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The 1980 World Series matched the Philadelphia Phillies against the Kansas City Royals, with the Phillies winning in six games to capture the first of two World Series titles in franchise history to date. It is remembered for Game 6, which ended with Tug McGraw striking out Willie Wilson at 11:29 p.m. Wilson set a World Series record by striking out twelve times (after getting 230 hits in the regular season) in the six-game set. The Phillies became the last of the original AL and NL franchises to win a World Series title.

The Kansas City Royals became the second expansion team, and the first American League expansion team, to appear in the World Series. The AL would have to wait until 1985 before one of their expansion teams—the Royals themselves—would win a World Series.

This was the first World Series played entirely on artificial turf. As of , this was the last World Series in which neither of the participating franchises had won a World Series to that point. This was the first time that had happened since 1920.


The Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East division by one game over the Montreal Expos then defeated the Houston Astros, three games to two, in the National League Championship Series. The Kansas City Royals won the American League West division by fourteen games over the Oakland Athletics then swept the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Two first year managers, Dallas Green of the Philadelphia Phillies and Jim Frey of the Kansas City Royals found themselves with an opportunity to do what no other manager could do before them; win a World Championship for their respective clubs. This was the first appearance for the Phillies since losing to the New York Yankees in the 1950 Series and just their third overall, having also lost to the Boston Red Sox in 1915.

The Kansas City Royals entered the league as an expansion club in . They had early success under the leadership of Whitey Herzog, winning their division from 1976 to 1978 but each year they would lose to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, exacting revenge with a sweep of the Yankees in the 1980 ALCS. The Phillies had a strikingly similar run entering this Series, as they were also divisional winners from 1976 to 1978, losing to the Cincinnati Reds in 1976 NLCS and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, before regrouping in and triumphing over the Houston Astros in the League Championship Series.

Philadelphia Phillies

The 1980 Philadelphia Phillies seemed to have it all including eventual 1980 Most Valuable Player, third-baseman Mike Schmidt (48 HR, 121 RBI, .286 BA) and Cy Young Award winner, lefty Steve Carlton (24–9, 2.34 ERA). This mostly veteran club finished between first and third in almost all offensive categories in the National League. 39-year-old Pete Rose led the club in hits (185) and doubles (42), while speedsters center fielder Garry Maddox and utility outfielder Lonnie Smith combined for 68 steals. The pitching staff was just good enough, led by Carlton and seventeen-game winner Dick Ruthven. In the bullpen was the ever enthusiastic screwballer Tug McGraw who was making his third trip to the Series, having riden the bench with the winning New York Mets in 1969 and the losing Mets in 1973. Third time was the charm for both the cheerleading McGraw and the bad-luck Phillies.

Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals had a Most Valuable Player of their own in the indomitable superstar, third-baseman George Brett who flirted with the sacred .400 mark all summer before settling for a .390 batting average. The unquestioned heart and soul of the Royals was surrounded by a solid corps including veteran Royals, Amos Otis, super-designated-hitter, Hal McRae, solid second-baseman, Frank White and switch-hitter Willie Wilson who finished the season with 230 hits and 79 stolen bases. The pitching staff had six players with ten or more wins led by twenty-game winner, Dennis Leonard (20–11, 3.79) and left-hander, Larry Gura (18–10, 2.95). Submariner Dan Quisenberry won twelve games out of the bullpen including an American League-best 33 saves.



Game 1

Tuesday, October 14, 1980 at Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

The Royals jumped on Philly rookie starter Bob Walk (who became the first rookie to start the first game of a World Series since Joe Black of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952) early with a pair of two run bombs—one by Amos Otis in the second and another by Willie Aikens in the third. In their half of the third, the Phils rallied to take the lead, with the key blow coming on a three run homer by Bake McBride. They would add two more runs late to extend their lead. Despite Aikens hitting another two run homer to cut the lead to one, Tug McGraw was able to hold on the Phillies a 7–6 victory. Prior to 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies hadn't won a World Series game since Game 1 of the 1915 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 15, 1980 at Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

Game 2 was a pitcher's duel between left-handers Larry Gura and Steve Carlton. Carlton looked in control up 2–1 until, acting on a complaint from Kansas City manager Jim Frey that Carlton was using a foreign substance on the ball, the umpires made Carlton wash his hands. Carlton then loaded the bases on three walks and Amos Otis ripped a double into the left field corner driving in two, and setting up a third score. Down 4–2, the Phillies rallied to go up on the Royals in the eighth. The big hits in this inning came on a game-tying RBI double by Del Unser and a go ahead RBI single by Bake McBride past the drawn in infield. Mike Schmidt drove in an insurance run with a double off the right-center field wall and Ron Reed picked up the save in the ninth as Philadelphia went up 2–0 heading to Kansas City.

