Bob Gordon’s 1979 World Series Game 7 is finally here! Bob told me it was the “most thrilling Game 7 I’ve ever rolled”. See for yourself… here’s his color commentary. -Tom
So it all comes down to this….a replay I started in 1982 (yup, last century) is down to Game 7. Someone goes home happy today. The Orioles have fought back from down 3-1. They have used clutch hitting and strong relief pitching as their keys to success. They have won both extra inning games and put Mike Flanagan up today against Bert Blyleven. These two have already hooked up twice this series. In Game 1, both pitchers gave up 3 earned runs and left with no decision. Blyleven threw a five hitter in Game 4 and bested Flanagan and the O’s 6-1. Moreno was 4-4 that day with a homer. Willie Stargell also homered that day. Since then, Bucco bats have been silent – scoring exactly zero runs in the next two games. They did waste 11 hits in Game 6…. Enough! On to the recap already.
Moreno leads off. Omar, coming off his Game 4 performance against Flanagan, could set the tone for the entire game right here. He pulls an outside fastball and taps to Dauer at second. On to Murray and the Bucs are hoping it doesn’t set the tone. Foli drills one to left, and he is off and running on the first pitch to Parker. Safe! Safe at second. So Foli does his best Moreno impersonation and the Bucs are in business. Parker gets fooled by the pitch and pops weakly to Belanger at short. Stargell is up and the Bucs need his bat to get them rolling. Ground ball, right side. Dauer to his right. Scoops and throws in time and the Bucs are scoreless in their last 22 innings. Blyleven is unfazed. He gets Bumbry and Belanger to fly to Robinson in left. Singleton steps in. His 11th inning single plated the only run in Game 6. Bert paints the outside corner with a back door curve and Ken is down on strikes.
The Pirates go in order in the second. Blyleven doesn’t look like he feels the pressure as he takes the mound in the second. He has to be thinking giving up a run is one run too many, but he looks cool and collected. Murray is the batter and Memorial Stadium is rocking with “Eddie, Eddie” chants. He lines one to center…Moreno on his horse and flags it down (a stolen 8). Ayala skies to right and there are two down. DeCinces steps in. Bert busts him inside with a fastball and its ball one. Now the curve, but it’s a bit of spinner. Doug turns on it and hits a towering drive down the left field line. Robinson goes to the corner, leaps, can’t get it. It is just fair and just over the wall. The O’s take a 1-0 lead and win the World Series! What? Yeah, guess you’re right. We should play the other 7 innings in case the Bucs go from the Slumber Company back to the Lumber Company. Dauer settles in and the crowd is still buzzing. He hits one in the gap in right center and it one hops the wall. Parker gets it back to the infield, but Dauer is at second. Tanner decides to go after Dempsey rather than walk him and pitch to Flanagan. (Flanagan doesn’t have a hit number and only has six 14’s). Bert’s first pitch is one of those 62 feet curve balls and Nicosia chases it to the backstop. Wild pitch, Dauer to third. Pops Stargell pays Bert a quick visit, settles him down and trots back to first. Dempsey bounces back to Blyleven to end the inning. Maybe Willie should think about coaching when his playing days are done.
Garner starts the third by striking out. Blyleven is trying to put the Buccos on his back. He drills a one out single past a diving Belanger and the Bucs have one on, one out. Flanagan whiffs Moreno and the Bucs are hoping Foli can keep things alive. Ground ball up the middle. Belanger flashes to his glove side, spears it and tosses to Dauer covering at second and the Pirate third is in the books. Flanagan strikes out to start the O’s third. Bumbry works a walk. Earl wants to rattle Blyleven’s cage so calls for the hit and run (you think he would have learned from the 71 series when he tried to rattle Steve Blass…). Belanger swings and misses but Bumbry beats the throw. Stolen base. Belanger tries to inside out one to move the runner up and pops to Parker in short right. Singleton comes to the plate with a runner in scoring position. Another run here could be huge. Tanner doesn’t like the looks of things and pays Bert a quick visit. They decide to walk Singleton to get to Murray. The crowd is nearly frothing at the mouth now (could be the National Bohemian they are drinking, I can’t tell.) Murray tops a ground ball to Madlock who fires to first for the inning ending out. Tanner’s unconventional move paid off.
