1980 World Series
The 1980 World Series matched the Philadelphia Phillies against the Kansas City Royals, with the Phillies winning in six games to capture the first World Series title in franchise history. It is remembered for Game 6, which ended with Tug McGraw striking out Willie Wilson at 11:29 p.m. Willie Wilson would set a World Series record by striking out 12 times in the six-game set.
The Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East division by 1 game over the Montreal Expos then defeated the Houston Astros, three games to two, in the National League Championship Series. The Kansas City Royals won the American League West division by 14 games over the Oakland Athletics then defeated the New York Yankees, three games to none, in the American League Championship Series.
Two freshman managers, Dallas Green of the Philadelphia Phillies and Jim Frey of the Kansas City Royals had inexplicably found themselves with an opportunity to do what no other manager could do before them: win a World Championship for their respective clubs. This was the first appearance for the Phillies since losing to the New York Yankees in the 1950 Series and just their third overall, also losing to the Boston Red Sox in 1915.
The Kansas City Royals had entered the league as an expansion club in 1969. They had early success under the leadership of Whitey Herzog winning their division from 1976 to 1978 but each year they had lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, finally exacting revenge with a sweep of this year's ALCS.
The Phillies seemed to have it all including eventual 1980 Most Valuable Player, third baseman Mike Schmidt (48, 121, .286) and Cy Young Award winner, lefty Steve Carlton (24-9, 2.34). This mostly veteran club finished between first and third in almost all offensive categories in the 1980 NL. 39-year-old Pete Rose led the club in hits (185) and doubles (42), while speedsters, centerfielder Garry Maddox and fourth outfielder Lonnie Smith combined for 68 steals. The pitching staff was just good enough led by Carlton and 17-game winner Dick Ruthven. In the bullpen was the ever enthusiastic screwballer Tug McGraw, who was making his third trip to the Series, riding the bench with the winning New York Mets in 1969 and the losing Mets in 1973. Third time was the charm for both the cheerleading McGraw and the bad-luck Phillies.
Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals had a Most Valuable Player of their own in the indomitable superstar, third baseman George Brett who flirted with the sacred .400 mark all summer before settling a for not-so-bad .390 batting average. The unquestioned heart and soul of the Royals was surrounded by a solid corps including veteran Royals, Amos Otis, super designated hitter, Hal McRae, solid second baseman, Frank White and switch-hitter Willie Wilson who finished the season with 230 hits and 79 stolen bases. The pitching staff had six players with 10 or more wins led by 20-game winner, Dennis Leonard (20-11, 3.79) and left-hander, Larry Gura (18-10, 2.95). Submariner Dan Quisenberry won 12 games out of the bullpen while compiling an American League-best 33 saves.
- Harry Wendelstedt (NL), Bill Kunkel (AL), Paul Pryor (NL), Don Denkinger (AL), Dutch Rennert (NL), Nick Bremigan (AL)
SummaryNL Philadelphia Phillies (4) vs. AL Kansas City Royals (2)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Royals – 6, Phillies – 7||October 14||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||65,791||3:01|
|2||Royals – 4, Phillies – 6||October 15||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||65,775||3:01|
|3||Phillies – 3, Royals – 4 (10 inns)||October 17||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||42,380||3:19|
|4||Phillies – 3, Royals – 5||October 18||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||42,363||2:37|
|5||Phillies – 4, Royals – 3||October 19||Royals Stadium (Kansas City)||42,369||2:51|
|6||Royals – 1, Phillies – 4||October 21||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||65,838||3:00|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 6 9 1 Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 5 1 1 0 0 0 X 7 11 0 PITCHERS: KCR - Leonard, Martin (4), Quisenberry (8) PHI - Walk, McGraw (8) WP - Walk LP - Leonard SAVE - McGraw HOME RUNS: KCR - Otis, Aikens (2) PHI - McBride ATTENDANCE: 65,791
The Royals jumped on Philly rookie starter Bob Walk early with a pair of two-run bombs - one by Amos Otis in the 2nd and another by Willie Aikens in the 3rd. In their half of the 3rd, the Phils rallied to take the lead. The key blow coming on a three-run homer by Bake McBride. They would add two more runs late to extend their lead. Despite Aikens hitting another two-run homer to cut the lead to one in the 8th, Tug McGraw was able to hold on, giving the Phillies a 7-6 victory. It was only the second World Series win in Phillies history, the first having come courtesy of Grover Cleveland Alexander in Game 1 of the 1915 World Series (the Phillies were swept in their only other Fall Classic appearance, in 1950).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 4 11 0 Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 X 6 8 1 PITCHERS: KCR - Gura, Quisenberry (7) PHI - Carlton, Reed (9) WP - Carlton LP - Quisenberry SAVE - Reed HOME RUNS: KCR - none PHI - none ATTENDANCE: 65,775
