1979 in baseball
Major League Baseball
|League Championship Series
- American League Championship Series MVP: None.
- National League Championship Series MVP: Willie Stargell
- All-Star Game, July 17 at the Kingdome: National League, 7–6; Dave Parker, MVP
- College World Series: Cal State-Fullerton
- Cuban National Series: Sancti Spíritus
- Japan Series: Hiroshima Toyo Carp over Kintetsu Buffaloes (4–3)
- Big League World Series: West Hempstead, New York
- Little League World Series: Pu-Tzu Town, Hsien, Taiwan
- Senior League World Series: Tung–Feng LL Taichung, Taiwan
- Pan American Games: Cuba over Dominican Republic
- 1979 Caribbean Series: Navegantes del Magallanes
- Dominican Republic League: Águilas Cibaeñas
- Mexican Pacific League: Mayos de Navojoa
- Puerto Rican League: Criollos de Caguas
- Venezuelan League: Navegantes del Magallanes
Awards and honors
- Baseball Hall of Fame
- Most Valuable Player
- Cy Young Award
- Rookie of the Year
- Woman Executive of the Year (major or minor league): Doris Krucker, Midwest League
- Gold Glove Award
- Cecil Cooper (1B) Milwaukee Brewers (AL)
- Frank White (2B) Kansas City Royals (AL)
- Buddy Bell (3B) Texas Rangers (AL)
- Rick Burleson (SS) Boston Red Sox (AL)
- Dwight Evans (OF) Boston Red Sox (AL)
- Fred Lynn (OF) Boston Red Sox (AL)
- Sixto Lezcano (OF) Milwaukee Brewers (AL)
- Jim Sundberg (C) Texas Rangers (AL)
- Jim Palmer (P) Baltimore Orioles (AL)
MLB statistical leaders
|American League||National League|
|AVG||Fred Lynn BOS||.333||Keith Hernandez STL||.344|
|HR||Gorman Thomas MIL||45||Dave Kingman CHC||48|
|RBI||Don Baylor CAL||139||Dave Winfield SDP||118|
|Wins||Mike Flanagan BAL||23||Joe Niekro HOU
Phil Niekro ATL
|ERA||Ron Guidry NYY||2.78||J. R. Richard HOU||2.71|
Major league baseball final standings
- January 23 – Willie Mays receives 409 of 432 votes in the Baseball Writers' Association of America election to earn enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
- February 3 – The Minnesota Twins trade Rod Carew to the California Angels for Ken Landreaux, Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell and Brad Havens. His first season with the Angels, he helps his new team reach the post season for the first time, batting over .300 for the next five seasons, and being selected for the next six American League All-Star teams.
- April 7 – In the earliest no-hitter in major league history, the Houston Astros' Ken Forsch shuts down the Atlanta Braves 6–0. His brother, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch, hurled a no-hitter the previous season against the Philadelphia Phillies — making them the first big league brothers to each toss a no-hitter.
- April 19 – New York Yankees' closer Rich Gossage breaks his right thumb in a clubhouse fight with teammate Cliff Johnson. Gossage would miss almost two months, while 1978 American League Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry voluntarily replaced him in the bullpen for a short time.
- May 9 – With the score tied 4-4 in the ninth inning, and Jimmy Sexton on first base with no outs, the Houston Astros' Terry Puhl lays down a sacrifice bunt. The Cardinals attempt to get the lead runner on the play, however, second base umpire Dave Pallone calls Sexton safe, claiming that Garry Templeton never touched the bag. Cardinals manager Ken Boyer, First baseman Keith Hernandez and catcher Ted Simmons are ejected from the game. Players on the Cardinals bench begin throwing bats and helmets onto the field in protest. As a result, Pallone orders the entire Cardinals bench into the clubhouse, allowing players only to come onto the field as needed. The Cardinals would get out of the inning without a run scoring; however, they would lose in the sixteenth inning.
- May 17 – Dave Kingman of the Chicago Cubs hits three home runs and Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies hits two, the second of which proves to be the game winner in the tenth inning, as the Phillies beat the Cubs 23–22 at Wrigley Field. Bill Buckner had a grand slam and seven RBIs for Chicago. The game included a then Major League record 11 home runs and 50 hits.
