1971 World Series

1971 World Series
Team (Wins) Manager(s) Season
Pittsburgh Pirates (4) Danny Murtaugh  97–65 (.599),
GA: 7
Baltimore Orioles (3) Earl Weaver 101–57 (.639), GA: 12
Dates October 9–17
MVP Roberto Clemente (Pittsburgh)
Umpires Nestor Chylak (AL), Ed Sudol (NL),
Johnny Rice (AL), Ed Vargo (NL),
Jim Odom (AL), John Kibler (NL)
Hall of Famers Umpire: Nestor Chylak
Pirates: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell
Orioles: Earl Weaver (manager), Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson
ALCS Baltimore over Oakland Athletics (3–0)
NLCS Pittsburgh over San Francisco Giants (3–1)
Television NBC
TV announcers Curt Gowdy with
Chuck Thompson (Games 1–2, 6–7)
and Bob Prince (Games 3–5)
Radio NBC
Radio announcers Jim Simpson with
Bob Prince (Games 1–2, 6–7)
and Bill O'Donnell (Games 3–7)
World Series

The 1971 World Series was the 68th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1971 season. A best-of-seven playoff, it matched the defending World Series and American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games.[1] Game 4, played in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, was the first-ever World Series game played at night.[2]

The teams proved to be evenly matched, as the Series went the full seven games; the home team prevailed in each of the first six. In Game Seven in Baltimore, the Pirates' Steve Blass pitched a four-hit complete game for a 2–1 win over Mike Cuellar and the Orioles.[1]

In his final World Series appearance, Roberto Clemente became the first Spanish-speaking ballplayer to earn World Series MVP honors. He hit safely in all seven games of the Series, duplicating a feat he had performed in 1960.

Twenty-one-year-old rookie Bruce Kison pitched 6⅓ scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in two appearances for the Pirates; he set a record of three hit batters in a World Series game (#4), which also tied the 1907 record for a World Series.

This was the first of three consecutive World Series, all seven games, in which the winning team scored fewer runs overall. The trend continued for the next seven-game series in 1975.

These two teams met again in the fall classic eight years later, with the same result, as the Pirates won the final three games to win in seven.


The Pirates won the National League East by seven games over the St. Louis Cardinals then defeated the San Francisco Giants, three games to one, in the National League Championship Series. The Orioles won the American League East by 12 games over the Detroit Tigers then swept the Oakland A's in the American League Championship Series.

The Orioles were coming off their third straight AL playoff series sweep (twice over the Minnesota Twins and once over Oakland) and their third straight season with over 100 wins (109 (1969), 108 (1970), 101 (1971)). Featuring four pitchers with twenty or more wins (Dave McNally (21), Mike Cuellar (20), Pat Dobson (20), Jim Palmer (20)), the booming bats of sluggers Frank Robinson (28, 99, .281) and Boog Powell (22, 92, .256), and the sure hands of Brooks Robinson at third and Mark Belanger at short, the O's were primed to defend their title.

The Pirates were in the World Series for the first time since the heroics of Bill Mazeroski (who appeared in this series as a pinch-hitter in Game 1) in Game 7 of the 1960 match-up against the New York Yankees. Though not as decorated as the O's staff, the Pirates featured 19-game winner Dock Ellis and 15-game winner Steve Blass. The Bucs did boast a murderous lineup led by Willie Stargell (48, 125, .295), Bob Robertson (26, 72, .271) and Roberto Clemente (13, 86, .341), who collected 12 series hits and hit .414.


NL Pittsburgh Pirates (4) vs. AL Baltimore Orioles (3)

1October 9Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 5Memorial Stadium2:0653,229[3] 
2October 11Pittsburgh Pirates – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 11Memorial Stadium2:5553,239[4] 
3October 12Baltimore Orioles – 1, Pittsburgh Pirates – 5Three Rivers Stadium2:2050,403[5] 
4October 13Baltimore Orioles – 3, Pittsburgh Pirates – 4Three Rivers Stadium2:4851,378[6] 
5October 14Baltimore Orioles – 0, Pittsburgh Pirates – 4Three Rivers Stadium2:1651,377[7] 
6October 16Pittsburgh Pirates – 2, Baltimore Orioles – 3 (10 innings)Memorial Stadium2:5944,174[8] 
7October 17Pittsburgh Pirates – 2, Baltimore Orioles – 1Memorial Stadium2:1047,291[9]

: postponed from October 10 due to rain


Game 1

Saturday, October 9, 1971 1:00 pm (ET) at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
WP: Dave McNally (1–0)   LP: Dock Ellis (0–1)
Home runs:
PIT: None
BAL: Frank Robinson (1), Merv Rettenmund (1), Don Buford (1)

The Pirates scored three in the second off of Dave McNally due to sloppy defense by the Orioles. Bob Robertson led off with a walk and went to second on a wild pitch by O's starter Dave McNally. Manny Sanguillén grounded to short, but Mark Belanger threw wildly to third in an attempt to retire Robertson. Robertson scored and Sanguillen pulled in at second. After advancing to third on a ground ball by José Pagán, Sanguillen scored on a suicide squeeze bunt laid down by Jackie Hernández, who went to second when catcher Elrod Hendricks threw wildly to first. Dave Cash singled home Hernandez with the only hit the Pirates got the whole inning among the three runs.

