November 25, 2015

May 15, 1984 - Junior Comes Through

Game #438 - California Angels, 3 @ Baltimore Orioles, 4

You know what I like about Thanksgiving breaks?  More time for Statis Pro!!!  Even better, I got to play with my favorite team...

Storm Davis allowed two runners in the top of the first inning but escaped the jam without allowing a run.  Geoff Zahn wasn't so lucky.  He gave up a lead off homer to Gary Roenicke and two batters later Cal Ripken Jr. parked a two run bomb of his own.

The Angels did score two runs in the third, though.  The bases were loaded and Gary Pettis, who is hitting so far above his talent level this season I can't make heads or tails of it, roped a single to plate Bobby Grich and Fred Lynn.

The Orioles never relinquished their lead as Tom Underwood pitched a perfect ninth to save the day for Baltimore.

Winning Pitcher - Storm Davis
Losing Pitcher - Geoff Zahn
Save - Tom Underwood
Player of the Game - Cal Ripken Jr., 2-4, HR, 2B, 3RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray

November 22, 2015

May 14, 1984 - Balls

Game #437 - Montreal Expos, 2 @ San Diego Padres, 5

The very first baseball autobiography I ever read was Graig Nettles' Balls.  That book was hilarious, and was seen as a big middle finger aimed at George Steinbrenner, which is how Nettles found himself out of New York and joining the Padres.

Nettles was no laughing matter in this game.  In the bottom of the first inning, with the Padres already up one, he lined a double that scored Tony Gwynn.  In the bottom of the fifth he was the hero again, because the Expos had just tied the game at two apiece.  Nettles ripped another double to plate Gwynn again as well as Alan Wiggins.  For an encore, Graig lined a single in the seventh that scored - guess who - Tony Gwynn.  That was pretty much it in this one, San Diego won 5-2.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Thurmond
Losing Pitcher - David Palmer
Save - Craig Lefferts
Player of the Game - Graig Nettles, 3-3, 2 2B's, 4RBI's, BB
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage

November 17, 2015

May 14, 1984 - Keystone State Success

Game #435 - Philadelphia Phillies, 3 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 0

We had a good pitching match-up for this game, as future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton faced Alejandro Pena, who was pretty filthy in the real 1984.

The Phillies scored first in the top of the second inning.  Joe Lefebvre was plated by an Ivan DeJesus double.  Lefebvre scored again in the fifth, this time courtesy of Len Matuszek.  And their final run came in the ninth, when rookie Juan Samuel launched a solo homer.

When Philadelphia was on the field it was all Steve Carlton.  Despite surrendering eleven hits and three walks, he fanned eight Dodgers and went the distance for a complete game shutout.

Winning Pitcher - Steve Carlton
Losing Pitcher - Alejandro Pena
Player of the Game - Joe Lefebvre, 4-4, 2 doubles, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton

Game #436 - Houston Astros, 1 @ Pittsburgh Pirates, 4

The Pirates have been hot as of late, and of course there's no better team in the NL West than the Astros, so this game was bound to be exciting.  It was a pitcher's duel through the first five innings, as both Bob Knepper and John Candelaria were hanging goose eggs on the scoreboard.

Houston drew first blood, though, when Bill Doran scored on a Phil Garner single in the sixth.  The Pirates answered back in a big way, though.  Jim Morrison rocked a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning, scoring Tony Pena and Jason Thompson along with himself.  Johnny Ray added a solo shot in the seventh while Kent Tekulve and Rod Scurry preserved the victory over the last two innings.

Winning Pitcher - John Candelaria
Losing Pitcher - Bob Knepper
Save - Rod Scurry
Player of the Game - Jim Morrison, 2-4, HR, 3RBI's

October 30, 2015

May 14, 1984 - One-run squeekers

Game #433 - Seattle Mariners, 4 @ Detroit Tigers, 3

When you play thousands of games from a season three decades prior, some will be fun, and some will be stinkers.  This was the former!

Detroit jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first off Seattle starter Mike Moore when Chet Lemon roped a double but then scored on an error by centerfielder Barry Bonnell.  The Mariners tied it up in the fourth, though, when cult hero Ken Phelps launched a homer.

In the top of the fifth Jack Perconte scored Spike Owen on an RBI single.  He then stole second and crossed home plate himself on an RBI double by Alvin Davis.  Chet Lemon brought the Tigers back within one in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot into the leftfield stands.

Each team scored another run in the sixth, but Edwin Nunez and Mike Stanton combined for three innings of shutout relief to preserve the win for Seattle.  It's their fifth in a row!

