1977 World Series: Yankees break the jinx

The Yankees after winning the 1977 World Series on Oct. 18, 1977, at Yankee Stadium.

Table of Contents

The Event1977 World Series
The OpponentLos Angeles Dodgers
The ScoreNew York Yankees (4)
Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
DateOctober 11—18
VenuesYankee Stadium (New York)
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
The MVPReggie Jackson 
The most memorable gameGame 6
Yankees Batting heroesReggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, and Chris Chambliss
Yankees Pitching heroesRon Guidry and Mike Torrez
Regular season team record100–62
Yankees captainThurman Munson
AL positionNo. 1
ALCS rival, scoreKansas City Royals; 3–2
Yankees ManagerBilly Martin

The Yankees’ 1977 World Series win was a big deal because it was their first championship since 1962. They hadn’t won in 15 years, so it was a special moment for this famous baseball team. The victory brought them back to the top and made everyone, including the players and fans, incredibly proud.

The 1977 World Series had some amazing moments that are still talked about in baseball history. One of the biggest highlights was when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs in a single game. The Yankees played exceptionally well throughout the 1977 World Series, and all these incredible moments made the team even more legendary in the world of baseball. Fans still remember those special moments to this day.

Munson celebrates with Willie Randolph, who hit a home run in the 1977 World Series Game 1 at Yankee Stadium.
MLB

The 1977 World Series victory was a significant moment for the New York Yankees, as it showed they were back in the spotlight as a dominant team. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Yankees were incredibly successful and won many championships. However, they experienced a bit of a dry spell after that. Winning the 1977 World Series was like a comeback for them, and it paved the way for more success in the years that followed.

Reggie Jackson, the star outfielder for the Yankees, had an incredible 1977 World Series performance. In Game 6 of the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit three home runs, which led to his famous nickname Mr. October.” Jackson’s exceptional display of power and skill in the clutch moments of the playoffs turned him into a legend and a symbol of performing exceptionally well when it mattered the most. His remarkable achievements during the 1977 World Series made him an unforgettable player in baseball history.

The team was under the leadership of manager Billy Martin, known for his passionate personality and excellent guidance. Martin’s strong managerial skills played a vital role in leading the Yankees to their championship victory, making him a beloved and admired figure in the Yankees’ history.

The 1977 World Series was not just about baseball; it held cultural importance too. During that time, New York City was facing tough challenges with financial struggles and high crime rates. The Yankees’ victory in the World Series brought happiness and pride to the city, uniting its diverse communities and giving people something to celebrate together.

The prelude to 1977 World Series: Yankees’ regular season

Regular season batting average.281
Best individual recordReggie Jackson (.286)
Regular season pitching ERA3.60
Best individual recordRon Guidry (2.82)

The New York Yankees had a really good regular season in 1977, which set them up for their World Series win. They won 100 games and lost 62 during the regular season, which was really impressive. Because of their outstanding record, they finished in first place in the American League East division with a favorite for the 1977 World Series berth.

The Yankees’ success during the regular season was mostly because of their strong offense. They had amazing players like Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, and Graig Nettles, who made their lineup really powerful and could score runs regularly. Reggie Jackson, who joined the Yankees before the 1977 season, played a huge role in how well the team did. He had a batting average of .286, hit 32 home runs, and had 110 RBIs during the regular season. His success extended to the 1977 World Series.

During that time, the Yankees’ clubhouse earned the nickname “Bronx Zoo” because of the colorful personalities and occasional disagreements among players. Despite the internal tensions, the team still found a way to unite and play exceptionally well on the field winning the 1977 World Series. The 1977 regular season was filled with excitement as the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox engaged in a close race in the AL East. Both teams were competing closely throughout the season, resulting in an intense rivalry between these two historic franchises.

During that winter’s free agent market, Steinbrenner, as expected, made a significant move by signing right fielder Reggie Jackson. This signing brought star power to the team and added a crucial player who had been a key contributor to the successful Oakland A’s dynasty in the early 1970s. Additionally, the Yankees signed Don Gullet, the ace of the Reds’ rotation, to strengthen their already formidable pitching staff in New York.

During the 1977 season, Reggie Jackson was a standout performer, hitting 32 home runs and driving in 110 runs. He was one of the power leaders on the team, along with third baseman Graig Nettles, who hit 37 home runs and drove in 107 runs. Thurman Munson, the team’s catcher, and captain, also had an outstanding performance. He drove in 100 runs while maintaining a batting average of .308. Chris Chambliss, the first baseman and hero of the 1976 ALCS, contributed 17 home runs. Additionally, 33-year-old Lou Piniella was a versatile player. He performing well both at the plate and in the field with a .365 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging percentage. The offense played a key role in the 1977 World Series win.

