1976 New York Yankees season

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1976 New York Yankees
1976 AL East Champions
1976 AL Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) George Steinbrenner
Manager(s) Billy Martin
Local television

WPIX

(Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, Bill White)
Local radio WMCA
(Frank Messer, Phil Rizzuto, Bill White)
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The 1976 New York Yankees season was the 74th season for the Yankees in New York, and the 76th season overall for the franchise. The team finished with a record of 97-62, finishing 10½ games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles to win their first American League East title.

In the ALCS, the Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals in 5 games. Chris Chambliss's walk-off home run in Game 5 clinched the pennant for the Yankees.

In the World Series, they were defeated in a four-game sweep by the defending champion Cincinnati Reds, marking only the second time that the Yankees had ever been swept in a World Series in their history (following the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers).

New York was managed by Billy Martin. The Yankees returned to the newly renovated Yankee Stadium.

Offseason[edit]

The Yankees returned to their home stadium in The Bronx after a two-year absence. The team had played home games at Shea Stadium in Queens, the home of the New York Mets, while renovations to Yankee Stadium were completed.

The 1975 club had finished in third place in the AL East with a record of 83-79, finishing 12 games behind the division winning Boston Red Sox. The club was beginning their first full season under manager Billy Martin, who had been hired following the mid-season firing of Bill Virdon.

Owner George Steinbrenner made three off-season moves to try to help the club. First, they brought in power-hitting outfielder/DH Oscar Gamble, who would find the 'short porch' in right field very inviting for his power swing. Then the club made two deals on the same day: they sent Doc Medich to Pittsburgh for three players, primarily seeking the services of pitcher Dock Ellis; and shipping outfielder Bobby Bonds to California for leadoff man Mickey Rivers and starter Ed Figueroa. The Pirates trade had the longest lasting impact, as then-unheralded minor leaguer Willie Randolph was included in the deal, and was a major catalyst on championship teams for years to come.

Notable transactions[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

AL East W L GB Pct.
New York Yankees 97 62 -- .610
Baltimore Orioles 88 74 10.5 .543
Boston Red Sox 83 79 15.5 .512
Cleveland Indians 81 78 16 .509
Detroit Tigers 74 87 24 .509
Milwaukee Brewers 66 95 32 .410


Season summary[edit]

The Yankees won 97 games in 1976 and captured the eastern division title of the American League, marking their first postseason appearance since 1964. Two monumental things happened as the season opened. First, the club returned to Yankee Stadium to play home games, with a special pre-game ceremony for the April 15 home opener that included Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, and the widows of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. 85-year old Bob Shawkey, who had pitched in the stadium in its opening season of 1923, threw out the first pitch, and the Bronx Bombers defeated Minnesota 11-4. Second, the team announced that Thurman Munson would serve in the role of team captain. This was significant because no Yankee player had been captain since the death of Gehrig in 1941.

The team started fast with a 10-3 record in April, including a 5-1 West Coast swing through California and Oakland. On May 20, they authored another memorable chapter in their on-going rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. Lou Piniella collided with Carlton Fisk at home plate, igniting a huge bench-clearing brawl during which Graig Nettles injured Bill Lee's pitching arm.

By mid-June, the club had built a 7-game lead. On the June 15 trading deadline, they made two significant moves to secure post-season success. First, they completed a 10-player deal with Baltimore, upgrading the pitching staff by acquiring starters Ken Holtzman and Doyle Alexander. Second, they were sold the rights to all-star pitcher Vida Blue from Oakland for $1.5 million. However, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, invoking the "best interests in baseball clause", invalidated the sale of Blue, returning him to Oakland.

In July, six players represented the team in the All-Star Game in Philadelphia: Thurman Munson, who was elected to start by the fans; Chris Chambliss; Catfish Hunter; Willie Randolph; Mickey Rivers; and Sparky Lyle. By the end of the month, their lead in the division ballooned to 14½ games. In August, they continued to cruise towards the division title, and took part in a marathon 19-inning affair with Minnesota. By September, the club was poised to secure the spot in the American League Championship Series, and did so on September 25 by defeating the Detroit Tigers 10-6 to clinch the division title.

