The New York Yankees’ 1978 World Series

A painting of the Yankees celebrating after 1978 World Series win.

Table of Contents

The Event1978 World Series
The Opponent
Los Angeles Dodgers 
The ScoreNew York Yankees – 4
Los Angeles Dodgers – 2
DateOctober 10–17
VenuesDodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
Yankee Stadium (New York)
The MVPBucky Dent
The most memorable gameGame 6
Yankees Batting heroesReggie Jackson, Bucky Dent, Lou Piniella, and Thurman Munson
Yankees Pitching heroesCatfish Hunter, Jim Beattie, Ron Guidry, and Goose Gossage
Regular season team record100–63
Yankees captainThurman Munson 
AL positionNo. 1
ALDS rival, scoreBoston Red Sox; 5–4
ALCS rival, scoreKansas City Royals; 3-1
Yankees Manager Bob Lemon


The New York Yankees’ victory in the 1978 World Series is an important moment in the franchise’s history for the team’s ability to script comeback victories. First of all, it stands out because of an incredible comeback after they were 14 games behind. The Yankees initially lost the first two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and were down 3-2 in the series after five games. However, they showed resilience and won the last two games to become the 1978 World Series champions again. This comeback demonstrated the team’s ability to stay strong and perform well when faced with pressure.

During the 1978 season, a memorable moment unfolded when Bucky Dent hit a home run. This occurred in a decisive one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox, which would determine the winner of the American League East division. Dent, who was known for his modest batting skills as a shortstop, surprised everyone by hitting a three-run home run that barely cleared Fenway Park‘s renowned “Green Monster.” This significant home run not only put the Yankees in the lead but also symbolized the team’s unwavering determination and capacity to triumph over challenges.

1978 New York Yankees after their World Series win.

The Yankees and Red Sox rivalry made the 1978 World Series win even more important. Both teams fought hard throughout the season to win the division title, and the Yankees’ wins in the playoff game and both teams winning the 1978 World Series made the rivalry even stronger. The Yankees’ victory in the 1978 World Series game showed that they were better than the Red Sox, and it became another exciting part of their long-standing rivalry’s history.

Reggie Jackson did something incredible during his game-winning run in Game 1 of the 1978 World Series game that stood out. In Game 6, he did something that no one else had ever done before: he hit three home runs on three consecutive pitches. This made him the first player to achieve this in a World Series game. Jackson’s amazing strength and ability to perform under pressure were a big part of the Yankees’ win. Because of this, he earned the nickname “Mr. October” and became known as both a starter and a legend in postseason games.

The prelude to 1978 World Series: Yankees’ regular season

Regular season batting average.267
Best individual recordLou Piniella (.314)
Regular season pitching ERA3.18
Best individual recordRon Girdry ( 1.74)

The unforgettable journey of the 1978 Yankees season is a tribute to the power of teamwork and togetherness. It was amazing how the team made a comeback by improving their pitching, and hitting skills, winning an important game against the Red Sox, making smart coaching changes, and working well together as a unit until their victory in the 1978 World Series.

The 1978 New York Yankees’ ability to bounce back from a tough start and win the division, the pennant, and the 1978 World Series just shows how strong and determined they were. They didn’t let early challenges bring them down, and instead, they fought hard and came out on top.

The 1978 New York Yankees season was one of the most exciting and intense in baseball history. The Yankees showed incredible strength, worked together as a team, and never gave up, even when things were tough at the beginning of the season.

The Yankees faced some problems within their team, but they managed to make an amazing comeback and win the division, the pennant, and the 1978 World Series and league championship series ever. Let’s go back to 1978 and see what it took for the Yankees to achieve the biggest comeback league championship and repeat the World Series championship in baseball history.

In 1978, the Yankees began the season as the champions of the World Series from the year before. However, they had a difficult time in the first few weeks and faced tough challenges that created a big gap between them and other teams. The Yankees struggled to score runs consistently in the beginning months, which caused a lot of confusion and disorder at their season’s start.

1978 New York Yankees after their World Series win.
Silver Voices

During a period of struggling performances, the hitters on the Yankees team had a hard time getting hits and scoring runs consistently. This inconsistency affected the team’s ability to build momentum and score multiple runs in a row. In April 1978, the Yankees averaged 3.86 runs per game and scored a total of 85 runs in 22 games. As a team, they had a batting average of.250 for the month.

The Yankees had a tough time, mainly because their pitchers didn’t perform well. The team’s losing streak at the start of the 1978 season was mostly due to their rotation not being consistent. The team’s earned run average (ERA) was higher than expected, and key pitchers like Ed Figueroa and Catfish Hunter struggled in their games.

