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1974 World Series
From BR Bullpen
The Los Angeles Dodgers had won the National League West division by 4 games over the Cincinnati Reds, then defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, three games to one, in the National League Championship Series. The Oakland Athletics had won the American League West division by five games over the Texas Rangers, then defeated the Baltimore Orioles, three games to one, in the American League Championship Series.
The Oakland A's, dynasty or no dynasty, had become something of a running joke in the American League, consistently matching their on-field heroics with locker-room meltdowns and intra-squad theatrics. After yet another banner year during which Catfish Hunter won 25 games, Reggie Jackson knocked in 105 runs, and Billy North stole 54 bases, the team seemed to be winning more attention for its dysfunctional communication patterns than for its superior lineup. Hunter was threatening to file for free agency in 1975 if owner Charles O. Finley didn't come through with back pay Hunter claimed he had coming. Traumatized former second baseman Mike Andrews was pondering legal action for the shabby treatment he had received in the previous year's World Series. Teammates Rollie Fingers and Blue Moon Odom had gotten into a fistfight. And the Series-winning manager of the previous year, Dick Williams was long gone, having had one personality clash too many with the A's front office. Despite all the melodrama, or perhaps because of it, the Athletics won the AL pennant for the third straight year, dispatching the Orioles in a four-game ALCS.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, for their part, looked downright corporate (despite the later scandals involving Steve Garvey), and seemed, to many, to be the better team. On paper, at least, they were. L.A. won 102 games, boasted the best team ERA in the National League, and led the league in runs scored. Garvey hit .312, Jimmy Wynn knocked in 108 runs, Bill Buckner hit .314 and had one of the best years of his career, Davey Lopes swiped 59 bases, Andy Messersmith won 20 games, and Don Sutton won 19. It was all very brisk and efficient - with the unflappable, perennially studious Walt Alston, in his twenty-first year as skipper of the club, holding everything together. Unlike the Oakland squad, nobody in the Dodger clubhouse appeared to need therapy to work out any simmering interpersonal issues, though Garvey's problems would surface later. The Series promised, at the very least, to be a memorable conflict of worldviews, or so the media could spin it.
In the event, the Dodgers came up short and the Athletics won the Series in five games. Fingers figured in all four Oakland victories, posting a win and three saves, and copped the Series MVP award. Oakland became the first team to win three consecutive Series since the New York Yankees had won five in a row between 1949 and 1953; the win secured the A's status as one of the truly dominant teams of the 1970s. (The other "team of the decade," the Cincinnati Reds, would check in with consecutive Series victories in 1975 and 1976.)
- Tom Gorman (NL), Bill Kunkel (AL), Doug Harvey (NL), Don Denkinger (AL), Andy Olsen (NL), Ron Luciano (AL)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Athletics – 3, Dodgers – 2||October 12||Dodger Stadium||55,974||2:43|
|2||Athletics – 2, Dodgers – 3||October 13||Dodger Stadium||55,989||2:40|
|3||Dodgers – 2, Athletics – 3||October 15||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||49,347||2:35|
|4||Dodgers – 2, Athletics – 5||October 16||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||49,347||2:17|
|5||Dodgers – 2, Athletics – 3||October 17||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||49,347||2:23|
 Game 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Oakland Athletics 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 6 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 11 1 PITCHERS: OAK - Holtzman, Fingers (5), Hunter (9) LAD - Messersmith, Marshall (9) WP - Fingers LP - Messersmith SAVE - Hunter HOME RUNS: OAK - Jackson LAD - Wynn ATTENDANCE: 55,974
 Game 2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Oakland Athletics 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 0 Los Angeles Dodgers 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 X 3 6 1 PITCHERS: OAK - Blue, Odom (8) LAD - Sutton, Marshall (9) WP - Sutton LP - Blue SAVE - Marshall HOME RUNS: OAK - none LAD - Ferguson ATTENDANCE: 55,989
 Game 3
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 7 2 Oakland Athletics 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 X 3 5 2 PITCHERS: LAD - Downing, Brewer (4), Hough (5), Marshall (7) OAK - Hunter, Fingers (8) WP - Hunter LP - Downing SAVE - Fingers HOME RUNS: LAD - Buckner, Crawford OAK - none ATTENDANCE: 49,347
 Game 4
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1 Oakland Athletics 0 0 1 0 0 4 0 0 X 5 7 0 PITCHERS: LAD - Messersmith, Marshall (7) OAK - Holtzman, Fingers (8) WP - Holtzman LP - Messersmith SAVE - Fingers HOME RUNS: LAD - none OAK - Holtzman ATTENDANCE: 49,347
 Game 5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 5 1 Oakland Athletics 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 3 6 1 PITCHERS: LAD - Sutton, Marshall (6) OAK - Blue, Odom (7), Fingers (8) WP - Odom LP - Marshall SAVE - Fingers HOME RUNS: LAD - none OAK - Fosse, Rudi ATTENDANCE: 49,347
 Composite Box
|Los Angeles Dodgers||0||1||0||2||1||4||0||1||2||11||36||6|
|Total Attendance: 260,004 Average Attendance: 52,000|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $22,219, Losing Player’s Share – $15,704 *Includes Playoffs and World Series|
- As of 2012, the 1972-1974 Oakland A's are the only team other than the New York Yankees to win three consecutive World Series.
- This was the first of four World Series to match two teams from California.
- Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers was the first and only (to date) pitcher to appear in all five games of a five-game World Series.
- The A's Herb Washington was the first and only "designated runner" to appear in a World Series. Washington was a track star with no baseball experience whom the A's Charles Finley signed solely to appear as a pinch runner in late game situations. Sure enough, with the A's trailing 3-2 in the 9th inning of Game 2, Washington pinch ran. Just after announcer Vin Scully said that Washington better be careful because pitcher Marshall has a good pick-off move, he was promptly picked off first base and the Dodgers went on to win the game.
 Further Reading
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 351-354.
- 1974 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1974 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- Triple Crown to the Clowns at SI.com
- 1974 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- History of the World Series - 1974 at SportingNews.com
- Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments: Reggie Jackson's Three Homers
- The 1974 Oakland Athletics at baseballlibrary.com
- The 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers at baseballlibrary.com
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series