1970 World Series
|MVP:||Brooks Robinson (Baltimore)|
|TV announcers:||Curt Gowdy, Jim McIntyre (Games 1–2) and Chuck Thompson (Games 3–5)|
|Radio announcers:||Jim Simpson, Chuck Thompson (Games 1–2) and Jim McIntyre (Games 3–5)|
|Umpires:||Ken Burkhart (NL), Red Flaherty (AL), Tony Venzon (NL), Bob Stewart (AL), Billy Williams (NL), Emmett Ashford (AL)|
|Hall of Famers:|| Orioles: Earl Weaver (mgr.), Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson.|
Reds: Sparky Anderson (mgr.), Johnny Bench, Tony Pérez.
|ALCS:||Baltimore Orioles over Minnesota Twins (3–0)|
|NLCS:||Cincinnati Reds over Pittsburgh Pirates (3–0)|
The 1970 World Series matched the American League champion Baltimore Orioles (108-54 in the regular season) against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds (102-60), with the Orioles winning in five games.
In this series Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic. It also featured the first World Series games to be played on artificial turf, as Games 1 and 2 took place at Cincinnati's first-year Riverfront Stadium.
This was the last World Series in which all games were played in the afternoon. Also this was the third time in a World Series where a team leading 3-0 in the series would fail to complete the sweep by losing game 4 but still win game 5 to win the series. 1910 and 1937 were the others.
The Baltimore Orioles won the American League East division by 15 games over the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds won the National League West division by 14 1⁄2 games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Coming into the World Series, the Orioles had won 14 straight including the final 11 during the regular season then defeated the Minnesota Twins, three games to none, in the American League Championship Series for the second straight year. The Reds went 32-30 in their last 62 regular season games, but swept the Pittsburgh Pirates, three games to none, in the National League Championship Series.
The World Series set up to as a classic matchup of a pair of teams laden with all-star players.
The 1970 Cincinnati Reds squad was the first edition of the "Big Red Machine." Sparky Anderson's first year as a major league manager produced 102 wins and the first of four NL pennants. The Reds featured a heavy-hitting lineup that included future Hall of Famers in catcher Johnny Bench (45 home runs, 148 RBI and .293 batting average) and third baseman Tony Pérez (40, 129, .317), as well as all-time hits leader Pete Rose (15, 52, .316) in right field, NL stolen base leader Bobby Tolan (16, 80, .316) in center field and power-hitting first baseman Lee May (34, 94, .253). The Reds led the National League in batting average and finished third in runs scored. Cincinnati pitching, however, would be a weak spot throughout the Series. Two-time 20-game winner Jim Maloney could only make three starts during the regular season and was shelved. Two 1970 All Star game representatives, Jim Merritt (20–12) and rookie Wayne Simpson (14–3), were suffering arm injuries. Merritt, who won 20 games by the end of August, pitched less than four regular season innings after September 4. Merritt started Game 5 against Baltimore, but was unable to get through the second inning. Simpson started 8–1 and had 14 wins by July 26, but was shelved thereafter. He did not pitch in the post season. Right-hander Gary Nolan (18-7, 3.26 ERA) would assume the ace role for the Reds.
By contrast, pitching was a strength for the Baltimore Orioles as manager Earl Weaver had three, healthy 20-game winners. Mike Cuellar (24–8, 3.48 ERA), Dave McNally (24–9, 3.22) and future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer (20–10, 2.71) were all well-rested and ready for the Series. Weaver balanced good pitching with the hitting of 1970 AL MVP Boog Powell (35, 114, .297), Merv Rettenmund (18, 58, .322), as well as future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson (25, 78, .306) and Brooks Robinson (18, 94, .276). The Orioles led the AL in most runs scored (792), fewest runs allowed (574), complete games by starting pitchers (60), lowest team earned run average (3.15) and they were second in the AL in fielding percentage (.981) establishing themselves as the most dominant Orioles team in the modern era.
The 1970 World Series appearance by Baltimore was the second of what would be three-straight World Series appearances. The Reds would go on to amass four WS appearances in a seven-year stretch (1970, '72, '75 & '76, winning the last two).
