1971 World Series

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The 1971 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1971 season. The 68th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the defending World Series and American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles and the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates won in seven games. Game 4 in Pittsburgh was the first World Series game played at night.



Pittsburgh Pirates personnel


Authors / speakers listed alphabetically by last name.
Quotes per author listed chronologically by date of occurrence (where available) or earliest known publication date.

  • I want everybody in the world to know that this is the way I play all the time. All season, every season. I gave everything I had to this game.

  • After we lost the second game in Baltimore, Clemente came into the clubhouse and he starts screamin’ and said that we’re gonna go back to Pittsburgh and we’re gonna kick their butts three games in a row. And we went back to Pittsburgh and we did exactly that.
    • Gene Clines, in 100 Years of the World Series (video), produced by Mitchell Scherr (2003)

  • During the Series, after arriving in Baltimore, Roberto practiced for hours, studying how the ball caromed off the right field fence at different angles and locations. His determination was of such a magnitude that one could be excused for believing he’d gone crazy. Crazy like a fox is more like it, as the World Series would ultimately demonstrate; time after time, Roberto, having left nothing to chance, would appear in precisely the right spot to field each carom. For me, Roberto Clemente has to be the greatest right fielder of all time.
    • José Pagán, as quoted in Roberto Clemente: Aun Escucha las Ovaciones (1987) by Luis Mayoral, p. 32

  • Leppert’s only regret is that Clemente didn’t have the chance to truly excel in the field. Other than his eye-popping throw to the plate in the sixth game, Clemente was required to field no more than ordinary chances. "Brooks Robinson had that great Series with the glove in 1970, but you’ve got to be lucky to field like he did. By that, I mean you’ve got to get the tough chances, and if Roberto had had some in this Series, he really would have shown them something.
    • Don Leppert, as paraphrased and quoted in "Clemente Drives Pirates to Title" by Bill Christine, The Pittsburgh Press (Monday, October 18, 1971), p. 25

Baltimore Orioles personnel


Authors / speakers listed alphabetically by last name.
Quotes per author listed chronologically by date of occurrence (where available) or earliest known publication date.

  • I never really pitched against him until the World Series. The scouting report said you can go up and in with him, but don’t go there twice. You can pitch him low and away, but don’t stay out there. So what does that leave? Throw it down the middle and hope he hits it at someone. Clemente beat us. The reason they won was Steve Blass’s two games and Clemente. He ran the bases as well as you could run them, made great plays and great throws. And he hit the home run to right field against me, the triple to left-center – he had 12 hits.
    • Jim Palmer, as quoted in "Jim Palmer Looks Back on the Weaver Regime" by Dan Donovan, in Baseball Digest (April 1983), p. 72

  • He's been popping off about ballparks and he's played in a bleeping coal hole over there at Forbes Field all his career. Clemente's such a great outfielder, it shouldn't matter to him. He should be able to play on the moon. Sure, it's tough to see the ball in Baltimore. But I'm not going to cry about it, I'll just play my game. We're going back there to play, so maybe he can buy a ticket for the stands if he doesn't like the outfield. And if he isn't sure where he lought to play, tell him to watch me. He says he plays in close. I see him playing on the warning track.
    • Frank Robinson, replying to his opposite number's complaints about Memorial Stadium; as quoted in "Clemente Enjoys the Autumn of His Life" by Buddy Martin, Florida Today (October 15, 1971), p. 2C
  • They got on his back, and he carried the team. He said, "I’m not going to let my team lose."
    • Frank Robinson, as quoted in "Can He Live Up to Clemente Name? Rockies' Fine Prospect Having Trouble Carrying On Legacy of His Uncle" by Tracy Ringolsby, in Rocky Mountain News (March 14, 1998), p. 1C

  • I'm not selling Clemente short. He couldn't have done more than he did. But, great as Clemente was—and he was great without a question—Clemente didn't do it to us. It all boils down to Steve Blass.
    • Earl Weaver, as quoted in "Weaver cites Bucs' Blass" by Lou Hatter, The Baltimore Sun (October 18, 1971), p. 25
  • It all boils down to Blass, to pitching being 90 percent of the game. Blass couldn't have been better. He didn't get stronger late in the game, but he sure didn't get much weaker.
    • Earl Weaver, as quoted in "Frank: Best Lost; Earl Credits Blass" by the Associated Press, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (October 18, 1971), pp. 26, 28

