The 1976 World Series matched the defending champions Cincinnati Reds of the National League against the New York Yankees of the American League, with the Reds sweeping the Series to repeat, avenging their 1939 and 1961World Series losses to the Yankees in the process. The 1976 Reds became –and remain – the only team to sweep an entire multi-tier postseason. The Reds are also the last National League team to win back-to-back World Series. It also marked the second time that the Yankees were swept in a World Series (the Los Angeles Dodgers were the first to sweep them in 1963).
The Cincinnati Reds won the National League West division by 10 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers then defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, three games to none, in the National League Championship Series. The New York Yankeeswon the American League East division by 10 1⁄2 games over the Baltimore Orioles then defeated the Kansas City Royals, three games to two, in the American League Championship Series.
This World Series was the first in which the designated hitter rule, which had been introduced in the American League three years prior, was in effect. The use of the DH wound up benefiting the Reds, who were able to get utility infielder Dan Driessen’s bat in the lineup. Driessen hit .357 with one home run. Elliott Maddox, Carlos May, and Lou Piniella shared the role for the New York Yankees. Game 1, played at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium, marked the first time the DH was used in a National League ballpark. Game 2, also at Riverfront Stadium, was the first World Series weekend game to be scheduled at night.