The Yankees had an advantage over their AL East rivals, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, thanks to the balance in their lineup, which was characterized by speed. Mickey Rivers, the center fielder, was the leadoff batter with a.350 on-base percentage (OBP). Roy White, playing in left field, and Willie Randolph at second base were also skilled at getting on base and making pitchers nervous. Their ability to reach base consistently gave the Yankees an edge in the division and in the 1977 World Series.

The Yankees had a strong pitching staff, ranking third in the American League in earned run average (ERA). Three dependable starting pitchers, who were capable of handling a heavy workload, and an outstanding reliever, who could successfully close out games, led their staff in the quest for the 1977 World Series.

During the 1977 season, the Yankees had a solid pitching rotation with some standout performers. Ed Figueroa recorded 16 wins and had a 3.57 ERA. Mike Torrez, who was acquired in a trade with Oakland early in the season, contributed 14 victories and a 3.82 ERA. Another key pitcher was 26-year-old Ron Guidry, who posted a 16-7 record and a 2.82 ERA. All three pitchers worked hard, each throwing over 200 innings and leading the charge to win the 1977 World Series.

Although Don Gullet was effective on the mound, achieving a 14-4 record with a 3.58 ERA, he faced some arm problems that would eventually bring his career to an end. On the other hand, the veteran right-hander Catfish Hunter struggled during the season, recording a 4.71 ERA in his nine starts, indicating that his career was coming to a close as well.

The 1977 Pennant duel: Yankees 3-2 Royals

The OpponentKansas City Royals 
The ScoreNew York Yankees – 3
Kansas City Royals – 2
DateOctober 5–9
VenuesYankee Stadium
Royals Stadium
The memorable gameGame 4
Game 1Result: Yankees 2 – 7 Royals
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 54,930
Game 2Result: Yankees 6 – 2 Royals
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 56,230
Game 3Result: Yankees 4 – 12 Royals
Place: Royals Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 41,285
Game 4Result: Yankees 6 – 4 Royals
Place: Royals Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 41,135
Game 5Result: Yankees 5 – 3 Royals
Place: Royals Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 41,133

The Royals and the Yankees faced each other in the ALCS (American League Championship Series) for the second consecutive year as both made a dash for the 1977 World Series. Throughout the series, the games were filled with impressive hitting from both teams. In Game 1, despite Thurman Munson hitting a two-run home run, the Yankees fell short and lost a score of 2-7. However, in Game 2, the Yankees bounced back and secured a 6-2 victory.

During Game 2, the Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the same inning when Willie Randolph and Bucky Dent hit singles. Munson, Lou Piniella, and Cliff Johnson contributed to the team’s success, extending the lead to 6-2. On the pitching side, Guidry was exceptional, effectively containing the Royals’ offense. He pitched a complete game and allowed the Royals only three hits and two runs, showcasing his talent and playing a crucial role in the Yankees’ triumph in Game 2 of the series and the march to the 1977 World Series.

In Game 3 of the series, the Royals dominated the Yankees and secured a resounding victory with a score of 12-4. However, in Game 4, the Yankees started strong and quickly took a 4-0 lead within the first two and a half innings. Thurman Munson, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, and Lou Piniella all contributed RBIs. The Yankee manager, Billy Martin, made a bold decision by bringing in their ace closer and AL Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle, to halt the Royals’ momentum. Thanks to Lyle’s performance, the Yankees managed to win with a score of 6-4.

In Game 5, the Yankees found themselves behind as the Royals took an early lead. However, with the help of Munson and Jackson, the Yankees staged an impressive comeback. Once again, Lyle proved to be crucial in stopping the Royals, leading the Yankees to a 5-3 victory, ultimately securing their success in the series and a berth in the 1977 World Series.

