1979 Baseball Season Highlights
Willie Stargell was the star of the 1979 baseball season, batting .400 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and leading his team to World Series victory. This season was also marked by the tragic death of Yankee catcher Thurman Munson. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1979 baseball season:
- Orioles return to the top in the American League.
- Pirates win in the National League to set up a repeat of exciting 1971 World Series.
- Angels succumb to Orioles in four games in the American League Championship Series after winning their first division crown.
- The Pirates sweep the Reds in National League Championship Series.
- Pirates snatch 1979 World Series after trailing three games to one -- this is the second time in franchise history they've pulled off this feat.
- Willie Stargell is the World Series hitting star for Pittsburgh with .400 batting average, three homers, and seven runs batted in.
- Pirates keystone combo of Phil Garner and Tim Foli combine for 22 hits and ten runs scored in Series; Garner bats .500 in the affair.
- Stargell, age 39, becomes oldest MVP in history, as he and Cardinal Keith Hernandez finish in flat tie for the National League award.
- Angel Don Baylor wins the 1979 American League MVP after leading the major league in runs (120), RBI (139), and runs produced (223).
- Boston's Fred Lynn wins the American League bat crown (.333), and also leads in SA (.637).
- Baltimore's Mike Flanagan leads the major league in wins with 23, and cops the 1979 American League Cy Young Award.
- Cubs reliever Bruce Sutter wins the 1979 National League Cy Young Award, as he tops the majors with 37 saves.
- After 1979 season, Astros sign free agent Nolan Ryan for estimated $1 million.
- Cub Dave Kingman tops the major league in homers (48) and the National League in SA (.613).
- San Diego's Dave Winfield tops National League in RBI (118) and total bases (333).
- Yankees star Thurman Munson dies in plane crash on August 2.
- Phillie Larry Bowa sets a major league record for shortstops with .991 FA.
- Pete Rose gets 200 or more hits for record tenth time in career.
- Billy Martin takes over from Bob Lemon as Yankees skipper 64 games into season, only to be fired again after season.
- National League wins the 1979 All-Star Game 7-6 at Seattle.
- Rick Sutcliffe of the Dodgers wins 1979 National League Rookie of the Year.
- John Castino of Minnesota is named 1979 American League Rookie of the Year.
- Lou Brock gets his 3,000th hit.
- Brock retires with a major league record for career stolen bases (938).
- Carl Yastrzemski collects his 3,000th career hit.
- Phillie Del Unser homers in three consecutive pinch-hit plate appearances.
- Cardinal Garry Templeton is first switch-hitter to get 100 hits from each side of the plate in a season.
- The Astros are last team in the majors to hit more triples (52) than home runs (49).
- On May 31, Detroit's Pat Underwood makes his major league debut against brother Tom of Toronto; Pat beats Tom 1-0.
- Ken Forsch of Astros no-hits Atlanta on April 7.
- Hernandez tops the National League in batting (.344), doubles (48), runs (116), runs produced (210), and OBP (.421).
- Phil Niekro of Atlanta and his brother Joe of Houston tie for the National League lead in wins (21).
- Phil Niekro both wins and loses 20 games as he goes 21-20.
- Phil Niekro makes 44 starts, most by any National League pitcher in a season since 1917.
See the next page for more highlights of the 1979 baseball season.