1976 American League Championship Series

1976 American League Championship Series

Infobox LCS
alcs = yes

year = 1976
champion = New York Yankees (3)
champion_manager = Billy Martin
champion_games = 97-62, .610, GA: 10½
runnerup = Kansas City Royals (2)
runnerup_manager = Whitey Herzog
runnerup_games = 90-72, .556, GA: 2½
date = October 9October 14
television = ABC
announcers = Bob Uecker (Game 1) / Keith Jackson (Game 2-5), Howard Cosell, and Reggie Jackson
radio_network = CBS Radio
radio_announcers = Ernie Harwell and Ned Martin
umpires = Joe Brinkman, Larry Barnett, George Maloney, Bill Haller, Art Frantz, Larry McCoy
The by|1976 American League Championship Series was won by the New York Yankees, who defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-2.


Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees

New York wins the series, 3-2

Game summaries

Game 1

Saturday, October 9, 1976 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYY
Home=Kansas City|HomeAbr=KCR
WP=Catfish Hunter (1-0)|LP=Larry Gura (0-1)|SV=|

The opener was played on a bright Saturday afternoon at Royals Stadium and pitted Yankee ace Jim “Catfish” Hunter against left-hander and ex-Yankee Larry Gura. The Yankees got off to a quick start scoring 2 in the first aided by pair of George Brett throwing errors. Hunter was in top form and went the distance, not going to a 3-ball count the entire game. While the Royals were able to halve that margin going into the ninth, Roy White's two-run double in the top of the frame gave the Yanks two insurance runs that were the final scoring in a tidy 4-1 win.

Game 2

Sunday, October 10, 1976 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, MissouriLinescore
Road=New York|RoadAbr=NYY
Home=Kansas City|HomeAbr=KCR
WP=Paul Splittorff (1-0)|LP=Ed Figueroa (0-1)|SV=|

Five Yankee errors helped key the Royals series-tying win. Lefty Paul Splittorff was solid with 5 2/3 innings of work in relief of Brooklyn native Dennis Leonard, while Yankee reliever Dick Tidrow was ineffective and permitted 3 more KC runs to score in the eighth after relieving starter Ed Figueroa with one out in the sixth. The series, now tied at 1, moved to New York and newly remodelled Yankee Stadium for the remaining three games.

Game 3

Tuesday, October 12, 1976 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=Kansas City|RoadAbr=KCR
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYY
WP=Dock Ellis (1-0)|LP=Andy Hassler (0-1)|SV=Sparky Lyle (1)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Chris Chambliss (1)|

The first Yankee post-season home game since 1964 started ominously for the Bombers as the Royals tagged righty Dock Ellis for 3 runs in the first. He settled down immediately after though and went 8 solid innings aided by several double plays and two base runners caught stealing. The Yankees narrowed the margin to one in the fourth on Chris Chambliss two-run homer off Andy Hassler and then tacked on 3 more in the sixth as KC manager Whitey Herzog carted in four relievers in that inning alone. Sparky Lyle got the save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning as the Bronx Bombers took a 2 games to 1 lead.

Game 4

Wednesday, October 13, 1976 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=Kansas City|RoadAbr=KCR
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYY
WP=Doug Bird (1-0)|LP=Catfish Hunter (1-1)|SV=Steve Mingori (1)
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Graig Nettles 2 (2)|

Hoping to wrap up the series in four, Yankee manager Billy Martin brought back Catfish Hunter on three days rest while the Royals did the same bringing back Larry Gura. Neither fared well as Gura gave up 6 hits and 2 runs in two innings while Hunter lasted three and surrendered 5 runs on 5 hits. While the Yankee bullpen was able to hold KC to only 2 runs over 6 innings, winning pitcher Doug Bird only gave up 1 in 4 2/3 while lefty Steve Mingori pitched 2 1/3 and allowed only one tally, picking up the save. The Yankee offense was highlighted by Graig Nettles' 2 hrs and 3 RBI. The series was now knotted at 2 with a deciding game 5 to be played the next night.

Game 5

Thursday, October 14, 1976 at Yankee Stadium in New York, New YorkLinescore
Road=Kansas City|RoadAbr=KCR
Home=New York|HomeAbr=NYY
No outs when winning run scored.
WP=Dick Tidrow (1-0)|LP=Mark Littell (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=George Brett (1), John Mayberry (1)|HomeHR=Chris Chambliss (2)|