Other teams' personnel

  • It all began with Clemente hustling to first. He knows only one way to play this game.
    • Joe Torre, as quoted in "Young Ideas," Daily News (October 14, 1971), p. 111


  • The park didn't have any foul poles. You had the foul line on the field and then there was a fence with a yellow line on it and then about an 18-inch gap and a wall with a yellow line on it and that was it. In the second game there, the first night game ever in the World Series, Eddie Vargo of the National League was behind the plate. I was working the right-field line. In the middle of the game, Roberto Clemente hits this wicked line drive down the right field line. It went into the stands right in the area where there was no foul pole. When you have to make a call like that, it's a killer-diller. I called it foul. Everybody told me afterward if there had been a foul pole, it would have been a home run. And the next year, they put up a foul pole.

Sportswriters, announcers


Authors / speakers listed alphabetically by last name.
Quotes per author listed chronologically by date of occurrence (where available) or earliest known publication date.

  • And then, too, there was the shared experience, already permanently fixed in memory, of Roberto Clemente playing a kind of baseball that none of us had ever seen before—throwing and running and hitting at something close to the level of absolute perfection, playing to win but also playing the game almost as if it were a form of punishment for everyone else on the field.
    • Roger Angell, "Some Pirates and Lesser Men," The New Yorker (November 6, 1971), p. 148; reprinted in The Summer Game (2004) by Angell, p. 285

  • For years we sent the World Series runners-up to Japan as a consolation prize. The baths, the geishas and the sake restored the losers' morale. We weren't concerned about the morale of the Japanese, who were struggling in those days, and glad to get any kind of major league product. It's different now that the Japanese are a power, and make better radio and TV sets than we do. They want the best in baseball, too. We can get away with sending the second string, Spiro, to visit the dictators in Greece, but Japan is a vibrant democracy that won't settle for No. 2. If Nixon allows the Orioles to make the trip, you can expect student riots, accompanied by chants ("We want Clemente san!") and banners ("Boog — Stay Home With Rest of Yankees — We Got Enough Sumo Wrestlers"). Don't think the President isn't aware of this. If there's one thing he's sharp on, it's sports. Why do you suppose he sent Secretary of State Rogers to the seventh game? To lend moral and official support to the Orioles, who were supposed to be our best team and thus had been given State Department approval for the tour. Unfortunately it was the Bay of Pigs all over again — the wrong side won, and it was another defeat for the State Department, too.
    • Bud Collins, "Pirate Victory Japanese Loss," The Boston Globe (October 19, 1971), p. 29

  • Roberto Clemente was on second and Wilver Stargell on first with none out. The Pirates were two games down in the Series and their knuckles were getting white in their cling to the precipice when Bob Robertson came up. Now, bear in mind, Bob Robertson had hit three home runs in one game in the playoffs. Behind him in the Pirate order was the banjo section. In this situation, naturally, the manager orders bunt. Managers never call for cards, never fade you. Managers order you to give yourself up in this situation. Managers like to blow retreat. Bob Robertson missed the bunt sign. Which was understandable; he'd never seen one. They wouldn't be in the World Series if they gave him the bunt sign during the season. So, he hit the ball out of the park. Pittsburgh had got a foot in the door in this World Series. Wilver Stargell greeted Robertson at home plate. "Nice bunt," he said laconically.

  • I say Roberto Clemente won that game for Pittsburgh. Simply by being Roberto Clemente and running out a ground ball the way he always has since the day he began playing ball 30 years ago. I had only one thought watching Clemente run down to first base. I wondered what Alex Johnson was thinking while watching the whole thing on TV.
    • Milton Richman (UPI), "Roberto Clemente: The One And Only (And Scribe's Poll Clearly Shows It)," The Beaver County Times (Friday, October 15, 1971), p. B-4
  • From a personal standpoint, I have known Clemente since he came up to the Pirates 17 years ago and the thing he did that impressed me most in the Series against the Orioles wasn't that he hit .414 or got off those excellent throws, but that he got up and chased the ball when he kicked it into distant left centerfield after falling down trying for a backhanded shoestringer on Mark Belanger's triple in the first game. "Swoboda would've had it!" said a newspaperman I know. Seriously, though, what impressed me so much about Clemente's get-up-and-go-after-it sequence is that this was so typical of his performance. He'd do the same thing in the second game of a series with San Diego as he was doing now in the second game of a series with Baltimore.
    • Milton Richman (UPI), "Roberto's Next Step Is Perfectly Obvious," The Sarasota Journal (October 21, 1971), p. D-1

