveling to the World Title in 1979, Flanagan won one game in both the Championship Series and the 1979 World Series.
Phil Garner Heats Up in 1979 World Series
Phil "Scrap Iron" Garner posted a solid regular season in 1979, batting .293 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI. It was in postseason action, however, that Garner hit full stride. He batted .417 in the National League Championship Series, finishing second on the Pirates. He went all out in the 1979 World Series, leading the team with a .500 batting average.
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