Parker starts the Pirate fourth with a sinking liner to center. Bumbry coming hard….reaches down and makes the (stolen 8) catch. Stargell nexts and he hits a liner to center. Bumbry turns and gets this one with his back to the plate for out number (stolen 8) two. And you Pirate fans have to be thinking its going to be one of those days… Robinson strikes out to end the third – fourth K for Flanagan. Blyleven keeps the Bucs in it with a strong fourth. The O’s go one two three with Blyleven picking up his third K of the day – Dauer looking to end the inning.
Madlock fans to start the fifth. These two pitchers are looking tough. Nicosia lines on between DeCinces and Belanger and the Pirates have their third hit of the day – all singles. Garner flies to Ayala in left and Blyleven pops to Dempsey and the Pirates fail to score yet again. Blyleven fans Dempsey to start the fifth. He loses Flanagan on a full count fast ball (it is one of those days for Bucs fans) and Mike trots to first and puts on the jacket. Bumbry hits a hard grounder to Garner. He pivots and fires to Foli – for one (are you kidding, Flanagan wasn’t even running hard….) over to first – not in time. Al was flying down the line. Now Belanger – who has skied to left and flown to right. Ground ball – Madlock up with it and sidearms to Garner for the force.
Bucco sixth. Still 1-0 Orioles and the Pirates looking for their first run in 26 innings… Moreno starts it with a line shot the other way. That will drop in front of Ayala. O’s faithful are trying to help Flanagan by telling him Moreno is gonna steal. Flanagan throws over a couple of times, then fires to the plate. Foli fouls it back. Dempsey tosses the mask. One out. You can hear the groans in Pittsburgh…. Parker steps in. He chops one to the box. Omar to second, but Parker is out at first. Two out for Stargell. He lines this one. Right at Dauer. Dauer in short right never moved . The Bucs are down to 9 outs… Singleton, Murray and Ayala in the Oriole sixth. Lots of power coming to the plate. But they go one, two, three on infield grounders. Blyleven hasn’t given up a hit since Dauer’s double.
Pirate seventh. Y’all placing bets? Robinson starts it with a strike out. Sixth of the day. Madlock shocks the crowd with a drive to right center. Bumbry gives chase. He won’t get there . It goes to the wall and Mad Dog cruises in to second with a double. Tie run is on for the Pirates. Flanagan loses Nicosia on a 3-1 heater. The free pass is the first of the day. Two on and one out. (Who had the Pirate seventh in the pool? Anybody?) Garner has struck out and flown to Ayala in left. Flanagan bears down and fans him for the second out. Now Tanner has to go to his bench. Romo is warm in the pen (Grade B*XZ) and will come on for Blyleven in the bottom half. Bert allowed the home run and double in the second inning and has kept the O’s in check. Lacy comes out to try and put the Bucs on the board. He fouls a fastball back. He was right on that one. Curve ball swung on…Belanger racing to his left, scoops and tosses to Dauer for the force. Oriole seventh….an insurance run would be
big. Huge. Humongous. DeCinces homered in the second. And he drills a Romo fast ball to left center field for a base hit. Earl goes to the hit and run….its outside and Nicosia’s throw is off line. Stolen base for DeCinces. Romo comes back to fan Dauer. Now Dempsey. Breaking ball is in the dirt and skips past Nicosia. DeCinces goes to third with just one down. Dempsey turns on the next pitch and hits a screaming drive to left. No I can’t believe it. Madlock somehow caught that ball. And DeCinces can’t believe it either – he gets doubled off third and the Pirates and Romo get out of it.
