1979 Pittsburgh Pirates

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1979 Pittsburgh Pirates / Franchise: Pittsburgh Pirates / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 98-64-1, Finished 1st in NL Eastern Division (1979 NL)

Clinched Division: September 30, 1979, vs. Chicago Cubs

World Series Champs

Managed by Chuck Tanner

Coaches: Harvey Haddix, Joe Lonnett, Al Monchak and Bob Skinner

Ballpark: Three Rivers Stadium

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1979 Pittsburgh Piratesare the last team in franchise history to win the World Series. The team was built from the furious pursuit of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978. The 1979 Pirate team had only two new players from 1978 who were there for the entire season, Steve Nicosia and free agent signee Lee Lacy. Two crucial trades shaped this team, however, the April deal sending Frank Taveras to the New York Mets for Tim Foli (and Greg Field), and the massive player swap with the San Francisco Giants after the trading deadline, when Bill Madlock and Dave Roberts were swapped for Ed Whitson and some good minor league prospects. Madlock's acquisition enabled Chuck Tanner to move Phil Garner from third base to second, put Rennie Stennett on the bench, and plug Madlock into the third or the sixth spot of the batting order. The classic batting order for the Pirates at the end of the season was:

  1. 1 Omar Moreno-CF
  2. 2 Tim Foli-SS
  3. 3 Dave Parker-RF
  4. 4 Willie Stargell-1B
  5. 5 Bill Robinson-LF
  6. 6 Bill Madlock-3B
  7. 7 Ed Ott-C
  8. 8 Phil Garner-2B
  9. 9 Pitcher

The Pirates employed a platoon at catcher, with Ott and Nicosia splitting time, and somewhat of a platoon in left field, with Robinson and John Milner. Milner also played significant time at first base subbing for Stargell who needed some extra rest given his advancing age. Robinson was more of a full-time player. Stennett, Lacy, Mike Easler, Manny Sanguillen and Matt Alexander were the main bench players, along with infielder Dale Berra. Berra did not make the post-season roster though.

The pitching staff was led by starters John Candelaria, Jim Bibby, Bert Blyleven, Bruce Kison and Don Robinson, and an outstanding bullpen. Kent Tekulve, Grant Jackson and Enrique Romo became the first trio of teammates in major league history to be the first, second and third in the league in games pitched the same season. Dave Roberts and Jim Rooker were swingmen, with Rooker starting when his ailing arm could hold up - including at a key point of the World Series after Kison had faltered as the Game 1 starter against the Baltimore Orioles.

Awards and Honors[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "How the Pirates chose 'We Are Family' in '79: Sister Sledge helped lead the Pirates to a World Series", mlb.com, October 19, 2021. [1]
  • Rod Mickleburgh: "Expos Regain First Place from Pirates; September 24, 1979: Montreal Expos 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 6 At Three Rivers Stadium", in Norm King, ed.: Au jeu/Play Ball: The 50 Greatest Games in the History of the Montreal Expos, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016, pp. 48-50. ISBN 978-1-943816-15-6
  • Bill Nowlin and Gregory H. Wolf, eds.: When Pops Led the Family: The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016. ISBN 978-1-943816-35-4
  • Bill Ranier and David Finoli: When the Bucs Won It All: The 1979 World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2005.
  • Washington Post: "Pirates accept gifts, title", historic-newspapers.com, October 1, 1979

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NL Championship Series (3-0) Pirates over Reds

World Series (4-3) Pirates over Orioles

AL Championship Series (3-1) Orioles over Angels