1981 World Series

One of the greatest post-season rivalries (dating back to 1941) was reset for the second Fall Classic of the 1980's. The New York Yankees had been in the hunt for more World Series Championships than any other team in professional baseball and the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers were their favorite prey. In the ten Series meetings between the two clubs, New York had prevailed as champs on eight occasions (6-1 against the Brooklyn Dodgers and 2-1 against the Los Angeles version). Both teams had last met in 1978 when the Yankees lost the first two outings then rebounded to beat the Nationals in four consecutive games for the crown. After a new two tiered playoff system was introduced (due to a players strike that interrupted the regular season) the Yankees had won a tight divisional-playoff over the Milwaukee Brewers (3-2) and went on to sweep the Oakland A's in the American League Championship Series.

As Game 1 started, New York showed the hometown crowd why they still were "The Greatest Show on Earth". Bob Watson opened it up with a three run homer in the first (off Jerry Reuss) and his teammates collected single runs in the third and fourth innings, for a 5-1 lead going into the eighth. A confidant Yankees skipper Bob Lemon replaced starter Ron Guidry with Ron Davis, who unfortunately walked the only two batters he faced. Attempting to divert a comeback, Goose Gossage was brought in, but he also yielded a run-scoring single to pinch-hitter Jay Johnstone and a sacrifice fly to Dusty Baker. Despite the setback, he managed to get out of the inning thanks to third baseman Graig Nettles who made a clutch, diving grab of a Steve Garvey line drive that appeared headed for the far left-field corner. After Ron Cey followed with a ground out, the nervous bullpen leader and his amazing infielder emerged as 5-3 winners.

Tommy John (a former Dodger who had crossed to sign with the Yanks after the '78 season) was given the start against his former mates in Game 2. Together with Gossage, he managed to hold Los Angeles to four meaningless hits on the road to a 3-0 victory. Shortstop Larry Milbourne garnered New York's only extra-base hit, (a fifth-inning double that drove in the first run) as the Yankees extended their Series winning streak against the Dodgers to six games.

Having played ten postseason games before the World Series ever started (five against the Houston Astros in the divisional playoffs and five more against the Montreal Expos in the Championship Series) Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda's team had come too far to give up now. Their postseason marathon was nearing the home stretch and they were falling behind fast. The skipper had been eagerly awaiting the chance to introduce their new rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela to the Yankees and Game 3 provided the perfect opportunity. A good fit to face the Bombers; the lefty had pitched five shutouts in his first seven games and wound up with eight total in a 13-7 season. Despite his outstanding numbers, the inexperienced twenty year-old surrendered nine hits (including homers to Watson and Rick Cerone) and seven walks, but somehow managed to hold on for the 5-4 win on Cey's three run blast in the first, Pedro Guerrero's RBI double in the fifth and Mike Scioscia's run-producing double-play grounder that followed.

Bob Welch drew for the start for Game 4, but failed to retire a single batter as Los Angeles fell behind 6-3 early on. The Dodgers managed to tie it up in the sixth after Jay Johnstone hammered a two run pinch-homer and Davey Lopes (who reached second on a rare Reggie Jackson error) stole third and scored on a Bill Russell single. The comeback ignited a spark in LA's line-up and they continued to burn the Yankee rotation in the seventh on Steve Yeager's sacrifice fly and Lopes' run-scoring infield hit that put them ahead 8-6. "Mr. October" who was attempting to make amends for the costly fielding error in the sixth, erased the memory with a beautiful tape-measure homer to right-center in the eighth. Although it shortened the gap, it was all the Yanks could muster and the home team went on to tie the Series up with an 8-7 victory.