- May 25 – Starter Ross Baumgarten and reliever Randy Scarbery pitched the first combined one-hitter in Chicago White Sox history, defeating Nolan Ryan and the California Angels, 6–1, at Comiskey Park.
- May 28 – Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Jorgensen is hit in the head by a pitch from Boston Red Sox pitcher Andy Hassler. Dave Roberts comes into the game to pinch run for Jorgensen, and Pat Putnam takes over as the Rangers' regular first baseman for the next month. Aside from a pinch-hit appearance on May 31, Jorgensen does not play again until July 1. After suffering headaches, it is discovered he has a small blood clot inside his head, which apparently caused a seizure and could have resulted in his early demise.
- May 31 - Detroit Tigers pitcher Pat Underwood makes his major league debut against his brother, Tom, pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. Both brothers hold the opposing team scoreless until Tom surrendered a solo home run to Jerry Morales leading off the eighth.
- June 8 – The Kansas City Royals use their fourth overall pick to draft Dan Marino. In the seventeenth round, they select Stanford's John Elway. Neither player would sign with the Royals, though they would go on to record-breaking careers in the National Football League.
- June 12 – The Detroit Tigers hire Sparky Anderson as their new manager.
- June 18 – Bob Lemon is fired as manager of the defending World Series champ New York Yankees after a sluggish 34-31 start. Billy Martin, originally slated not to take over until the 1980 season, is brought back early by George Steinbrenner, drawing the ire of Reggie Jackson.
- June 24 – In a 5–1 loss to the Rangers, Rickey Henderson debuts for the Oakland Athletics. He singles and doubles; the first of his over 3,000 career hits, and steals the first of his over 1,400 bases.
- July 12 – The Detroit Tigers win the first game of a scheduled doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, 4–1, on Disco Demolition Night at Chicago's Comiskey Park. Thousands of young fans swarm onto the field between the games, damaging the field and causing mayhem throughout the stadium. The White Sox are forced to forfeit the second game.
- July 13 – In a rare event, Nolan Ryan of the California Angels and Steve Renko of the Boston Red Sox take separate no-hitters into the ninth inning before they both lose the no hit bids. Ryan's no-hit bid against the New York Yankees benefitted from some questionable official scoring; Jim Spencer's drive to center that Angels centerfielder Rick Miller barely got a glove on was ruled an error. In the ninth, Thurman Munson reached on an error by shortstop Jim Anderson. Two batters later, Reggie Jackson singled to center to unquestionably break up the no-hitter. The next batter, Lou Piniella hit a sacrifice fly to score Munson, and break up the shutout. The run was, however, unearned. Ryan's Angels defeat the Yankees, 6–1. Renko's no-hit bid against the Oakland Athletics is broken up by Rickey Henderson with one out. After recording a second out, Renko walks Mitchell Page, and is pulled in favor of Bill Campbell by Red Sox manager Don Zimmer. Campbell strikes out the only batter he faces, Dave Revering to earn the save, however, Renko is denied the shutout as a result. The Red Sox defeat the A's, 2–0. Ryan's feat, however, receives considerably more attention as the game was nationally televised on ABC's Monday Night Baseball and Ryan (while pitching the game) was on the ensuing issue's cover of Sports Illustrated.
- July 17 – The National League wins its eighth straight All-Star Game, 7–6, at Seattle. Lee Mazzilli hits a home run to tie the game in the eighth, and walks in the ninth to bring in the winning run. Dave Parker, with two outstanding throws, is named the MVP, and Pete Rose appears in the game playing first base, making him the only player in MLB history to appear in the game at five different positions in the field in his All-Star game career.
- July 24 – Boston's Carl Yastrzemski hits his 400th home run off Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Morgan in the 7th inning of the Red Sox's 7–3 win over the Athletics at Boston's Fenway Park.
- July 27 - Bert Blyleven of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches a 9-1 complete game victory against the Montreal Expos. However, he also strikes out five times as a hitter in the game, becoming the only pitcher in major league history to do so.