Game 2 was a pitcher's duel between left-handers Larry Gura and Steve Carlton. Carlton looked in control, up 2-1, until, acting on Manager Jim Frey's complaint that Carlton was using a foreign substance on the ball, the umpires made Carlton wash his hands. Carlton then loaded the bases with three walks and Amos Otis ripped a double into the left field corner, driving in two and setting up a third score. The Fightin' Phils refused to give up again, and down 4-2 they rallied to go up on the Royals in the 8th. The big hits in this inning came via a game-tying RBI double by Del Unser and a go-ahead RBI single by Bake McBride past the drawn-in infield. Mike Schmidt drove in an insurance run with a double off the right-center field wall and Ron Reed picked up the save in the 9th as Philadelphia went up 2-0 heading to Kansas City.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - - Philadelphia Phillies 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3 14 0 Kansas City Royals 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 11 0 PITCHERS: PHI - Ruthven, McGraw (10) KCR - Gale, Martin (5), Quisenberry (8) WP - Quisenberry LP - McGraw SAVE - none HOME RUNS: PHI - Schmidt KCR - Brett, Otis ATTENDANCE: 42,380
Kansas City got back in the series with a thrilling extra-inning victory in Game 3. George Brett began the scoring with a blast into the right field stands in the 1st. Amos Otis gave the Royals a 3-2 lead in the 7th with a home run but Mike Schmidt tied it with a homer of his own in the 8th. The game headed into extra frames and in the bottom of the 10th, Willie Aikens drove in Willie Wilson with a double to left-center for the game-winning run.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Philadelphia Phillies 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 10 1 Kansas City Royals 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 5 10 2 PITCHERS: PHI - Christenson, Noles (1), Saucier (6), Brusstar (6) KCR - Leonard, Quisenberry (8) WP - Leonard LP - Christenson SAVE - Quisenberry HOME RUNS: PHI - none KCR - Aikens (2) ATTENDANCE: 42,363
A beautiful Saturday afternoon was the setting for Game 4. The Royals jumped all over Phillies starter Larry Christenson in the bottom of the 1st. Willie Wilson doubled, George Brett tripled him in, and Willie Aikens smashed his third homer of the series. The onslaught continued when Amos Otis doubled in Hal McRae to give the Royals a 4-0 lead right out of the gate. Aikens would add another blast an inning later and despite the Phils' attempt at another comeback, the Royals would triumph 5-3. A key play occured in the 4th inning, when reliever Dickie Noles threw a pitch towards Brett's head, sending him tumbling to the ground to avoid a beaning and then meekly struck out. Although Noles's intentions were evident, he was not ejected, the Royals did not reply to the assault, and their bats went completely quiet after that brushback, allowing the Phillies to avoid a blow-out.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 4 7 0 Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 12 2 PITCHERS: PHI - Bystrom, Reed (6), McGraw (7) KCR - Gura, Quisenberry (7) WP - McGraw LP - Quisenberry SAVE - none HOME RUNS: PHI - Schmidt KCR - Otis ATTENDANCE: 42,369
Game 5 would be the pivotal game as the Phillies went up 3 games to 2. The game was scoreless until the 4th when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run bomb to right-center. The red-hot Amos Otis led the Royals back with another homer and by the 6th, Kansas City was in front, 3-2. After the Phillies threw out a K.C. runner at the plate to keep the game a one-run affair, they marched to victory by coming back in the 9th. Schmidt singled to open the inning and Del Unser drove him home all the way from first base with a double down the right field line. After a bunt moved Unser to third base, Manny Trillo drove in the go ahead run with a line shot that ricocheted off pitcher Dan Quisenberry for an infield hit. In the bottom of the 9th, the Royals threatened by loading the bases with two out. The fans at Royals Stadium were standing hoping for a dramatic K.C. win. But Tug McGraw slienced the crowd by striking out José Cardenal with a high fastball to end the game.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Kansas City Royals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 2 Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 X 4 9 0 PITCHERS: KCR - Gale, Martin (3), Splittorff (5), Pattin (7), Quisenberry (8) PHI - Carlton, McGraw (8) WP - Carlton LP - Gale SAVE - McGraw HOME RUNS: KCR - none PHI - none ATTENDANCE: 65,838
Game 6 would be the culmination for the first Phillies championship ever. Philadelphia scored two in the 3rd on a Mike Schmidt single. It was all that Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw would need for the 4-1 win. Kansas City made Philly fans nervous by loading the bases in the 8th and the 9th but Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson for the third out in the final frame.