Guidry and Reuss returned to face each other again in Game 5 with Reuss coming out on top 2-1 after Guerrero and Yeager both slugged back-to-back homers in the seventh-inning. As the Series shifted back to the Bronx, both teams remained deadlocked in a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth when Lemon elected to use a pinch-hitter in place of starting pitcher John. The decision proved devastating as New York failed to score in the inning and John was rendered ineligible for the rest of the contest. As reliever George Frazier came in to pick up the pieces, he was quickly taken for three runs in the fifth. Guerrero later added a two run single and a bases-empty home run while his five runs batted in highlighted the Dodgers' Series-clinching 9-2 triumph. Losing pitcher Frazier had suffered his thirdrd consecutive defeat, equaling the Series record established by Claude Williams of the 1919 Black Sox. Like the Yanks had done to them in '78, the Dodgers had come behind from a 2-0 deficit to defeat New York in four straight. Many Yankees fans blamed Lemon for sacrificing John so early in the game and as a result, the Series. The decision would prove costly on many fronts and his tenure with the "Pinstripes" would soon be at an end.

"For First Baseman Garvey, a .417 hitter in this Series, the win represented, 'the end of a very sentimental journey. Our infield that has played together so long may not be together much longer. What better way to finish than with a world championship.' " - Sports Illustrated (November 9, 1981)
1981 World Series
1981 World Series Program
1981 World Series Official Program
Los Angeles Dodgers (4) vs New York Yankees (2)
1981 World Series Fast Facts
Game 1
Date / Box Score
Location
1 st Pitch
From
To
Joe DiMaggio (Yankee HOF'er)
Attendance
56,470
National Anthem
Pearl Bailey (Actress / Singer)
Game 2
Date / Box Score
Location
1 st Pitch
From
To
James Cagney (Actor)
Attendance
56,505
National Anthem
Robert Merrill (Opera Singer)
Game 3
Date / Box Score
Location
Dodger Stadium
1 st Pitch
From
To
Attendance
56,236
National Anthem
Toni Tenille (Singer)
Game 4
Date / Box Score
Location
Dodger Stadium
1 st Pitch
From
To
Attendance
56,242
National Anthem
Gloria Loring (Singer / Actress)
Game 5
Date / Box Score
Location
Dodger Stadium
Attendance
56,115
National Anthem
Loni Ackerman (Broadway Performer / Cabaret Singer)
Game 6
Date / Box Score
Location
1 st Pitch
From
To
Phil Rizzuto (Yankee HOF'er)
Attendance
56,513
National Anthem
Chuck Mangione (Jazz Musician)
1981 World Series Fast Facts

1981 World Series
Game 1
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 1 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 3 5 0
New York 3 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 x 5 6 0
Los Angeles Pitcher(s) New York Pitcher(s)
Jerry Reuss (L)
Bobby Castillo (3
rd )
Dave Goltz (4
th )
Tom Niedenfuer (5
th )
Dave Stewart (8
th )
Ron Guidry (W)
Ron Davis (8
th )
Rich Gossage (S, 8
th )
-
-
Los Angeles Home Runs New York Home Runs
Steve Yeager (5 th ) Bob Watson (1 st )

1981 World Series
Game 2
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 2 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
New York 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 x 3 6 1
Los Angeles Pitcher(s) New York Pitcher(s)
Burt Hooton (L)
Terry Forster (7
th )
Steve Howe (8
th )
Tommy John (W)
Rich Gossage (S, 8
th )
-
Los Angeles Home Runs New York Home Runs
None None

1981 World Series
Game 3
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 3 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
Los Angeles 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 x 5 11 1
New York Pitcher(s) Los Angeles Pitcher(s)
Dave Righetti
George Frazier (L, 3 rd )
Rudy May (5
th )
Ron Davis (8
th )
Fernando Valenzuela (W)
-
-
-
New York Home Runs Los Angeles Home Runs
Bob Watson (2 nd )
Rick Cerone (3 rd )
Ron Cey (1 st )
-

