1979 Philadelphia Phillies season

1979 Philadelphia Phillies
Major League affiliations
Other information
Owner(s) R. R. M. "Ruly" Carpenter III
General manager(s) Paul Owens
Manager(s) Danny Ozark, Dallas Green
Local television WPHL-TV
Local radio KYW
(Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn, Andy Musser, Chris Wheeler)
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The 1979 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the National League East, 14 games behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates.


Prior to the 1979 season, Pete Rose signed a four-year, $3.2-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, temporarily making him the highest-paid athlete in team sports. The Phillies were in the middle of the greatest era in the history of the franchise when Rose came on board. They had won the National League East three years running (1976–78) two of which were won with 101 win seasons.

The Phillies entered the 1979 season with one of the strongest lineups in the league with the addition of Rose but with numerous injuries on the pitching staff. AP sports writer Hal Bock picked the Phils to finish second behind the Pirates as the Phillies would enter the season with pitchers Larry Christenson, prospect Jim Wright, and Dick Ruthven all injured.[1]

Notable transactions

Regular season


Retired 1979[12]

On April 18, in a victory versus the Pirates, Greg Luzinski became the first visiting player to hit a home run into the fifth level of Three Rivers Stadium.[13]

On May 17, 1979, the Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 at Wrigley Field in ten innings with a 30-mph wind blowing out to left field.[14] After the game, the Phils were 14 games over .500 and in first place by 3½ games over the Montreal Expos.[15]

On July 10 Del Unser hit his third consecutive pinch hit home run. Unser tied a Major League Baseball record with homers in three straight pinch at bats. The at bats were on June 30, July 5, and July 10.[16]

By August 29, the team had fallen to fifth place and two games under .500, 12½ games behind the Pirates.[17] Mid-season injuries to Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa, and Greg Luzinski contributed to hurt the club. The team's decline led to the firing of manager Danny Ozark on August 31 who was replaced by Dallas Green.[18] Green was named interim manager, a position made permanent shortly after the end of the season.[19]

Alternate uniforms

The Phillies front office introduced an alternate all-burgundy version of the team uniform for the 1979 season to be worn for Saturday games.[20] They were called "Saturday Night Specials", in a derisive nod to cheap handguns then called by that name and were worn for the first and last time on May 19, 1979,[21] a 10-5 loss to the Expos.[22] The immediate reaction of the media, fans, and players alike was negative, with many describing the despised uniforms as pajama-like.

Season standings

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Pittsburgh Pirates 9864 0.605 48–33 50–31
Montreal Expos 9565 0.594 2 56–25 39–40
St. Louis Cardinals 8676 0.531 12 42–39 44–37
Philadelphia Phillies 8478 0.519 14 43–38 41–40
Chicago Cubs 8082 0.494 18 45–36 35–46
New York Mets 6399 0.389 35 28–53 35–46

Record vs. opponents

1979 National League Records

Los Angeles 6–127–57–118–106–69–33–94–89–914–46–6
New York8–410–84–83–93–93–155–138–10–14–88–47–11
San Diego12–63–97–104–149–95–78–43–95–78–104–8
San Francisco7–114–812–611–74–145–74–86–63–910–85–7
St. Louis8–410–84–86–66–68–1011–711–7–17–118–47–5

Notable transactions

1979 Game Log

 Phillies win
 Phillies loss
 Phillies tie
BoldPhillies team member
1979 Game Log[27]
Overall Record: 84–78
^[a] The September 20, 1979, game was protested by the Phillies in the bottom of the sixth inning.[35] The protest was later denied.[36]


1979 Philadelphia Phillies
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager


Player stats


Starters by position

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
1BPete Rose163628208.331459
2BManny Trillo118431112.260642

Other batters

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
Greg Gross11817458.333015
Rudy Meoli307313.17806
Dave Rader315411.20415
John Poff12192.10501