Trouble and hostility in the Yankees’ locker room had a negative impact on their performance on the field. Some players, especially Reggie Jackson, had tense relationships with their manager, Billy Martin. Their conflicting personalities and different views on how the team should work together caused a lot of discord. This discord posed a threat to the success of the 1978 New York Yankees season. In July, Martin resigned when the team was 14 games behind.

The Yankees’ renewed confidence and high spirits can be credited to the “Boston Massacre” series in July, where they swept the Red Sox. During this series, the team made some changes, the players regained their top form, and the offense started working well together. This turnaround played a significant role in saving the 1978 Yankees season. It led to improved performance, ultimately resulting in winning the division title and securing victory in the 1978 World Series.

As the season progressed, the Yankees’ batting average improved, and it made a big difference in the end. The team’s improved offense was largely due to the contributions of certain key players. One of them was Thurman Munson, the team’s captain and All-Star catcher. Munson was a dependable player, with a batting average of.297, 14 home runs, and 100 runs batted in (RBIs) for the 1978 New York Yankees season. He became known in national major league statistics for delivering crucial hits at important moments.

Jackson became known as “Mr. October” because he played amazingly well during the playoffs. In the regular season, he had a batting average of.274, hit 27 home runs, and drove in 97 runs. Another important player in the Yankees’ offense was Chris Chambliss, their first baseman. He consistently contributed to the team’s runs batted in throughout the season, and his overall batting average was .277. Chambliss hit 17 home runs and had a total of 96 RBIs. Throughout the season, Chambliss was a key player who came through in important moments with his clutch hitting.

The Yankees’ offense got a surprise boost from unexpected sources. Bucky Dent, who was known more for his defensive skills, played a crucial role by delivering some significant hits. One of his most memorable moments was hitting a three-run home run in the game that mattered the most against the Red Sox.

The Yankees’ improved offense resulted in scoring 735 runs, which was the highest in the American League. On average, they scored 4.53 runs per game. Their ability to handle pressure and capitalize on scoring chances played a significant role in their comeback and ultimate victory.

Reggie Jackson and Thomas Munson, the two leaders of the 1978 New York Yankees

‘Boston Massacre’ on Yankees’ march to 1978 World Series

The Boston Red Sox became the Yankees’ main rivals and posed a threat to their success. The Red Sox quickly took the lead and kept it against the Yankees thanks to strong players like Jim Rice and Carl Yastrzemski, eventually building a 14-game advantage by mid-July. The Yankees faced growing pressure and scrutiny, and they needed a breakthrough to turn their luck around.

The Yankees and Red Sox played a four-game series in July 1978 at Fenway Park, which became famous as the “Boston Massacre” due to a significant event that took place during the 1978 World Series. During an unexpected complete-game victory this series, the Yankees completely dominated their opponents, winning four games by a remarkable score of 42 to 9. This incredible victory brought renewed hope and momentum to the Yankees players, and it laid the foundation for an extraordinary comeback.

The “Boston Massacre” game series was a turning point for the 1978 New York Yankees season, but it was Reggie Jackson’s comeback that truly ignited the team. Jackson had a tough start to the season because of injuries and disagreements with manager Billy Martin. However, he found his rhythm in the second half of the season. Jackson’s exciting personality and excellent performance on the field inspired the team and gave them a much-needed boost.

The 1978 division battle: The tiebreaker game

The OpponentThe Boston Red Sox
The ScoreNew York Yankees – 5,
Boston Red Sox – 4
DateOctober 2, 1978
VenueFenway Park
GameResult: New York Yankees – 5, Boston Red Sox – 4
Place: Fenway Park
The crowd in attendance: 32,925
Date: October 2

The 1978 regular season of the New York Yankees was really exciting and filled with suspense as they battled for the American League East division title. Their biggest competition was the Boston Red Sox, and the race between the two teams was intense. The climax of this race happened in late September with a thrilling one-game playoff.

The Yankees faced an important four-game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park when they were behind by 3.5 games in the standings. They managed to win three out of the four games, which helped them narrow the gap and stay in the running for the division title.

The game was incredibly intense and close. Bucky Dent, a Yankees’ shortstop who wasn’t known for hitting lots of home runs, surprised everyone by hitting a three-run homer that barely cleared Fenway Park’s “Green Monster” in the seventh inning. The Yankees managed to hold on and win the game 5-4. This victory secured the division title for them but left Red Sox fans feeling disappointed.

The Yankees’ win in the one-game playoff pushed them into the postseason, where they continued to excel and eventually became champions in the 1978 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, as we mentioned earlier.

