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Subject: Spring is here (All future and no past!): Season Replay, 1984 rss

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Jim Dietz
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I loved 1984, right up until Don Zimmer didn't put Lee Smith in against the Padres in Game 5 of the NL Playoffs.

1984 was a great season that featured everything that makes baseball great--a long streak by Detroit. Great pitching (including rookie phenon Dwight Gooden), high batting averages, some guys who can crush home runs, and others who can run wild with steals. It isn't very often in baseball that you can win by so many different means. (Hopefully, that's the baseball the 2010s will evolve back into!)

In real life Detroit beat San Diego in the World Series.
Willie Hernandez won the AL MVP and Cy Young (ewwww....) while Ryne Sandberg won the NL MVP, becoming a national star after a midsummer game vs. St. Louis on NBC and fellow Cub, Rick Sutcliffe won the Cy Young Award.

The replay went differently...

AL Playoffs: Detroit defeats Minnesota 4 games to 0.
NL Playoffs: Chicago defeats Houston 4 games to 3.

World Series: Detroit sweeps Chicago 4 games to 0. Sigh.

Regular season standings:

AL EAST W-L GB REAL
Detroit 108-54 - 104-58
Baltimore 100-62 8 85-77
Toronto 95-67 13 89-73
NY Yanks 85-76 22.5 87-75
BoSox 85-77 23 86-76
Cleveland 81-81 27 75-87
Milwaukee 70-92 38 67-94

AL WEST W-L GB REAL
Minnesota 82-80 - 81-81
Chi W.Sox 77-85 5 74-88
Kansas City 75-87 7 84-78
California 73-89 9 81-81
Seattle 72-90 10 74-88
Texas 70-92 12 69-92
Oakland 60-101 21.5 77-85

Recap: In the east, Detroit didn't pull away until the very end, going on a 15-win streak followed a week later by another 9-win streak(24-2 during that time). Baltimore was game, but it wasn't enough. The firepower was all in the AL East. The old division setup is weird to look at...weird to type, too. In the West, Chicago and KC were in the chase until the last two weeks. I'd say it was a great race, but when the division winner is 82-80, that's simple mediocrity.

NL EAST W-L GB REAL
Chicago Cubs 92-70 - 96-65
Pittsburgh 91-71 1 75-87
St. Louis 88-74 4 84-78
Montreal 84-78 8 78-83
Philadelphia 81-81 11 81-81
NY Mets 68-94 24 90-72

NL WEST W-L GB REAL
Houston 109-53 - 80-82
San Diego 84-78 25 92-70
Atlanta 77-85 32 80-82
LA Dodgers 73-89 36 79-83
SF Giants 67-95 42 66-96
Cincinnati 58-104 51 70-92

Recap: In the West, Houston ran and hid and the race was over by the end of May barring a historic collapse. Houston enjoyed a start to the year like Detroit did in real life. The only problem was that Houston only won four games all season against Chicago and Pittsburgh which affected the Astros pysche in the NL playoffs. In the east, the Cubs clinched with five games to go, but didn't take the lead for good until the 145 game mark. At one point the Cubs blew a six-game lead, then the Pirates went on a 10-win streak and built their own 5-game lead and then choked. St. Louis was able to reach a three-way tie for first in June and then tied the Cubs at the start of September, but succombed to tired players at the end and couldn't finish the race strong.

AL Cy Young
Bert Blyleven (CLE) 21-11, 1.88
Dave Stieb (TOR) 23-4, 2.31
Jack Morris (DET) 21-6, 3.29
(Stieb's probably the best pitcher of the 1980s to not win a Cy Young Award. He didn't win it here, because of the sub-2.00 ERA for Blyleven)

AL Saves
Dan Quisenberry (KC) 39 --Rolaids Relief Award
Ernie Camacho (CLE) 27
Bob Stanley (BOS) 27

Mike Witt was the only AL pitcher with 200+ Ks (203)

AL MVP
Don Mattingly (NYY) 398-32-140 (unanimous winner)
Alan Trammell (DET) 375-12-78 (100+ runs, Gold Glove defense)
Mike Easler (BOS) 363-35-113 (played DH, so lost 'votes' for that)
(Trammell's rather underrated by people. I'm not sure he's a HOFer, but he deserved a closer look than he got.)

NL Cy Young
Bob Knepper (HOU) 24-5, 1.95
Joe Niekro (HOU) 25-9, 2.06
Mark Thurmond (SD) 18-7, 2.18

NL Saves
Bruce Sutter (STL) 50 --Rolaids Relief Award
Kent Tekulve (PIT) 31
Lee Smith (CHI) 29
(Larry Anderson-PHI and Sutter were untouchable all year. Smith was what I remembered...he blew SIXTEEN saves on the season. Brusstar blew another NINE for the Cubs. It's stunning they won given that.)

