Collaboration: Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates and the 1979 World Series

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Pittsburgh Pirates won the 1979 World Series, due in part to strong teamwork and optimism. Willie Stargell was named Most Valuable Player for his outstanding hitting in the series. Stargell was the team captain who made it clear to his players that they should support each other like a family. “The Family" became the team’s nickname, inspired by a disco song from the 70s called “We are Family”.  "We won, we lived and we enjoyed as one," Stargell said. "We molded together dozens of different individuals into one working force. We were products of different races, were raised in different income brackets, but in the clubhouse and on the field we were one." [1] 

To win a championship every member of the team must play a role, whether as a star or a minor player. They must all work together for the sake of the team's goal of winning and put individual goals and individual recognition aside. This is how the Pirates made their amazing comeback in the last game of the World Series. First on the strength of Willie Stargell, who went 4 for 4 with a single, two doubles and a towering two-run homer in the sixth off Scott McGregor. In the ninth, Omar Moreno collected an RBI single, while another run scored when Dave Parker and Bill Robinson were hit by pitches back-to-back, scoring Moreno. [2] Sacrifices of individual goals and rewards must be made for the team to succeed and not just one player. The old and often overused saying “there is no I in team" still remains relevant today. 


Kelly hits it in the air to center field, Moreno towards right center field, makes the catch, Pittsburgh wins it!

ABC's Keith Jackson calling the final out of the 1979 World Series  

Comprehension Questions: 

  1. What led the Pirates to victory in the 1979 World Series? How?
  2. What elements of teamwork do you think are necessary to excel in sports?
  3. Do all collaborations need a leader or team captain? Why or why not?

[1] Alan Robinson, PITTSBURGH GREAT WILLIE STARGELL DEAD AT 61. AP Sports, 2001.