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West Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

Although Pete Rose’s preseason defection to the Philadelphia Phillies left Cincinnati fans feeling somewhat betrayed, it did not prevent the Reds from replacing the Dodgers at the top of the N.L. West standings in 1979.  Cincinnati finished the regular season with a record of 90-71, barely edging out the second-place Houston Astros for the division title.  The Astros finished just 1 ½ games behind Cincinnati, while the Dodgers slipped to third, 11 ½ games off the pace.  

The runner-up Astros had one of the league’s best pitching staffs.  Led by Joe Niekro and J.R. Richard, Houston finished second in the circuit with a team ERA of 3.20.  Niekro compiled a record of 21-11, threw 264 innings, posted an ERA of 3.00, and tossed a league-leading five shutouts.  The 6’8” Richard won 18 games, threw 19 complete games and 292 innings, and led the league with a 2.71 ERA and 313 strikeouts.

While the Reds had no one on their staff as physically imposing as the hard-throwing Richard, they had an ace of their own in Tom Seaver, who finished the year with a record of 16-6 and a 3.14 ERA.  Cincinnati also had one of the league’s top offenses, one that featured George Foster, Johnny Bench, and Ray Knight.  Foster hit 30 homers, drove in 98 runs, and batted .302.  Bench hit 22 home runs and knocked in 80 runs.  Knight did an admirable job of replacing Rose at third base, batting .318 and driving in 79 runs. 

Although his San Diego Padres finished fifth in the West, 22 games off the pace, Dave Winfield established himself as the division’s finest all-around player.  The right-fielder earned a third-place finish in the N.L. MVP voting by batting .308, hitting 34 home runs, scoring 97 runs, and leading the league with 118 runs batted in and 333 total bases. 

The race in the N.L. East also went down to the season’s final days, with the Pittsburgh Pirates ending Philadelphia’s three-year reign as division champions by edging out the Montreal Expos for first place.  The Pirates finished the season with a record of 98-64, just two games ahead of the runner-up Expos.  The Cardinals came in third, 12 games back, while the Phillies slipped to fourth, 14 games off the pace.

The fast-improving Expos featured talented young players such as Ellis Valentine, Andre Dawson, and Gary Carter.  In addition to intimidating opposing base runners with his powerful throwing arm in right field, Valentine hit 21 home runs, drove in 82 runs, and batted .276.  Dawson hit 25 homers, knocked in 92 runs, scored 90 others, and batted .275.  Carter hit 22 round-trippers, drove in 75 runs, and batted .283.

While Montreal posed the most serious threat to Pittsburgh for the division title, three of the league’s most productive hitters played for other N.L. East teams.  Mike Schmidt hit 45 home runs, knocked in 114 runs, and scored 109 others for Philadelphia.  Chicago’s Dave Kingman drove in 115 runs, batted a career-high .288, and led the league with 48 homers and a .613 slugging average.  St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez earned a share of the MVP Award by knocking in 105 runs, collecting 210 hits, and topping the circuit with a .344 batting average, 116 runs scored, and 48 doubles.

However, the “family” type atmosphere created on the Pirates enabled them to capture their first division title in four years.  Using Sister Sledge’s song “We Are Family” as their rallying cry, the Pirates experienced tremendous team harmony under club leader and patriarch Willie Stargell.  As the one remaining link to the outstanding Pittsburgh teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Stargell drew a tremendous amount of respect from his younger teammates, who looked to him for leadership, both on and off the field.  The baseball writers acknowledged the overall contributions Stargell made to the team over the course of the campaign by awarding him a share of the MVP trophy at season’s end.  The slugging first baseman also had a pretty good year at the plate, hitting 32 homers and knocking in 82 runs.  Dave Parker also posted solid numbers for the team, hitting 25 home runs, driving in 94 runs, scoring 109 others, and batting .310.

The Pirates rode their outstanding team chemistry all the way to the world championship, clearing their first hurdle by sweeping the Reds in three straight games in the NLCS.  Pittsburgh outscored Cincinnati by a combined margin of 15-5 during the Series, although the first two contests went into extra innings.  Stargell led the way by cracking two homers, driving in six runs, and batting .455.

The Pirates subsequently went down three-games-to-one to the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, before rallying to win the final three contests.  Stargell and Phil Garner starred for the Pirates.  Garner drove in five runs and collected 12 hits in 24 times at-bat, for a .500 batting average.  Stargell earned Series MVP honors by batting .400, hitting three homers, knocking in seven runs, and scoring seven others.

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• August 13 –Lou Brock collected his 3,000th hit during a 3-2 Cardinals win against the Cubs at Busch Memorial Stadium.

• September 23 – Lou Brock stole the 938th base of his career, breaking Billy Hamilton's all-time National League record.

• September 24 – Pete Rose collected his 200th hit of the season, giving him a record 10 campaigns with at least 200 safeties.  (Ty Cobb held the previous record with nine).

• Lou Brock retired at season’s end.  He batted .304 and stole 21 bases in his final year.

• Chicago Cubs reliever Bruce Sutter captured N.L. Cy Young honors by leading the league with 37 saves.

• The Houston Astros signed Nolan Ryan to a free-agent deal worth an estimated $1 million at the end of the year. 

• The National League won the All-Star Game 7-6 at Seattle.

