BASEBALL—After five games, the Orioles led the Pirates three wins to two in the 76th World Series (page 24).
PRO BASKETBALL—The NBA's two most-celebrated rookies, Celtic Larry Bird and Laker Earvin Johnson, each broke in with a bang. As Bird was introduced in Boston Garden, a fan released a white dove that promptly flew to the rafters. Bird didn't soar quite that high in his debut, scoring 14 points, with 10 rebounds, as the Celtics beat Houston 114-106. But the next night, Bird really took off, scoring 28 to help give Boston's new coach, Bill Fitch, a 139-117 win over his old team, the Cavaliers. It took a while for Johnson to work his magic—he had only one point in the first 19 minutes—but he finished with 26 in a 103-102 victory over San Diego. And Bird and Johnson were not the only rookies to play important roles: the Knicks' new 7'1" center, Bill Cartwright, had 27 points in a 125-118 defeat of Washington; Greg Kelser hit for 18 as his Pistons beat Indiana 114-105; and Calvin Natt helped the Nets to a 102-95 win over the Cavaliers with 20 points and 19 rebounds. One old hand was very hot, too. Julius Erving had 71 points in Philadelphia's two victories, including a career-high 44 in a 113-105 win over Houston.
PRO FOOTBALL—The Cincinnati Bengals picked on the defending Super Bowl champions—of all teams—for their first victory. In fact, the Steelers didn't know what hit them as Cincinnati scored three touchdowns in less than two minutes of the second quarter and went on to win 34-10. Pittsburgh turned the ball over nine times, and two Bengal linebackers, rookie Howie Kurnick and Jim LeClair, returned fumbles for touchdowns. The loss moved the Steelers (5-2) back into a tie for first in the AFC Central with Houston, which handed Baltimore its sixth loss in seven games, 28-16. Earl Campbell led the Oilers with three touchdowns and 149 yards. Denver and San Diego ran their AFC West-leading records to 5-2. Craig Morton passed for two touchdowns and 218 yards as the Broncos cooled off Kansas City 24-10, and Dan Fouts set Charger records for passing percentage and completions, hitting on 28 of 35 passes for 318 yards and three TDs, in a 20-10 defeat of Seattle. Revitalized Oakland won twice, showing a strong defense in a 13-3 Monday-night victory over Miami and a potent offense in a 50-19 rout of Atlanta. The 50 points were the most in 10 years by the Raiders, who got three touchdowns from Mark van Eeghen. The Dolphins recovered in time to beat Buffalo for the 20th straight time, 17-7, as Larry Csonka ran for 90 yards and rookie Tony Nathan returned a first-quarter punt 86 yards for a TD. Steve Grogan threw for three touchdowns in New England's 27-7 triumph over Chicago to keep the Patriots in a tie with the Dolphins for the lead in the AFC East at 5-2. In the NFC, Tampa Bay lost its second game in a row, 42-14 to New Orleans. Saints Quarterback Archie Manning riddled the league's best defense with 11-for-14 passing, and Tony Galbreath and Chuck Muncie combined for 165 yards on the ground. The only NFC Central team to win was Green Bay, which beat Detroit 24-16 behind Nate Simpson's 121 yards on 19 carries. Surprising Philadelphia remained tied for the NFC East lead with Dallas at 6'1" by defeating St. Louis 24-20 as reserve Running Back Billy Campfield scored from 11 yards out with 2:54 remaining in the game. The Cowboys defeated the Rams 30-6 in a replay of last year's NFC championship game as Tony Dorsett shook off the effects of a horseback-riding accident to rush for 103 yards. Washington pulled out a 13-9 victory over Cleveland when Joe Theismann hit Clarence Harmon on a 15-yard touchdown pass with only 27 seconds left. In a battle of movable objects and resistible forces, the Giants beat winless San Francisco 32-16. Rookie Quarterback Phil Simms passed for 300 yards, and rookie Wide Receiver Earnest Gray caught eight of his passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
GOLF—Bill Rogers defeated defending champion Isao Aoki one-up to win the World Match Play Championship in Virginia Water, England (page 80).
