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1978 New York Yankees season
Season for the Major League Baseball team the New York Yankees
Top 10 1978 New York Yankees season related articles
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Player stats
- 4 Postseason
- 5 Awards and honors
- 6 Farm system
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
|1978 New York Yankees|
|1978 AL East Champions|
1978 AL Champions
1978 World Series Champions
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Cedric Tallis|
|Manager(s)||Billy Martin – 52–42 (.553)|
Dick Howser – 0–1
Bob Lemon – 48–20 (.706)
|Local television||WPIX (Phil Rizzuto,|
Frank Messer, Bill White)
|Local radio||WINS (AM)|
(Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto,
Bill White, Fran Healy)
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The 1978 New York Yankees season was the 76th season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 100–63, finishing one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox to win their third American League East title. The two teams were tied after 162 games, leading to a one-game playoff, which the Yankees won. New York played home games at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx and was managed by Billy Martin, Dick Howser, and Bob Lemon.
In the best-of-five League Championship Series (ALCS), they defeated the Kansas City Royals in four games. In the World Series, they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games in a rematch of the previous year's.
The season was tumultuous for the Yankees, as Reggie Jackson was suspended in a mid-season showdown with Billy Martin, which resulted in Martin resigning a week later. For television viewers of the Bronx Bombers, it was the first season to be broadcast nationwide via satellite via WPIX, which that year became a superstation as well partly in response to Ted Turner's WTCG-TV nationwide broadcasts of the Atlanta Braves beginning on Opening Day of 1977. WPIX remained the team's exclusive broadcast partner for the Greater New York television viewers on FTA television and the by now superstation status and satellite broadcasts finally enabled millions all over the country to watch Yankees home and away games live as they happened.
1978 New York Yankees season Intro articles: 9
- November 22, 1977: Goose Gossage was signed as a free agent by the Yankees.
- December 5, 1977: Jesús Figueroa was drafted from the Yankees by the Chicago Cubs in the 1977 rule 5 draft.
- December 9, 1977: Sergio Ferrer was traded by the Yankees to the New York Mets for Roy Staiger.
- December 12, 1977: Stan Thomas and Ed Ricks (minors) were traded by the Yankees to the Chicago White Sox for Jim Spencer, Tommy Cruz, and Bob Polinsky (minors).
Lefthander Ron Guidry was the last Yankee pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season in the 20th century. In 35 starts in the regular season (including the playoff game), he pitched 273-⅔ innings, compiled a 25–3 record with 248 strikeouts, 1.74 ERA, and nine shutouts. Guidry won the Cy Young Award by unanimous vote.
A week after the All-Star Game in July, the team was fourteen games behind Boston, but rallied to tie for first place. With a week to go, New York led by one game and won six straight, but lost the finale at home to struggling Cleveland on Sunday, October 1, while Boston won their final eight games. The Yankees traveled to Fenway Park and defeated the Red Sox 5–4 in the one-game playoff for the AL East title; the Monday afternoon game featured light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent's famous three-run go-ahead home run in the seventh inning. Jackson's solo home run in the eighth was the winning margin.
For decades, some have mistakenly thought the Yankees trailed by 14½ games, but the maximum deficit was fourteen games, after the July 17 loss and until the July 20 win. New York's biggest lead was 3½ games, after another victory over Boston on Saturday, September 16. The previous weekend, the Yankees swept a four-game series at Fenway, dubbed "The Boston Massacre" by the sports press; it left the teams tied at 86–56 (.606) with three weeks remaining.
AL East tie-breaker game
|New York Yankees||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||1||0||5||8||0|
|Boston Red Sox||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||2||0||4||11||0|
|WP: Ron Guidry (25-3) LP: Mike Torrez (16-13) Sv: Goose Gossage (27)|
NYY: Bucky Dent, Reggie Jackson
BOS: Carl Yastrzemski
|New York Yankees||100||63||0.613||—||55–26||45–37|
|Boston Red Sox||99||64||0.607||1||59–23||40–41|
|Toronto Blue Jays||59||102||0.366||40||37–44||22–58|
Record vs. opponents
1978 American League Records
Sources:              
- June 10: Ken Holtzman was traded by the Yankees to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. Ron Davis was sent to the Yankees on June 12.
- June 14: Rawly Eastwick was traded by the Yankees to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bobby Brown and Jay Johnstone.
- June 15: Mickey Klutts, Dell Alston and $50,000 were traded by the Yankees to the Oakland Athletics for Gary Thomasson.
