1972 National League Championship Series
|1972 National League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Augie Donatelli, Ken Burkhart, Doug Harvey, Billy Williams, John Kibler, Harry Wendelstedt|
|TV announcers||Jim Simpson, Sandy Koufax (Game 1)|
Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek (Games 3–5)
NBC did not televise Game 2 due to conflicts with its NFL coverage.
The 1972 National League Championship Series was played between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates from October 7 to 11. Cincinnati won the series three games to two to advance to the World Series against the Oakland A's. The Reds became the first team in major league history to advance to the World Series without the best record in their respective league, made possible by the Junior and Senior Circuits each splitting into two divisions in 1969. In the previous three post seasons, the team with the best record in each league advanced to the World Series.
The 1972 NLCS ended with a dramatic ninth inning rally in the fifth and deciding game. The series was also notable as the last on-field appearance by Pittsburgh's future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, who would die in a plane crash on December 31.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Cincinnati won the series, 3–2.
|1||October 7||Cincinnati Reds – 1, Pittsburgh Pirates – 5||Three Rivers Stadium||1:57||50,476|
|2||October 8||Cincinnati Reds – 5, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3||Three Rivers Stadium||2:43||50,584|
|3||October 9||Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 2||Riverfront Stadium||2:23||52,420|
|4||October 10||Pittsburgh Pirates – 1, Cincinnati Reds – 7||Riverfront Stadium||1:58||39,447|
|5||October 11||Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Cincinnati Reds – 4||Riverfront Stadium||2:19||41,887|
|WP: Steve Blass (1–0) LP: Don Gullett (0–1) Sv: Ramón Hernández (1)|
CIN: Joe Morgan (1)
PIT: Al Oliver (1)
The Reds got a first-inning homer from second baseman Joe Morgan to take a short-lived 1–0 lead. But Pittsburgh bounced back with three in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by an RBI triple from Al Oliver and an RBI double from Willie Stargell. Pittsburgh never looked back, getting a two-run homer from Oliver in the fifth and coasting to the win behind the strong pitching of Steve Blass. The frustrated Reds ultimately stranded 11 baserunners, and their manager Sparky Anderson was ejected in the fourth inning. The time of game was a brisk 1 hour and 57 minutes.
|WP: Tom Hall (1–0) LP: Bob Moose (0–1)|
CIN: Joe Morgan (2)
Cincinnati bounced back to even the series in Game 2. Pittsburgh starter Bob Moose allowed five consecutive hits to start the game. Bobby Tolan and Tony Pérez both hit two-run doubles to give the Reds a 4–0 lead and chase Moose. The Pittsburgh bullpen stopped the Reds offense, though, and the Pirates came back to make it a 4–3 game with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, as Milt May, Roberto Clemente and Dave Cash picked up RBIs. Joe Morgan homered in the eighth to give the Reds a crucial insurance run, and Cincinnati reliever Tom Hall finished a long and strong relief stint to get the victory.
|WP: Bruce Kison (1–0) LP: Clay Carroll (0–1) Sv: Dave Giusti (1)|
PIT: Manny Sanguillén (1)
The series moved to Cincinnati and produced a tense, low-scoring contest. Cincinnati's Darrell Chaney and Bobby Tolan hit RBI singles in the bottom of the third to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Pittsburgh catcher Manny Sanguillén homered to cut the lead in half, and Rennie Stennett tied the game at 2 in the seventh with an RBI single. The Pirates scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a groundout by Sanguillen. Pirates closer Dave Giusti, came on in the eighth to shut the door on the Reds and earn the save.
|WP: Ross Grimsley (1–0) LP: Dock Ellis (0–1)|
PIT: Roberto Clemente (1)
The Reds evened the series in Game 4 behind a sparkling two-hitter from left-handed hurler Ross Grimsley. The Reds scored three runs off Pirates starter Dock Ellis, aided by Pittsburgh errors in the first and fourth. Grimsley singled in another run in the sixth and the Reds eventually added three more. The run support was more than enough for Grimsley as he held the typically potent Pirates' offense in check. He yielded just two hits, both by Roberto Clemente. Pittsburgh got its lone run on a seventh-inning homer by Clemente.
|WP: Clay Carroll (1–1) LP: Dave Giusti (0–1)|
CIN: César Gerónimo (1), Johnny Bench (1)
Game 5 proved to be one of the more memorable postseason contests in baseball history. After rain delayed the start of the game for 90 minutes, Pittsburgh took an early 2–0 lead with second-inning RBIs from Richie Hebner and Dave Cash. The Reds got one back in the third on an RBI double by Pete Rose. But Pittsburgh inched further ahead with another run-scoring hit from Cash in the fourth. César Gerónimo cut the Pirates' lead to 3–2 with a homer in the fifth. The Pirate held onto their 1-run margin until a dramatic bottom of the ninth.
With the defending World Series champion Pirates three outs away from returning to defend their title, Reds catcher Johnny Bench homered off Pittsburgh closer Dave Giusti to tie the game. Tony Pérez singled and was replaced by pinch-runner George Foster. Denis Menke followed with another single as Foster moved to second base. Giusti was then replaced with Game 2 starter Bob Moose. A fly ball out advanced Foster to third. Darrell Chaney popped out as Foster stayed at third, before Moose uncorked a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Hal McRae scoring Foster with the winning run, as the hometown fans and the Reds players celebrated a return to the World Series, which they lost to the Oakland A's in an equally dramatic 7-game series.
Composite line score
|Total attendance: 234,814 Average attendance: 46,963|
- "1972 NLCS Game 1 – Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1972 NLCS Game 2 – Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1972 NLCS Game 3 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1972 NLCS Game 4 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1972 NLCS Game 5 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- Baseball-reference.com – 1972 NLCS