George Brett had to have minor surgery after Game 2. In Game 3, a fully recovered Brett hit a home run as his Royals wound up winning in ten innings by the score of 4–3.

Game 3

Friday, October 17, 1980 at Royals Stadiummarker in Kansas City, Missourimarker

K.C. got back in the series with a thrilling extra inning victory in Game 3. George Brett began the scoring with a blast into the right field stands in the first. Amos Otis gave the Royals a 3–2 lead in the seventh with a home run but Mike Schmidt tied it with a homer of his own in the eighth. The game headed into extra frames and in the bottom of the tenth, Willie Aikens drove in Willie Wilson with a double to left-center for the game winning run.

Game 4

Saturday, October 18, 1980 at Royals Stadiummarker in Kansas City, Missourimarker

A beautiful Saturday afternoon was the setting for Game 4. The Royals jumped all over Phillies starter Larry Christenson in the bottom of the first. Willie Wilson doubled, George Brett tripled him in, and Willie Aikens smashed his third homer of the series. The onslaught continued when Amos Otis doubled in Hal McRae to give the Royals a 4–0 lead right out of the gate. Aikens would add another blast an inning later and despite the Phils' attempt at another comeback, the Royals would triumph 5–3. Willie Aikens became the first player in World Series history to have a pair of two-homer games. Despite the Royals victory, Game 4 is best remembered for Dickie Noles' fourth inning brushback pitch under Brett's chin that ultimately prompted the umpires to issue warnings to each team. Brett told Baseball Digest in March 1998 that he had "no idea if that [brushback pitch by Noles] turned the Series around. All I know is we lost." Mike Schmidt, in his book "Clearing The Bases," called it "the greatest brushback in World Series history."

Game 5

Sunday, October 19, 1980 at Royals Stadiummarker in Kansas City, Missourimarker

Game 5 would be the pivotal game as the Phillies went up 3 games to 2. The game was scoreless until the fourth when Mike Schmidt hit a two run bomb to right-center. The red hot Amos Otis led the Royals back with another homer and by the sixth, K.C. was in front 3–2. After the Phillies threw out a K.C. runner at the plate to keep the game a one run affair, they marched to victory by coming back in the ninth. Schmidt singled to open the inning and Del Unser drove him home all the way from first with a double down the right field line. After a bunt moved Unser to third, Manny Trillo drove in the go ahead run with a line shot that ricocheted off pitcher Dan Quisenberry for an infield hit. In the bottom of the ninth, the Royals threatened by loading the bases with two out. The fans at Royals Stadium were standing hoping for a dramatic K.C. win. But Tug McGraw slienced the crowd by striking out José Cardenal with a high fastball to end the game.

Game 6

Tuesday, October 21, 1980 at Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

Game 6 would be the culmination for the first Phillies championship ever. Philadelphia scored two in the third on a Mike Schmidt single. It was all that Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw would need for the 4–1 win. Kansas City made Philly fans nervous by loading the bases in the eighth and the ninth but Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson for the third out in the final frame.

Phillies catcher Bob Boone's knees were so sore by the end of the World Series that he could barely make it to the mound after the final out was recorded.

When the modern-day World Series began in 1903, the National and American Leagues each had eight teams. With their victory in the 1980 World Series, the Phillies became the last of the "Original Sixteen" franchises to win a Series (although it should be noted that the St. Louis Browns never won a Series in St. Louis, having to wait until 1966, twelve years after they had become the Baltimore Orioles).

While Mike Schmidt was the official MVP of the 1980 World Series, the Babe Ruth Award (another World Series MVP) was given to Tug McGraw. coverage of Game 6

Composite box

1980 World Series (4–2): Philadelphia Phillies (N.L.) over Kansas City Royals (A.L.)


This Series is tied with the 1978 World Series for the highest overall television ratings to date, with the six games averaging a Nielsen rating of 32.8 and a share of 56.

Soon after the World Series, members of both teams played for a week on Family Feud with host Richard Dawson. The week of shows was billed as a World Series Rematch Week. The Phillies won three out of the five games played, with all the money going to charity.

The 1980 World Series was the first of numerous World Series that journeyman outfielder Lonnie Smith (then with Phillies) participated in. He was also a part of the 1982 World Series (as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals), 1985 World Series (as a member of the Kansas City Royals), and the 1991 and 1992 World Series as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Three men who played in the 1980 Series (John Vukovich, Dan Quisenberry, and Tug McGraw) have died of brain cancer. (Bobby Murcer and Johnny Oates, who played for the New York Yankees against the Royals in that year's ALCS, also succumbed to the disease, as did 1980 Yankees manager Dick Howser, who also managed the Royals to the 1985 World Series title; and Ken Brett, who pitched for Kansas City in the 1980-81 regular seasons.)

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