The San Diego Padres made Kevin McReynolds the #6 pick overall in the 1981 amateur draft.
In 1984, after a cup of coffee (39 games) the previous season, McReynolds became the full-time starting center fielder for the Padres.
He ended up finishing among the league leaders in slugging percentage and extra-base hits, putting together a fine season for the National League pennant winners.
Reynolds best season was still ahead of him, as he’d finish 3rd in MVP voting while playing for the New York Mets in 1988.
But his .278 – 20 HR – 75 RBI season in ’84 was a sign of hopefully good things to come for San Diego.
He was also among the league’s best defensive center fielders, finishing 2nd in range factor / 9 innings among qualifying National Leaguers and 1st in fielding percentage.
McReynolds finished his career with 12 seasons of MLB experience, half of which were finished with 20+ HR.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield turned in yet another great season in 1984, putting up a slash line of .340/.393/.515.
Winfield made 12 consecutive All-Star Games, spanning the 1977 through 1988 seasons.
In ’84, he also finished 8th in MVP voting and pulled in a Gold Glove for the 3rd straight year.
Fifteen 20+ HR seasons.
Eight 100+ RBI seasons.
Four .300 or better seasons.
7 Gold Glove awards.
It’s safe to say Winfield had a HOF-worthy career.
In the ’84 season, Winfield’s .340 batting average was 2nd only to teammate Don Mattingly’s .343 in the American League.
He was also among AL leaders in OBP, OPS, Runs Score, Hits, Total Bases, Doubles and Runs Batted In.
While I am aware of Winfield’s greatness, most of my recollections of him were as a 40-year old playing for the Toronto Blue Jays’ World Series winning team in 1992.
I followed the Jays as my “AL Team” from 1986 through 1993 and that ’92 season was really the most I ever saw Winfield.
He was still getting it done even then, hitting .290 with 26 HR and 108 RBI, legging out 33 doubles.
Sometimes I don’t realize how great some of these players were until I start to really look closer at their numbers.
The 2015 MLB season well underway, but my 1984 short-season MLB replay is just 200 days away. I hope it will be something fun to help guide you through the winter that lays ahead.
Hope your summer is a great one.
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Full disclosure: my last name is Witt, so I was always partial to rooting for Mike Witt. Bobby Witt. Basically anybody with the last name.
Mike Witt led the 1984 California Angels in wins (15) with a solid 3.47 ERA to go along with a spectacular 7.2 strikeouts per 9 innings.
On September 30th, the final day of the ’84 season, he tossed a perfect game against the Texas Rangers, striking out 10 men in a 94-pitch masterpiece.
He was just 23 years old at the time and seemed poised for greatness.
Indeed, he spent four years leading the Halos in wins, strikeouts, innings, and complete games.
After that, he just seemed to break down.
Strikeout rates that had been right around 7 men per 9 innings suddenly dropped to 5 and his ERA climbed up above the 4s.
Witt was dealt to the New York Yankees during the 1990 season. He made 27 starts over four years spent with the Yanks, but never regained his former glory.
Still, this is 1984 we’re playing here and Mike Witt is a solid start for an Angels’ team that is hoping to win a division.
Should be fun to watch and, of course, I’ll be pulling for him.
1984 was a magical year for the Red Baron.
Rick Sutcliffe came over to the Chicago Cubs from the Cleveland Indians, where he had finished 5th in Cy Young voting in 1982 and then made an All-Star team in ’83.
In ’84, Sut didn’t make the All-Star team, but he finished 1st in Cy Young voting.
After going 4-5 with a pedestrian 5.15 ERA in 15 starts with the Tribe, he came over to the Cubs and went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA down the stretch, making 20 starts for the NL East champions.
I watched a lot of Cubs games that year and what I remember most about Sutcliffe was the distinctive way he hooked his right hand behind his back while winding up.
Sutcliffe spent 8 seasons with the Cubs, going 82-65 with a 3.74 ERA.
In 1987, he finished 2nd in Cy Young voting, leading the league with 18 wins.
Despite coming over mid-season during 1984, he still finished among the National League’s leaders in wins, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts.
In this project, I’m playing with rosters as they stood at the end of the season, so that means the Cubs get a full seasons worth of Sutcliffe.
That should push him up towards contention for the Pitcher of the Year Award.
Another milestone this past weekend as I got game #200 in the books!
632 more to play for this project, for which I must admit I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I’m currently reading a book on Walter Johnson and really jonesin’ to do a short project with the 1924 season. Can’t say I’ll ever tackle something this vast again, but I’m about a quarter way in now.
Looking forward to sharing results with you all. Coming soon!