- June 6: 1978 Major League Baseball draft
|1978 New York Yankees|
The defending World Series champions got off to a slow start in 1978, prompting owner George Steinbrenner to put pressure on manager Billy Martin. Compounding the issue was the already-tumultuous relationship between Martin and Reggie Jackson, and Steinbrenner was pressuring him as well. On July 17, with the team at 47–42 (.528) and in fourth place in the American League East, it came to a head during a home contest with the Kansas City Royals on Monday, July 17. With the score tied in the bottom of the tenth inning and Thurman Munson on first, Martin sent Jackson to the plate with orders to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Jackson tried to bunt the first pitch, but failed. Martin then relayed to third-base coach Dick Howser for Jackson to swing and Howser passed it on, but Jackson ignored Howser and attempted another bunt. Howser called time and talked with Jackson, but to no avail. On his final bunt attempt, Jackson fouled out to the catcher. Martin then removed Jackson from the game and suspended him (owner Steinbrenner limited it to five days, Tuesday through Saturday), but Kansas City won in eleven innings and swept the three-game series. Tuesday was an open date; the Yankees traveled to Minnesota and Jackson went to California.
Jackson returned to the team in Chicago on Sunday, July 23; he did not take batting practice and remained on the bench as the Yankees swept the White Sox for their fifth consecutive win. Martin commented in a post-game interview at the Chicago airport that (referring to Jackson and Steinbrenner, respectively) 'one's a born liar, and the other's convicted.' The Steinbrenner reference was alluding to a past incident where the Yankee owner made illegal U.S. presidential campaign contributions. The next day in Kansas City, Martin appeared on live television and tearfully announced his resignation as Yankees manager, but most sources believed he was actually fired by Steinbrenner for the "convicted" comment. Howser was acting manager for one game on July 24, a 5–2 loss at Kansas City on ABC's Monday Night Baseball, then Bob Lemon arrived as manager for the rest of the season.
In his first appearance since the bunting incident ten days earlier, Jackson started in right field on Thursday, July 27, and went three-for-three, with a home run, a walk, and three RBI. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, he had two hits.
During the Old-Timer's Day ceremony at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, July 29, Yankee public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced Martin to the crowd and announced that Martin would return as manager for the 1980 season. Martin returned ahead of schedule, in June 1979, and was fired again four months later, after a fight in a Minnesota hotel. He went west to Oakland in 1980, then owned by Charlie O. Finley. Martin returned to the Yankees and managed the team in 1983, 1985, and 1988.
Under Lemon in 1978, the Yankees were 47–20 (.701) for the rest of the 162-game season to tie for the division title, after having been fourteen games back on July 19. They won the division in a one-game playoff on the road, and went on to repeat as World Series champions.
On September 30, Ed Figueroa won his twentieth game of the season, which clinched a tie for the AL East title. As of 2018, Figueroa is the only native of Puerto Rico to win twenty games in a major league season.
1978 New York Yankees season Offseason articles: 103
|= Indicates team leader|
Starters by position
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
October 3: Royals Stadium
|W: Jim Beattie (1-0) L: Dennis Leonard (0-1) S: Ken Clay (1)|
|HRs: NYY – Reggie Jackson (1)|
October 4: Royals Stadium
|W: Larry Gura (1-0) L: Ed Figueroa (0-1)|
|HRs: KCR – Freddie Patek (1)|
October 6: Yankee Stadium
|W: Goose Gossage (1-0) L: Doug Bird (0-1)|
|HRs: KCR – George Brett 3 (3) NYY – Reggie Jackson (2) Thurman Munson (1)|
October 7: Yankee Stadium
|W: Ron Guidry (1-0) L: Dennis Leonard (0-2) S: Goose Gossage (1)|
|HRs: NYY – Graig Nettles (1) Roy White (1)|
World SeriesAL New York Yankees (4) vs. NL Los Angeles Dodgers (2)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Yankees – 5, Dodgers – 11||October 10||Dodger Stadium||55,997||2:48|
|2||Yankees – 3, Dodgers – 4||October 11||Dodger Stadium||55,982||2:37|
|3||Dodgers – 1, Yankees – 5||October 13||Yankee Stadium||56,447||2:27|
|4||Dodgers – 3, Yankees – 4 (10 inns)||October 14||Yankee Stadium||56,445||3:17|
|5||Dodgers – 2, Yankees – 12||October 15||Yankee Stadium||56,448||2:56|
|6||Yankees – 7, Dodgers – 2||October 17||Dodger Stadium||55,985||2:34|
1978 New York Yankees season Postseason articles: 7
Awards and honors
- Gold Glove Awards
- Bucky Dent, Babe Ruth Award
- Bucky Dent, World Series MVP
- Goose Gossage, Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award
- Ron Guidry, AL Cy Young
- Ron Guidry, Yankees single season record, most strikeouts in a season (248)
Other team leaders
- Stolen Bases – Willie Randolph, 36
- Walks – Willie Randolph, 82
LEAGUE CO-CHAMPION: Tacoma
- "Yanks win playoff game on two homers". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. October 2, 1978. p. 1D.
