Monthly Archives: April 2015

#36 – Johnny Ray, 2B

Johnny Ray

Johnny Ray

1984 was a good season for the switch-hitting second baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Johnny Ray picked up 38 doubles – the second straight season in which he led the National League with that total, while also finishing 5th in batting average with a .312 mark.

Ray had a career best .789 OPS and, at this point, had put together three nice full-time seasons in the Big Leagues.

His career had gotten off to a promising start when he just narrowly missed out on the Rookie of the Year award in ’82, losing out to the Dodgers’ Steve Sax.

Late in ’87, the Bucs would ship the 30-year old Ray off to the California Angels, where he spent three more seasons.

Ray made his sole All-Star appearance in 1988.

#37 – Harold Baines, RF

Harold Baines

Harold Baines

Harold Douglas Baines was the 1st overall pick of the 1977 draft.

It was a solid move as Baines went on to a distinguished 22-year career, the first nine and a half of which were spent with the team that drafted him, the Chicago White Sox.

Baines was among the American League’s top hitters in the 1984 season, leading the league with a .541 slugging percentage, thanks to a .304 batting average, 29 homers, 10 triples, and 28 doubles.

He ranked in the league’s Top 10 for batting average, OPS, total bases, triples, homers, and extra-base hits.

Baines finished his career with a .289 batting average and 384 homers, 221 of which were poked as a member of the ChiSox.

He made six All-Star games in his career and received MVP votes four times in his career.

At the time I wrote this up, he ranked 43rd in career hits among all Major Leaguers, which is damned impressive for a guy who never mustered more than 6.1% of votes for the Hall of Fame.

Baines is also among all-time leaders in RBI (30th), total bases (38th), home runs (61st).

Granted, much of this comes from just sticking around so long.  But being able to do that is its own skill as well.

Welcome back, Harold Baines.  It’s good to have your card around.

#38 – Fernando Valenzuela, SP

Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela had a losing record of 12-17 in 1984, but much of that can be attributed to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lack of hitting.  (They finished dead last in runs scored.)

After all, he did post a 3.03 ERA.  Consider that the year before his ERA was almost a full run higher (3.75), but he had a winning season, going 15-10.

Fernando was a six-time All-Star, earning those honors every season from 1981 to 1986.

He won Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young award in ’81, leading the league in Strikeouts, Complete Games, Shutouts and Innings Pitched.  It’s still the only time in MLB history that a player has won both of those awards in the same year.

In 1984, Valenzuela finished among the league leaders in  ERA, Strikeouts, Complete Games and Innings Pitched.

It wasn’t his most dominating season – he also led the league in walks – but it was still a really solid one.

Valenzuela has worked as the Dodgers’ Spanish-language color commentator since 2003.

#39 – Jim Beattie, SP

Jim Beattie

Jim Beattie

Jim Beattie had several decent seasons with the Seattle Mariners in the early 1980s, but never seemed to stay healthy.

The 1984 season was the only year of his career in which he managed 32 starts, and Beattie went 12-16 with a 3.41 ERA.

The following season saw Beattie start to deal with shoulder tendinitis issues, as he made 18 appearances and finished with a mind-boggling 7.29 ERA.

Nine appearances in 1986 with another heavy ERA forced Beattie out of the game and back to school, where he received an M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Beattie would come back to Major League Baseball in the form of an executive, first serving as director of player development for the Mariners from 1990 to 1995.

Beattie’s next stop was as the GM for the Montreal Expos, where he remained through the 2001 season.