Monthly Archives: November 2015

#5 – Mike Schmidt, 3B

Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt

A future Hall of Famer, third baseman Mike Schmidt made the 9th of his 12 All-Star Games in 1984, finishing 7th in MVP Voting, though I’d say he deserved better than that.

Had he played on a team that finished better than .500, perhaps he would have.

In ’84, Schmidt led the league in homers (36), RBI (106) and OPS (.919), while also placing among the league leaders in OBP, SLG, runs, total bases, walks and extra base hits.

He was also no slouch at the hot corner, winning 10 Gold Glove awards.  In 1984, Schmidt placed in the league’s top 4 in range factor / 9 innings as well as fielding percentage.

Schmidt, who finished his career with 548 home runs, led the league in that category eight times.

He won three MVP awards in his career – ’80, ’81 and in ’86 at the age of 36.

Schmidt became a first ballot Hall of Famer when he received 96.5% of the votes in 1995.

 

 

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400 Games in the Books

Rolled out game number 400 of this mammoth 1984 project. It’s easily the highest number of games I’ve ever rolled for a season ever since I started doing this 30-some years ago.

My previous high was a 16-team project for the 2009 MLB season. Each team played a 28-game regular season and once you added in the championship series, I ended up rolling 229 games.

So I’ve nearly doubled that already.

I have to admit that the state of my mind right now is very much along the lines of “why did you commit to this?”

I really wanted to get the project wrapped up by September of 2016, but the pace I’ve been moving at is having me looking more like December of 2016.

The real problem is that when you’re into this hobby, you always find some other project you’re interested in taking on.

Lately I’ve been really enjoying Strat-O-Matic Basketball and I’ve been finding time here and there to replay the 1997-98 NBA playoffs. The game engine used to be a bit intimidating, but once I got used to it and memorized some the half-dozen rules that kept coming up for me, it’s gotten a lot easier. I can wrap up a game in somewhere between 75 and 90 minutes and that’s not bad at all.

And, of course, there are about 60 different seasons from the history of baseball that I’d still like to have projects with. I don’t know that I’ll ever make it. The answer, most likely, is to do more mini-seasons as I have in the past.

For example, last year I played with the 1934 cards. 4 American League teams and 4 National League teams. Each team played a 30-game season, which meant rolling 120 games. That’s not bad. At two games a night, even missing some here and there, you wrap it up in under 3 months. It was a really fun project, actually.

So I probably need to do more of that.

There’s always that part of me that wants to someday say that I replayed an entire season with cards and dice, but it would have to be an older season when there were just 16 teams in the league. And, even then, it might be just a National or American League replay – not the entire collection of teams.

An 8-team league playing the old schedule of 154 games means rolling up 616 games in total. If there’s no pressure and I play it casually, that seems like something that could be accomplished.

Maybe someday.

Okay, back to work everybody! Have a great Thanksgiving!

#6 – Eddie Murray, 1B

Eddie Murray (R) knocks out Cal Ripken (L)

Eddie Murray (R) knocks out Cal Ripken (L)

A future Hall of Famer, Eddie Murray had a monster season in 1984, finishing 4th in the American League MVP voting.

Murray, who won Rookie of the Year in 1977, must have had that “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” feeling after having finished 2nd in MVP voting the previous two seasons.  In fact, he finished in the top 5 of MVP voting every year between 1981 and 1985, never actually winning the award a single time in his career.

Murray played all 162 games in ’84, 159 of which were at first base where he won his 3rd straight Gold Glove award.  Among all 1984 AL first baseman, Murray led in range factor / 9 innings and 3rd in fielding percentage.

He led the league in walks (107), on-base percentage (.410) and OPS+ (157).

Perhaps speaking to the O’s lack of offensive depth, he also led the league with 25 intentional passes.

Murray finished among the league leaders in batting average (.306), OPS (.918), runs (97), hits (180), total bases (299), home runs (29) and RBI (110).

An 8-time All-Star, Murray is currently 13th all-time in hits, 10th in RBI, 26th in home runs, 24th in doubles and 10th in total bases.

In 2003, he became a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, selected on 85.3% of the ballots.

#7 – Dwight Gooden, SP

Dwight Gooden

Dwight Gooden

Dwight Gooden was filthy.

The #5 pick of the 1982 draft, Doc debuted in the ’84 season at the tender age of 19.

All he did was go on to light up the league, leading in strikeouts (276), FIP (1.69), WHIP (1.073), Hits/9 (6.6), HR/9 (0.3), and K/9 (11.4).

As you might have guessed, there was hardware that went along with those achievements.  Namely, a Rookie of the Year Award.

Were it not for Rick Sutcliffe’s 16-1 run after coming over to pitch for the Chicago Cubs in the National League, Gooden likely would have won the Cy Young Award as well, but he had to settle for 2nd place.

He would go on to take that coveted award the following season, going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA in 1985, again leading the league in strikeouts as well as complete games (16) and innings pitched (276.2).

After his age 23 season, Gooden already had 91 wins under his belt to go along with a 2.62 ERA and 1,067 strikeouts.

After an injury-plagued ’89 season, he came back to win 19 games in 1990, but then things soured.

What started out looking like a sure-fire Hall of Fame career didn’t finish up that way, but for those first few seasons there was nothing finer than Dwight Gooden’s pitching.

Expect to see him at the top of the Pitcher of the Year leaderboards during the replay.  Should be a highly entertaining card to play with.

50 Days Before Opening Day

Yes, the MLB season is over and for those of us living in the Midwest, there is a long winter ahead of us.

But my short-season 1984 replay is starting in exactly 50 days!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you can get daily updates sent directly to your Inbox when things start off.

Cheers!

#8 – Dave Stieb, SP

Dave Stieb

Dave Stieb

I got into the Toronto Blue Jays pretty heavily starting in 1986 and one of my favorite players to watch on those teams was Dave Stieb.

It seemed like he was flirting with a no-hitter every other time out on the mound.  I always felt a little bummed that the Jays didn’t win their World Series until Stieb had left the team; he had meant so much to the franchise, spending 15 years with the team from 1979 to 1992.

1984 wasn’t his best season, but it was still a great one and he’ll be the front-runner for American League Pitcher of the Year in this replay.

Stieb’s name is all over the AL leader boards this year, finishing 2nd in ERA (2.83), 10th in Wins (16), 5th in Win-Loss % (.667), 3rd in WHIP, 1st in Hits per 9 IP, 4th in K/9, 1st in Innings Pitched, 2nd in Strikeouts, and 6th in Complete Games.

His card is definitely one I’ll always be plenty excited to have out for a roll.