Blue Monday Sends Dodgers to World Series
The 1981 baseball season was the interrupted by the fourth work stoppage in baseball since the 1972 strike. A strike shut down the league from June 12-August 8, forcing the cancellation of about 38 percent of the season. Playoff spots were awarded to the division winners of both the first (pre-strike) and second (post-strike) halves of the season.
In the National League East, the St. Louis Cardinals had the best record for the season by two games and the Cincinnati Reds by four games in the West, but neither made the playoffs. St. Louis finished second in both halves of the season behind Philadelphia (2.5 games) and Montreal (0.5 games), as did Cincinnati which trailed Los Angeles (0.5 games) and Houston (1.5 games).
The Dodgers and Expos each advanced with 3-2 series wins. After splitting the first two games at Dodger Stadium, the series shifting to Montreal for the first playoffs ever played on Canadian soil. The Expos won Game 3 on Jerry White’s 3-run homner in the 6th.
Game 4 was tied after 7, but a Steve Garvey home run puts the Dodgers up 3-1 after 8 and the Dodgers scored 4 more in the ninth to win 7-1 and force a decisive Game 5.
Game 5 was set for Sunday October 18, but postponed due to snow and instead played on Monday afternoon with temperatures in the 40’s. The game was tied 1-1 going into the 9th inning. With two outs, Rick Monday hit a solo blast to right field. Fernando Valenzuela then pitched to within one out of clinching the pennant, before walking two Expos, but reliever Bob Welch forced Jerry White to ground out to clinch the pennant.
The day became known as Blue Monday in Montreal and would turn out to be the Expos only post-season appearance before the team moved to Washington in 2005. To this day, the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners are the only two franchises to never win a pennant.
The Dodgers went on to meet the New York Yankees for their third World Series in five years and finally won.