The 1976 World Series matched the defending champion Cincinnati Reds of the National League against the New York Yankees of the American League, with the Reds sweeping the Series to repeat. The Reds became (and remain) the only team to sweep an entire multi-tier postseason.
The Cincinnati Reds won the National League West division by ten games over the Los Angeles Dodgers then defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, three games to none, in the National League Championship Series. The New York Yankees won the American League East division by 10 ½ games over the Baltimore Orioles then defeated the Kansas City Royals, three games to two, in the American League Championship Series.
This World Series was the first in which the designated hitter rule was in effect which wound up benefiting the Reds who were able to get utility infielder Dan Driessen's bat in the lineup. Driessen hit .357 with one home run. Elliott Maddox, Carlos May, and Lou Piniella shared the role for the New York Yankees. Game 1 at Riverfront Stadium marked the first time the DH was used in a National League ballpark.
After spending the last two years sharing home field with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, the New York Yankees returned home to a re-built Yankee Stadium. George Steinbrenner had now owned the team for three years, since 1973, with Billy Martin serving the first of his five stints as manager since 1975. General Manager Gabe Paul made numerous trades getting Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa from the Angels for Bobby Bonds; Willie Randolph and Dock Ellis from the Pirates for Doc Medich; and Doyle Alexander, Ken Holtzman, and Grant Jackson from the Orioles for Rudy May, Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor, and Rick Dempsey.
The heart of the team was Yankee captain, Thurman Munson, whose grit and determination were factors in his winning the MVP award in the American League. Third baseman, Graig Nettles, and first baseman, Chris Chambliss were the key run producers, while speedy outfielders Roy White and Rivers set the table for the power hitters. Super free agent Catfish Hunter headed the staff while reliever Sparky Lyle led the A.L. in saves with 23. The Yankees finished 10 ½ ahead in the A.L. East advancing to the World Series by beating the Kansas City Royals in the fifth game of the playoffs on a ninth-inning walk-off home run by Chambliss.
The defending champion, Cincinnati Reds were piloted by Sparky Anderson who had a solid lineup from top to bottom led by two-time MVP, second baseman Joe Morgan while catcher Johnny Bench, first baseman Tony Perez, and outfielder George Foster provided enough power to drive in sparkplugs, Pete Rose, and Ken Griffey. This was the first World Series to utilize the designated hitter. Dan Driessen was the primary DH for the Reds while the Yankees interchanged Lou Piniella, Carlos May, and Elliott Maddox.
The Reds relied on left-handers Don Gullett and Fred Norman to pacify the Yankee hitters in Games 1 and 2, respectively. Gullett had come back from a mid-season injury to start Game 1 but had to leave the game in the eighth inning due to a twisted ankle while Norman out-pitched ace Hunter in Game 2. Game 3 in New York pitted effective Pat Zachry for the Reds against newly acquired Yankee, Dock Ellis. Ellis would last only 3 1/3 innings, taken out in the fourth after a homer by Driessen. Game 4 was delayed a day due to rain but the Reds were ready for the sweep. Four Cincinnati runs in the ninth blew open the game, triggering Billy Martin to lose his cool causing his ejection from the game.
The Cincinnati Reds outscored the New York Yankees, 22–8, and became the first N.L. team to repeat as World Champions since the 1921–1922 New York Giants. Bench would claim the MVP of the series hitting .533 with three home runs and six runs batted in. Honorable mention goes to Thurman Munson who had nine hits and a .529 batting average.
|1||New York Yankees – 1, Cincinnati Reds – 5||October 16||Riverfront Stadium||54,826|
|2||New York Yankees – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 4||October 17||Riverfront Stadium||54,816|
|3||Cincinnati Reds – 6, New York Yankees – 2||October 19||Yankee Stadium||56,667|
|4||Cincinnati Reds – 7, New York Yankees – 2||October 21||Yankee Stadium||56,700|
HRs: CIN – Joe Morgan (1)
Joe Morgan got the Reds off to a booming start with a solo home run off Doyle Alexander. (Alexander had to start because Catfish Hunter had a sore arm and needed another day of rest). Tony Pérez had RBIs in the third and sixth innings and Johnny Bench had an RBI triple and then scored on a Sparky Lyle wild pitch in the seventh. The only bad news for the Reds was an injury to starting pitcher Don Gullett, who pulled a calf muscle in the eighth and would be unavailable for the remainder of the Series.
