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1979 New York Yankees season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1979 New York Yankees
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) George Steinbrenner
General manager(s) Cedric Tallis
Manager(s) Bob Lemon, Billy Martin
Local television

WPIX
SportsChannel NY

(Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, Bill White)
Local radio WINS (AM)
(Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto, Bill White, Fran Healy)
< Previous season     Next season >

The 1979 New York Yankees season was the 77th season for the franchise in New York and its 79th season overall. The season was marked by the death of their starting catcher, Thurman Munson, on August 2. The team finished with a record of 89-71, finishing fourth in the American League East, 13.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles, ending the Yankees' three-year domination of the AL East. New York was managed by Billy Martin, and Bob Lemon. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.

Offseason

In January 1979, the Yankees attempted to acquire first baseman Rod Carew from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Chris Chambliss, Juan Beníquez, Dámaso García, and Dave Righetti, but the deal fell through.[1] Carew was later traded to the California Angels.

Notable transactions

Regular season

In mid-April, Rich Gossage broke the thumb on his pitching hand in a clubhouse fight with teammate Cliff Johnson. Gossage missed the rest of April, all of May, and half of June with the injury. Ron Guidry volunteered to take his place as bullpen closer along with his regular starts and posted two saves.

On June 18, Bob Lemon was fired as manager of the defending World Series champs after a sluggish 34-31 start. Billy Martin was then re-hired by owner George Steinbrenner, even though Martin originally wasn't to return until the 1980 season. This aroused the ire of many Yankee players, most notably Reggie Jackson.

On August 6, the Yankees flew to Ohio to attend Thurman Munson's memorial service, then flew back to New York to play the Orioles on Monday Night Baseball.[6] Bobby Murcer hit a three run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, then drove in two more runs in the ninth with a single off former Yankee Tippy Martinez to account for all five Yankee runs in a 5-4 win.[7] After the game, Murcer gave the bat to Munson's widow.[6]

On September 12, Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox joined the 3,000 hit club with a single off Jim Beattie of the Yankees.[8] The same game also marked the final appearance at Fenway Park for Hall of Fame pitcher Catfish Hunter.

On September 18, pitcher Bob Kammeyer set a single-season record by giving up eight earned runs without recording an out in his only game of the season. It was his last major league appearance.

Thurman Munson

YankeesRetired15.svg
Thurman Munson's number 15 was retired by the New York Yankees in 1979.

Munson was frequently homesick, and took flying lessons so that he could fly home to his family in Canton on off-days. On August 2, 1979, he was practicing takeoffs and landings in his new Cessna Citation I/SP jet at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. On the fourth touch-and-go, Munson failed to lower the flaps for landing and allowed the aircraft to sink too low before increasing engine power, causing the jet to clip a tree and fall short of the runway. The plane then hit a tree stump and burst into flames, killing Munson (who was trapped inside) and injuring two other companions. It is believed that the inability to get out of the plane, and the ensuing asphyxiation, is what killed Munson, rather than injuries sustained on impact or burns (the two passengers survived). He was 32 years old.[9]

Munson's sudden death was major news across the nation and especially sorrowed the baseball community. Munson was survived by his wife, Diana, and their three children. The day after his death, before the start of the Yankees' four-game set with the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx, the Yankees paid tribute to their fallen captain in a pre-game ceremony during which the starters stood at their defensive positions, save for the catcher's box, which remained empty. At the conclusion of Robert Merrill's musical selection, the fans (announced attendance 51,151) burst into a 10-minute standing ovation.

Season standings

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Baltimore Orioles 102 57 0.642 55–24 47–33
Milwaukee Brewers 95 66 0.590 8 52–29 43–37
Boston Red Sox 91 69 0.569 11½ 51–29 40–40
New York Yankees 89 71 0.556 13½ 51–30 38–41
Detroit Tigers 85 76 0.528 18 46–34 39–42
Cleveland Indians 81 80 0.503 22 47–34 34–46
Toronto Blue Jays 53 109 0.327 50½ 32–49 21–60