- "Yankees edge BoSox; playoffs open tonight". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. October 3, 1978. p. 3B.
- "Yankees Dent Red Sox, play Royals for pennant". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. October 3, 1978. p. C1.
- Goose Gossage at Baseball Reference
- Jesús Figueroa at Baseball Reference
- Sergio Ferrer at Baseball Reference
- Stan Thomas at Baseball Reference
- Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p. 99, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0
- "Guidry unanimous Cy Young winner". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. November 1, 1978. p. 65.
- "Suspense lacking for Ron Guidry". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. November 2, 1978. p. 32.
- Moses, Sam (January 22, 1979). "Yankee from Louisiana". Sports Illustrated. p. 60.
- "'Miracle' Yanks go for it all today". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. October 1, 1978. p. 7B.
- McMane, Fred (October 2, 1978). "Rick Waits gives Sox another chance". Nashua Telegraph. (New Hampshire). UPI. p. 32.
- "Bosox catch Yanks; playoff set today". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). wire reports. October 2, 1978. p. 3B.
- "Yankees lose a big one". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. October 2, 1978. p. 5B.
- "How they stand". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). July 18, 1978. p. 4C.
- "Baseball standings: American League". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). July 19, 1978. p. 18.
- "Yankees slip a 'Mickey' past Yaz". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. September 17, 1978. p. 8B.
- "Yankees fly to 3½-game lead". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). UPI. September 17, 1978. p. 85.
- Keith, Larry (September 25, 1978). "Seeing ain't believing". Sports Illustrated. p. 24.
- "Holy cow!! It's a new season". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). Associated Press. September 11, 1978. p. 25.
- "Those Damn Yankees tie Red Sox for division lead". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. September 11, 1978. p. 3B.
- May, Peter (September 11, 1978). "The Big Collapse: Part 4 is staged". Nashua Telegraph. (New Hampshire). UPI. p. 31.
- Ken Holtzman at Baseball Reference
- Bobby Brown at Baseball Reference
- Mickey Klutts at Baseball Reference
- Rex Hudler at Baseball Reference
- Steve Balboni at Baseball Reference
- "Reggie Jackson suspended". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). Associated Press. July 18, 1978. p. 19.
- "Billy's goat". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. July 18, 1978. p. 1C.
- "Yankees' turmoil". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. July 24, 1978. p. 1C.
- Cass, Murray (July 25, 1978). "Tempestuous Martin out as manager". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). (New York Times) News Service. p. 3B.
- "Billy sheds a tear for himself". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). wire service reports. July 25, 1978. p. 1D.
- Chass, Murray (July 25, 1978). "Billy Martin tearfully quits job with Yankees". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). (New York Times). p. 1.
- "Odyssey ends: Billy quits". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. July 25, 1978. p. 17.
- Keith, Larry (July 31, 1978). "A bunt that went boom!". Sports Illustrated. p. 14.
- "Remarks about boss may bring Martin's dismissal". The Day. (New London, Connecticut). Associated Press. July 24, 1978. p. 21.
- "Yankees, Indians split". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). Associated Press. July 28, 1978. p. 3C.
- Cass, Murray (July 30, 1978). "Manager merry-go-round". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). (New York Times) News Service. p. 1C.
- "New York rehires Billy for '80". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. July 30, 1978. p. 81.
- "Martin sees Jackson key to success". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. June 19, 1979. p. 22.
- Rappoport, Ken (October 29, 1979). "Billy Martin axed again". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. p. 22.
- "Yankees fire Martin again". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. October 29, 1979. p. B4.
- "Martin missed game, happy with A's job". Toledo Blade. (Ohio). Associated Press. February 22, 1978. p. 21.
- "Martin's back, thanks to Charlie O." Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Chicago Sun Times). February 22, 1980. p. 21.
- Fimrite, Ron (March 10, 1980). "Berkeley Billy comes home again". Sports Illustrated. p. 18.
- "Yanks clinch AL East tie, but Boston wins, too". Sunday Star-News. (Wilmington, North Carolina). Associated Press. October 1, 1978. p. 5C.
- HernÌÁndez, Lou (June 27, 2016). "Chronology of Latin Americans in Baseball, 1871-2015". McFarland – via Google Books.
- "Ed Figueroa - Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org.
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007