Top of the eighth and Oriole fans are raucous. Its loud hear, you almost can’t hear Wild Bill Hagy. Moreno to lead things off. Flanagan pitches too carefully to Moreno and walks him. Foli grounds one back to the box, Moreno taking second. Parker is 0-3 today and looking to tie the game up. Big swing and a major league fly to right. Singleton camps under it and there are two down. Four more outs. Stargell is the batter. Flanagan moves him off the plate, ball one. He sets. Checks Moreno at second and deals. Uh oh. That’s hit a long way. Singleton just turns and looks. Willie ahd just put the Bucs up 2-1 in the eight with a drive to the bleacher seats in right. Robinson grounds to Murray unassisted. Suddenly, it’s the Orioles that are down to their last six outs. Pat Kelly will bat for Flanagan – who pitched very well . Just that one pitch to Stargell…. Anyway, Kelly is hitting .500 for the series with a double and homer. Romo’s screwball breaks away from Kelly and he hits a can of corn out to Robinson in left. Five outs left. Bumbry drills a line drive to center. Moreno is charging hard….and gets (stolen 8) there. Momentum has shifted…four more outs. Weaver sends Lowenstein to bat for Belanger. Tanner counters with Grant Jackson (Grade B*). Lefty on left. Lowenstein hits a drive to deep right. Parker back. To the track and makes the catch. The O’s have three outs left.
Stoddard will open the ninth for Baltimore (Grade B*XZ). He faces Madlock who has doubled and struck out twice. Mad Dog also has an unassisted double play to his credit. Swing and a line drive to center. Bumbry takes a step back then charges in to make the (stolen 8) catch. Nicosia flies to right, two down. Tekulve is warming in the Bucco pen. He has had a shaky post season, but was 3-0 with 48 saves and a 1.48 in the replayregular season. Garner hits a drive to right center. It is off the wall. Double for Garner. Now Tanner sends Milner to the dish. Weaver counters with lefty Tippy Martinez (Grade B*X). Milner grounds weakly to third and the season is down to three outs in the Oriole ninth. Singleton to lead off against Tekulve. He is 0-2 with a strikeout and an intentional pass. Tekulve’s pitch. Long drive, deep right. O’s fans to their feet as one…Parker to the track…gone! Its three rows deep and we are tied at 2. Murray comes up and you can hear “Eddie” in Pittsburgh with the mute button on. He turns on one. High drive, but Parker has room. One out. Ayala hits a smash to Madlock, over to first, two out. DeCinces is 2-3. Tekulve walks him on four pitches. I don’t think he wanted any part of him, but he put the lead run on in the bottom of the ninth. Dauer has a double in three trips, but he flies to Parker to end the inning.
Extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Wow. And it’s the third extra inning game, too.
Moreno leads off against Martinez. He lines one to left center. Bumbry racing to his right and makes a running (stolen 8) catch. Foli works Martinez for a walk. Up comes Parker who is 0-4. He grounds to Dauer for one, back to first, not in time. Garcia – who entered the game in the 9th after Belanger was lifted for a pinch hitter – just couldn’t get enough on the throw to catch the Cobra. Two out for Stargell. Willie has four dingers in the World Series (including one today) and three in the LCS. Martinez stretches. And he caught Parker leaning. Parker is picked off first. Tekulve back to the mound for his second inning of work. Roberts start to loosen in the Bucs pen – Stanhouse in the O’s pen. Dempsey grounds out Garner to Stargell to lead off. Weaver goes to Roenicke to hit for the pitcher. Gary is 0-14 on the series. And Tekulve walks him. Teke was distracted by those single column ones at 11 and 66. Bumbry flies to Robinson in left and that will leave it to Garcia. And Kiko hits a drive down the right field line. Roenicke is off like a prom dress from first…. (don’t make me explain that). It rolls to the corner and Parker has no chance. A walk off double for Kiko Garcia ends the World Series. The O’s came back from a 3-1 hole. They held the Bucs to 2 runs over those last three games. I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed it.
Series MVP is tough. The O’s lacked a dominant hitter. Ayala hit .429 with 2 HR, but just 3 RBI. McGregor was 1-0, 0.00 with a save in games 5 and 6 when the Orioles had to have it. Palmer’s start in Game 5 turned the tide. Blyleven was 1-0 with a 1.90 in three starts. Stargell hit 4 homers and knocked in 10 of the 24 runs the Bucs scored. But he hit just .207 (the Bucs hit .225 as a team). I’d lean to McGregor. How about y’all.
Oh, and Scott, your Orioles in six guess was pretty darn good.
Thanks Bob for your fantastic write-ups! Let’s see some series stats!