Record vs. opponents

1979 American League Records

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
Team BAL BOS CAL CWS CLE DET KC MIL MIN NYY OAK SEA TEX TOR
Baltimore 8–5 9–3 8–3 8–5 7–6 6–6 8–5 8–4 5–6 8–4 10–2 6–6 11–2
Boston 5–8 5–7 5–6 6–7 8–5 8–4 8–4 9–3 5–8 9–3 8–4 6–6 9–4
California 3–9 7–5 9–4 6–6 4–8 7–6 7–5 9–4 7–5 10–3 7–6 5–8 7–5
Chicago 3–8 6–5 4–9 6–6 3–9 5–8 5–7 5–8 4–8 9–4 5–8 11–2 7–5
Cleveland 5–8 7–6 6–6 6–6 6–6 6–6 4–9 8–4 5–8 8–4 7–5 5–7 8–5
Detroit 6–7 5–8 8–4 9–3 6–6 5–7 6–7 4–8 7–6 7–5 7–5 6–6 9–4
Kansas City 6–6 4–8 6–7 8–5 6–6 7–5 5–7 7–6 5–7 9–4 7–6 6–7 9–3
Milwaukee 5–8 4–8 5–7 7–5 9–4 7–6 7–5 8–4 9–4 6–6 9–3 9–3 10–3
Minnesota 4–8 3–9 4–9 8–5 4–8 8–4 6–7 4–8 7–5 9–4 10–3 4–9 11–1
New York 6–5 8–5 5–7 8–4 8–5 6–7 7–5 4–9 5–7 9–3 6–6 8–4 9–4
Oakland 4–8 3–9 3–10 4–9 4–8 5–7 4–9 6–6 4–9 3–9 8–5 2–11 4–8
Seattle 2–10 4–8 6–7 8–5 5–7 5–7 6–7 3–9 3–10 6–6 5–8 6–7 8–4
Texas 6–6 6–6 8–5 2–11 7–5 6–6 7–6 3–9 9–4 4–8 11–2 7–6 7–5
Toronto 2–11 4–9 5–7 5–7 5–8 4–9 3–9 3–10 1–11 4–9 8–4 4–8 5–7


Notable transactions

Roster

1979 New York Yankees
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Thurman Munson 97 382 110 .288 3 39
1B Chris Chambliss 149 554 155 .280 18 63
2B Willie Randolph 153 574 155 .270 5 61
3B Graig Nettles 145 521 132 .253 20 73
SS Bucky Dent 141 431 99 .230 2 32
LF Lou Piniella 130 461 137 .297 11 69
CF Mickey Rivers 74 286 82 .287 3 25
RF Reggie Jackson 131 465 138 .297 29 89
DH Jim Spencer 106 295 85 .288 23 53

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Juan Beníquez 62 142 36 .254 4 17

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Jim Beattie 15 76 3 6 5.21 32
Dave Righetti 3 17.1 0 1 3.63 13

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Ray Burris 15 1 3 0 6.18 19
Paul Mirabella 10 0 4 0 8.79 4
Mike Griffin 3 0 0 0 4.15 5
Rick Anderson 1 0 0 0 3.86 0
Roger Slagle 1 0 0 0 0.00 2
Bob Kammeyer 1 0 0 0 0

Awards and honors

All-Stars

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Columbus Clippers International League Gene Michael
AA West Haven Yankees Eastern League Stump Merrill
A Fort Lauderdale Yankees Florida State League Doug Holmquist
A-Short Season Oneonta Yankees New York–Penn League Art Mazmanian
Rookie Paintsville Yankees Appalachian League Bill Livesey

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Columbus, West Haven, Oneonta, Paintsville[18]

Off-season

On October 23, manager Billy Martin got into a barroom fight with Joseph Cooper, a marshmallow salesman from Minnesota. Six days later, Martin was fired from the Yankees by George Steinbrenner and replaced with Dick Howser.

Notes

  1. ^ United Press International (January 30, 1979). "Yankees, Twins still dickering". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ Dave Righetti at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Luis Tiant at Baseball Reference
  4. ^ Tommy John at Baseball Reference
  5. ^ a b Bobby Brown at Baseball Reference
  6. ^ a b Yankee for Life, Bobby Murcer and Glen Waggoner, p. 126, Harper Collins, 2008, New York, ISBN 978-0-06-147342-5
  7. ^ August 6, 1979, box score
  8. ^ The 3,000 Hit Club: Carl Yastrzemski
  9. ^ Internet Archive's last entry for the ThurmanMunson.com history page
  10. ^ Paul Blair at Baseball Reference
  11. ^ Jim Kaat at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ a b Ray Burris at Baseball Reference
  13. ^ Don Mattingly at Baseball Reference
  14. ^ Otis Nixon at Baseball Reference
  15. ^ Dave Wehrmeister at Baseball Reference
  16. ^ Bobby Murcer at Baseball Reference
  17. ^ Oscar Gamble at Baseball Reference
  18. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

References

This page was last edited on 24 May 2018, at 00:38
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