Monthly Archives: December 2015

Tomorrow is the Big Day

We are getting ready for the 1984 Replay Blog to kick off in full force with daily updates slated to begin tomorrow.

Look for team previews first and games to start immediately afterwards.

The blog will be pretty much be posting daily throughout 2016.

I put a ton of time into this project and I really hope you get something out of it.

Best of luck to whatever team you are pulling for.

Happy New Year!

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R.I.P. Dave Henderson

hi-res-60e57bc4d95a51cd92f64950dd5e08e7_crop_northI’ve said it before – somebody always dies from a season I’m in the process of replaying.

Okay, obviously if I’m playing with a card set from the 1920s or something, then I’m not at risk of this.

But bust out a card set from the 1980s or more recently and it’s bound to happen.

The curse struck again this weekend when 1984 Seattle Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson was struck down by a heart attack.

Henderson began his career with five seasons in Seattle before going to play for the Boston Red Sox in 1986 where you might have heard about a kind of big home run he hit off of California Angels closer Donnie Moore in the ALCS.

I will give a little spoiler here (not too much) and say that a touch more than half-way through my project, Henderson has been tearing it up as a part-time outfielder.

Stay tuned.

#1 – Cal Ripken, SS

Cal Ripken

Cal Ripken

The countdown ends with the #1 most productive player of the 1984 season – Cal Ripken Junior.

When you think of Cal, you immediately think of his consecutive games played streak.

But what might be forgotten is that he was an All-Star selection for 19 straight season, only missing out in the ’81 season (when he only played 23 games) and the ’82 season when he won Rookie of the Year.

Ripken won the MVP award in ’83 and ’91, so he was one of the front-runners for the ’84 season.

Somehow he only finished 27th in AL MVP voting, which speaks largely to voters tendency to vote based on the player’s team more so than the player himself.

True, Ripken did not lead the AL in any major offensive categories in 1984.

However, he finished in the top 10 in batting average (.304), slugging percentage (.510), OPS (.884), runs (103), hits (195), total bases (327), doubles (37), triples (7) and extra base hits (71).

He hit 27 home runs in an era before shortstops did that sort of thing.

Oh, and he finished with a league-best 5.5 range factor / 9 innings at shortstop while also finishing 5th in fielding percentage.

Do his offensive number hold up against teammate Eddie Murray?  Probably not.

But if we adjust those numbers for their position?  There weren’t other shortstops doing what Ripken did in 1984.

Add in the fact that Ripken was playing a vital defensive position while Murray (a Gold Glove winner) was holding down first base and I still give the nod to Cal as 1984’s top player.

10 Days Until Opening Day

First off, Merry Christmas to all.

Secondly, ten days remain!

We will soon be starting things off.  Sure, it’s almost winter.  Sure, it’s football season.

But on this blog, they are getting the fields ready for baseball – 1984 style.

Who’s ready?

#2 – Ryne Sandberg, 2B

Ryne Sandberg

Ryne Sandberg

1984 proved to be 24-year old Ryne Sandberg’s coming out year.

That’s not to say that his prior seasons in the big leagues were duds.

In 1982 he finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting, hitting .271 with 32 SB for the Chicago Cubs.

He followed up by winning a Gold Glove in ’83 and stealing 37 more bases.

In ’84, he added more dimensions to his game, hitting .314 with 19 HR, 32 SB and picking up another Gold Glove award.

“Ryno” would go on to win 9 straight fielding awards.

Sandberg won the National League MVP award in ’84 and started a run of 10 straight All-Star appearances.

Save for 6 plate appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981, Sandberg spent his entire career with the Cubs.

He finished with a .285 lifetime batting average, 282 HR and 344 SB.

One must keep in mind that Sandberg came up in a pre-Jeff Kent era.  There weren’t a whole lot of second baseman hitting 20+ homers a season, but Ryno did it six times in his career.

In ’84, he finished among the National League’s leaders in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, hits, total bases, doubles and extra base hits.

He led the league in runs scored and triples.

If you ask me, as a Cubs fan, what I remember most about Sandberg it is somewhat hard for me to answer.

He was definitely my favorite player during his career. He was the team’s best player. He was consistent. He was solid.

But he was also very dull and boring.  And that, I suppose, is also a big part of what I liked about him.

Sandberg just played the game, head down, all out at all times.  There was no show-boating or dramatics or scandals.

Just playing ball.

Sandberg made the Hall of Fame in 2005, his 3rd year of eligibility.

#3 – Gary Carter, C

Gary Carter

Gary Carter

I’m not sure if it’s just because he was (a) good and (b) not on my team, but I used to despise Gary Carter.

Now I’m actually wondering if I had an anti-catcher thing, because one of my other most loathed players of the mid-1980s was the Boston Red Sox backstop Rich Gedman.

I digress.

Carter made it to the All-Star game for a 6th straight time in 1984, powered by a .294 average with 27 HR, 32 doubles, and a National League-leading 106 runs batted in.

Strat-o-Matic  gave him a 1 rating at catcher with a minus-2 arm, so he’s among the best there.  To have an option like Carter at a position that generally isn’t known for this kind of offense and having played 159 games, “Kid” deserves a spot among 1984’s most valuable players.

 

#4 – Lloyd Moseby, CF

Lloyd Moseby

Lloyd Moseby

Lloyd Moseby?  Number Four on the countdown?  Really?

No disrespect to Moseby, who I definitely enjoyed watching during his team with the Jays when they were my favorite American League team.

But it just never occurred to me that he was this valuable.

So where did his value come from in 1984?

For starters, he was speedy.  He led the league in triples, tying teammate Dave Collins with 15 of them.  He stole 39 bases.

He was also among the league’s Top 10 in Walks and Extra Base Hits.

For all that, Moseby didn’t even make the All-Star Game.  Perhaps if there was as much focus on On Base Percentage in 1984 as there is today he might have gotten some attention.

Moseby also rated among the league’s 5 best defensive center fielders in terms of Range Factor / 9 and Fielding %.  Strat awarded him with a 2 rating.

It should be entertaining watching Moseby and some of his teammates pour on the speed numbers during this replay.  I’m not expecting to see him in the Batter of the Year discussion, but he should be a key player for a Blue Jays team that has a chance at winning the AL East.