October 21, 1979
Ed Fiori sank a birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Tom Weiskopf to win his first PGA tournament, the $200,000 Southern Open in Columbus, Ga. Fiori and Weiskopf were tied at six-under-par 274 after 72 holes of regulation play.
Amy Alcott won her third LPGA tournament of the season, a $100,000 event in Portsmouth, Va., by one stroke over Susie McAllister. Alcott's score for 72 holes was a two-under-par 286.
HOCKEY—The four teams left over from the WHA received a rude welcome to the NHL. Altogether, Edmonton, Hartford, Winnipeg and Quebec lost six games and drew two. The Whalers tied Pittsburgh 3-3 with the help of 51-year-old Gordie Howe's first NHL goal since 1971. In the other deadlock, Edmonton needed a lucky goal off a defenseman's skate to tie Detroit 3-3.
HORSE RACING—JOANIE'S CHIEF ($72.60), ridden by Ruben Hernandez, beat 1-to-5 favorite Rockhill Native by 1¾ lengths in the 108th running of the $136,250 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. The winner, the longest shot in the field, was clocked in 1:38[1/5] over a muddy mile.
Waya ($8), Cash Asmussen up, finished three lengths ahead of entrymate Fourdrinier to win the $161,750 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares at Belmont Park. Her time for 1¼ miles over a slow track was 2:06[1/5]. Heavily favored It's In The Air came in fifth.
MOTOR SPORTS—BENNY PARSONS, averaging 91.454 mph in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, won an $88,150 NASCAR Grand National race in North Wilkesboro, N.C. by two car lengths over Bobby Allison in a Ford Thunderbird.
TENNIS—Defending champion MARTINA NAVRATILOVA defeated Chris Evert-Lloyd 6-1, 6-3 in the finals of the $100,000 Phoenix Classic.
MILEPOSTS—FIRED: After 22 years as head coach at Arizona State, FRANK KUSH, 50, the second-winningest active college football coach in the nation. Kush, whose 176 victories—he had also lost 54 and tied one—were second only to Alabama's Bear Bryant's 289, was officially dismissed by Sun Devil Athletic Director Dr. Fred Miller after three players told Miller that they had seen Kush punch the team's punter last year, a charge Kush has denied.
HIRED: As the Philadelphia Fury's fourth coach in two years, EDDIE FIRMANI, 46, who guided the 1975 Tampa Bay Rowdies and the 1977 and 1978 Cosmos to NASL championships. He was fired by the Cosmos on June 1 and finished the season as coach of the ASL New Jersey Americans. Firmani signed a three-year contract for a reported $300,000.
RETIRED: After 16 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, YVAN COURNOYER, 35, to become a scout for the club. A right wing on 10 Montreal Stanley Cup-winning teams and the Canadiens' captain since 1975, Cournoyer scored 428 goals and had 435 assists in 968 games. He played in only 15 games last year before a back injury sidelined him.
TRADED: By the Baltimore Colts, Defensive End JOHN DUTTON, 28, to Dallas for the Cowboys' No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks in 1980. Dutton, a former All-Pro who refused to play for the Colts this season because of a contract dispute, signed a series of one-year contracts with Dallas. The terms were undisclosed.
By the Kansas City Kings, 6'11" Forward RICHARD WASHINGTON, 24, who has scored 11.8 points a game during three NBA seasons, to the Milwaukee Bucks for 6'6" Forward ERNIE GRUNFELD, 24, whose two-year scoring average is 8.7, a second-round pick in the 1980 draft and an undisclosed amount of cash.
By the Utah Jazz, 6'4" Guard RON LEE, 26, who led the NBA in 1977-78 with 2.74 steals a game, to the Atlanta Hawks for two second-round draft picks.
By the St. Louis Blues, Center GARRY UNGER, 31, who had played in an NHL-record 883 consecutive games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and Blues, to the Atlanta Flames for Defenseman ED KEA, 31, Center DON LAURENCE, 22, and a second-round draft choice in 1981.
DIED: GEORGE FRANCIS TRAFFORD RYALL, 92, better known as Audax Minor, the horse-racing columnist for The New Yorker from 1926 to 1978; after a long illness; in Columbia, Md.