One of the dangers of compiling a Trivia Tuesday that concerns one particular game is that sometimes ... well, I find that it was a fairly run-of-the-mill thing. The most interesting aspect of watching Game Five of the 1979 World Series in 2020 for me was hearing a very young Al Michaels doing play-by-play, with Howard Cosell and Don Drysdale doing color. In fact, seeing all of these games and hearing legendary announcers from the past has been at once heartwarming and weird.
Anyway, here are the answers for this week’s Trivia Tuesday. If you want to dig a little more into this game, Mike DeCourcy wrote an excellent article about it in the Sporting News last October, and some of the details in TT came from that article. Thanks, Mike.
Which of the following facts about Game Five is not true?
A. It was the last World Series game played in Pittsburgh B. It was the first time Bert Blyleven pitched in relief C. It was the second day game played in the Series D. There were no home runs in the game
Just nineteen years old and in his rookie season with the Minnesota Twins, Blyleven came on in relief of Jim Kaat in Game Three of the 1970 ALCS against—stop me if you’ve heard this before—the Orioles. He gave up two hits and an unearned run in two innings, but Kaat took the loss as the Orioles swept the series.
Game Five catcher Steve Nicosia held what distinction in the Pirates’ World Series roster?
A. Youngest player B. Only left-handed catcher C. Only rookie D. Only handled right-handed pitchers
Pitcher Don Robinson was two years younger than Nicosia, but he was in his second season with the Bucs. Nicosia played ten big league games in 1978, so he was still classed as a rookie in 1979.
Baltimore reliever Don Stanhouse was the first to do this in the Series:
A. Hit a batter B. Strike out the side C. Balk D. Intentionally walk more than one batter
Stanhouse gave Omar Moreno and Dave Parker free passes in Game Five. His teammate Scott McGregor did the same for Phil Garner and Bill Madlock in Game Seven. Wimps.
Which Pirate made the team’s only error in Game Five?
A. Phil Garner B. Tim Foli C. Dave Parker D. Willie Stargell
Garner’s error allowed the Orioles’ Eddie Murray to get on base in the top of the sixth inning, but it went no further than that, as Gary Roenicke struck out to end the inning.
Jim Rooker was the Pirates’ starter in Game Five, but he wasn’t supposed to be. Who was slated to start originally?
A. John Candelaria B. Bert Blyleven C. Kent Tekulve D. Bruce Kison
Kison had started Game One, but gave up five runs and only got one out before leaving the game with a forearm injury, which some blamed on the chilly weather conditions. Rooker came on in relief and pitched a solid if unspectacular four innings, not giving up any runs and getting two strikeouts. Pirates manager Chuck Tanner made the decision at that time to have Rooker start Game Five if Kison was unable to pitch. The rest is history.
It looks like Game Seven is next on AT&T’s slate, and another iconic voice was the announcer—Keith Jackson handled all the games in Baltimore, while Michaels was tapped for the games in Pittsburgh. See you next Tuesday!