As the MLB postseason roll on, SI goes back in time to 1980 with this gallery of rare photos. Royals' outfielder Willie Wilson dumps champagne on teammate George Brett's head after clinching the AL West against California. Wilson, Brett and their Royal teammates had more celebrating in store for them as they would sweep the Yankees in the ALCS to advance to their first World Series in franchise history.
2 of 17Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images
J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan
Coming off an incredible 313 strikeout season in 1979, J.R. Richard was joined by Nolan Ryan in Houston in 1980 to form one of the best front ends of any pitching rotation in baseball. Richard suffered a life-threatening stroke before a Jul. 30 game, however, ending his season and ultimately his career. Inspired by his plight, Ryan and the rest of the Astros advanced to the NLCS before losing to the Phillies.
3 of 17Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Phillies lefty Steve Carlton won the Cy Young Award during the 1980 MLB season after rolling to a 24-9 record with a 2.34 ERA. He was equally impressive during the World Series, winning each of his two starts, including a seven-inning, four-hit performance during the series clinching Game 6.
4 of 17Walter Iooss Jr./SI
After being signed by the Yankees in 1976, Reggie Jackson immediately became a polarizing figure in the Bronx. New York fans loved him for his home-run hitting ability, especially his famous three-homer game in the 1978 World Series, but questioned his loyalty to teammate Thurman Munson and manager Billy Martin. In 1980, Jackson cranked a career-high 41 home runs for the AL runner-up Yankees.
5 of 17Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Bob Uecker and George Brett
Broadcaster Bob Uecker interviews an ecstatic George Brett after completing their three-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the 1980 ALCS. It was a long time coming for Brett and the Royals, who'd been knocked out of the playoffs by New York for three consecutive years from 1976-78.
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Joe Morgan and Mike Fischlin
Best remembered for his playing days in Cincinnati, second baseman Joe Morgan rejoined the Houston Astros for their 1980 season, helping to a lead a young team to their first NL West division crown. Morgan and the Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final game of the NLCS, though, as the opposing Phillies eclipsed Houston 8-7 in extra innings.
7 of 17Diamond Images/Getty Images
Gene Michael, Lou Piniella, Bobby Murcer and Diana Munson
Beloved by New York teammates and fans alike, Thurman Munson led the Yankees to two World Series titles during his venerated 11-year career, earning Rookie of the Year and MVP honors along the way. Tragically, New York's fiery captain was killed in a private plane crash on Aug. 2, 1979. In 1980, the Yankees, and his widow Diana, honored him by retiring his number and placing his plaque in storied Monument Park.
8 of 17Getty Images
Acquired by Houston prior to the 1980 season, Nolan Ryan was a strikeout machine, whiffing exactly 200 batters while going 11-10. The Phillies seemed to have his number in the NLCS, as Ryan allowed eight earned runs in just 13.1 innings pitched. Houston fell just short of Philadelphia three games to two.
9 of 17Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Signed to a $3.2 million free agent contract by Philadelphia in 1979, Pete Rose was a model of consistency, totaling 533 hits during his next three years in a Phillies' uniform. He had eight base knocks in just 20 at-bats during the 1980 ALCS, a major factor why the Phillies were able to triumph over the Houston Astros in five games.
10 of 17Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Philadelphia Phillies Fans
Philadelphia fans march with a sign in honor of Tug McGraw, their closer throughout the 1980 season. McGraw was vital to the Phillies' run in the playoffs, racking up 15.2 innings in relief as the Phillies eliminated both the Astros and Royals.
11 of 17Walter Iooss Jr./SI
George Brett and Mike Schmidt
The 1980 World Series pitted George Brett against Mike Schmidt in a matchup of two of the most dominant third baseman in baseball. Both compiled huge stats during the regular season, with Brett batting an astounding .390 and Schmidt cracking 48 home runs, as well as in the World Series, with Brett hitting .375 to Schmidt's .381. Schmidt won the World Series MVP Award, though, as his Phillies took out Brett's Royals four games to two.
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Ron Reed and Dallas Green
Philadelphia pitcher Ron Reed talks to his manager, Dallas Green, on the mound during Game 2 of the World Series. Reed would go on to earn the save in the Phillies' 6-4 victory.
13 of 17 Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Darrell Porter and Bob Boone
Royals' catcher Darrell Porter takes out opposing backstop Bob Boone the 1980 Fall Classic. Though Porter upends Boone here, it was the Philadelphia catcher who got the last laugh, batting .412 with 4 RBIs during the Phillies' 4-2 World Series triumph.
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Al Hrabosky, Fred Patek, and Clint Hurdle
Al Hrabosky, Fred Patek, and Clint Hurdle celebrate after the Royals beat the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series in Kansas City.
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Pete Rose and Willie Wilson
Looking for an out call on Royals' base runner Willie Wilson is Philadelphia's Pete Rose. Wilson was deemed safe, but didn't fare as well for the rest of the series. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning in Game 6, Wilson struck out, officially cementing Philadelphia as 1980 World Series champions.
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Hall of Fame Royals' third baseman George Brett lays out for a foul ball during the 1980 World Series against Philadelphia. Despite Brett's best efforts -- he hit .375 with a home run and three RBIS -- Kansas City was defeated in six games.
17 of 17Walter Iooss Jr./SI
After recording 20 saves for the Phillies throughout the course of the regular season, Tug McGraw was called upon to shut the door on the Kansas City Royals in the final two innings of the 1980 World Series. Though he surrendered three hits, he struck out Willie Wilson for the final out, earning Philadelphia its first title in franchise history.
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