1978 New York Yankees dugout on the day of Boston Massacre.

The 1978 Pennant duel: Yankees 3-2 Royals

The OpponentKansas City Royals
The ScoreYankees – 3,
Royals – 2
DateOctober 3–7
VenuesRoyals Stadium
Yankee Stadium
Most memorable gameGame 3
Game 1Result: Yankees 7-1 Royals
Place: Royals Stadium
The crowd: 41,143
Game 2Result: Yankees 4-10 Royals
Place: Royals Stadium
The crowd: 41,158 
Game 3Result: Yankees 6-5 Royals
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd: 55,445
Game 4Result: Yankees 2-1 Royals
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd: 56,356

Due to Ron Guidry’s arm issues, the Yankees decided to start young pitcher Jim Beattie in Game 1. He pitched well and threw five innings without allowing any runs, and Ken Clay took over for the rest of the game. The Royals could only manage two hits and one run against the young pitchers. On the other hand, the Yankees’ offense was on fire, with 13 hits and four runs, and Doyle contributed with an RBI single. Reggie Jackson sealed the victory with a three-run home run in the eighth inning, securing a 7-1 win for the Yankees. However, the Royals struck back with a 10-4 victory in Game 2 stopping the Yankees’ momentum for the 1978 World Series.

Game 3 was an intense battle. Reggie Jackson hit a home run to give the Yankees the lead, but the Royals managed to tie the game. In the ninth inning, Goose Gossage came in and retired the Royals, earning the win for the Yankees. However, the game-changing moment in the crucial four-game series came when Thurman Munson hit a powerful two-run home run that traveled 460 feet into the Yankee bullpen, securing the victory for the Yankees. In Game 4, Ron Guidry made his return and helped close out the series with a 2-1 win. Roy White played a crucial role by hitting a decisive home run in the fifth inning and the Yankees marched to the 1978 World Series.

The 1978 World Series: Yankees 4-2 Dodgers

The OpponentLos Angeles Dodgers
The ScoreYankees 4 –2  Dodgers 
DateOctober 10–17
VenuesDodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
Yankee Stadium (New York)
The MVP Bucky Dent 
Most memorable gameGame 4: It was full of disputes and disagreements.
Game 1Result: Yankees 5-11 Dodgers
Place: Dodger Stadium
The crowd: 55,997
Date: October 10,
Game 2Result: Yankees 3-4 Dodgers
Place: Dodger Stadium
The crowd: 55,982
Game 3Result: Yankees 5-1 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd: 56,447
Game 4Result: Yankees 4-3 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd: 56,445
Game 5Result: Yankees 12-2 Dodgers
Place: Yankee Stadium
The crowd: 56,448
Game 6Result: Yankees 7-2 Dodgers
Place: Dodger Stadium
The crowd: 55,985

Game 1: Yankees 5-11 Dodgers

The Dodgers had a strong performance against the Yankees’ pitcher, Ed Figueroa, who had won 20 games in Game 1 of the 1978 World Series. Figueroa struggled and only pitched for two innings, during which he gave up home runs to Dusty Baker and Davey Lopes. In the fourth inning, Lopes hit another home run, this time a three-run shot off Ken Clay, making the score 6-0 in favor of the Dodgers. In the fifth inning, the Dodgers scored another run, with Ron Cey crossing the plate due to a wild pitch by Clay.

In the seventh inning, the Yankees made an effort to come back. Reggie Jackson hit a home run, and Bucky Dent singled, bringing in two runs. However, the Dodgers responded strongly with three runs of their own, with only two of them coming from a Bill North double. After that, the Dodgers comfortably secured a win in Game 1 putting Yankees behind in the 1978 World Series.

Game 2: Yankees 3-4 Dodgers

Game 2 of the 1978 World Series was way better than the first game, and a double play struck a really exciting moment. The Yankees took the lead when Roy White hit a single, Thurman Munson got a walk, and Reggie Jackson hit a double down the right field line, scoring two runs off Burt Hooton, the Dodgers’ pitcher. The Dodgers managed to score a run in the fourth inning, but a double play by Dusty Baker stopped them from getting more runs in that inning.

Catfish Hunter, the experienced Yankees pitcher, had a 2-1 lead going into the sixth inning. However, the Dodgers made a comeback and took a 4-2 lead. The Yankees managed to clutch a three-run homer to reduce the lead to 4-3 in the seventh inning, but the Dodgers held on to their lead. A 21-year-old pitcher named Bob Welch got the better of Reggie Jackson, who was the MVP of the previous year’s first World Series game. Jackson swung and missed, and as a result, the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead in the 1978 World Series.