The 1977 World Series

The OpponentLos Angeles Dodgers
The ScoreNew York Yankees – 4
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2
DateOctober 11-18
VenuesYankee Stadium (New York)
Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
The MVPReggie Jackson 
The memorable gameGame 6
Game 1Result: Yankees 4 – 3 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 56,668
Game 2Result: Yankees 1 – 6 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 56,691
Game 3Result: Yankees 5 – 3 Dodgers
Place: Dodger Stadium 
The crowd in attendance: 55,992
Game 4Result: Yankees 4 – 2 Dodgers
Place: Dodger Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 55,995
Game 5Result: Yankees 4 – 10 Dodgers
Place: 55,955
The crowd in attendance: 55,955
Game 6 Result: Yankees 8 – 4 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd in attendance: 56,407

The Yankees clinched their 21st World Series championship by defeating the Dodgers in four games to two. This 1977 World Series victory marked their first title since 1962 and was also the first under the ownership of George Steinbrenner, who took over the club in 1973. The exciting series took place from October 11 to 18 and was televised on ABC for fans to enjoy.

In the 1977 World Series, Reggie Jackson became known as “Mr. October” for his heroic performances. The Yankees’ manager, Billy Martin, led the team to their second consecutive pennant. Here, he secured his only World Series title as a manager.

Game 1: Yankees 4-3 Dodgers

In the first inning of Game 1 of the 1977 World Series, the Dodgers scored two runs and took a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. However, the Yankees quickly answered back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, and Chris Chambliss hit consecutive singles. This resulted in Munson scoring a run for the Yankees.

The Yankees staged another comeback in the sixth inning when Willie Randolph hit a home run, bringing the score closer. Later in the eighth inning, Thurman Munson’s double allowed Willie Randolph to score, giving the Yankees the lead. However, the Dodgers managed to tie the game at 3-3 in the ninth inning. The game went into extra innings, and the Yankees had opportunities to score in both the tenth and eleventh innings, with their leadoff hitters getting on base, but they were unable to capitalize on those chances due to difficulties in executing sacrifice bunts.

In the 12th inning, Willie Randolph led off with a double, and Thurman Munson received an intentional walk to seal the victory in Game 1 of the 1977 World Series,. Sparky Lyle, who won the AL Cy Young award in 1977, earned the victory in Game 1. Notably, Lyle also secured wins in Games 4 and 5 of the 1977 ALCS which made him the only pitcher as of 2019 to achieve three consecutive victories in a single postseason.

Game 2: Yankees 1-6 Dodgers

In Game 2 of the 1977 World Series, the Yankees faced a challenge as their top pitchers, Ron Guidry and Mike Torrez, had already pitched in Game 5 of the ALCS. As a result, manager Billy Martin had to rely on Catfish Hunter, who was dealing with a sore shoulder.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers capitalized on the situation, hitting three home runs in the early innings. Ron Cey’s two-run homer came in the first inning, followed by Steve Yeager’s solo home run in the second, and Reggie Smith’s two-run homer in the third. Later in the ninth inning, Steve Garvey added another home run off Sparky Lyle.

Burt Hooton, the Dodgers’ pitcher, had an outstanding performance that stopped the Yankees’ push to the 1977 World Series. He pitched a complete game and gave up only five hits. The Yankees managed to score just one run in the fourth inning when Reggie Jackson hit into a ground ball double play, driving in a run after Willie Randolph and Thurman Munson had started the inning with consecutive singles.

Game 3: Yankees 5-3 Dodgers

In the first inning of Game 3 of the 1977 World Series, the Yankees started by scoring three runs. Mickey Rivers began with a double to right field, his first hit in the series, and quickly scored when Thurman Munson hit a double to the same area. Reggie Jackson followed with a single to left, bringing Munson home, and he advanced to second base when the Dodgers’ left fielder, Dusty Baker, had trouble fielding the ball. Finally, Lou Piniella contributed to the rally by hitting an RBI single up the middle, making it 3-0 in favor of the Yankees and putting them closer to the 1977 World Series win.

Game 4: Yankees 4-2 Dodgers

In the second inning, Reggie Jackson started with a double. Lou Piniella followed with a single, bringing Jackson home for the first run. Then, Chris Chambliss hit a double, advancing Piniella to third. The Yankees added two more runs during the inning when Graig Nettles grounded out but managed to bring Piniella home, and Bucky Dent hit an RBI single, scoring Chambliss. They look potent to win the 1977 World Series.

In the third inning, the Dodgers managed to score two runs. Their pitcher, Rhoden, who was known for being good at hitting, hit a double to left field. Then, Davey Lopes hit a two-run homer off the Yankees’ starter, Ron Guidry. However, that was all the Dodgers could score against Guidry, who pitched an impressive four-hit complete game.