NL MVP
Ryne Sandberg (CHI) 352-26-108
Dale Murphy (ATL) 286-31-107 (28 steals, Gold Glove defense)
Tim Raines (MON) 324-10-40 (118 runs, 78/13 SB/CS)
(Sandberg was unanimous. In addition to the numbers above, he had 29 triples,46 steals, and only 5 errors...Welcome to having a '2' on the 11 spot. Tim Raines should be in the HOF...the second best leadoff man in history behind Rickey Henderson)

Other highlights:
*Mike Witt no-hitter vs. Seattle (struck out 12 to boot)
*Dennis Martinez and Roger Clemens combined in May for 22Ks, both pitching a complete game. Baltimore won 2-0.
*In one of only two Houston wins vs. Pitt, Nolan Ryan whiffed 18 Pirates while through a 6-hitter (he only walked one).
*Frank Tanana walked back-to-back guys in the 6th, but otherwise let no one on in a 2-0 victory, throwing a no-hitter with 9K vs Milwaukee.
*Mike Flanagan showed shades of Harvey Haddix, throwing a 10-inning no-no vs Kansas City in a 1-0 victory. Saberhagen took the loss, giving up the Baltimore run in the bottom of the 10th (he threw a three-hitter)...Mark Huismann actually gave up the game winning double to Ken Singleton.
*Less than a week after the Flanagan no-hitter, Doyle Alexander no hit the Royals again, though he walked five in doing so (and Toronto had three errors to boot). It wasn't a close game as Charlie Leibrandt lasted three innings and gave up 6 runs. The final was 10-0.
*Baltimore lost a no hitter to Detroit in September after the pennant race was over. Dan Petry threw the no-no, but only struck out two (walked two as well). Storm Davis lost the game 1-0 throwing a compelte game five-hitter.
*The final no hitter of the season probably won Blyleven his Cy Young as Cleveland defeated Texas 2-0. Blyleven gave up a walk to Wayne Tolleson with two out in the bottom of the ninth (shades of Milt Pappas getting robbed), losing the perfect game.
*In a 19-1 pasting Milwaukee, Larry Parrish (DET) went 6-6 with 7 RBI and 2 home runs.
*Three weeks after Parrish did that, Dave Collins did the same in a 25-7 victory over Seattle, 6-6 with 6 RBI. Collins hit for the Cycle and stole a base to boot. (Jim Zorn threw the sole TD pass for the Seahawks...)
*Three weeks later, Dave Collins did it again vs. the Angels, though this time his 6 for 6 was an all-singles performance.
*A week before the all-star braek, George Foster went 6-6 against the Pirates, though he cost the Mets a 7-6 loss as he had his 2nd error of the game in left, allowing the winning run to score in the 11th inning.
*The most fun performance was Tim Raines against the Reds in June. He went 4 for 5, walked twice, and stole five bases, adding a triple and homer to boot.

Finally, a comparison of the Cubs primary lineup with their replay stats vs. real-life. Real life comes after each player, designated with an ***.

Jody Davis 245/303/372 (12HR/56RBI)
*** 256/315/421 (19 /94 )
Durham 283/400/513 (22HR/88RBI)
*** 279/369/505 (23 /96 )
Sandberg 352/400/609 (26HR/108RBI)
*** 314/367/520 (19 /84 )
Bowa 213/249/281 (7SB)
*** 223/274/269 (10 )
Cey 233/296/379 (16HR/57RBI)
*** 240/324/442 (25 /97 )
Matthews 290/388/435 (13HR/85RBI)
*** 291/410/428 (14 /82 )
Dernier 251/324/346 (44EBH/43SB)
*** 278/356/362 (34 /45 )
Moreland 285/328/397 (13HR/85RBI)
*** 279/326/422 (16 /80 )

Sutcliffe 17-7, 2.49 ERA, 246k
*** 20-6, 3.64 213
Trout 13-7, 2.57 ERA, 106k
*** 13-7, 3.41 81
Eckersley 15-5, 2.39 ERA, 124k
*** 10-8, 3.03 81
Sanderson 11-10,4.39 ERA, 79k
*** 8-5, 3.14 76
Reuschel 4-10,4.66 ERA, 76k
*** 5-5, 5.17 43

Lee Smith 10-8, 29sv. 3.97 ERA, 16bs
*** 9-7, 33 3.65 9
Brusstar 6-3, 4sv. 1.78 ERA, 9bs
*** 1-1, 3 3.11 2
Stoddard 4-3, 3sv. 2.83 ERA, 1bs
*** 10-6, 7 3.82









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Larry Doherty
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Awesome recap.
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Mike Pranno
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How on earth did Houston get +29 wins over their actual record? Their offense that year was decidedly average, so it must have been the pitching. From your CY Young results, it looks like at least two Houston pitchers (Niekro, Knepper) vastly overachieved. Was that a result of an APBA fluke or something else I am missing?
 
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Paul Nordquist
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Just saw this...Wow! Awesome!!
 
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