To atone for the bad defense, the Orioles clawed back with their power hitting. Frank Robinson hit a home run in the second and Merv Rettenmund blasted a three-run home run in the third off Dock Ellis to give the Orioles the lead. Don Buford added a home run off of Bob Moose in the fifth as McNally settled down and allowed only two more hits and no runs the rest of the way.

Game 2

Monday, October 11, 1971 2:00 pm (ET) at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
WP: Jim Palmer (1–0)   LP: Bob Johnson (0–1)   Sv: Dick Hall (1)
Home runs:
PIT: Richie Hebner (1)
BAL: None

Following a one-day delay caused by the first World Series rainout in nine years, the Orioles took a 2–0 series lead on Monday afternoon. Baltimore pounded six Pirate pitchers for fourteen hits (all singles) and eleven runs, led by three hits and four RBIs by Brooks Robinson, who drove in the first Oriole run in the second. In the fourth, with the bases loaded on a single, hit-by-pitch and walk, Davey Johnson's two-run single made it 3–0 Orioles and knock starter Bob Johnson out of the game. Two walks by Bruce Kison forced in another run to make it 4–0 Orioles. Next inning, after two singles, Elrod Hendricks's two-run single aided by an error and Robinson's single made it 7–0 Orioles. After another single, Bob Veale relived Moose and allowed two walks to load the bases and force in another run Don Buford's groundout and Merv Rettenmund's RBI single made it 10–0 Orioles. Robinson's RBI single next inning off of Bob Miller capped the Orioles' scoring. Jim Palmer pitched seven shutout innings and helped himself the easy way by drawing two bases-loaded walks for two RBIs. The Pirates got their runs in the eighth when Richie Hebner hit a three-run homer off Palmer.[10]

This was very nearly the first night game in World Series history. After rain postponed Game Two—originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon—Commissioner Bowie Kuhn suggested that the rescheduled game be played on Monday night. However, the Pirates objected as they wanted the honor of hosting the first World Series night game themselves at Three Rivers Stadium when Game Four was played. Thus Game Two was played on Monday afternoon in Baltimore.

Game 3

Tuesday, October 12, 1971 1:00 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
WP: Steve Blass (1–0)   LP: Mike Cuellar (0–1)
Home runs:
BAL: Frank Robinson (2)
PIT: Bob Robertson (1)

With the Series shifting to Three Rivers Stadium and with Steve Blass available, the Pirates got back into it. Roberto Clemente's groundout with runners on second and third in the first put them up 1–0. Manny Sanguillen hit a leadoff double in the sixth and scored on Jose Pagan's single to make it 2–0 Pirates. Steve Blass pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits and one run (on a Frank Robinson home run in the seventh) and striking out eight. The big blow on offense was provided by Bob Robertson, who slammed a three-run home run in the seventh off starter Mike Cuellar—after missing the bunt sign. Manager Danny Murtaugh issued the sign to Robertson, who had no sacrifice bunts on the season. Television replays showed Roberto Clemente, who was on second base, appearing to call a timeout, but Cuellar was already in his windup at the time. Blass was sitting next to Murtaugh in the dugout at the time, and told the Pirate manager: "If you fine him (Robertson, for missing the bunt sign), I'll pay." Murtaugh didn't.

Game 4

Wednesday, October 13, 1971 8:15 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
WP: Bruce Kison (1–0)   LP: Eddie Watt (0–1)   Sv: Dave Giusti (1)

In the first ever night game in World Series history,[2] it started out looking like a long night for the Pirates. Starting pitcher Luke Walker gave up singles to the Orioles' first three batters, Paul Blair, Mark Belanger, and Merv Rettenmund, loading the bases. Blair scored and the others advanced on a Manny Sanguillén passed ball. Walker then intentionally walked Frank Robinson and gave up consecutive sacrifice flies to Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, giving the Orioles a 3–0 lead.

Manager Danny Murtaugh then pulled Walker in favor of Bruce Kison. Kison proceeded to get the final out of the inning and then pitched shutout baseball for the next six innings, allowing only one hit and despite hitting three Oriole batters, a World Series record.

Kison's heroics allowed the Pirates to claw back off of starter Pat Dobson. Willie Stargell and Al Oliver cut the lead to 3–2 in the bottom of the first with back-to-back RBI doubles after a leadoff walk. Oliver tied the score at 3 in the third with an RBI single.

In the seventh, Bob Robertson and Sanguillen stroked one-out singles off reliever Eddie Watt. Pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo then lofted a short fly to center that Paul Blair dropped. Robertson reached third and Davalillo first, but Sanguillen was caught in a rundown between second and third. Backup catcher Milt May then batted for Kison and delivered a clutch go-ahead RBI single, scoring Robertson.

