1981 National League Championship Series

1981 National League Championship Series

Infobox LCS

year = 1981
champion = Los Angeles Dodgers (3)
champion_manager = Tommy Lasorda
champion_games = 36-21, .632, GA: ½ (1st half)
27-26, .509, GB: 6 (2nd half)
runnerup = Montreal Expos (2)
runnerup_manager = Jim Fanning
runnerup_games = 30-25, .545, GB: 4 (1st half)
30-23, .566, GA: ½ (2nd half)
date = October 13October 19
MVP = Burt Hooton (Los Angeles)
television = NBC and CBC
announcers = Dick Enberg and Tom Seaver (NBC)
Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider (CBC)
radio_network = CBS Radio
radio_announcers = Jack Buck and Jerry Coleman
umpires = Paul Pryor, Eric Gregg, Paul Runge, Dutch Rennert, Harry Wendelstedt, Joe West
LDS1 = Los Angeles Dodgers over Houston Astros (3-2)
LDS2 = Montreal Expos over Philadelphia Phillies (3-2)
The by|1981 National League Championship Series was a best-of-five series between the first-half Western Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the second-half Eastern Division champion Montreal Expos. The Dodgers won the NLCS three games to two over the Expos, thanks to a ninth-inning home run in Game 5 by Rick Monday in what has ever since been referred to as "Blue Monday" by Expos fans.


Due to the 1981 Major League Baseball strike, a team had to win two postseason series in order to go to the World Series. Teams that finished first in their division in the first and second halves of the season advanced to the postseason. This was the first year the baseball postseason had three rounds, an arrangement that would become permanent beginning with the by|1995 season. The Expos advanced to the NLCS after defeating the defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Division Series three games to two, and the Dodgers made their way to the NLCS after beating the Houston Astros three games to two in the NLDS.


Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Montreal Expos

Los Angeles wins the series, 3-2

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 13, 1981 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLinescore
Home=Los Angeles|HomeAbr=LAD
WP=Burt Hooton (1-0)|LP=Bill Gullickson (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Pedro Guerrero (1), Mike Scioscia (1)|

The Dodgers took the first game of the series behind the strong pitching of starter Burt Hooton. For the first seven innings the game stayed close, with the only scoring coming in the second inning when the Dodgers got two runs on an RBI double by Ron Cey and a squeeze bunt by Bill Russell. Hooton and reliever Bob Welch made the 2-0 lead stand up until the eighth when the Dodgers broke the game open with three more runs on back-to-back homers by Pedro Guerrero and Mike Scioscia. The Expos got one run back in the ninth when Larry Parrish doubled home Gary Carter. But reliever Steve Howe came on for the Dodgers and got the final three outs to preserve Los Angeles' victory.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 14, 1981 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLinescore
Home=Los Angeles|HomeAbr=LAD
WP=Ray Burris (1-0)|LP=Fernando Valenzuela (0-1)|SV=|

Montreal's Ray Burris almost single-handedly evened the series with a masterful complete game shutout in Game 2. The Dodgers managed only five singles against Burris, and their only real threats, in the sixth and ninth, were foiled by double plays. Typically in what would be a very low-scoring series, the Expos didn't do much more hitting against Dodger starter Fernando Valenzuela. But Montreal did manage to push across two runs in the second on RBI hits by Warren Cromartie and Tim Raines. Montreal added another run in the sixth, aided by Dusty Baker's error in left. Burris did the rest to notch his 3-0 victory.

Game 3

Friday, October 16, 1981 at Stade Olympique in Montreal, QuebecLinescore
Road=Los Angeles|RoadAbr=LAD
WP=Steve Rogers (1-0)|LP=Jerry Reuss (0-1)|SV=
RoadHR=|HomeHR=Jerry White (1)|

Montreal got another superb pitching performance in Game 3, this time from Steve Rogers, to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Rogers allowed only a single run on a Ron Cey groundout after singles by Dusty Baker and Steve Garvey in the fourth. For a while it looked like Dodger starter Jerry Reuss might make that 1-0 score hold up. But Montreal finally rallied for four runs in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Larry Parrish and a three-run homer by Jerry White. Rogers easily preserved the 4-1 lead over the final three innings, and Montreal was now only one victory away from the World Series.

Game 4

Saturday, October 17, 1981 at Stade Olympique in Montreal, QuebecLinescore
Road=Los Angeles|RoadAbr=LAD
WP=Burt Hooton (2-0)|LP=Bill Gullickson (0-2)|SV=
RoadHR=Steve Garvey (1)|HomeHR=|

For the first seven innings Game 4 followed the usual pattern of the series, with dominant performances from both starting pitchers. Montreal's Bill Gullickson allowed an unearned run in the third, after Bill Russell reached on Larry Parrish's error and scored on Dusty Baker's double. Los Angeles' Burt Hooton gave up the game-tying run in the fourth on another unearned tally, when Gary Carter reached on Ron Cey's error and scored on a single by Warren Cromartie. The starters yielded nothing more until the eighth, when Steve Garvey's two-run homer put the Dodgers up 3-1 and chased Gullickson. The Dodgers blew the game open with four more runs in the ninth, highlighted by Baker's two-run single. Hooton finally tired in the eighth but the Dodger bullpen got the last five outs and the series was even.

Game 5

Monday, October 19, 1981 at Stade Olympique in Montreal, QuebecLinescore
Road=Los Angeles|RoadAbr=LAD
WP=Fernando Valenzuela (1-1)|LP=Steve Rogers (1-1)|SV=Bob Welch (1)
RoadHR=Rick Monday (1)|HomeHR=|

After a rainout on Sunday, October 18, the Montreal ballpark was only two-thirds full for Game 5 on a cold and drizzly Monday afternoon, which turned out to be the series' most dramatic contest. As usual in the series, the starting pitchers dominated, with the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela and the Expos' Ray Burris matching zeros for most of the game. Montreal broke on top with a single run in the first when Tim Raines led off with a double and eventually scored on a double play. The 1-0 lead held until the fifth when the Dodgers tied the game after Rick Monday singled, went to third on a Pedro Guerrero single, and scored on a groundout. Burris finally left the game in the eighth when the Expos pinch-hit for him. Montreal brought on their ace Steve Rogers to pitch the ninth, and with two out in the inning, he gave up a solo homer to Monday on a 3-1 count to put the Dodgers up 2-1. The Expos got a couple of two-out walks in the bottom of the ninth off Valenzuela, but Bob Welch came on to get the final out and send the Dodgers to the World Series.

Composite Box

1981 NLCS (3-2): Los Angeles Dodgers over Montreal ExposLinescore
Road=Los Angeles Dodgers
Home=Montreal Expos
H1=1|H2=2|H3=0|H4=1|H5=0|H6=5|H7=0|H8=0|H9=1|HR=10|HH=34|HE=4Total Attendance: 250,098 Average Attendance: 50,020|


The Dodgers went on to defeat the New York Yankees four games to two in the 1981 World Series.

This would be the Expos' only postseason appearance — in a coincidental twist, their best subsequent opportunity prior to the team moving to Washington, D.C. was also during a strike-shortened season: when the by|1994 season prematurely ended, the Expos had the best record in baseball.


External links

* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1981_NLCS.shtml Baseball-Reference.com] - 1981 NLCS

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