• The Dodgers’ Rick Sutcliffe (17-10 with a 3.46 ERA) earned N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.
 
• St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Garry Templeton became the first switch-hitter to get 100 hits from each side of the plate in a season.

• Templeton led the National League with 211 hits.

• Ken Forsch of the Astros threw a no-hitter against Atlanta on April 7.

• Pittsburgh’s Omar Moreno led the National League with 77 stolen bases.

• Atlanta’s Phil Niekro led the league with 342 innings pitched and 23 complete games.

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 2097 5422 669 1389 626 .185 220 28 126 98 50 2043 .308 .250 .588 112 38 62
CHN 2233 5550 706 1494 663 .195 250 43 135 73 52 2235 .337 .264 .644 126 42 77
CIN 2075 5477 731 1445 686 .252 266 31 132 99 47 2169 .356 .322 .710 128 46 62
HOU 2063 5394 583 1382 542 .223 224 52 49 190 95 1857 .357 .289 .694 105 43 109
LAN 2072 5490 739 1443 713 .227 220 24 183 106 46 2260 .311 .302 .634 145 36 83
MON 2023 5465 701 1445 651 .203 273 42 143 121 56 2231 .330 .298 .673 123 38 67
NYN 2176 5591 593 1399 558 .179 255 41 74 135 79 1958 .304 .227 .576 117 40 66
PHI 2172 5463 683 1453 641 .201 250 53 119 128 76 2166 .345 .289 .660 124 57 60
PIT 2189 5661 775 1541 710 .227 264 52 148 180 66 2353 .323 .320 .690 113 56 98
SDN 2183 5446 603 1316 559 .176 193 53 93 100 58 1894 .303 .239 .573 104 43 113
SFN 2180 5395 672 1328 616 .191 192 36 125 140 73 1967 .291 .262 .571 100 47 89
SLN 2111 5734 731 1594 685 .194 279 63 100 116 69 2299 .309 .262 .615 116 63 63

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 443 66 94 1407 779 494 6149 1496 132 84.860 654 763 32 1 34 45 10
CHN 449 80 82 1447 933 521 6232 1500 127 54.940 627 707 20 5 44 40 5
CIN 442 90 71 1439 773 485 6083 1415 103 53.800 576 644 27 7 40 30 7
HOU 399 89 73 1446 854 504 6014 1278 90 70.900 514 582 55 17 31 55 5
LAN 402 79 83 1442 811 555 6197 1425 101 71.760 620 717 30 5 34 44 11
MON 420 95 65 1448 813 450 6052 1379 116 48.680 505 581 33 13 39 28 7
NYN 491 63 99 1483 819 607 6357 1486 120 74.650 633 706 16 5 36 45 11
PHI 424 84 78 1440 787 477 6086 1455 135 81.990 666 718 33 10 29 36 18
PIT 489 98 64 1494 904 504 6272 1424 125 53.490 568 643 24 2 52 52 9
SDN 440 68 93 1454 779 513 6160 1438 108 62.440 598 681 29 5 25 23 9
SFN 464 71 91 1437 880 577 6259 1484 143 61.380 665 751 25 5 34 50 9
SLN 438 86 76 1486 788 501 6255 1449 127 61.670 617 693 38 7 25 45 10

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2446 7234 5209 1817 208 .933 16891 181 48 0 25
CHN 2574 7429 5299 1942 188 .968 17361 123 67 0 8
CIN 2514 7341 5421 1779 141 .967 17282 110 55 0 9
HOU 2442 7335 5438 1734 163 .985 17364 127 50 0 18
LAN 2497 7319 5478 1707 134 .970 17328 118 63 0 21
MON 2332 7324 5422 1751 151 .974 17358 103 77 0 4
NYN 2577 7595 5620 1817 158 .959 17795 136 82 0 15
PHI 2592 7451 5488 1835 128 .970 17293 95 68 0 5
PIT 2563 7625 5665 1788 172 .962 17920 108 52 0 10
SDN 2558 7597 5442 1986 169 .962 17439 107 76 0 12
SFN 2565 7364 5321 1851 192 .960 17232 144 76 0 17
SLN 2536 7708 5575 1980 153 .968 17838 134 52 0 16

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Cincinnati Reds 90 71 2356933 1 773
Houston Astros 89 73 1900312 2 854
Los Angeles Dodgers 79 83 2860954 3 811
San Francisco Giants 71 91 1456402 4 880
San Diego Padres 68 93 1456967 5 779
Atlanta Braves 66 94 769465 6 779

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Pittsburg Pirates 98 64 1435454 1 904
Montreal Expos 95 65 2102173 2 813
St. Louis Cardinals 86 76 1627256 3 788
Philadelphia Philies 84 78 2775011 4 787
Chicago Cubs 80 82 1648587 5 933
New York Mets 63 99 788905 6 819

Awards

Silver Slugger

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Tagged:
1979 NLCS, 1979 World Series, Andre Dawson, Bruce Sutter, Cincinnati Reds, Dave Kingman, Dave Parker, Dave Winfield, Ellis Valentine, Garry Templeton, Gary Carter, George Foster, J.R. Richard, Joe Niekro, Johnny Bench, Keith Hernandez, Ken Forsch, Lou Brock, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Omar Moreno, Pete Rose, Phil Garner, Phil Niekro, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ray Knight, Rick Sutcliffe, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell

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