Wednesday, June 30, 2010

1982 Oakland Athletics

It's been a while since I've posted an article about the Oakland Athletics. They went from the AL runner-up in 1981 to being the 5th worst team in baseball in 1982. It's little wonder as the team featured Rickey Henderson-led outfield that was solid, a burned out pitching staff, and little else.

Robin Yount won the AL MVP award and rightly so as he was the best player on the best team. But Rickey Henderson represents the biggest no brainer selection for team MVP out of all of the teams I have reviewed so far. 1982 was of course the year that he set the single season record for stolen bases with 130. This is a record that doesn't seem in danger of falling anytime soon. Henderson only had a .267 batting average, but had 116 walks, so he got on base a lot. As much as what has been written about how valuable a walk is from the stat people, which I am not in agreement with, this is an exception, as Henderson batted lead off and with the stolen bases, his walks were as good as a double and sometimes a triple. He doubled every teammates runs scored total, except for Dwayne Murphy.

Besides his actual playing ability, this 1982 Topps card is one of my all time favorite cards. It is a nice action shot of Henderson leading off of first base getting ready to do what he did best, steal a base.

Cy Young
On the other side, it is difficult to decide who was this teams best pitcher. A lot of pitchers with losing records and bad ERAs. I will give it to a long reliever/spot starter, Tom Underwood. He was 4th on the team in innings pitched, had the lowest ERA, was 2nd in strikeouts, and had a winning record. To get an idea how he was used, he also had 2 complete games and 7 saves.

Rookie Card of the Year
Most Interesting Non Topps Card
There were only two rookie cards to choose from, Dave Beard and Kelvin Moore. Neither one made much of an impact in the game. Besides Billy Martin, they were the only two A's to be featured on a non-Topps card. So I will give both awards to Dave Beard. He was considered the closer for this team in that he finished the most games and had the most saves. He played for the A's in 1983, the Mariners in 1984, the Cubs in 1985 and then didn't appear in the major leagues again until appearing in two games for the 1989 Tigers. 1982 was his best season in the majors.

Note: Preston Hanna and Fernando Arroyo played for the A's and other different teams in 1982. They were both pictured on cards with the other teams that they played for in 1982, but both got more playing time with the A's, so I placed them here on the checklist.

__ TO 318 C Mike Heath OAK
__ TT 70 1B Dan Meyer OAK
__ TT 64 2B Davey Lopes OAK
__ TO 692 3B Wayne Gross OAK
__ TO 787 SS Fred Stanley OAK
__ TO 610 LF Rickey Henderson OAK
__ TO 29 CF Dwayne Murphy OAK
__ TO 60 RF Tony Armas OAK
__ TT 14 DH Jeff Burroughs OAK
__ TO 187 C Jeff Newman OAK
__ TO 422 DH Cliff Johnson OAK

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 454 SP Rick Langford OAK
__ TO 87 SP Matt Keough OAK
__ TO 370 SP Mike Norris OAK
__ TO 113 SP Steve McCatty OAK
__ TO 476 SP Brian Kingman OAK

Relief Pitchers
__ FL 87 CL Dave Beard OAK
__ TO 757 RP Tom Underwood OAK
__ TO 243 RP Bob Owchinko OAK
__ TO 217 RP Bo McLaughlin OAK
__ FL 435 RP Preston Hanna ATL

Other Players
__ TO 534 2B Dave McKay OAK
__ TT 102 1B Joe Rudi OAK
__ TO 148 3B Mickey Klutts OAK

SS Jimmy Sexton
__ TO 729 1B Jim Spencer OAK

SS Tony Phillips
__ TO 633 DH Mitchell Page OAK

C Bob Kearney
__ TO 671 UT Mike Davis OAK
__ DO 534 1B Kelvin Moore OAK
__ TO 123 DH Danny Goodwin MIN
__ TO 293 SS Rob Picciolo OAK

UT Darrell Brown
__ TO 392 OF Rick Bosetti OAK

UT Kevin Bell
__ TO 139 RP Jeff Jones OAK

SP Steve Baker

SP Tim Conroy
__ TO 18 RP Fernando Arroyo MIN
__ TO 58 RP John D'Acquisto CAL

SP Chris Codiroli

RP Dennis Kinney

__ DO 491 MG Billy Martin OAK

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1982 Chicago Cubs

Thanks to a tip from Wrigley Wax, I am adding a regional set to help fill out this Cubs checklist. In 1982, the Cubs in conjunction with Red Lobster produced a 28 card team set. Nothing goes better together than baseball cards and Red Lobster. The cards are slightly thinner than standard issue cards, but the height is the same, so they won't fit poorly in your box, like sets such as the 1988 Topps Big and 1989 Bowman sets. There are 6 cards in the set that will help fill out the ultimate checklist for the 1982 Cubs, which are all noted in the checklist below with CR.

