Jan
09

Open Thread: 1979 Yankees @ Royals

By

Every once in a while, I stumble across something on the internet that restores my faith in humanity. The video above is one of those things.

Just check that out, it’s the entire June 9th, 1979 game between the Yankees and Royals in Kansas City. All 13 innings, including Willie Wilson’s walk-off inside-the-park homer off Ken Clay. Tommy John started for the Bombers and Jim Kaat eventually pitched in relief. The starting lineup featured Mickey Rivers, Willie Randolph, Thurman Munson, Lou Piniella, Graig Nettles, Chris Chambliss, and Bucky Dent. George Brett battled cleanup for the Royals, and Pete LaCock came off the bench. This is gold people, internet gold.

Once you’re done watching all four hours of that video, use this as your open thread. Both the Knicks and Nets are playing, but Time Warner customers are still MSG-less thanks to the Dolans. Apparently the two sides are negotiating again, so that’s cool. The BCS Title Game is also on (LSU vs. Alabama, 8:30pm ET on ESPN). Anyway, you folks know what to do, so have at it.

(Video via YouTube user 22glew)

Categories : Open Thread

46 Comments»

  1. Carl says:

    Let this be a reminder as to why we have playoffs, and why they serve much better to sports than the BCS. Because they play the games and they settle it on the field, not have their championship games be decided through computers.

  2. Steve S. says:

    People don’t think of him as a Yankee great, but Willie Randolf was a terrific player and is higher on some of the all-time franchise lists than most would think. He didn’t hit for power, but got on base like crazy and played a solid 2B.

    • vin says:

      For anyone who only remembers Willie from the end of his career, check out this player comparison:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/graph.....94,1013846

      • Steve S. says:

        That’s it. You don’t think of him in the same class as Whittaker, Kent and Alomar, but he was right there.

        He was always underrated because he was a quiet guy on teams loaded with big personalities like Reggie and Goose. But the numbers show just how good he was.

    • nsalem says:

      those who saw enough of him may disagree with People.

    • Jimmy says:

      Willie was one of my all time favorites. We’ve been lucky with two great 2B since him so he is a little easy to forget. Willie Randolph gave the Yankees 13 solid seasons all during the Steinbrenner years, which is a good indicator of how valuable he was. During the time he was playing other guys got the spotlight, but he was up there with the best 2B in the league every season.

      Great, classic player. Very fun to root for. The anti-Reggie.

      • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

        Absolutely. Wille Randolph was the only second baseman I knew throughout my childhood. Watching Sax take his spot never seemed right.

  3. Craig says:

    Mo and Andy (as well as MANY others) thanked God for their performance and athleticism, and yet they don’t receive as much acclaim as Tim Tebow; why? Where were all his supporters 2 weeks ago?

  4. JD says:

    WOW, that is tv gold, commercials and all, I feel like I’m in a time machine !!
    Thank you!!

  5. Steve S. says:

    Yankees-Royals back then was what Yanks-Red Sox is today. Royals were an outstanding team, they seemed to meet each other almost every October and Brett owned the Yanks the way Edgar or Manny did. Great, great stuff. But for me the game of the year in 1979 was the Bobby Murcer game. Still one of the most heroic things I’ve ever seen in sports.

  6. Steve S. says:

    Piniella batting cleanup. I think his career high in HRs was 11 or 12. Oh, how times have changed.

    • Steve S. says:

      Rivers was hilarious. He would walk around slowly, hunched over like an old man. Then he’d hit the ball and was the fastest guy on the team.

      • vin says:

        Yeah, we know… we’ve all seen him at Old-Timers day. Oh, you mean in the video from 1979? If I was born a decade earlier, Mickey Rivers would’ve certainly been my favorite ballplayer.

      • Steve S. says:

        TJ on June 9th 10-1 1.90 ERA.

        Finished 21-9 with a 2.96.

        Great year, but he had a habit of wearing down as the season progressed. Especially as he got older, though he was still just 36 in 1979.

        • RetroRob says:

          36 was ancient back in 1979. It would be like being 67 today. : -)

          John had a nearly 60% groundball rate heading into that game. That would be worth quite a bit today, especially in YSIII.

    • RetroRob says:

      Clean up should have been Reggie. Looks like he was injured for part of June. Piniella was a good choice for the game considering he was the type of hitter who should handle the Royals’ lefty starter Gura, but I would have had Cliff Johnson in the lineup, probably catching to rest Munson, who started the night before and whose knees were already bothering him. Johnson was not a good defender, but he was a good guy to have around to catch a day game after night game.

      I always think of Bill James’ analysis of Cliff Johnson that if his career was handled differently he might very well have put up a HOF career, with an outside chance to have hit 500 HRs. It seems crazy, but I think James was right.

  7. MannyB ace2be says:

    Speaking of the knicks – I’m definitely on the shump-wagon. I read one scouting report on him that said he had the ceiling of a Russell Westbrook type which is really exciting. It’s fun to watch the Knicks again (most of the time) and hopefully they build on this 2 game win streak tonight

  8. Rainbow Connection says:

    Pete LaCock came off the bench.

    End. Of. Thread.

  9. Plank says:

    The Yankees were the two time defending champs in 1979. Little did they know they wouldn’t win another championship for 16 years.

    • Steve S. says:

      They had a great year in 1980. After that, not so much.

      The 1981 series was a fiasco, the 1980s were full of great lineups and middling to lousy pitching staffs. There were lots of personal highlights, though. The Righetti no-hitter, Donnie Baseball and Winfield going for the batting title, etc. But the 1980s were mostly about George making an ass of himself and the Yanks winning nothing of significance.

      • Jumpin' Jack Swisher says:

        For many of us growing up, that was all we knew. Poor grade school me never thought we had a right to the good pitchers.