This was the only World Series in which Earl Weaver managed the Orioles to a win.
|1||October 10||Baltimore Orioles – 4, Cincinnati Reds – 3||Riverfront Stadium||2:24||51,531|
|2||October 11||Baltimore Orioles – 6, Cincinnati Reds – 5||Riverfront Stadium||2:26||51,531|
|3||October 13||Cincinnati Reds – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 9||Memorial Stadium||2:09||51,773|
|4||October 14||Cincinnati Reds – 6, Baltimore Orioles – 5||Memorial Stadium||2:26||53,007|
|5||October 15||Cincinnati Reds – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 9||Memorial Stadium||2:35||45,341|
| WP: Jim Palmer (1–0) LP: Gary Nolan (0–1) Sv: Pete Richert (1)|
BAL: Boog Powell (1), Elrod Hendricks (1), Brooks Robinson (1)
CIN: Lee May (1)
The Reds got off to a fast start, taking a 3–0 lead off Jim Palmer on a first-inning RBI single by Johnny Bench and a third-inning two-run homer by Lee May. The Orioles' offense answered with a two-run homer by Boog Powell in the fourth off Reds starter Gary Nolan. Elrod Hendricks tied it with a homer in the fifth, and Brooks Robinson hit the game-winning homer in the seventh. In the sixth, Robinson made a spectacular backhanded grab of a hard grounder down the line by May before spinning to throw him out. It was one of several spectacular plays the Gold Glove third baseman would make in the series.
The game turned in the sixth inning on a controversial call by home-plate umpire Ken Burkhart. The Reds had Bernie Carbo on third and Tommy Helms on first when Ty Cline, batting for Woody Woodward, hit a high chopper in front of the plate. Burkhart positioned himself in front of the plate to call the ball fair or foul as Carbo sped home. O's catcher Hendricks fielded the ball and turned to tag Carbo with Burkhart blocking the way. Hendricks tagged the sliding Carbo with his glove hand while holding the ball in his other hand; all the while, Burkhart was knocked to the ground and had his back to the play. When Burkhart turned around, he saw Carbo out of the baseline away from the plate as Hendricks held the ball. Burkhart signaled Carbo out without asking for help from the other umpires. Carbo and Sparky Anderson vehemently argued the call, but to no avail.
Robinson's home run put the O's ahead for the first time, while Palmer settled into a groove on the mound. Palmer allowed no hits in his final 2 2⁄3 innings of work. After he walked Pete Rose with two outs in the ninth, Pete Richert relieved Palmer and got Bobby Tolan to line out to shortstop Mark Belanger to end the game.
The Jackson 5 performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to the game, which almost became an embarrassment when the group realized shortly before their performance that they weren't familiar with the lyrics. The Jackson brothers were able to quickly prepare themselves in transit to the stadium and performed the song adequately.
| WP: Tom Phoebus (1–0) LP: Milt Wilcox (0–1) Sv: Dick Hall (1)|
BAL: Boog Powell (2)
CIN: Bobby Tolan (1), Johnny Bench (1)
Again, another fast start by the Reds fell by the wayside. The Reds scored three in the first on a two-run double by Lee May, who went to third when Orioles center fielder Paul Blair bobbled the ball. Hal McRae squeeze-bunted May home for the third run. They pushed the lead to 4–0 on a homer by Bobby Tolan in the third.
The Orioles began their comeback innocently enough on a Boog Powell solo homer in the fourth. In the fifth, the floodgates opened. With one out, Reds' starter Jim McGlothlin gave up successive singles to pinch-hitter Chico Salmon and Don Buford. Paul Blair singled home Salmon, chasing McGlothlin and bringing in Milt Wilcox. Wilcox gave up RBI singles to Powell and Brooks Robinson and the crushing blow, a two-run double to Elrod Hendricks.