The deciding game was a fitting ending to a thrilling series as both teams fought tooth and nail to bring home the AL flag. It culminated in a moment of sheer, unbridled joy for the winners and stunned disbelief for the losers. The Yankees started Ed Figueroa on three days rest, as the Royals did likewise, starting Dennis Leonard. The Royals jumped out on top in the 1st as Brett doubled and scored on John Mayberry's two-run homer. The Yankees quickly countered in their half as Mickey Rivers tripled and scored on Roy White's infield single. White went to third after Thurman Munson singled. Herzog removed Leonard and brought in Game 2 winner Paul Splittorff, who limited the damage by allowing only Chambliss' sacrifice fly. The Royals countered with one in the second but the Yanks jumped ahead in the third as they tacked on two, one on a Munson single and the other on a Chambliss' ground out. The Yanks added on in the sixth scoring twice, once on a Munson single and a second time on a Brett throwing error. Figueroa held that lead going into the eighth. After Al Cowens led off with a single, Billy Martin brought in lefty Grant Jackson. He allowed a single to pinch hitter Jim Wohlford. Brett then stunned the sell-out crowd of 56,821 by planting Jackson's second pitch just over the short right-field wall tying the game at 6. All this was a prelude to the bottom of the ninth inning, when at 11:13 pm, Chris Chambliss hit KC reliever Mark Littell's first pitch over the right center field wall, winning the Bronx Bombers' first pennant in 12 years and touching off bedlam at the Stadium. Thousands of fans vaulted over the dugouts and walls and celebrated. Chambliss reached second, then dodged hordes of spectators in trying to reach third, then proceeded to make a beeline towards the safety of the clubhouse as the area around home plate and much of the field was covered by a mass of humanity. Some time later Chambliss was escorted back out onto the field to touch home, or at least the area where it had been. The game and series were over and the Yankees had reached the top of the AL once again while the Royals repaired to their clubhouse, disappointed but proud.

Composite Box

1976 ALCS (3-2): New York Yankees over Kansas City RoyalsLinescore
Road=New York Yankees
Home=Kansas City Royals
H1=7|H2=4|H3=0|H4=2|H5=0|H6=3|H7=0|H8=8|H9=0|HR=24|HH=40|HE=4Total Attendance: 252,152 Average Attendance: 50,430|

Quotes of the Series

"Mark Littel, delivers, high drive to deep right center field, it could be, it iiiiiiiiss........GONE!!!"--Keith Jackson (ABC Sports) calling Yankees' Chris Chambliss walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 5, giving the Yankees the American League Pennant.

"Chris Chambliss has won the American League Pennant for the New York Yankees! A thrilling dramatic game, with overtones of that great 6th game of the World Series a year ago and then the 7th game too. What a way for the American League season to end; a spunky young Kansas City team. Look at them mob Chris Chambliss. What a season he has had, what a series he has had".---Howard Cosell (ABC Sports) after Chris Chambliss hit the pennant-winning home run.

"The stage was set for Mr. Chambliss. He'd said record after record". It's a shame they don't have a most valuable player award for the playoffs." ---Reggie Jackson (ABC Sports) after Chris Chambliss hit the pennant-winning home run.

"Please do not litter the field, Please do not throw bottles on the field, and the Yankees request good sportsmanship on the part of all"---Yankee Stadium P.A. Bob Sheppard requesting fans not to litter the Yankee Stadium field before the bottom of the ninth of game 5.

After the Series

Chambliss was later cornered in the Yankee locker room by Graig Nettles, who asked him if he had touched home. Chambliss responded that he had not because there were too many people in the way. Nettles then told him that home plate umpire Art Frantz was waiting for him out on the field for him to touch home so that the home run could be ruled official. Chambliss was then escorted out to the field and touched the area where home had been.

KC manager Whitey Herzog did not attempt to contest the home run, although major league rules state that a player must touch all the bases on any hit or when running the bases. In this case the mayhem on the field made that task impossible, and the magnitude of the game was such that Herzog would have never tried to have it restarted or protested it due to a technicality.

Brett's home run was the first of 9 that he would hit in ALCS competition. 6 of those came against the Yankees; 1 in 1976, 3 in 1978, and 2 in 1980. Interestingly, his other three ALCS home runs came in the 1985 ALCS, and all against one pitcher, Doyle Alexander of the Blue Jays. That same Alexander was a Yankee in 1976, warmed up in the bullpen during Game 5, and started the first game of the World Series for them against the Cincinnati Reds.

The series also contained some interesting side stories. KC pitcher Larry Gura publicly criticized Yankee manager Billy Martin prior to the series, saying that Martin treated him shabbily in the short time Martin was his manager in New York. Gura was on the Yankees roster from spring training till the time he was traded to KC on May 16. He did not appear in one game for the Yanks in that time. Martin responded by saying that if he had him there with the Yankees at that moment, he'd get rid of him again. George Brett also had harsh words for Martin, as he claimed that Martin had lied to his brother, pitcher Ken Brett, when Ken spent the first two months of 1976 with the Yanks. George's brother appeared in 2 games for the Yankees over 2 months and was then traded to the Chicago White Sox.

This was the first of three consecutive ALCS between the two teams. They would also go head to head in 1977 and 1978, with the Yankees coming out on top again. The Royals, however, exacted a big measure of revenge when they met again in the 1980 ALCS and swept the Bombers in three straight.



* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1976_ALCS.shtml 1976 ALCS at Baseball-Reference]
*Catfish: My Life in Baseball. Mcgraw-Hill by Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Armen Keteyian(April 1, 1988) ISBN 0-07-031371-7
*50 Greatest Yankee Games, Fifty Greatest Yankee Games. John Wiley & Sons Inc by Cecilia Tan (04/01/2005) ISBN 0-471-65938-X
*Dog Days : The New York Yankees' Fall from Grace and Return to Glory, 1964-1976. iUniverse, Incorporated - Paperback October 2000 by Philip Bashe. ISBN 0-595-14122-6
*Yankees Century : 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. Houghton Mifflin 09/01/02 by Richard A. Johnson and Glenn Stout ISBN 0-618-08527-0

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