Monthly Archives: September 2015

#14 – Chet Lemon, CF

Chet Lemon

Chet Lemon

A former 1st round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics, Chet “The Jet” Lemon broken into The Bigs with the Chicago White Sox in 1975, becoming their starting center fielder the next season at the age of 21.

Starting in 1977, he put up nice offensive numbers, consistently putting up an OPS above league average for all but two of his 15 seasons playing Major League Baseball.

Lemon made three All-Star Games with his last one coming in 1984.

That season, Lemon helped guide the Detroit Tigers to a World Series victory, batting .287 with 20 home runs and 34 doubles.

While not a Gold Glove winner, Lemon ranked high in several fielding metrics, including #1 in Fielding % and #4 in Range Factor / 9 innings in center field.

Lemon retired following the 1990 season after suffering from a spleen disease.

Life after baseball treated him well, he has went on to coach AAU teams as well as at the high school level where he led the Eustis High School to a Florida State Championship in 2003.

100 Days Away

The 2015 MLB season is headed towards the postseason in just a week or so here.  Hopefully your team is still giving you a reason to watch.

If not, maybe this 1984 short-season replay will give you something entertaining to watch.

We kick things off in exactly 100 days.

Can’t wait!

These aren’t really spoilers, but it might be fun for previewing things as I’m a bit more than 1/3rd of the way through the project, with all teams having somewhere between 22 and 29 games played so far.

  • 2 of the current 4 division leaders won their division in real life.
  • All 4 of the historical division winners are above .500.
  • One of the current division leaders did not finish the historical 1984 season with a winning record.

I’ll leave you to guessing who my 4 current division leaders are.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you will get updates sent directly to your Inbox.

#15 – Wade Boggs, 3B

Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs

Think Wade Boggs and you think “professional hitter”.

Indeed there was probably a time when I just thought of Boggs as the American League’s version of Tony Gwynn – just guys that you knew were going to hit over .300 year in and year out.

Boggs finished with a .325 batting average in 1984, good enough for 3rd best in the American League.

He was also one of two qualifying ALers to finish with an On-Base Percentage north of .400, with a .407 mark finishing just behind the Baltimore Orioles’ Eddie Murray.

His 203 hits were just four behind the Yankees’ Don Mattingly.

It seems Boggs was this close to leading the league in numerous categories, always finishing just behind somebody else in the most widely known stats.

Two areas he did manage to lead the league in were Singles (162) and Times on Base (292).

Boggs was also among the league leaders in Range Factor / 9 and Fielding % for third basemen, though, like the Expos’ Tim Wallach earlier in the countdown, the Strat Gods bestowed just a 3 upon him.

Still, those on-base numbers make him a dangerous table-setter for a Boston Red Sox team that might be good enough to compete in the AL East this year.

#16 – Bert Blyleven, SP

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven

At age 33, Bert Blyleven’s 4th year with the Cleveland Indians was spent as being the sole bright spot in a rather pathetic starting rotation.

He went on to be among the league leaders in Wins, WHIP, hits per 9, strikeouts per 9, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts.

Blyleven went 19-7 with a 2.87 ERA, finishing 3rd in Cy Young voting.

He led the league in complete games once, shutouts twice, and strikeouts once.

Blyleven made just two All-Star games in his career, once in 1973 and again in ’85.

He never won a Cy Young award, never finishing higher than 3rd in voting (’84 and ’85).

Perhaps that’s why it looked like he would never make the Hall of Fame, but he somehow managed to do it eventually.

13 years after first becoming eligible for the Hall of Fame, Blyleven was finally inducted in 2011 after receiving 79.7% of the votes.

In a 22-year career, Blyleven went 287-250 with a 3.31 ERA, striking out 3,701 men.

At the time of this writing, he ranks 27th in career wins and 5th in strikeouts.

R.I.P. Joaquin Andujar

Joaquin Andujar (1952-2015)

Joaquin Andujar (1952-2015)

The Strat-O-Matic Curse runs again.

Every time I run a project using teams from a more recent era, somebody will die from one of the teams I’m playing with.

Granted, I’m playing 1984, which means that most of these guys are now about 60 years old. That’s still too young, but it’s going to happen when there are nearly 800 players carded.

The latest victim was St. Louis Cardinals’ ace starting pitcher, Joaquin Andujar.

I remember Andujar fondly from my youth when I first learned how to play APBA Baseball. This would’ve been using players from right around 1982, give or take a year I would say.

APBA presents player nicknames on the cards and I recall Andjuar’s was “Cuckoo Jar”. Kind of hard to forget that one.

Andujar was the last Cards pitcher to win 20 games in back-to-back seasons, doing so in ’84 and ’85.

The 62-year old Dominican passed away on Tuesday from complications of diabetes.

There are some great pieces detailing his eccentricities at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Check out Derrick Goold’s column and Rick Hummel’s column and video.

http://launch.newsinc.com/?type=VideoPlayer/Single&widgetId=1&trackingGroup=69016&siteSection=stltodayspts_spt_mlb_sty&videoId=29378572&playlistId=18070

#17 – Keith Hernandez, 1B

Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez

1984 was a great season for the 30-year old Keith Hernandez.

Not his best season, but still great.

He hit .311 with a .409 on-base percentage, finishing 2nd in MVP voting and making his 3rd career All-Star Game while driving in 94 runs.

Hernandez also racked up 31 doubles and finished with the 6th best OPS (.859) in the National League.

Meanwhile, he also pulled in his 7th Gold Glove as captain of the up and coming New York Mets.

A perennial “1” at first base, Major League Baseball had to re-write rules because of Hernandez’s play there.  He used to take pickoff throws while in foul territory to make it easier to swipe his right (glove) hand down for a tag.  Catchers are now the only defensive player allowed to be in foul territory when the pitch is thrown.

Hernandez is also well known in the Strat community for making frequent references to the game during broadcasts.  He often refers to fielders as a “1” if they are among the league’s best as a nod to the game company’s rating system.