In the fourth inning, the Dodgers almost tied the game when Ron Cey hit a deep drive to left field. Lou Piniella made a fantastic leaping catch to prevent the tying run. The Yankees’ Reggie Jackson added to their lead with a home run in the sixth inning, hitting it to the opposite field off Rhoden and keeping the 1977 World Series hopes alive.

Game 5: Yankees 4-10 Dodgers

The Dodgers were determined to win the game and force the 1977 World Series to return to New York. In the first inning, Davey Lopes started with a triple and scored when Bill Russell singled. During the fourth inning, the Dodgers added more runs with an RBI single by Dusty Baker and a three-run homer by Steve Yeager. In the fifth inning, Baker contributed with another RBI single, and Lee Lacy singled to bring home a run. Yeager also hit a sacrifice fly to bring in another run. In the sixth inning, Reggie Smith finished the scoring with a powerful two-run homer. The Dodgers played a strong offensive game to secure their much-needed victory.

In the seventh and eighth innings, the Yankees managed to score two runs each. It was quite exciting in the eighth when Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson hit back-to-back home runs, bringing in those two runs. However, despite their efforts, the Dodgers’ starting pitcher, Don Sutton, pitched the entire game and led his team to victory. Reggie Jackson’s home run in the eighth was particularly remarkable, as it happened on the very first pitch from Sutton. It added to the excitement and set the stage for an unforgettable ending to Game 5 of the 1977 World Series.

Game 6: Yankees 8-4 Dodgers

A big crowd of 56,407 fans gathered at Yankee Stadium to witness the decisive game of the 1977 World Series. The Dodgers got an early lead, but the Yankees managed to tie the game in the second inning. In the third, the Dodgers went ahead, making it 3-2. Then, in the fourth inning, Dusty Baker flew out, and Rick Monday followed with a single to left. Thurman Munson stepped up to the plate and hit a single to left as well. On the very next pitch, Reggie Jackson swung at a fastball and sent it soaring into the right field seats, giving the Yankees a one-run lead. Lou Piniella added to the Yankees’ score, making it 5-3, with an unchallenged sacrifice fly to left field.

In the fifth inning, the Yankees extended their lead to 7-3. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Reggie Jackson stepped up to the plate, and the crowd erupted into chants of “REG-GIE, REG-GIE, REG-GIE!” He swung at the first knuckleball from Charlie Hough and sent it flying an incredible 475 feet into the center field “batter’s eye.” This gave the Yankees an 8-3 lead. With this homer, Reggie Jackson became the first player in 49 years to hit three home runs in a single World Series game, a feat previously achieved by Babe Ruth in 1926 and 1928.

In Game 5 of the World Series, Reggie Jackson hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the eighth inning. Then, in Game 6, he received a four-pitch walk in the second inning. This meant that Jackson homered on his last four swings of the bat in the Series, and interestingly, each of these homers was off a different Dodger pitcher.

Notably, the last eight pitches thrown to Jackson in the Series all turned out to be productive for the Yankees. The four-pitch walk he received in the second inning allowed him to score on Chris Chambliss’ subsequent home run. Jackson’s performance during those crucial moments played a significant role in the Yankees’ success in the 1977 World Series.

In the ninth inning, the Dodgers managed to score a run, but Mike Torrez, the Yankees’ pitcher, held strong and completed the entire game, securing his second win of the Series. This victory marked the first time a World Series lasted for six games since 1959.

Off the winning path

The ESPN movie “The Bronx Is Burning” delves into the dramatic and captivating events that surrounded this particular Yankees team. It explores the soap opera-like situations and intense stories that unfolded throughout their journey.

Before Game 3 of the 1977 World Series, Linda Ronstadt performed the national anthem in a unique and memorable way. She stood alone in center field, wearing jeans and a Dodgers warm-up jacket. Her performance was so great that it was later ranked as the second-best rendition of the national anthem at a sporting event by the Washington Examiner.

The 1977 World Series revealed Jackson’s reputation as a great player during the postseason. It also earned him the nickname “Mr. October.”

After an outstanding performance, Jackson received both the 1977 World Series Most Valuable Player Award and the Babe Ruth Award. Lyle was honored with the AL Cy Young Award, while Nettles and Garvey were both recognized with Gold Glove Awards for their exceptional fielding skills.

Following the 1977 World Series, reporter Melissa Ludtke from Sports Illustrated took legal action against MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. She sued him for being denied access to the Yankees’ clubhouse during the series, stating that her 14th Amendment right was violated. Ultimately, Ludtke won her case in court.

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