1981 World Series
Game 4
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 4 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 2 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 7 13 1
Los Angeles 0 0 2 0 1 3 2 0 x 8 14 2
New York Pitcher(s) Los Angeles Pitcher(s)
Rick Reuschel
Rudy May (4 th )
Ron Davis (5
th )
George Frazier (L, 5
th )
Tommy John (7
th )
Bob Welch
Dave Goltz (1 st )
Terry Forster (4
th )
Tom Niedenfuer (5
th )
Steve Howe (W, 7
th )
New York Home Runs Los Angeles Home Runs
Willie Randolph (2 nd )
Reggie Jackson (8 th )
Jay Johnstone (6 th )
-

1981 World Series
Game 5
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 5 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Los Angeles 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 x 2 4 3
New York Pitcher(s) Los Angeles Pitcher(s)
Ron Guidry (L)
Rich Gossage (8
th )
Jerry Reuss (W)
-
New York Home Runs Los Angeles Home Runs
None
-
Pedro Guerrero (7 th )
Steve Yeager (7 th )

1981 World Series
Game 6
Line Score / Box Score
1981 World Series Game 6 Capsule
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles 0 0 0 1 3 4 0 1 0 9 13 1
New York 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 2
Los Angeles Pitcher(s) New York Pitcher(s)
Burt Hooton (W)
Steve Howe (6
th )
-
-
-
-
Tommy John
George Frazier (L, 5 th )
Ron Davis (6
th )
Rick Reuschel (6
th )
Rudy May (7
th )
Dave LaRoche (9
th )
Los Angeles Home Runs New York Home Runs
Pedro Guerrero (8 th ) Willie Randolph (3 rd )

1981 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers
Composite Hitting Statistics
Name
Pos
G
AB
H
2B
3B
HR
R
RBI
Avg
BB
SO
SB
of
p
3b
p
1b
p
of
p
p
ph
of-3
2b
of-4
p
p
ss
2b-1
c
ph
p
of-3,ss-1
p
p
c
6
1
6
2
6
2
6
2
3
3
5
6
5
2
2
6
2
3
2
2
5
1
1
6
24
0
20
0
24
0
21
4
2
3
6
22
13
0
3
25
1
4
2
0
7
3
0
14
4
0
7
0
10
0
7
0
0
2
1
5
3
0
0
6
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
3
0
3
0
3
0
2
1
0
1
1
6
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
2
0
0
2
1
0
6
0
0
0
7
0
0
3
0
2
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
4
.167
.000
.350
.000
.417
.000
.333
.000
.000
.667
.167
.227
.231
.000
.000
.240
.000
.250
.500
.000
.000
.000
.000
.286
1
0
3
0
2
0
2
1
0
0
0
4
3
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
6
0
3
0
5
0
6
3
2
0
2
3
6
0
2
1
0
0
1
0
2
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
4
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Totals
198
51
6
1
6
27
26
.258
20
44
6
1981 World Series
New York Yankees
Composite Hitting Statistics
Name
Pos
G
AB
H
2B
3B
HR
R
RBI
Avg
BB
SO
SB
of-2
c
p
ph
p
of-2
p
p
of
p
p
p
ss
of
ph
3b
of-3
2b
p
p
pr
3b-3
1b
of
4
6
4
1
3
3
3
2
3
3
1
3
6
5
4
3
6
6
2
1
1
4
6
6
1
21
0
1
2
6
1
5
12
2
0
1
20
15
3
10
16
18
2
1
0
12
22
22
0
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
4
0
0
0
5
3
0
4
7
4
0
0
0
5
7
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
0
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
2
0
1
2
0
0
0
1
0
0
3
0
0
0
2
2
0
1
2
5
0
0
0
1
2
0
0
3
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
3
0
0
0
3
3
0
0
0
0
7
1
.000
.190
.000
.000
.000
.333
.000
.000
.333
.000
.000
.000
.250
.200
.000
.400
.438
.222
.000
.000
.000
.417
.318
.045
0
4
0
0
0
1
0
0
2
0
0
0
4
3
0
1
0
9
0
0
0
1
3
5
1
2
0
1
1
0
1
3
3
0
0
0
0
2
0
1
1
0
1
1
0
2
0
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
Totals
193
46
8
1
6
22
22
.238
33
24
4