Winning Pitcher - Mike Moore
Losing Pitcher - Jack Morris
Save - Mike Stanton
Player of the Game - Nunez, 2IP, 0R's, 1H

Game #434 - Oakland A's, 5 @ New York Yankees, 6

What would you say if I told you the A's scored the first five runs of this ball game...and lost?

(Sorry, that's a very "30 for 30" way to start a recap.  Rest in peace, Grantland)

That being said, the A's did score the first five runs and lost!  Four of those came in the first inning, which included a three-run jack by Dave Kingman. But New York clawed back.  They plated two runs in the fourth when Roy Smalley homered.  They picked up another in the fifth and two more in the sixth off a Toby Harrah triple. The game-winning RBI came in the seventh.  Don Baylor doubled with one out, and then Butch Wynegar doubled him home for the eventual win.  Weak sauce, Oakland bullpen.  Weak sauce.

Winning Pitcher - Jay Howell
Losing Pitcher - Bill Caudill
Save - Dave Righetti
Player of the Game - Roy Smalley, 2-4, HR, 2RBI's, 2R's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Dave Winfield

Rest in Peace

Sad news to report - Garry Hancock, who played parts of the 1984 season on the Oakland A's, passed away this month.

October 23, 2015

May 14, 1984 - You Complete Me

Game #431 - Kansas City Royals, 7 @ Chicago White Sox, 0

The Royals have stunk quite a bit lately, so I decided at the start of the game I would try and "manufacture" some runs.  In the top of the second Daryl Motley led off with a single.  I had Frank White bunt him over to second.  With one out, Greg Pryor, playing for the injured George Brett, doubled him home!  My strategy worked!

The score stayed 1-0 until the top of the seventh, when KC put up three more runs, including a two run homer by Pat Sheridan.  They put up three more in the eighth and the Royals cruised to a 7-0 victory.  Mark Gubicza went the distance, only allowing three hits and two walks while pitching the shutout.

Winning Pitcher - Mark Gubicza
Losing Pitcher - LaMarr Hoyt
Player of the Game - Gubicza, he had six strikeouts too.

Game #432 - Boston Red Sox, 6 @ Cleveland Indians, 3

This game was ugly.  Why?  Here are a few reasons:

  • The Red Sox committed four errors and somehow still won.  The Indians had two as well, both by Julio Franco.
  • Rich Gedman hit into three double plays...and the Red Sox still won.
  • Oil Can Boyd gave up nine hits, but over nine innings.
  • Jerry Willard whiffed in all four at-bats.
Winning Pitcher - Oil Can Boyd
Losing Pitcher - Bert Blyleven
Player of the Game - Boyd, CG, 9K's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven

September 28, 2015

May 14, 1984 - Just Another Manic Monday

Game #340 - California Angels, 9 @ Baltimore Orioles, 1

I had to do a double-take when I checked my records, but this game was the first time this season Brian Downing earned "Player of the Game" honors.  I couldn't believe it, because he's had a heck of a season.  Gary Pettis has four for some reason, but Downing is only at one.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Angels scored a run in the top of the first when Rick Dempsey allowed a passed ball that plated Fred Lynn.  Mike Flanagan had to strike out the side to get out of the jam without further damage.  Baltimore picked the run back up in the second when Floyd Rayford cranked a solo bomb to tie things up at one apiece.

Tommy John and Flanagan continued their lefty-centric battle into the top of the seventh.  That's when California scored two more runs, including a balk by Flanagan.  Luis Sanchez and Doug Corbett kept the Orioles in check for the remainder of the game, while the Angels offense sent twelve batters to the plate in the top of the ninth, ending the Orioles hopes for a comeback.

Winning Pitcher - Tommy John
Losing Pitcher - Mike Flanagan
Save - Doug Corbett
Player of the Game - Brian Downing, 4-6, 3 doubles, run, RBI
Hall of Famers in the Game - Reggie Jackson, Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray

September 26, 2015

RIP - Yogi Berra and Others

It goes without saying these posts are my least favorite.  1984 doesn't feel far enough away to have to face the reality that all things must pass.  I've put this latest update off for over a year, preferring not to dwell on it, but the passing of one Yogi Berra signaled it was time, once again, to honor those we've lost.

I've mentioned numerous times before one of the reasons I was so excited to replay the 1984 season was because of the 1985 Topps set, my first complete set as a kid and the year that featured 1984 as the most recently played campaign on the back of the card.  I can remember being excited to pull out this Yogi Berra manager card, which is no small feat because I typically loathe manager cards.  I was barely ten years old but I knew that Yogi was an all-time great.  I was also tickled to learn his son, Dale, was the shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Yogi managed the Yankees for the entirety of the 1984 season, which was almost unheard of in the decade that George Steinbrenner made a mockery of the position with his constant firings.

