The 1978 baseball season is remembered most for its dramatic one-game playoff at Fenway Park, when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox settled the AL East title. That was the biggest moment, but there was a lot more to the season, including…
*The Los Angeles Dodgers made it two pennants in two years for manager Tom Lasorda, turning a good five-month race with the Giants and Reds into a September runaway.
*The Philadelphia Phillies relied on their bats to win an third straight NL East crown, although they turned what looked like a cakewalk into an interesting divisional race before it was over, holding off a furious surge by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
*The Kansas City Royals won their own third straight division title, taking home the AL West. It wasn’t the Royals’ strongest team of the late 1970s, but they more than good enough to return to the American League Championship Series.
*The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t keep pace with Boston or New York in the AL East, but the Brewers were a surprise 93-win team, the first winning season in franchise history and one that set the stage for a memorable six-year run.
*The ALCS saw one of the great individual performances in postseason history, George Brett’s three-HR performance in Game 3 go to naught thanks to the efforts of Reggie Jackson and Thurman Munson. And the Yankees survived the Royals for the third consecutive time in the American League Championship Series.
*In the World Series, the Yankees again made history. After a dramatic loss in Game 2, when young Dodger flamethrower Bob Welch struck out Reggie with the money on the line, New York faced an 0-2 deficit. They became the first team to follow two opening losses with four straight wins. The way the Yankees rolled through October suggested that the World Series had been basically settled on a Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.
The story of the entire 1978 season, from its backdrop to the four excellent pennant races to a deep dive on four crucial October games–including the one-game showdown in Fenway, is all contained in the book The Sequel Season, one of three great books produced by TheSportsNotebook.com. Order it on Amazon today.