Leon Durham led the team in home runs and RBIs and all the new age average stats (OBP, SLG, OPS), so he will get the award...consideration could go to Bill Buckner and Ryne Sandberg.

Cy Young
Lee Smith was the closer for this team and racked up 17 saves to go with his 2.69 ERA. On most teams, his card would get the award for Rookie Card of the Year, but...

Rookie Card of the Year
In the above mentioned Red Lobster set, one of the 6 players there were cards of that help us fill out the checklist is a card of hall-of-famer Ryne Sandberg. This card actually pre-dates his Topps, Fleer and Donruss rookie cards, which all came out in the 1983 sets. As mentioned previously in this blog, Sandberg made his debut in 1981 with the Phillies, but 1982 was his first season with the Cubs.

Most Interesting Non-Topps Card
This team was loaded with solid rookie cards in 1982, and one that gets lost behind Ryne Sandberg and Lee Smith is the rookie card of Pat Tabler in the 1982 Donruss set. Tabler was a high average hitting first baseman making a name for himself with the Indians through the 1980s. He wrapped up his career with the Royals, Mets, and Blue Jays, finally retiring after the 1992 season. 1982 was his last season with the Cubs before he was traded to the crosstown White Sox and then on to the Indians during the offseason of 1982-1983.

Note: Bob Molinaro has a card in the 1982 Topps set showing him as a member of the White Sox. He also has a card in the Cubs Red Lobster set showing him as a Cub. He played with the Cubs and Phillies in 1982. He had 72 plate appearances with the Cubs, 17 for the Phillies, so I am placing his 1982 Topps card on the Cubs checklist, simply because the Red Lobster card is probably rare. If I ever get that card, I will place the 1982 Topps Molinaro card with the Phillies.

__ TO 508 C Jody Davis CHC
__ TO 760 1B Bill Buckner CHC
__ TT 129 2B Bump Wills CHC
__ CR 23 3B Ryne Sandberg CHC
__ TT 10 SS Larry Bowa CHC
__ TO 89 LF Steve Henderson CHC
__ TT 130 CF Gary Woods CHC
__ TO 607 RF Leon Durham CHC
__ TT 76 UT Keith Moreland CHC
__ TT 52 OF Jay Johnstone CHC
__ TT 55 MI Junior Kennedy CHC

Starting Pitchers
__ TT 49 SP Fergie Jenkins CHC
__ TO 273 SP Doug Bird CHC
__ TT 82 SP Dickie Noles CHC
__ TO 188 SP Randy Martz CHC
__ TT 99 SP Allen Ripley CHC

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 452 CL Lee Smith CHC
__ TO 699 RP Dick Tidrow CHC
__ TT 92 RP Mike Proly CHC
__ TO 23 RP Willie Hernandez CHC
__ TT 16 RP Bill Campbell CHC

Other Players
__ TO 33 CF Jerry Morales CHC
__ DO 529 3B Pat Tabler CHC

CF Mel Hall
__ CR 18 OF Scot Thompson CHC
__ TO 363 LF Bob Molinaro CHW
__ CR 29 LF Bob Molinaro CHC
__ TT 11 UT Dan Briggs CHC
__ DO 554 SS Scott Fletcher CHC
__ FL 607 UT Ty Waller CHC
__ TO 663 OF Hector Cruz CHC

C Butch Benton

C Larry Cox

SP Tom Filer

SP Dan Larson
__ TO 639 RP Ken Kravec CHC

RP Randy Stein

RP Herman Segelke

__ CR 4 MG Lee Elia

__ CR 0 CO Cubs Coaches (John Vukovich, Gordy MacKenzie, Billy Williams, Billy Connors, Tom Harmon)

__ CR 0 TM Chicago Cubs


Thursday, June 24, 2010

1982 Seattle Mariners

Since the Mariners came online in 1977, this was their best team recordwise. This would also be the team's best record until 1987. This team also had the first hall-of-famer in team's history, in Gaylord Perry. Perry was one of nine Mariners in the Topps Traded set.

He was picked up in one of those moves that many expansion teams make in order to create a history for their team because he won his 300th game shortly after joining the Mariners. Who did Wade Boggs get his 3000th hit with? The Devil Rays (or Rays) in 1999, which Boggs only played with for two seasons. Who did Pete Rose get his 4000th hit with? The Montreal Expos, who he played with for only 4 months in 1984. This may have all started with the '62 Mets who attempted to create an all-star team of over-the-hill players from other NL teams until they could get fully up and running in order to put fans in the seats.

Al Cowens, who came in 2nd in the MVP race in 1977 with the Royals, was purchased to by the Mariners prior to the '82 season. He led the team in hits and RBIs (even though it was only 78), was 2nd in runs scored, HRs, and slugging percentage, and was third in batting average and OBP. This wasn't a team known for it's offense. Al Cowens, Julio Cruz, Bruce Bochte, and Richie Zisk led this offense, but wouldn't have even come close to leading any other team in 1982.