Game 3: Yankees 5-1 Dodgers

Ron Guidry, who had an amazing record of 25 wins and 3 losses in the regular season, only allowed the Dodgers to score one run in six games until Game 3 of the 1978 World Series. Meanwhile, the Yankees scored five runs against Don Sutton, leading them to a 5-1 victory. In Game 4, Reggie Smith hit a three-run home run, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. However, the Yankees made a comeback by scoring two runs in the sixth inning and another run in the eighth inning, tying the game.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Lou Piniella hit a single to center field, bringing Willie Randolph home and winning the game. Game 5 was a big win for the Yankees, with Thurman Munson driving in five runs and the team beating the Dodgers by a huge margin of 12-2 signaling the New York comeback in the 1978 World Series.

Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees in 1978 World Series Game 3.
Rich Pilling/MLB Photos

Game 4: Yankees 4-3 Dodgers

Game 4 of the 1978 World Series was full of disputes and disagreements. The first inning didn’t have any scores. In the fifth inning, the Dodgers took the lead with two outs by a score of 3-0. The Yankees began their comeback in the sixth inning, but that’s when the controversy started.

Piniella hit a soft liner toward Russell, the Dodger shortstop. Russell was close to second base and smartly let the ball hit his glove and drop so he could take the third base line and turn a double play to end the inning. He touched second base and threw to first, but Jackson, who was in the first and third base lineups, didn’t move and seemed to position himself to block the throw. The ball hit Jackson, bounced away, and a run was scored. Lasorda, the Dodgers’ manager, argued strongly that Jackson interfered with the play, but the umpires decided that the play stood, and the score was now 3-2.

In the eighth inning, Munson hit a double that brought in the tying run. The score remained tied and stayed tied until the bottom of the tenth inning. Once again, Bob Welch faced Reggie Jackson, but this time Jackson won. Jackson hit a single, and then Lou Piniella hit a single to the center of the field, and the Yankees won the game tying the the 1978 World Series.

Game 5: Yankees 12-2 Dodgers

Young pitcher Jim Beattie did a great job limiting the Dodgers to nine hits. Meanwhile, the Yankees had an impressive 18-hit performance, and they set a World Series record with 16 singles. This made a big difference in the game and helped the Yankees secure the win in Game 5 of the 1978 World Series.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. But after that, Beattie, the Yankees’ pitcher, settled down and didn’t allow the Dodgers to score any more runs. In the bottom of the third, the Yankees responded with some strong hits. Roy White’s hit brought in a run, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 2-1. 

Then Thurman Munson hit a two-run single, putting the Yankees ahead 3-2. Lou Piniella’s hit added another run, making it 4-2 for the Yankees. The Yankees continued to score runs in the game, with White and Munson getting more hits to extend their lead to 11-2. They scored eight hits and one more run in the eighth inning, ending the game with a comfortable victory and leading the race for the 1978 World Series.

Game 6: Yankees 7-2 Dodgers

In Game 6 of the 1978 World Series, the Yankees won their fourth consecutive game and secured their second consecutive World Series championship. The Dodgers were trailing by just one run, with a score of 3-2, after five innings. However, the Yankees scored two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh, extending their lead. Goose Gossage, the Yankees’ relief pitcher, pitched the final two innings without allowing any runs. The game ended when Ron Cey of the Dodgers hit a foul ball caught by Thurman Munson. The series concluded with the Yankees defeating the Dodgers, just like they did in the 1950s.

In a series dominated by the Yankees’ consistent offense, it was fitting that Dent be named the MVP of the 1978 World Series. Despite not being known for hitting many home runs, Dent had an impressive performance, getting 10 hits in 24 at-bats and driving in seven runs. Doyle also had a good series, with 7 hits in 26 at-bats, and both Jackson and Munson played well too. However, Dent was the right choice for MVP due to his outstanding contributions to the team’s success.

Off the Winning Path

During the 1978 Yankees season, there was a conflict between manager Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson, which led to Jackson being suspended and Martin eventually resigning. The team, who were the defending World Series champions, didn’t start the season well, and the owner, George Steinbrenner, put pressure on Martin and the players. Sadly, the 1978 World Series was the last one Thurman Munson played before he passed away in a plane crash in 1979.

Gene Michael (Lemon) took over as the team’s manager after Martin left, and they performed much better leading to the 1978 World Series win. They won 47 out of 67 games for the rest of the regular season, which was a tie for the division title. This was an impressive turnaround considering they were fourteen games behind in the standings on July 19.

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