Dave Giusti pitched the final two innings of hitless ball for the Pirates and got the save.

Game 5

Thursday, October 14, 1971 1:00 pm (ET) at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
WP: Nelson Briles (1–0)   LP: Dave McNally (1–1)
Home runs:
BAL: None
PIT: Bob Robertson (2)

Danny Murtaugh wanted to save his two ace pitchers, Steve Blass and Dock Ellis, for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary), so he went with spot starter/reliever Nelson Briles in this day game. The gamble paid off as Briles pitched a gem, a complete game two-hit shutout. Bob Robertson's leadoff home run in the second off of Dave McNally put the Pirates up 1–0. Manny Sanguillen singled, stole second and scored on Nelson Briles's two-out single. A wild pitch with runners on first and third allowed another run to score. Gene Clines hit a leadoff triple in the fifth and scored on Roberto Clemente's single, his first RBI of the series, to cap the scoring as the Pirates took a 3–2 series lead heading back to Baltimore.

Game 6

Saturday, October 16, 1971 1:00 pm (ET) at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
WP: Dave McNally (2–1)   LP: Bob Miller (0–1)
Home runs:
PIT: Roberto Clemente (1)
BAL: Don Buford (2)

The series shifted back to Baltimore with the Orioles facing elimination. With Steve Blass needing another day of rest and Dock Ellis nursing an injury, Danny Murtaugh had to go to the well once again, starting reliever Bob Moose—his sixth different starter in this Series. Moose responded well by pitching shutout ball for five innings, while his Pirate teammates got him a 2–0 lead. Al Oliver doubled in the second off Jim Palmer and scored on a Bob Robertson single. Roberto Clemente added a homer in the third.

Moose started having trouble in the sixth, however. Don Buford belted a one-out homer and Moose allowed the next two batters to reach base before giving way to Bob Johnson, who ended the threat. The Orioles tied it off Johnson in the seventh when Mark Belanger singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Davey Johnson.

Both teams threatened late; the Orioles had runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth with two out, but failed to score. The Pirates loaded the bases in the top of the tenth, but Dave McNally, pitching in relief, squelched the threat.

The Orioles staved off a World Series defeat in their half of the tenth when Frank Robinson drew a one-out walk and went to third on a Merv Rettenmund single. Brooks Robinson lifted a short fly to center and Frank Robinson tagged and scored the winning run, barely beating Vic Davalillo's throw to the plate.

Game 7

Sunday, October 17, 1971 2:00 pm (ET) at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
WP: Steve Blass (2–0)   LP: Mike Cuellar (0–2)
Home runs:
PIT: Roberto Clemente (2)
BAL: None

With ace pitchers Steve Blass and Mike Cuellar on the mound for their respective teams, Game 7 proved to be a pitcher's duel.

Series MVP Roberto Clemente drew first blood for the Pirates by hitting a two-out homer in the fourth off Cuellar. The Pirates added another run in the eighth when José Pagán doubled in Willie Stargell.

The only run the O's could muster off Blass was an RBI groundout by Don Buford in the eighth. Blass would get his second complete game win of the series.

Game 7 was the only game in which the visiting team won.

After Game 2, the O's bats went silent. After hitting the Pirates pitching staff for 16 runs and 24 hits in the first 2 games, the O's scored only 8 runs on 21 hits, hitting only .141 (21-149) in the next 5 games, enabling the Pirates to upset the Orioles.

Composite box

1971 World Series (4–3): Pittsburgh Pirates (N.L.) over Baltimore Orioles (A.L.)

Pittsburgh Pirates363111440023563
Baltimore Orioles323372210124459
Total attendance: 351,091   Average attendance: 50,156
Winning player's share: $18,165   Losing player's share: $13,906[11]



  1. 1 2 "Pirates win Series". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 18, 1971. p. 3B.
  2. 1 2 "Walker, Dobson slated to hurl at night". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 13, 1971. p. 1D.
  3. "1971 World Series Game 1 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  4. "1971 World Series Game 2 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  5. "1971 World Series Game 3 – Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  6. "1971 World Series Game 4 – Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. "1971 World Series Game 5 – Baltimore Orioles vs. Pittsburgh Pirates". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  8. "1971 World Series Game 6 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  9. "1971 World Series Game 7 – Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  10. "Orioles romp". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 11, 1971. p. 3B.
  11. "World Series Gate Receipts and Player Shares". Baseball Almanac. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  12. "World Series at a glance". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). October 18, 1971. p. 5B.


  • Cohen, Richard M.; Neft, David S. (1990). The World Series: Complete Play-By-Play of Every Game, 1903–1989. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 335–339. ISBN 0-312-03960-3. 
  • Reichler, Joseph (1982). The Baseball Encyclopedia (5th ed.). Macmillan Publishing. p. 2185. ISBN 0-02-579010-2. 
  • Forman, Sean L. "1971 World Series". Baseball-Reference.com – Major League Statistics and Information. Archived from the original on December 17, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 

See also

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