Back on this date (October 17) in 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game Seven of the World Series to win their fourth of five championships. The Buccos also won in 1909, 1925, 1960, and 1979.
The 1971 team was already world famous for being the first squad to ever field and all-minority lineup on September 1 earlier that year, etching themselves into the history books. And then they added to their legacy with the Series win over Baltimore in a back-and-forth seven-gamer that saw Pittsburgh lose the first two games before roaring back to take three in a row, with the teams splitting the last two contests.
Roberto Clemente was named World Series MVP for hitting .414 with 2 homers, 2 doubles, a triple, and 4 RBIs. Manny Sanguillen also had a heck of a series, going for a .379 average, playing in all seven games. Bob Robertson smacked 2 homers versus Baltimore and led the team with 5 RBIs.
Steve Blass went 2-0 on the mound, pitching complete games in Game Three and Game Seven. He finished the Series with a ridiculous line of a 1.00 ERA, 0.611 WHIP, and 13 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. After Clemente, he was Pittsburgh’s next most valuable player.
The Orioles were a league-best 101-57 that season and came into the Series as the favorites after sweeping the 101-win Oakland Athletics, who were led by Reggie Jackson, in the AL Championship.
The Pirates, meanwhile, won an NL-best 97 games that year and downed the San Francisco Giants 3-1 in NL championship. Nice job by both the Bucs and the Orioles putting that Bay Bridge Series on hold until 1989.
Don’t forget to check out Austin’s piece from earlier in the year about Pittsburgh’s ground-breaking all-minority lineup, and there’s also a pretty cool write up in the Trib this morning going further in-depth about the 1971 Series.
Happy Anniversary, Buccos!