While Yogi deserves every single accolade and fond remembrance for his time in baseball, it would be a gross oversight not to mention his bravery.  Yogi enlisted in the Navy during World War II, and was even part of the D-Day invasion.  He served both his country and baseball fans well, there will certainly never be another character like Berra.

While researching this article I was stunned to learn Joaquin Andujar just passed away recently too.  I had somehow missed that in the news cycle.  I have a special place in my heart for Dave Bergman as well, as I lived in Southeast Michigan during much of his career as a Tiger.  Rest in peace to all of them.

Bobby Castillo, 6-30-2014
Tom Veryzer, 7-8-2014
Dave Bergman, 2-2-2015
Gary Woods, 2-19-2015
Joaquin Andujar, 9-8-2015

September 19, 2015

May 13, 1984 - Sunday Wrap Up

Game #429 - Montreal Expos, 3 @ San Francisco Giants, 4

I've mentioned this before, that the Giants are decimated by injuries from "Z" cards right now, but check out this lineup.  There are only three starters from the first game of the season:

1.  Gene Richards - 8
2.  Steve Nicosia - 2
3.  Dusty Baker - 9
4.  Bob Brenly - 3 (playing out of position)
5.  Chris Brown - 5 (playing his first game in Statis Pro)
6.  Joel Youngblood - 7 (playing out of position)
7.  Brad Wellman - 4
8.  Johnnie LeMaster - 6
9.  Mark Davis - 1

In some ways the injuries have been a lot of fun, because it's forcing me to be creative.  Mostly, though, it's kind of sad because the Giants have a good offense when all of their starters are playing.

This rag-tag group took on the Expos for the last game of Sunday, May 13th.  Mark Davis escaped a bases loaded situation in the top of the second, and had the first RBI in the bottom of the inning, squeezing home Chris Brown.  Gene Richards followed with a 2-RBI single next to give San Fran a 3-0 lead.  The Expos tied the game in the top of the fourth, with two runs scoring from a home run by catching backup Bobby Ramos.

In the bottom of the fourth Duane Kiper was batting ninth in a double switch after Davis got lifted in the fourth.  He later scored on a Dusty Baker hit that ended up being the game-winner.  Greg Minton, Frank Williams, and Bob Lacey tossed  5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Lacey retired Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, and Tim Wallach in the top of the ninth to get his first save of the season, so I gave him "player of the game" honors.  Most of you also know I use my 1985 Topps set (shows pics from the 1984 season) for these posts, but Lacey is the rare player who didn't have a card in that set.  Instead, you get a zoomed in shot from his 1985 Fleer card for this post.

I apologize for the lack of posts lately - I have two daughters playing soccer right now, so I'm spending week nights and Saturdays watching futbol instead of flipping Fast Action Cards...  I'll try and get the stats and standings updated this weekend, though.

Winning Pitcher - Greg Minton
Losing Pitcher - Steve Rogers
Save - Bob Lacey
Player of the Game - Lacey, three up, three down
Hall of Famers in the Game - Gary Carter, Andre Dawson

September 12, 2015

May 13, 1984 - Deft Left

Game #427 - New York Mets, 5 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6

This game was strange and fun and exciting for a variety of reasons.  Here's why:

1.  Four of the five Mets runs were scored on solo homers by Keith Hernandez, Hubie Brooks, George Foster, and Darryl Strawberry.

2.  Both starters, Bruce Berenyi and Bob Welch, lasted 6IP while giving up 4 runs with only three counting as earned.

3.  The Mets had a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Pedro Guerrero hit an RBI single and Greg Brock launched a three run home run to give the Dodgers the lead, 4-2.  But the Mets tied it in the top of the seventh with two runs of their own.

4.  I've mentioned on this blog a few times before that my father is a huge Dodgers fan but firmly believes Tom Niedenfuer is cursed.  With that in mind, in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers had a slim, one-run lead.  With two outs Niedenfuer proceeded to walk Hernandez and give up a double to Strawberry, who pushed Hernandez to third base.  But Hubie Brooks grounded out to Bill Russell to end the game.

Winning Pitcher - Pat Zachry
Losing Pitcher - Jesse Orosco
Save - Tom Niedenfuer
Player of the Game - Greg Brock, 1-3, HR, 3RBI's

Game #428 - Philadelphia Phillies, 0 @ San Diego Padres, 8

Starter Charles Hudson gave up eight runs in two-thirds of an inning before I finally yanked him, and that would be all the runs scored for the game!  Kevin McReynolds and Carmelo Martinez blasted home runs in that inning, and Tim Lollar scattered nine hits and two walks while striking out nine Phillies for the shutout.  Kevin Gross (5 1/3IP) and Bill Campbell (2IP) deserve a lot of credit for saving the bullpen from Hudson's disastrous start.