- August 2 – The Chicago White Sox announce that Don Kessinger has been fired as manager, and that he will be replaced by rookie manager Tony La Russa.
- August 3 – Over 51,000 mourners attend a memorial service for New York Yankees captain Thurman Munson at Yankee Stadium, who was killed the day before in a plane crash.
- August 5 – Fred Lynn hits his 100th career home run, helping the Red Sox beat Milwaukee Brewers 7–2.
- August 6 – The entire New York Yankee team flies to Canton, Ohio for captain Thurman Munson's funeral. Hours later, the team returns to New York City and defeats the Baltimore Orioles 5–4 at Yankee Stadium, before a national viewing audience on ABC's Monday Night Baseball. Bobby Murcer, one of Munson's best friends, drives in all five Yankee runs with a three-run home run in the seventh inning and a two-run single in the bottom of the ninth.
- August 13 – The St. Louis Cardinals' Lou Brock slashes his 3,000th hit off the hand of Chicago Cubs pitcher Dennis Lamp in a 3–2 Cardinals win at Busch Memorial Stadium.
- August 22 – At Riverfront Stadium, Johnny Bench breaks Frank Robinson's record for most home runs by a Cincinnati Red. His shot, the 325th home run of his career (all with the Reds), comes off Stan Bahnsen in the fourth inning of the Reds' 7-2 victory over the Montreal Expos.
- August 24 - The Philadelphia Phillies retire eventual Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn's number 1.
- September 11 – Dave Concepción and George Foster hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning off Houston Astros ace reliever Joe Sambito and the Cincinnati Reds hold off the Astros 9-8. The Reds trailed the Astros by 1/2 game and moved into first place to stay in the National League West.
- September 12 – The Boston Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski records his 3000th career hit with a single off of pitcher Jim Beattie during a 9–2 win over the rival New York Yankees at Fenway Park. He is the first American League player to reach both 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.
- September 14 – The Minnesota Twins trade All-Star first baseman Rod Carew to the California Angels for Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell and Brad Havens. Carew, who hit .333 for the Twins in 1978 but had vowed never to play again for team's owner Calvin Griffith after he made disparaging remarks against black players a few months earlier, will hit .318 for the Angels for the rest of the season. Carew will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
- September 15 – As part of a 10–2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox's Bob Watson hits for the cycle. Having done it for the Houston Astros on June 24, 1977, he is the first player to do this in both leagues.
- September 17 – George Brett hits his 20th triple of the season. He is the first player since Willie Mays in 1957 to join the 20–20–20 club.
- September 23 – Lou Brock steals the 938th base of his career, breaking Billy Hamilton's all-time National League record. Brock's St. Louis Cardinals defeat the New York Mets 7–4 in ten innings.
- September 24 – Pete Rose collects his 200th hit of the season, giving him ten seasons with at least 200 hits. This breaks the record set by Ty Cobb.
- September 28 – Garry Templeton of the St. Louis Cardinals collects his 100th hit of the season while batting right-handed. Having already collected 100 hits while batting left-handed, Templeton is the first player in history to accomplish this. He had batted right-handed, exclusively, for the last week of the season to get the needed hits.
- September 28 – The Cincinnati Reds' Frank Pastore pitches a complete-game 3-0 shutout over the Atlanta Braves, clinching the National League West Division title for the Reds.
- October 17 – In Game Seven of the World Series, Willie Stargell hits his third home run of the Series to send the Pittsburgh Pirates to their third straight win over the Baltimore Orioles, to win the World Series Championship. Stargell wins Series MVP honors. The Pirates came back from a deficit of 3 games-to-1.
- October 23 – Yankee manager Billy Martin gets into a barroom fight with Joseph Cooper, a marshmallow salesman from Minnesota. Six days later, Martin is fired from the Yankees and replaced with Dick Howser.