  10. Steve S. says:

    Judging by the commercials, all that men cared about in the 1970s were deodorant, beer and shaving cream.

    Not much has changed.

  11. ChrisW. says:

    Peanut oil in a shaving cream? “Darrell” Jones?
    I believe Billy Martin for rid of Larry Gura because he played tennis.

  12. Vince W says:

    My father took to me this game when I was 13 years old. It was a Saturday afternoon (we attended the Friday and Sunday games as well). It was my first Yankee game. Through weird circumstances I briefly met Tommy John at the hotel before the game.

    It made me a Yankee fan forever.

  13. Pat D says:

    Anytime I hear that name, I just remember Batting Stance Guy’s video:

    Bob Costas: “Did I ever tell you the story about Bob Gibson and Pete LaCock?” (laughs without making a sound)

  14. Eric Solomon says:

    I’m watching the video and surprised at the quality of the broacast. Multiple viewing angles, insightful analysis (“Tommy John is rumored to scuff the ball…”) and interesting/useful stats (Tommy John’s H/K/BB rates per 9 innings). Not to mention the crisp pace of play…

    This is also the team I grew up with – Munson, Rivers, Piniella, Jackson, Guidry, and the criminally underrated Willie Randolph. Talk about a “professional baseball player”…that was Willie.

  15. Ramondo A Stallings says:

    Wonder why Reggie isn’t in the starting lineup.

  16. CJ says:

    Fun video. Great find. Thanks.

  17. Ramondo A Stallings says:

    Just remembered that Jackson sucked against Gura!

  18. RetroRob says:

    Great link to the 1979 game. During the off season, I really wish YES from time to time would show random Yankees games from the past, 1960s, 70s, 80s. That don’t have to be Yankees Classics, just am interesting game from the past like this one. The commericals are almost as interesting to watch as the game. A few random thoughts:

    Those Lowenbrau commercials, and all beer commercials, were oddly creepy but fun.

    Norelco razor commercial and Trac II shaving cream commercial remind me that there have been no advances on either front in thirty years.

    I was a young fan in 1979 and I remember that year as a sad season, led of course by Munson’s passing just a few weeks after this game, with other down points to me as a kid including the trading of Sparky Lyle before the season started (it was good, though, because it brought in Dave Righetti), Goose’s injury after wrestling with Johnson in the shower (yeah, there’s a bad joke there somewhere), Mickey Rivers trade, and the end of Roy White.

    It was clear all season long that the Munson of 1970-1978 was gone. I suspect today they probably could have scoped his knee to repair some of the damage that limited his ability to drive the ball in ’79.

    It was a sucky season overall as the team was a major step down from the two past World Series winners.

    Ray Burris pitching in the game reminds me of the worst of George Steinbrenner, who ordered Tidrow traded after a slow start. Tidrow was one of the better relievers the Yankees have ever had and had two or three more good seasons in front of him. Burris was done.

    Billy Martin would return a few weeks after this game, replacing Bob Lemon, who replaced Billy Martin the prior season. It was my first true perception that being a manager of George Steinbrenner was not a good thing.

    Ron Davis appeared in this game, very early in his Yankee career. Davis started out as an effective, low-strikeout sinker-baller and then added in a rising fastball in his third season and became a strike out power pitcher. During Mo’s breakout 1996 season, announcers used to reference Davis 1981 season as a comparison. Mo’s season was better, but it was a fair comparison considering the impact Davis had on the pen.

    Funny to hear Kubek note Davis started his Yankee career with three wins in under his first ten innings, but adding that could turn on a dime for a reliever. It didn’t. Davis would go on to a 14-2 season, almost all those wins (and none of the losses) coming from June forward. His first three years on the Yankees were among the most effective of any Yankee reliever, non-closer class.

    Roy White’s career was done, hitting in the low .200′s for most of the year. Easily one of the least appreciated Yankees ever, and I’m talking by Yankees fans. We still never hear him mentioned.

    One of the more colorful Yankees ever, Mickey Rivers, was traded a few weeks after this game, which as mentioned was sad for me as a kid. He had one more excellent season in him, but the trade did bring Oscar Gamble back to the Yankees, who I always knew was an effective hitter, but I didn’t realize how much so until looking at his numbers again. The man’s swing was made for the Stadium.

    Cliff Johnson was never used properly, or anywhere near enough, something that happened throughout his career on all teams. He was punished that year for injuring Goose Gossage, but it was an accident and he was known as a good-natured guy. He was given away to Cleveland. A Johnson/Gamble DH platoon would have been among the most deadly in baseball history if only the Yankees kept Johnson.

    The broadcasters noted Willie Wilson was offered more than 150 football and basketball scholarships, but instead choose baseball. I’m guessing if he played today with the new CBA, he probably would have gone on to college.

    1979 did bring Bobby Murcer back to the Yankees, although he was shell of his former self, but could still contribute. He would be remembered for the Munson game.

    And why, oh why, did the Yankees ever pitch to George Brett? Based on how he used to torture the Yankees, I’m still convinced he’s a career .410 hitter, not .310. Great player, probably the second-best 3B’man ever behind Schmidt, but he seemed to save his best moments for the Yankees.

  19. Mister Delaware says:

    Tommy John > Jack Morris

  20. Jon says:

    Was that the Police Captain from CHIPS in that Lowenbrau commercial at the restaurant?

    I think Chris Chambliss was also traded away at some point in the 1979 season.

  21. Andy says:

    Back to those commercials…Datsun still made 16 cars that ran on regular leaded gasoline in 1979?

  22. Jon says:

    I think the driver in the AC commercial at the construction site is the father from Feris Bueller.

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