1981 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers
Composite Pitching Statistics
Name
W
L
G
GS
CG
S
Sh
IP
ERA
H
SO
ER
BB
0
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
2
2
2
3
2
2
2
1
1
0
0
0
2
0
0
2
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1.0
2.0
3.1
11.1
7.0
5.0
11.2
1.2
9.0
0.0
9.00
0.00
5.40
1.59
3.86
0.00
3.86
0.00
4.00
Infinite Earned Run Average
0
1
4
8
7
3
10
1
9
3
0
0
2
3
4
0
8
1
6
0
1
0
2
2
3
0
5
0
4
2
5
3
1
9
1
1
3
2
7
1
Totals
4
2
18
6
2
1
9
52.0
3.29
46
24
19
33
1981 World Series
New York Yankees
Composite Pitching Statistics
Name
W
L
G
GS
CG
S
Sh
IP
ERA
H
SO
ER
BB
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
3
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
4
3
3
2
3
1
3
2
1
0
0
0
2
2
0
0
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2.1
3.2
5.0
14.0
13.0
1.0
6.1
3.2
2.0
23.14
17.18
0.00
1.93
0.69
0.00
2.84
4.91
13.50
4
9
2
8
11
0
5
7
5
4
2
5
15
8
2
5
2
1
6
7
0
3
1
0
2
2
3
5
3
2
4
0
0
1
3
2
Totals
2
4
22
6
0
2
0
51.0
4.24
51
44
24
20


Did you know that this was the eleventh time in Major League history where the New York Yankees faced the Dodgers franchise in World Series play? Check the World Series Menu to see who holds the lead after this Dodger Championship.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the first National League team in World Series history to lose the first two games, then sweep their opponent during the next four contests. AP correspondant Jules Loh summed up the loss in this 1978 poem / tribute to Casey at the Bat :
Destiny, Ah Fate, Mighty Reggie has Struck Out!
by Jules Loh, AP Special Correspondant, 1978
The outlook wasn't brilliant
for the Yankees in L.A.
The score stood 4-3, two out,
one inning left to play.
But when Dent slid safe at second
and Blair got on at first
Every screaming Dodger fan had
cause to fear the worst.
For there before the multitude —
Ah destiny! Ah fate!
Reggie Jackson, mighty Reggie,
was advancing to the plate.
Reggie, whose three home runs
had won the year before,
Reggie, whose big bat tonight
fetched every Yankee score.
On the mound to face him
stood the rookie, young Bob Welch.
A kid with a red hot fastball —
Reggie's pitch — and nothing else.
Fifty-thousand voices cheered
as Welch gripped ball in mitt.
One hundred thousand eyes watched Reggie rub his bat and spit.
"Throw your best pitch, kid, and duck," Reggie seemed to say.
The kid just glared. He must have
known this wasn't Reggie's day.
His fist pitch was a blazer.
Reggie missed it clean
Fifty-thousand throats responded
with a Dodger scream.
They squared off, Reggie and the kid, each knew what he must do.
And seven fastballs later,
the count was three and two.
No shootout on a dusty street
out here in the Far West
Could match the scene:
A famous bat,
a kid put to the test.
One final pitch. The kid reared back
and let a fastball fly.
Fifty-thousand Dodger fans
gave forth one final cry...
Ah, the lights still shine on Broadway,
but there isn't any doubt
The Big Apple has no joy left.
Mighty Reggie has struck out.
The 1981 World Series Most Valuable Player Award was the first in Fall Classic history to be awarded to more than one player. It was split between Ron Cey (who went seven-for-twenty, hit .350, and drove in six runs), Pedro Guerrero (who went seven-for-twenty-one, hit .333, hit two home runs, and drove in seven runs), and catcher Steve Yeager (who went four-for-fourteen, hit .286, hit two home runs, and appeared behind the plate in all six games).
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