- November 13 – For the first time ever, there will be League co-MVPs as Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals shares the National League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award with Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stargell is the oldest person to win this award (since broken by Barry Bonds in 2004). The Pirates have thus won (or shared) all four "Most Valuable Player" awards for the season (All-Star Game, National League Championship Series, World Series, and National League regular season). This is the first such sweep in Major League history (Stargell had won the awards for the NLCS, World Series, and National League regular season, while teammate Dave Parker won the All-Star Game award).
- November 20 – California Angels outfielder and DH Don Baylor wins the American League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .296 with 36 home runs and a major league-leading 120 runs scored and 139 runs batted in. Baylor receives 20 of 28 first-place votes to become the first Angel ever to win MVP honors.
- November 26 – Third baseman John Castino, who batted .285 for the Minnesota Twins, and shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who hit .287 for the Toronto Blue Jays, tie for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, each receiving seven of the 28 first-place votes. The deadlock precipitates a change in the voting system, effective in 1980.
- November 28 – Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who posted a 17–10 record with a 3.46 ERA for a sub-.500 team, receives 20 of first-place 24 votes to earn the National League Rookie of the Year honors. Right fielders Jeffrey Leonard of the Houston Astros (3) and Scot Thompson of the Chicago Cubs (1) receive the other votes.
- December 1 – San Diego Padres outfielder Dave Winfield and Texas Rangers third baseman Buddy Bell are first-time honorees as The Sporting News announces the 1979 Gold Glove teams.
- January 3 – Rosman García
- January 3 – Carlos Maldonado
- January 3 – Michael Restovich
- January 5 – Rubén Quevedo
- January 15 – Ben Howard
- January 16 – Jack Cust
- January 18 – Wandy Rodríguez
- January 21 – Byung-hyun Kim
- January 22 – Carlos Ruiz
- January 23 – Juan Rincón
- January 25 – Philip Barzilla
- January 26 – Kenny Kelly
- January 28 – Phil Seibel
- January 29 – Lance Niekro
- February 7 – Eliézer Alfonzo
- February 7 – Humberto Cota
- February 7 – Jon Leicester
- February 8 – Aaron Cook
- February 8 – Ryan Snare
- February 9 – Akinori Iwamura
- February 9 – Mike Tonis
- February 11 – Éric Cyr
- February 11 – Chris Mabeus
- February 15 – Luis Ugueto
- February 17 – Josh Willingham
- February 22 – Steve Colyer
- February 23 – Chris Aguila
- February 24 – Brian Esposito
- February 24 – Dennis Tankersley
- February 25 – Josh Labandeira
- March 1 – Chris Barnwell
- March 3 – Jorge Julio
- March 3 – John Nelson
- March 6 – Clint Barmes
- March 6 – Érik Bédard
- March 9 – Koyie Hill
- March 12 – Félix Escalona
- March 12 – David Williams
- March 13 – Johan Santana
- March 14 – José Núñez
- March 15 – Kevin Youkilis
- March 16 – Hee-seop Choi
- March 20 – Shinnosuke Abe
- March 20 – Wilfredo Rodríguez
- March 21 – Matt Palmer
- March 22 – Juan Uribe
- March 23 – Mark Buehrle
- March 24 – Norris Hopper
- March 26 – Jason Dubois
- March 27 – Michael Cuddyer
- March 30 – Mike Johnston
- March 31 – Josh Kinney
- March 31 – Charlie Manning
- April 7 – Adrián Beltré
- April 7 – Danny Sandoval
- April 8 – Jeremy Guthrie
- April 8 – Dane Sardinha
- April 12 – Jordan De Jong
- April 16 – Justin Huisman
- April 16 – Justin Wayne
- April 17 – Jorge Piedra
- April 19 – Nick Gorneault
- April 20 – Sean Green
- April 21 – Terry Tiffee
- April 23 – Henry Owens
- April 23 – Carlos Silva
- April 23 – Rich Thompson
- April 28 – Sean Douglass
