The core of the team was set up by future Hall of Famers, CF Andre Dawson and C Gary Carter. Dawson hit .275, 25, 92 with 35 steals and a team leading 90 runs scored. Carter hit .282, 22, 75. The rest of the lineup consisted of RF Ellis Valentine (.276, 21, 82), future HOF 1B Tony Perez (.270, 13, 73) and home run hitting 3B Larry Parrish (.307, 30, 82). Parrish led the team in batting average, home runs, on base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and total bases in 1979. They also had Warren Cromartie in LF, who would lead the team in hits (181) and 2Bs (46). Veterans Rusty Staub and Duffy Dyer came off the bench, as well as future MLB executive Tony Bernazard and MLB manager Ken Macha. Future franchise star Tim Raines would appear in 6 games for the team in September.
The pitching staff was led by veterans Steve Rogers (13-12, 3.00, 13 CG) and Bill Lee (16-10. 3.04), fresh off his 10 years in Boston. Williams did some of his best work with the rest of that rotation, getting 10 wins out of Ross Grimsley, David Palmer, Rudy May and Dan Schatzeder, getting 27, 11, 7 and 21 starts out of the respective pitchers. 22 year old Scott Sanderson made 24 starts, going 9-8 as the forth starter, with his 138 strikeouts second only to Rogers' 143. Bill Gullickson, at age 20 made his debut towards the end of the season, to go along with fellow youngsters Palmer (21) and Sanderson.
Williams, in my opinion, is one of the best MLB managers few talk about. Many forget he led the 1967 Red Sox to the World Series in his first season there and won three straight AL West titles in Oakland, the last two being World Series Championships, before choosing to no longer work for owner Charlie Finley. He improved a bad Montreal team and got them to back to back second place finishes, before they finally made the postseason in the strike interrupted 1981 season. However, Williams was not there to take his team to the postseason as he was fired with 27 games to go in the regular season. His decision to use Rogers, his best pitcher, as a pinch runner in the middle of the pennant race in 1981 led to the firing. Williams, of course, was behind the bench for the 1984 Padres team that won the NL Pennant.