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Traces: 1978
Key Rays, Phils born in momentous year
By Doug Miller /

Disco music captivated America in 1978, the same year the New York Yankees boogied their way to a second straight World Series title and Bob Marley made peace among rival politicians in Jamaica.

Meanwhile, some very good baseball players were busy being born.

Six key components of this year's World Series clubs joined the human race in 1978, two of whom have yet to turn 30.

The Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins (born Nov. 27) and Chase Utley (Dec. 17) were still in their 20s during the 2008 Fall Classic; teammates Eric Bruntlett (March 29) and Greg Dobbs (July 2) and the Tampa Bay Rays' Carlos Pena (May 17) and Michel Hernandez (Aug. 12) had all reached the big 3-0 by the time the World Series rolled around.

All these men came into the world in a year filled with momentous occurrences that impacted the world far beyond the baseball diamond. Here are just some of the newsworthy events of 1978:

*The remains of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan are uncovered in Mexico City.

*Serial killer Ted Bundy is apprehended in Pensacola, Fla.

*Volkswagen becomes the first foreign car manufacturer to open a plant in the United States.

*Mavis Hutchinson becomes the first woman to run across the United States, in 69 days.

*In Atlantic City, N.J., the first legal casino in the eastern United State opens.

*The famed comic strip "Garfield" debuts.

*Israel and Egypt sign the Camp David Accords.

*Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass-murder suicide.

*The Spanish Constitution is approved in a referendum, officially ending 40 years of military dictatorship in Spain.

In movie theaters, viewers were treated to "Grease," "The Deer Hunter," "Animal House," "Up in Smoke," "Superman," "Midnight Express," "Heaven Can Wait," "Halloween," "The Last Waltz," "High Anxiety" and the baseball movie "The Bad News Bears Go to Japan."

On the radio, the Bee Gees' "Night Fever" and "Stayin' Alive" continued the disco trend, Player's "Baby Come Back" lit up the AM dial as Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" and Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" dominated the FM airwaves.

Doug Miller is a senior writer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.