- May 1 – Brandon Claussen
- May 1 – Joe Hietpas
- May 4 – Ryan Jorgensen
- May 9 – Brandon Webb
- May 10 – Tony Álvarez
- May 12 – Travis Dawkins
- May 18 – Adam Peterson
- May 20 – Jayson Werth
- May 23 – César Crespo
- May 23 – Kirk Saarloos
- May 23 – John Webb
- May 24 – Joe Kennedy
- May 25 – Trey Lunsford
- May 25 – Chris Young
- May 28 – Ryota Igarashi
- May 29 – John Rheinecker
- June 6 – Jeremy Affeldt
- June 6 – Jesús Feliciano
- June 8 – Pete Orr
- June 9 – Jason Anderson
- June 13 – Cory Aldridge
- June 13 – Ben Diggins
- June 15 – Matt Smith
- June 20 – Scott Patterson
- June 20 – Cory Vance
- June 22 – Brad Hawpe
- June 24 – Jason Romano
- June 26 – Luis A. González
- July 4 – Amauri Sanit
- July 6 – Vic Carapazza
- July 10 – Tyrell Godwin
- July 12 – Adam Johnson
- July 13 – Kei Igawa
- July 14 – Bernie Castro
- July 19 – Rick Ankiel
- July 24 – Ryan Speier
- July 28 – John Coppolella
- July 31 – J. J. Furmaniak
- July 31 – Andy Van Hekken
- August 2 – Colby Lewis
- August 2 – Humberto Quintero
- August 2 – Matt Riley
- August 9 – Ron Flores
- August 10 – Dan Johnson
- August 10 – Brandon Lyon
- August 11 – Jorge Padilla
- August 12 – D. J. Houlton
- August 13 – Román Colón
- August 13 – Corey Patterson
- August 13 – Jon Switzer
- August 14 – Ángel Santos
- August 15 – Ryan Budde
- August 15 – Roberto Novoa
- August 19 – Rocky Cherry
- August 20 – Franklyn Gracesqui
- August 20 – Cory Sullivan
- August 23 – Prentice Redman
- August 23 – Chris Roberson
- August 26 – Charlie Zink
- August 27 – Tommy Murphy
- August 27 – Andy Pratt
- August 29 – David Sanders
- August 29 – Ryan Shealy
- August 29 – Eduardo Villacis
- August 30 – Scott Richmond
- August 30 – Luis Rivas
- August 31 – Clay Hensley
- August 31 – Shane Loux
- August 31 – Tim Raines, Jr.
- August 31 – Ramón Santiago
- September 5 – Cliff Bartosh
- September 5 – Ryan Spilborghs
- September 7 – Nathan Haynes
- September 7 – Brian Stokes
- September 11 – Frank Francisco
- September 16 – Chris George
- September 16 – Bobby Korecky
- September 18 – Kevin Thompson
- September 18 – Billy Traber
- September 19 – Lenny DiNardo
- September 19 – Andrew Good
- September 22 – Charlton Jimerson
- September 24 – Nate Cornejo
- September 26 – Yurendell DeCaster
- September 27 – Jon Garland
- September 28 – Jason Young
- September 29 – Shelley Duncan
- September 29 – Joe Thurston
- October 9 – Alay Soler
- October 10 – Brad Ziegler
- October 11 – Shane Youman
- October 14 – Duaner Sánchez
- October 17 – John Ennis
- October 17 – Gil Velazquez
- October 20 – Choo Freeman
- October 21 – Khalil Greene
- October 21 – Gabe Gross
- October 21 – Steve Holm
- October 21 – Tim Spooneybarger
- October 22 – Eli Whiteside
- October 23 – Ramón Castro
- October 23 – Bud Smith
- October 25 – Jeremy Brown
- October 25 – Tony Torcato
- October 28 – Bobby Cramer
- October 30 – Jason Bartlett
- November 1 – Coco Crisp
- November 4 – Ezequiel Astacio
- November 6 – Adam LaRoche
- November 7 – Willie Collazo
- November 9 – David Bush
- November 9 – Adam Dunn
- November 11 – J. R. House
- November 13 – Gerald Laird
- November 15 – John Stephens
- November 18 – Steve Bechler
- November 19 – John-Ford Griffin
- November 19 – Ryan Howard
- November 20 – Lino Urdaneta
- November 21 – Bárbaro Cañizares
- November 24 – Horacio Ramírez
- November 25 – Matt Tupman
- November 26 – Jeff Fulchino
- November 27 – Carlos Mendoza
- November 27 – Jonathan Van Every
- November 28 – Nook Logan
- November 28 – Mike Schultz
- November 29 – Francis Beltrán
- December 2 – José Morban
- December 3 – Eric Hull
- December 4 – Manny Gonzalez
- December 7 – Ryan Theriot
- December 9 – Eric Stults
- December 12 – Garrett Atkins
- December 15 – Kevin Cameron
- December 17 – David Kelton
- December 19 – Chip Ambres
- December 19 – Rafael Soriano