Winning Pitcher - Tim Lollar
Losing Pitcher - Charles Hudson
Player of the Game - Lollar, second start in a row winning this honor
Hall of Famers in the Game - Mike Schmidt, Tony Gwynn

September 5, 2015

May 13, 1984 - The Divisional Leaders

Game #425 - St. Louis Cardinals, 11 @ Cincinnati Reds, 2

My apologies for the lack of posts as of late!  August is my busiest month at work, and there were a handful of other events I won't bore you with, but we're back in action!

My dad, who has managed a few games for his favorite team (Dodgers) this season, was back in the dugout for this one.  This time he was managing his second favorite team from his hometown - the Cardinals!  Long story short...he destroyed me.  Frank Pastore gave up twice as many runs as innings pitched and four Cardinals had multi-hit games.

Winning Pitcher - Kurt Kepshire
Losing Pitcher - Frank Pastore
Player of the Game - Willie McGee, 5-5, 2B, 3B, 2R's, 5RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ozzie Smith, Tony Perez

Game #426 - Chicago Cubs, 1 @ Houston Astros, 2

Even when the Astros aren't hitting they're winning!  Houston only pushed two runs across the plate, but it was enough to win the game.  In the bottom of the first Bill Doran scored from first on a hit and run double from Terry Puhl.  Bobby Dernier scored in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Ron Cey, but in the bottom of the seventh Puhl hit a sacrifice himself to score pinch hitter Phil Garner.

Winning Pitcher - Frank DiPino
Losing Pitcher - Tim Stoddard
Save - Bill Dawley
Player of the Game - Terry Puhl, 1-3, 2B, 2RBI's
Hall of Famers in the Game - Ryne Sandberg

August 8, 2015

May 13, 1984 - CK Won

Game #423 - Seattle Mariners, 8 @ New York Yankees, 6 (10 innings)

This three game series was a real exciting one, with each game providing its own drama!

The Mariners got to Ray Fontenot early in the first, scoring two runs on a Ray Cerone error and an Al Cowens single.  Seattle put four more on the board in the fourth, again courtesy of Al Cowens, who hit a grand salami with the bases juiced!

But the Yankees came roaring back from their 6-0 deficit.  Led by a solo homer from Lou Piniella and a two run bomb by Cerone, things were tied up after eight innings.

In the top of the tenth relieve Bob Shirley began his third inning of relief.  He gave up a lead off single to Cowens.  Two batters later Mariners rookie Alvin Davis went yard for two runs!  Reliever Bob Stoddard retired New York in the bottom half of the inning for the Mariner victory.

Winning Pitcher - Paul Mirabella
Losing Pitcher - Bob Shirley
Save - Bob Stoddard
Player of the Game - Al Cowens, 3-5, grand slam, 5RBI's, stolen base
Hall of Famers in the Game - Dave Winfield

Game #424 - Pittsburgh Pirates, 4 @ Atlanta Braves, 6

The Braves sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first against Pirates starter Jose DeLeon.  Though he limited the damage to two runs, it was a rough way to start the game and his "pitcher effectiveness" rating got reduced by two.  Tony Pena hit an RBI single in the top of the fifth to bring Pittsburgh back to within a run, but home runs by Claudell Washington and Brad Komminsk in the bottom of the inning gave Atlanta the lead for good.

Winning Pitcher - Len Barker
Losing Pitcher - Jose DeLeon
Save - Donnie Moore
Player of the Game - Brad Komminsk, 3-4, 2B, HR, 3RBI's

Happy Trails...Bob Horner

This game was a bit of a bummer because it was the last time we'll see Bob Horner for this Statis Pro season.  The blonde slugger broke his wrist in the real 1984 and missed the rest of the season.  It was the second time in two years he suffered that kind of injury.

Let's see how our Horners compared:

Real 1984:  113AB  15R  31H  8DB  3HR  19RBI  .274/.349/.425/.774
Statis 1984:  124AB  17R  33H  6DB  3HR  12RBI  .266/.350/.387/.737

I was usually batting Horner second in the lineup, which I think helps explain a few of his increased at-bats.  But otherwise, the two Horners are pretty close.  Another couple of doubles and Horner would have been as good as his real 1984.  Randy Johnson will get most of the starts at third from here on out.  No, not THAT Randy Johnson, the other guy...