Monument Park[edit]

The entrance to the monuments and plaques, at the end of the retired numbers display.

The Yankees opened "Monument Park" at the stadium in 1976. The origin of Monument Park is dated back to May 30, 1932, when the Yankees dedicated a monument to former manager Miller Huggins. The monument was placed it in front of the flagpole in center field at Yankee Stadium. Huggins was the first of many Yankees players granted this honor.

Aftermath[edit]

The 1976 Yankees saw the team restore the franchise to glory following the mismanaged years when CBS owned the club and failed to finish in the top half of the league or division from 1965 through 1972. Owner George Steinbrenner delivered on his promise to return the Yankees to greatness, and the fans responded as attendance reached over 2 million for the first time since 1950. Munson won the American League MVP, hitting .302 with 105 RBI. Munson became the first, and to date the only, Yankee player ever to win the MVP and the Rookie of the Year award while wearing the Yankees uniform.

However, the loss to Cincinnati in the World Series only consumed Steinbrenner to try to further improve the ball club. Thanks to the Seitz decision which made the reserve clause obsolete, Steinbrenner took advantage of the new era of free agency. In an era where other owners such as Charlie Finley were unwilling to spend money to keep players, and other clubs were still run by families not ready for the 'balance sheet' era of sports ownership, Steinbrenner ushered in the big salary era of sports by signing Reggie Jackson to a five-year contract worth just under $3 million. The idea of bringing in Jackson for 1977 would be to try to put the Yankees over the top.

Still, the 1976 version of the Yankees marked a return of prominence to the organization. It marked the first of three consecutive American League titles, and a stretch of six seasons where the club won five division titles, four league championships, and two World Series titles.

Notable transactions[edit]

Roster[edit]

1976 New York Yankees
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Munson, ThurmanThurman Munson 152 616 186 .302 17 105
1B Chambliss, ChrisChris Chambliss 156 641 188 .293 17 96
2B Randolph, WillieWillie Randolph 125 430 115 .267 1 40
3B Nettles, GraigGraig Nettles 158 583 148 .254 32 93
SS Stanley, FredFred Stanley 110 260 62 .238 1 20
LF White, RoyRoy White 156 626 179 .286 14 65
CF Rivers, MickeyMickey Rivers 137 590 184 .312 8 67
RF Gamble, OscarOscar Gamble 110 340 79 .232 17 57
DH May, CarlosCarlos May 87 288 80 .278 3 40

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Piniella, LouLou Piniella 100 327 92 .281 3 38
Mason, JimJim Mason 93 217 39 .180 1 14
Alomar, SandySandy Alomar 67 163 39 .239 1 10
Healy, FranFran Healy 46 120 32 .267 0 9
Vélez, OttoOtto Vélez 49 94 25 .266 2 10
Hendricks, ElrodElrod Hendricks 26 53 12 .226 3 5
Maddox, ElliottElliott Maddox 18 46 10 .217 0 3
Dempsey, RickRick Dempsey 21 42 5 .119 0 2
Tovar, CésarCésar Tovar 13 39 6 .154 0 2
Locklear, GeneGene Locklear 13 32 7 .219 0 1
Bernhardt, JuanJuan Bernhardt 10 21 4 .190 0 1
Murray, LarryLarry Murray 8 10 1 .100 0 2
Dineen, KerryKerry Dineen 4 7 2 .286 0 1
Coggins, RichRich Coggins 7 4 1 .250 0 1
Klutts, MickeyMickey Klutts 2 3 0 .000 0 0
Blomberg, RonRon Blomberg 1 2 0 .000 0 0
Whitfield, TerryTerry Whitfield 1 0 0 ---- 0 0

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Hunter, CatfishCatfish Hunter 36 298.2 17 15 3.53 173
Figueroa, EdEd Figueroa 34 256.2 19 10 3.02 119
Ellis, DockDock Ellis 32 211.2 17 8 3.19 65
Holtzman, KenKen Holtzman 21 149 9 7 4.17 41
Alexander, DoyleDoyle Alexander 19 136.2 10 5 3.29 41
May, RudyRudy May 11 68 4 3 3.57 38