The Reds rallied for three runs in the second off a rested Catfish Hunter on RBI singles by George Foster and Dave Concepción and a sacrifice fly by Pete Rose. The Yankees got on the board on an RBI single by Graig Nettles in the fourth. In the seventh, the Yankees tied things up on an RBI double by Fred Stanley and an RBI groundout by Thurman Munson. Meanwhile, Hunter settled into a groove, pitching a complete game and shutting out the Reds until the ninth. With two outs, Ken Griffey reached second when Stanley threw wildly past first after fielding his slow bouncer. Joe Morgan was walked intentionally and Tony Pérez ended the game by driving in Griffey with a single.
The Sunday night contest was the first weekend World Series game to start after dark. MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn responded to criticism of the scheduling, which was done to accommodate network television, by attending the game without an overcoat despite bitterly cold nighttime weather.
HRs: CIN – Dan Driessen (1) NYY – Jim Mason (1)
As the Series moved to Yankee Stadium, the Reds struck first with three runs off starter Dock Ellis. An RBI double by George Foster, RBI force-out by César Gerónimo, and an RBI single by Dave Concepción provided the tallies. Dan Driessen smacked a solo homer in the fourth, and Joe Morgan had an RBI double and Foster an RBI single in the eighth. Yankee backup shortstop Jim Mason entered the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh and hit a solo homer, thus becoming the first player to hit a home run in his first and only World Series at-bat (the second being Geoff Blum). Also, in the seventh, Yankee left-handed reliever Grant Jackson provided a defensive gem by catching a hard-hit ground ball off the bat of Johnny Bench behind his back and retiring Bench, thereby robbing him of a base hit.
HRs: CIN – Johnny Bench 2 (2)
The Yankees got on the board in the first (which would be their only lead in this Series) on a Thurman Munson single and a Chris Chambliss double. Munson would collect four hits in the game. In the fourth, Joe Morgan singled, stole second, and came home on a George Foster single. Johnny Bench followed with his first home run to give the Reds a 3–1 lead that they never relinquished. Bench would later add to his heroics with a three-run shot in the ninth, followed by consecutive doubles by César Gerónimo and Dave Concepción. Bench's performance earned him the Series MVP, while fellow catcher Munson had a fine Series himself with nine hits and a .529 average.
|New York Yankees||1||1||0||2||1||0||3||0||0||8||30||2
<tr><td style="text-align:left;" colspan="13">Total attendance: 223,009 Average attendance: 55,752</td></tr> <tr><td style="text-align:left;" colspan="13">Winning player’s share: $26,367 Losing player’s share: $19,935</td></tr>
I got news for ya, Sugar Bear. We are going to be World Champions again. We are now going to be World Champions again!—Sparky Anderson to Alex Grammas after Johnny Bench's second Game 4 homer.
It got late real early.—Yogi Berra
This was the last of thirty consecutive World Series telecasts by NBC, which had aired the event since 1947; under Major League Baseball's new television contract, Series coverage would now alternate between NBC and rival network ABC each year. It was also the last time that local announcers for the participating teams (Phil Rizzuto and Marty Brennaman, in this case) would be regularly featured on the network telecast.
This was the first of 22 consecutive World Series to be broadcast by CBS Radio.
- ↑ 1976 World Series Game 1 - New York Yankees vs. Cincinnati Reds. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-08.
- ↑ 1976 World Series Game 2 - New York Yankees vs. Cincinnati Reds. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-08.
- ↑ 1976 World Series Game 3 - Cincinnati Reds vs. New York Yankees. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-08.
- ↑ 1976 World Series Game 4 - Cincinnati Reds vs. New York Yankees. Retrosheet. Retrieved on 2008-06-08.
- Neft, David S., and Richard M. Cohen. The World Series. 1st ed. New York: St Martins, 1990. (Neft and Cohen 361–364)
- Reichler, Joseph, ed. (1982). The Baseball Encyclopedia (5th ed.), p. 2200. MacMillian Publishing. ISBN 0-02-579010-2.
- Forman, Sean L.. 1976 World Series. Baseball-Reference.com - Major League Statistics and Information.. Retrieved on 2007-12-09.
- 1976 World Series at Baseball-Reference.com
- 1976 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1976 ALCS | Game 5 at MLB.com
- 1976 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- Ah, How Great It Is at SI.com
- 1976 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- History of the World Series - 1976 at SportingNews.com
- Sporting News' Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: The Chris Chambliss Walk-Off Home Run at SportingNews.com
- Reds History at redshistory.com
- The 1976 Cincinnati Reds at baseballlibrary.com
- The 1976 New York Yankees at baseballlibrary.com