  • In case you didn't notice, and you probably didn't because TV directors were very careful, there were thousands of empty seats at the World Series. On Saturday, with the Pirates leading 3–2, in games, there were 7,963 empty seats in Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. And on Sunday, with the Series deadlocked, 4,856 stayed home and many who did show came with transistor radios so they could follow their favorite pro football teams.
    • Gene Ward, "Ward to the Wise; Why Oriole Fans Don't Deserve Winner," New York Daily News (October 31, 1971), p. 176

  • Since the Mets surprised them, these excellents have played six playoff games and won them all; have played five World Series games and won four of them; have run off and hid from their division during the regular seasons. But they haven't beaten any great clubs. What they have beaten is expansion. They have maintained a balance, a strength, at a time when most teams have been watered down. That is your Baltimore dynasty. Now comes Pittsburgh. Like the Mets of '69, it has its skinny kid, Bruce Kison; it's brash young hard thrower, Dock Ellis; it's homer-hitter on first base, and if they put it all together and knock off the dynasty, I won't be surprised. Every once in a while a team, a fighter, a horse, comes along with no business to win, but does. I have seen Willie Mays try to sacrifice, just the other day, a slap-in-the-face reminder that things change, and the great grow old, and there always is room at the top for someone new, someone with ability, who is willing to work at it.
    • Dick Young, "Young Ideas: Expansion Has Watered Down Opposition," Daily News (October 8, 1971), p. C26
  • The best damn ballplayer in the World Series – maybe in the whole world – is Roberto Clemente and, as far as I’m concerned, they can give him the automobile right now. Maybe some guys hit the ball farther, and some throw it harder, and one or two run faster, although I doubt that, but nobody puts it all together like Roberto. [...] In Game 3, Clemente hit a ground ball to the right side first time up. It was stamped DP. The Orioles got one. In the seventh, Clemente led off with a bouncer back to the box. Mike Cuellar knocked it down, picked it up, was aghast to see the batter streaking down the line, hurried his throw, high, and Clemente was safe. The next batter walked on four pitches, the next batter hit the ball out of the park. Mike Cuellar’s composure was shattered. The game was over. [...] Roberto Clemente is a 37-year-old roadrunner. He has spent 18 summers of those years playing baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He has batted over .300 thirteen times, and for the last three seasons, in his decrepitude, he has hit .345, .352, .341. But everybody has numbers. Don’t mind the numbers. Just watch how Roberto Clemente runs 90 feet the next time he hits the ball back to the pitcher and ask yourself if you work at your job that way. Every time I see Roberto Clemente play ball, I think of the times I’ve heard about how ‘they’ dog it, and I want to vomit.
    • Dick Young, "Young Ideas," Daily News (October 14, 1971), reprinted in Remember Roberto (1994) by Jim O'Brien, pp. 438-439
  • [T]he Bucs drafted Clemente for $4,000. The Dodgers lost a superstar, $6,000 and God knows how many pennants. Tomorrow night at Leone's, Roberto Clemente will be handed the keys to the Sports Mag car, for having won the World Series for Pittsburgh. At age 37, he can hit the ball back to the box and beat the car to first base.
    • Dick Young, "Young Ideas: Flock 'Rock' Lost Clemente to Bucs," Daily News (October 14, 1971), p. 111



Authors / speakers listed alphabetically by last name.
Quotes per author listed chronologically by date of occurrence (where available) or earliest known publication date.

  • Oh, my God. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Really.
    • Richard Nixon, agreeing emphatically with the assessment of Roberto Clemente's performance given by United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers on October 17, 1971, following Game 7 of the 1971 World Series (see below); as quoted in "Nixon and the boys of summer 1971" by James Warren, in The Chicago Tribune (July 8, 2001)

  • Well, I'm sort of glad to see Pittsburgh win because that Clemente is so great.
    • William P. Rogers, then United States Secretary of State, speaking with Richard Nixon on October 17, 1971, in response to the President's comment that the 1971 World Series "could have gone either way"; as quoted in "Nixon and the boys of summer 1971" by James Warren, The Chicago Tribune (July 8, 2001)

Wikipedia has an article about: