The Yankees start a three-game series in Cincinnati tonight against the Reds. While these two teams have enjoyed recent success, their past successes should not be forgotten. These two teams dominated the late ’70s, taking home four of five World Series titles, including Cincy’s sweep of the Bombers in the ’76 World Series. Cincinnati’s ‘Big Red Machine’ is regarded by many as one of the top teams of all-time. The Yankee teams of the late ’70s were dysfunctional, but extremely successful. Few remember the importance of the 1976 season, though. After a two-year hiatus for renovations, the Bombers came back home to the Bronx. Catcher Thurman Munson was named captain, an honor no one had held since 1941 and won the AL MVP Award. Yankee fans remember Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, the Bronx ‘burning down’ and WS Championships in 1977 and 1978, but without the 1976 season, their titles wouldn’t have been possible.
After a decade full of abysmal seasons, the ’76 Bombers made the playoffs for the first time in twelve years and won their first ever AL East title. The Yankees finished 97-62, 10.5 games ahead of the Orioles. The Yankees boasted six All-Stars including starter, Thurman Munson. Munson would also go on to win the AL MVP, posting a line of 17 HRs, 105 RBIs, and a .302 batting average. The Yankees showed their fans and more importantly their owner that this group would accept nothing short of greatness.
In the ALCS, the Yanks took down the Kansas City Royals in five exciting games, highlighted by Chris Chambliss’s walk-off home run in Game 5 (pictured above) to send the Yankees to the World Series. The Yankees would get swept in the World Series by the high-powered Cincinnati Reds, but this defeat prompted George Steinbrenner to make some moves. Steinbrenner would bring in Reggie Jackson and Goose Gossage in 1977, moves that prompted two straight World Series titles.
Other Fun Acts
Monument Park Opens: 1976 marked the official opening of Monument Park. Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, and the widows of Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig were in attendance. Yankee manager, Miller Huggins was the first to get a monument.
32: Greg Nettles led the American League with 32 HRs.
Roy White: On Tuesday night, Kenny and I will be having dinner with left fielder, Roy White. White played his entire career with the Yankees (1965-1979). White is a career .271 hitter; smashing 160 HRs. White ended his career with a .988 fielding percentage, a stat he led all AL outfielders in from 1968-1971. White is a two-time WS Champion and arguably the most exciting Yankee team of all-time, the 1977 Yankees. Mr. White is the official starter of the Damon Runyon 5-K Race for Cancer Research. NYSOS gives their full support to Mr. White for his efforts and Kenny/I will post our interview with him on Wednesday.