Starting pitchers

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Steve Carlton3525118113.62213
Nino Espinosa3321214123.6588
Larry Christenson191065104.5053
Dan Larson319114.269

Other pitchers

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

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

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Doug Bird322005.1633
Warren Brusstar131016.913

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Oklahoma City 89ers American Association Lee Elia
AA Reading Phillies Eastern League Jim Snyder
A Peninsula Pilots Carolina League Ron Clark
A Spartanburg Phillies Western Carolinas League Bill Dancy
A-Short Season Central Oregon Phillies Northwest League Tom Harmon
Rookie Helena Phillies Pioneer League Roly de Armas

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Central Oregon[37]


  1. Hal Bock (March 27, 1979). "Pitching holds key to Phillies' title defense". The Free-Lance Star. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  2. Jeff Schneider at Baseball Reference
  3. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/castica01.shtml
  4. Pete Rose at Baseball Reference
  5. Joe Charboneau at Baseball Reference
  6. Mark Davis at Baseball-Reference
  7. Manny Trillo at Baseball Reference
  8. Jose Moreno at Baseball Reference
  9. 1 2 Rudy Meoli at Baseball Reference
  10. Dan Boitano at Baseball Reference
  11. Del Unser at Baseball Reference
  12. The Official Site of The Philadelphia Phillies: History: Richie Ashburn
  13. Palm Beach Post. 1979 Apr 19.
  14. "Box Score of Game played on Thursday, May 17, 1979, at Wrigley Field". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  15. Standings and Games on Thursday, May 17, 1979
  16. The Ballplayers – Del Unser | BaseballLibrary.com
  17. Standings and Games on Wednesday, August 29, 1979
  18. "Phillies dismiss Ozark as manager". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 31, 1979. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  19. "Phillies to select Dallas Green". The Bulletin. October 18, 1979. Retrieved October 14, 2009.
  20. Okkonen, Mark. "Dressed to the Nines: Uniform Database (1979)". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
  21. Paul Lukas (August 23, 2007). "Uni Watch: One and done". Uni Watch. ESPN.com. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  22. "Box Score of Game played on Saturday, May 19, 1979, at Veteran's Stadium". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  23. Todd Cruz at Baseball Reference
  24. Jim Kaat at Baseball Reference
  25. Roy Smith at Baseball Reference
  26. Jim Lonborg at Baseball Reference
  27. "1979 Philadelphia Phillies Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Baseball-Reference.com.
  28. Feeney, Charley (April 10, 1979). "Managing Phils Simple in Rainout: But Ozark Bristles as Bowa Suggests New Lineup". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 13. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  29. "The Majors". Pittsburgh Press. April 15, 1979. p. D2. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  30. "Majors At A Glance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 17, 1979. p. 18. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  31. Parascenzo, Marino (August 13, 1979). "Phillie Fans Conceding NL East to Bucs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 17. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  32. Feeney, Charley (August 13, 1979). "Ozark Snaps Silence After Buc Rainout". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. 17, 23. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  33. "Majors At A Glance". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 6, 1979. p. 10. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  34. Whitley, Bob (September 22, 1979). "Rain Falls on Expos in Philly". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 9. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  35. "Philadelphia Phillies 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 1". retrosheet.org. September 20, 1979. Retrieved December 13, 2014. Keith Moreland's fly to LF was ruled a home run; the Pirates argued the call; the umpires huddled and HP umpire Doug Harvey overruled 3B umpire Eric Gregg, calling it a foul ball; Phillies manager Dallas Green argued with and was ejected by Harvey; Green threw equipment onto the field from the bench after the ejection and was fined; Mike Schmidt threw his helmet and was fined; Green protested the game; Moreland was called out on strikes[.]
  36. "Sep 20, 1979, Pirates at Phillies Play by Play and Box Score". baseball-reference.com. sports-reference.com. September 20, 1979. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  37. Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 2nd and 3rd editions. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1997 and 2007

Further reading

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