The Reds would get back one run in the sixth on a Johnny Bench home run, but that was it.
| WP: Dave McNally (1–0) LP: Tony Cloninger (0–1)|
BAL: Frank Robinson (1), Don Buford (1), Dave McNally (1)
Left-hander Dave McNally had a banner day, pitching a complete game, scattering nine hits, while also connecting for a grand slam in the sixth inning off reliever Wayne Granger to break the game open. McNally became the first and only pitcher to hit a World Series grand slam.
Baltimore third baseman Brooks Robinson added to his highlight reel with a spectacular display of fielding. After Pete Rose and Bobby Tolan led the game off with consecutive hits, Robinson made a sensational, leaping grab of Tony Pérez's hopper, stepped on third and fired to first for a double play. In the second inning, Robinson snagged a slow grounder hit by Tommy Helms and threw out the sprinting second baseman. And in the sixth, Robinson made a diving catch of a line drive by Johnny Bench. The Memorial Stadium fans gave Robinson a standing ovation as he came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. He responded by doubling to left.
| WP: Clay Carroll (1–0) LP: Eddie Watt (0–1)|
CIN: Pete Rose (1), Lee May (2)
BAL: Brooks Robinson (2)
With a 2–1 lead in the third, Reds' starter Gary Nolan gave up two-out RBI singles to Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. Gullett relieved Nolan and surrendered another RBI single to Elrod Hendricks. The Reds crept back in the fifth on a homer by Pete Rose.
In the eighth, Perez walked and Johnny Bench singled. Lee May then slammed a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Orioles' reliever Eddie Watt to put the Reds ahead. Carroll, who had entered in the seventh, made the lead stand up. Gullett and Carroll combined to pitch 6 1⁄3 innings, giving up four hits and one unearned run, allowing the Reds to claw back on May's heroics. The Reds' victory snapped Baltimore's 17-game winning streak. It also ended Cincinnati's six-game World Series losing streak including the last three games in the 1961 World Series.
| WP: Mike Cuellar (1–0) LP: Jim Merritt (0–1)|
BAL: Frank Robinson (2), Merv Rettenmund (1)
Rain showers threatened to delay Game 5, but it only kept the Memorial Stadium crowd from being less than capacity. Seemingly re-energized from their Game 4 win, the Reds rocked Orioles starter Mike Cuellar for three runs in the first on an RBI single by Johnny Bench and a two-run double by Hal McRae. Cuellar, a notoriously slow starter, stayed in the game and got Tommy Helms to ground out to Mark Belanger for the final out. The Orioles scored two runs in the bottom of the first against Reds' 20-game winner Jim Merritt, who had been battling a sore arm and had not pitched in 10 days. Merritt allowed more two runs in the second inning before being lifted.
Frank Robinson hit a two-run home run, Merv Rettenmund also had a homer and two RBI, and Davey Johnson had two RBI to pace the Orioles' attack. After the rocky first inning, Cuellar settled down and allowed no runs and two hits in the final eight innings for a complete-game victory.
Brooks Robinson won the World Series Most Valuable Player Award hitting .429, broke the record for total bases in a five-game series with 17, tied the record for most hits in one game with four, and tied teammate Paul Blair for most hits in a five-game Series with nine. Total Baseball described Brooks Robinson's fielding with, "other-worldly defense at third (which) gave Reds right-handed hitters nightmares through the Series." Upon hearing that Robinson won the MVP award and a new car from Toyota, Reds' catcher Johnny Bench said, "If we had known he wanted a car that badly, we'd all have chipped in and bought him one."
The game was the last in the majors for Ashford, who became the first black umpire to make it to the top level of baseball when he was hired by the American League in 1966. Ashford reached MLB's then-mandatory retirement age of 55 in late 1969, but was allowed by AL president Joe Cronin to come back for 1970, giving him the opportunity to break the World Series color barrier for umpires. A black umpire did not call balls and strikes in a World Series game until 1993, when the NL's Charlie Williams worked the plate in Game 4.
| Total attendance: 253,183 Average attendance: 50,637|
Winning player's share: $18,216 Losing player's share: $13,688
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- The 1970 Cincinnati Reds at baseballlibrary.com