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Pagan, DaveDave Pagan 7 23.2 1 1 2.28 13

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L SV ERA SO
Lyle, SparkySparky Lyle 64 103.2 7 8 23 2.26 61
Tidrow, DickDick Tidrow 47 92.1 4 5 10 2.63 65
Jackson, GrantGrant Jackson 21 58.2 6 0 1 1.69 25
Martinez, TippyTippy Martinez 11 28 2 0 2 1.93 14
Guidry, RonRon Guidry 7 16 0 0 0 5.63 12
York, JimJim York 3 9.2 1 0 1 5.59 6
Brett, KenKen Brett 2 2.1 0 0 1 0.00 1

Postseason[edit]

ALCS[edit]

After splitting the first two games with the Western Division champion Royals in Kansas City, the Yankees returned home to try to capture the pennant. The two clubs split the next two games as well, setting up a deciding Game Five showdown. The Yankees had a 6-3 lead after seven innings, but the Royals rallied for 3 runs in the top of the 8th to tie the game at 6-6. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Chambliss hit the first pitch thrown by Mark Littell over the right field wall for the game-winning walk-off home run. Of course, it was anything but a walk-off, as fans stormed the field with delight, making it nearly impossible for Chambliss to round the bases. The win put the Bombers into the World Series for the first time since 1964.

Game 1[edit]

October 9, 1976 at Royals Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 12 0
Kansas City 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 2
W: Catfish Hunter (1-0)   L: Larry Gura (0-1)
HR: None

Game 2[edit]

October 10, 1976 at Royals Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 12 5
Kansas City 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 7 9 0
W: Paul Splittorff (1-0)   L: Ed Figueroa (0-1)
HR: None

Game 3[edit]

October 12, 1976 at Yankee Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 0
New York 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 0 X 5 9 0
W: Dock Ellis (1-0)   L: Andy Hassler (0-1)   S: Sparky Lyle (1)
HR: NYY: – Chris Chambliss (1)

Game 4[edit]

October 13, 1976 at Yankee Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 0 3 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 7 9 1
New York 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 4 11 0
W: Doug Bird (1-0)   L: Catfish Hunter (1-1)   S: Steve Mingori (1)
HR: NYY: – Graig Nettles 2 (2)

Game 5[edit]

October 14, 1976 at Yankee Stadium

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Kansas City 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 6 11 1
New York 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 7 11 1
W: Dick Tidrow (1-0)   L: Mark Littell (0-1)
HR: KCR: – John Mayberry (1), George Brett (1)   NYY: – Chris Chambliss (2)

World Series[edit]

Main article: 1976 World Series

The Yankees were confident heading into the Fall Classic, but proved to be little match for their opponents. The Cincinnati Reds were the defending world champions, and were making their fourth World Series appearance over a seven-year span. The Big Red Machine dominated the series, sweeping the Yankees in four straight games.

NL Cincinnati Reds (4) vs. AL New York Yankees (0)

Game Road Home Score Date Location Attendance Time of Game
1 Yankees Reds 5 - 1 October 16 Riverfront Stadium 54,826 2:10
2 Yankees Reds 4 - 3 October 17 Riverfront Stadium 54,816 2:33
3 Reds Yankees 6 - 2 October 19 Yankee Stadium 56,667 2:40
4 Reds Yankees 7 - 2 October 21 Yankee Stadium 56,700 2:36

Awards and honors[edit]

Team captain Thurman Munson won the AL MVP.

Graig Nettles was the AL home run champion with 32 home runs in the season.

Munson, Chris Chambliss, Catfish Hunter, Sparky Lyle, Willie Randolph and Mickey Rivers all represented the Yankees at the 1976 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.[6]

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Syracuse Chiefs International League Bobby Cox
AA West Haven Yankees Eastern League Pete Ward
A Fort Lauderdale Yankees Florida State League Mike Ferraro
Short-Season A Oneonta Yankees New York-Penn League Ed Napoleon

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Syracuse, West Haven[7]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]