How did a rookie starting pitcher end the Yankees’ 15-year World Series drought

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The Yankees had their worst time when they moved into the 1970s. Since the dynasty ended after the 1964 pennant, the Yankees hadn’t won a championship in the past 15 years and fans’ expectations were going down with every season. There was no famous Yankee like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, or Mantle anymore. Now, the lineup was full of journeymen who were just passing through on their way to retirement. The yearly attendance fell to less than a million.

Amid all these, the Yankees had a star born — Ron Guidry. In the middle of all the chaos, the man stood out as a steady light of hope for a team that needed stability the most and had one of the best seasons ever for a starting pitcher. In 1978, the Yankees won 30 of the 35 games that Ron Guidry started. As good as Ron Guidry was in 1978, that season’s success started the summer before. In the middle of May 1977, the Yankees manager Billy Martin added the pitcher to the starting lineup. The southpaw did a great job right away in this new role.

Ron Guidry started the 1977 season as a relief pitcher for the Yankees, but he was later moved into the starting rotation. On April 30, he had to fill in for Mike Torrez, who had just been traded from the Athletics but hadn’t made it to the team in time for what was supposed to be his first start. The Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 3โ€“0. This was Guidry’s longest game since he played in the Eastern League in 1974. Guidry’s record for the season was 16โ€“7. After spending his first two seasons in the bullpen, he became a starter in 1977, which was a big surprise for the Yankees. He was a big reason why the Yankees won the World Series.

1978 Yankees dugout during the one-game playoff at Fenway Park

Ron Guidry won two complete games in three postseason starts, including a gem in the World Series that helped the Yankees win their first championship since 1962. This was the cherry on top of a 16-7 season in which he had the best ERA in the rotation at 2.82.

“You’ve learned how to become that No. 1 starter, so when you start the next season, you pitch as the No. 1 starter,” Guidry said. “Everything reverts back to the year before. I was still thinking the same way in ’78 about how it wound up in ’77.”

In 1978, “Louisiana Lightning” Ron Guidry had a great season. He went 25-3, had an ERA of 1.74, and struck out a team-record 248 batters. On June 17, he struck out 18 Angels in Yankee Stadium. This started a tradition that fans still do today: they stand up and cheer after two strikes.

Ron Guidry’s first game was on June 17 against the California Angels. He struck out 18 batters, which was a Yankee record. Guidry’s 18 strikeouts are often said to have started the tradition at Yankee Stadium of fans standing and clapping when an opposing batter strikes out with two strikes on him. Guidry finished the season with a record of 25โ€“3, which is the best record for a pitcher with at least twenty wins. His 1.74 earned run average, .893 winning percentage, 9 shutouts, and 248 strikeouts were the best in the league.

In 1978, Ron Guidry’s success was in large part due to how well he played the slider. His 248 strikeouts set a Yankees record for the most strikeouts by a pitcher in a single season. This record stood until 2022 when Gerrit Cole had 257 strikeouts.

Some people thought that the Red Sox had put together one of the best teams ever. In mid-July, with less than three months left in the regular season, they were 14 games ahead of the Yankees in the standings. The tall left-handed pitcher went 25โ€“3 in 35 starts and had an earned run average of 1.74. Ron Guidry won the American League Cy Young Award by a wide margin. His dominance on the mound helped the Yankees make a memorable second-half comeback. They overcame a 14-game deficit in the AL East to force a winner-take-all game against the rival Red Sox.

“There were so many things going on during that season,” Ron Guidry once told, “In 1977 and 1978, there was a lot of turmoil in those years. I just felt like I needed to do a good job whenever I went out there, because of the way the season progressed.”

When Ron Guidry started, the Yankees almost always won, but on other days, they had trouble. Even though Guidry’s first 16 starts went 15-1, the Yankees ended June with a 43-32 record. When someone other than Guidry started a game, the Yankees were 28-31.

On September 13, the Yankees were the only team in the first place, and they stayed there until the last day of the season. But after 162 games, the Yanks and the Red Sox were tied at 99-63, so they had to play one more game to see who would win the division. Ron Guidry, who was 24-3 and had an ERA of 1.72, would pitch when the season was on the line.

He was the Boston Massacre’s hero. Ron Guidry’s most noteworthy win of the 1978 regular season came in a 5-4 victory against the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park in Boston to decide the American League East division title. Later the following month, the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

The American League Cy Young Award for 1978 went to Ron Guidry. He also came in second in the voting for the American League’s Most Valuable Player, which went to Jim Rice of the Boston Red Sox. Guidry was also named the AL Pitcher and Major League Player of the Year by The Sporting News.

In 1978, Ron Guidry’s success was in large part due to how well he played the slider. His 248 strikeouts set a Yankees record for the most strikeouts by a pitcher in a single season. This record stood until 2022 when Gerrit Cole had 257 strikeouts.

Today, the Yankees are in a similar situation as they were in the 1970s. They haven’t won a World Series since 2009. Is there any pitcher who can help the Yankees end their World Series drought in 2023?

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