- December 20 – David DeJesus
- December 24 – Joe Valentine
- December 26 – J. C. Boscán
- December 28 – Bill Hall
- January 9 – Charley Stis, 94, who spent more than six decades in professional baseball as a player, manager, scout and umpire
- January 25 – Charlene Barnett, 50, who played second base in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1949 to 1952 and was a member of three champion teams
- February 7 – Warren Giles, 82, president of the National League from 1951 to 1969, and of the Cincinnati Reds from 1937 to 1951
- February 8 – Alex Gaston, 85, catcher for the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox between 1920 and 1929
- February 8 – Art Williams, 44, the first black umpire in the National League, working from 1972 to 1977 including the 1975 NLCS
- February 26 – Forrest Thompson, 60, left-handed pitcher for the Washington Senators in the late 1940s
- March 2 – Dale Alexander, 75, first baseman who batted .331 in five seasons with the Tigers and Red Sox, winning the 1932 batting title, before an injury ended his career; later a scout
- March 29 – Luke Easter, 63, first baseman in the Negro Leagues who had 100 RBI in each of his first two seasons with the Cleveland Indians
- April 3 – Harry Simpson, 53, outfielder and first baseman who led the AL in triples twice
- April 6 – Al Evans, 62, longtime catcher for the Washington Senators, later a minor league manager
- April 6 – Rudy Kallio, 86, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers (1918–19) and Boston Red Sox (1925); later a coach for Triple-A Portland Beavers and scout for the Chicago Cubs
- April 18 – Lindsay Deal, 67, outfielder for the 1939 Brooklyn Dodgers
- May 3 – Tom Jenkins, 81, outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns in the early 1920s
- May 23 – Hiroshi Oshita, 56, Hall of Fame first baseman who played for the Toei Flyers from 1946 to 1951 and the Nishitetsu Lions from 1952 to 1959.
- June 8 – Muriel Coben, 58, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League pitcher, and member of a Canadian women's curling champion team
- June 17 – Duffy Lewis, 91, left fielder for the Boston Red Sox who starred on three champions and mastered Fenway Park's sloping left field
- June 18 – Hal Trosky, 66, first baseman for the Indians who batted .302 lifetime and had six 100-RBI seasons
- July 12 – Tom Lovelace, 81, pinch hit in one game with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1922.
- July 22 – Amos Strunk, 90, a center fielder for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox between 1908 and 1924 and a member of four World Series champion teams
- August 2 – Thurman Munson, 32, 7-time All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees since 1969 who batted .300 five times and won the 1976 MVP award; 1970 Rookie of the Year won three Gold Gloves and batted .357 in 30 postseason games
- August 9 – Walter O'Malley, 75, owner of the Dodgers franchise since 1950, during which time the team won four World Series titles; he moved the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and constructed Dodger Stadium
- September 4 – Turkey Stearnes, 78, center fielder in the Negro Leagues who led the Negro National League in home runs six times while batting .350
- October 22 – John Drebinger, 88, sportswriter for The New York Times for 41 years
- November 18 – Freddie Fitzsimmons, 78, knuckleball pitcher who won 217 games for the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers
- December 4 – Bert Delmas, 68, infielder for the 1933 Brooklyn Dodgers
- December 15 – Stan Hack, 70, 5-time All-Star third baseman for the Chicago Cubs who batted .301 lifetime and posted a .394 career on-base percentage, the highest of any 20th-century third baseman; scored 100 runs seven times and led NL in hits and steals twice each