The 1979 World Series matched the National League’s Pittsburgh Pirates (98–64) against the American League’s Baltimore Orioles (102–57), with the Pirates becoming the 4th team in World Series history to come back from a three games to one deficit to win the Series in seven games. The Pirates were famous for adopting Sister Sledge’s hit anthem “We Are Family” as their theme song.
Willie Stargell, pitcher Bruce Kison, and catcher Manny Sanguillén were the only players left over from the Pirates team that defeated the Orioles in the 1971 World Series, and Orioles’ pitcher Jim Palmer, shortstop Mark Belanger, and manager Earl Weaver were the only remaining Orioles from the 1971 team. Grant Jackson pitched for the Orioles in the 1971 series and for the Pirates in the 1979 series.
In this Series, it was the American League team’s “turn” to play by National League rules, meaning no designated hitterand the Orioles’ pitchers would have to bat. While this resulted in Tim Stoddard getting his first major league hit and RBIin Game 4, overall, it hurt the Orioles because Lee May, their designated hitter for much of the season and a key part of their offense, was only able to bat three times in the whole series.
Willie Stargell, the series MVP, hit .400 with a record seven extra-base hits and matched Reggie Jackson’s record of 25 total bases, set in 1977.
The 1979 Pirates were the last team to win Game 7 of a World Series on the road until the San Francisco Giantsdefeated the Royals in Kansas City to win Game 7 of the 2014 Series. They were also the last road team to win Game 7 of a championship round, in any major league sport, until the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 2–1 at Joe Louis Arena to win the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. With the Steelers having already won Super Bowl XIII, Pittsburgh also became the second city to win both the Super Bowl and the World Series in the same year, with the New York Jetsand the New York Mets winning titles in 1969. New York repeated the feat in 1986 (New York Mets and New York Giants), as did the New England area in the 2004 season (Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots).