The past 14 baseball seasons have put this Pittsburgh Pirates fan into a funky malaise, as year after year my Buccos rack up more loses than victories, and continue to stock their team with raw green youths and stop-gap, over the hill rent-a-players. So finding the 1979 World Series in this nicely packaged DVD format was just the remedy I needed to pull me out of my perennial baseball blues. What better way to escape from the melancholy gloom that is the Pirates present than to immerse oneself in their glorious past?
Watching this great World Series was like a wonderful family reunion. Everyone was there - Pops, Cobra, Teke, Scrap Iron, Mad Dog, Otter, Antelope, Candy Man, Sangy, Crazy Horse, Hammer, Rook, and on and on - the whole family. To once again see Willie Stargell windmill his bat and hit a majestic home run, or Kent Tekulve use that goofy side arm delivery to retire batters, erased for a moment the pain of the present and took me back to the days of my youth when the Pirates used "lumber and lightning" to dominate baseball, and their driving disco theme song "We Are Fam-a-lee" became a joyous anthem that lifted the hearts of every Pirates fan.
Even after putting aside my partisan preference, the 1979 World Series was a gem. It matched up two expert and colorful managers in Chuck Tanner and the cunning Earl Weaver, as well as the two powerful teams that included three future Hall of Famers (Willie Stargell, Eddie Murray, and Jim Palmer). The Pirates came back from being down three games to one to win the series on the power of an outstanding performance by Willie Stargell, who not only was named MVP of the series, but won baseball's MVP award that year in his final great season. Two games really stand out in my mind. Game two, when a late inning pinch hit by Manny Sanguillen (once the Pirates' star catcher, but relegated to the bench in the twilight of his career) provided the game winning RBI is the first. (Sanguillen later dedicated his hit to his late, great teammate, Roberto Clemente.) Game five is the other, perhaps the greatest in the series. Pittsburgh faced elimination after loosing two straight games at home, and Tanner, in a surprise move, gave the ball to an aging Jim Rooker, whose lousy season that year was a sign that his effective years were behind him. Rooker rose to the challenge and pitched like a champion, winning the game as the last hurrah of his career, and sending the series back to Baltimore.
As others have mentioned, the picture and sound quality vary from disc to disc, but nothing that can distract from the joy of seeing this great team win it all once again. The packaging is first rate - each game disc having its own case which displays its box score and details from the game. If you are a Pirates fans, you can't afford not to include this wonderful reminder of past glory in your collection, to watch whenever the gloom of our perpetual season of discontent gets you down.