|Kansas City Royals||5||3||2||1||1||3||4||3||0||1||23||60||7|
|Total Attendance: 324,516 Average Attendance: 54,086|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $34,693, Losing Player’s Share – $32,212 * Includes Playoffs and World Series|
- This was the first World Series to be played entirely on artificial turf.
- Phillies pitcher Bob Walk became the first rookie to start the first game of a World Series since Joe Black of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952.
- Prior to 1980, the Philadelphia Philies hadn't won a World Series game since Game 1 of the 1915 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
- Willie Aikens of the Royals became the first player in World Series history to have a pair of two-homer games.
- While Mike Schmidt was the official MVP of the 1980 World Series, the Babe Ruth Award (another World Series MVP) was given to Tug McGraw.
- George Brett had to have minor surgery after Game 2. In Game 3, a fully recovered Brett hit a home run as his Royals wound up winning in 10 innings by the score of 4-3.
- The 1980 World Series was the first of numerous World Series that journeyman outfielder Lonnie Smith (then with the Phillies) participated in. He was also a part of the 1982 World Series (as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals), 1985 World Series (as a member of the Kansas City Royals), and the 1991 and 1992 World Series as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
- Phillies catcher Bob Boone's knees were so sore by the end of the World Series, that he could barely make it to the mound after the final out was recorded.
- Willie Wilson of the Royals struck out 12 times in the six games after getting 230 hits in the regular season that year.
- Four men who played in the 1980 Series (John Vukovich, Ken Brett, Dan Quisenberry, and Tug McGraw) have died of brain cancer.
- When the modern-day World Series began in 1903, the National and American Leagues each had eight teams. With their victory in the 1980 World Series, the Phillies became the last of the "Original Sixteen" franchises to win a Series (although it should be noted that the St. Louis Browns never won a Series in St. Louis, having to wait until 1966, twelve years after they had become the Baltimore Orioles, to record their first championship).
- The Royals became the first American League expansion team to reach the World Series.
- Soon after the World Series, members of both teams played for a week on Family Feud with host Richard Dawson. The Phillies won three out of the five games played, with all the money going to charity.
- As of 2012, this was the last World Series with two franchises that had not won a World Series title to that point. Amazingly, it was the first time it had happened since 1920.
Quote(s) of the Series
The crowd will tell you what happens. -- Joe Garagiola, prior to Tug McGraw getting the final strike in Game 6. [The crowd roars when the last out is made and nothing is said.]
- Thomas Boswell: "1980: It Wasn't Pretty But It Sure Was Fun", in How Life Imitates the World Series, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1982, pp. 265-281.
- J. Daniel: Phinally! The Phillies, the Royals and the 1980 Baseball Season That Almost Wasn’t, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2019. ISBN 978-1-4766-7088-1
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 383-387.
- 1980 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1980 NLCS |Game 5 at MLB.com
- 1980 NLCS |Game 3 at MLB.com
- 1980 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- History of the World Series – 1980 at SportingNews.com
- One Heartstopper After Another at SI.com
- 1980 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- The 1980 Philadelphia Phillies at baseballlibrary.com
- The 1980 Kansas City Royals at baseballlibrary.com
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series