Cy Young
This team was stronger in the pitching department. There wasn't any pitcher with a strong winning percentage, but alot of young pitchers (who either panned or didn't) with decent ERAs. The best pitcher though was actually the teams closer. Bill Caudill had 26 saves for this team to go with a 2.35 ERA.

Rookie Card of the Year
Another strong arm out of the bullpen was Ed VandeBerg, he was truly a 1st year player with a card in one of the sets. He had a 2.37 ERA as a set up man out of the pen. 1982 was his best year though and after leaving the Mariners in for the 1986 season to play for the Dodgers, Indians, and Rangers, he was out of baseball after 1988.

Most Interesting Non-Topps Card
I am trying not to use the manager cards that were in the Donruss set, so I am going with the only player who saw playing time with the Mariners in 1982 that didn't have a Topps card, Paul Serna. Serna was a backup middle infielder who signed with the Mariners as an amateur free agent in 1980 and was with the big club in 1981. 1982 was his last season in the majors, although he was in the farm system until 1985.

Note: Dave Revering played his final season in 1982. He bounced around between the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Mariners in 1982. He had a card as a Yankee in the regular Topps set and a card in the Traded set with the Blue Jays. He got 159 plate appearances with the Jays, 92 with the Mariners, and 44 with the Yankees, so I am placing his Yankees card on the Mariners checklist since he got more playing time with the Mariners.


C Rick Sweet

1B Jim Maler
__ TO 130 2B Julio Cruz SEA

3B Manny Castillo

SS Todd Cruz
__ TO 224 LF Bruce Bochte SEA

CF Dave Henderson
__ TT 22 RF Al Cowens SEA
__ TO 769 DH Richie Zisk SEA
__ TO 382 OF Joe Simpson SEA
__ TO 523 1B Gary Gray SEA
__ TT 12 LF Bobby Brown SEA

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 468 SP Floyd Bannister SEA
__ TT 88 SP Gaylord Perry SEA
__ TO 22 SP Jim Beattie SEA

SP Mike Moore
__ TT 80 SP Gene Nelson SEA

Relief Pitchers
__ TT 18 CL Bill Caudill SEA
__ TT 122 RP Ed Vande Berg SEA
__ TO 632 RP Bryan Clark SEA

SP Bob Stoddard
__ TT 113 RP Mike Stanton SEA
__ TO 52 RP Larry Andersen SEA

Other Players
__ DO 567 IF Paul Serna SEA
__ TO 98 C Bud Bulling SEA
__ TT 31 C Jim Essian SEA

3B Dave Edler
__ TO 109 1B Dave Revering NYY
__ TO 312 UT Lenny Randle SEA
__ TT 114 UT Steve Stroughter SEA
__ TO 350 OF Thad Bosley MIL

OF John Moses

SS Domingo Ramos

UT Orlando Mercado

C Dan Firova

UT Vance McHenry

SP Ed Nunez

RP Ron Musselman

RP Rich Bordi
__ TO 371 RP Jerry Gleaton SEA

Minor Leagues
__ TO 571 MN Glenn Abbott SEA
__ FL 515 MN Casey Parsons SEA

__ DO 600 MG Rene Lachemann SEA
__ DO 445 CO Vada Pinson CHW

Monday, June 21, 2010

1982 Houston Astros

This team is a good demonstration in how much the game has changed in 25 years. The Astros in 1982 were 4 games (or is that 8 games, not quite sure how that works) under .500, so they were roughly an average team in 1982. Granted the Astros played in a very large stadium, but they did play half their games on the road. Here are your team leaders in various categories:
BA - Ray Knight - .294
HR - Phil Garner - 13
RBI - Phil Garner - 83
SB - Dickie Thon - 37 (Garner had 24, Jose Cruz had 21, 2 others had at least 17)

By comparison, the leaders for the 2009 Astros, who played in a smaller park, but finished 4 games worse:
BA - Miguel Tejada - .313
HR - Carlos Lee - 26
RBI - Carlos Lee - 102
SB - Michael Bourn - 61 (OK, he led the league in stolen bases, but only one other player had more than 17 and three players I would consider full time players had 0, nobody in 1982 had 0.)

OK, some stat guy could probably tear these comparisons apart (different stadium, record was better because team pitching was better in 1982, etc.), but it is odd to see that 13 home runs and 83 RBIs could lead an average team.

Anyway, Phil Garner, Dickie Thon, Ray Knight, and Jose Cruz get consideration for team MVP, I'll give it to Garner. Probably a pitcher really deserves it.

Cy Young
The 1982 Astros had two hall-of-famers anchoring their pitching staff in Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton (although Sutton got traded before the end of the season to the Brewers), but the ace of this pitching staff was a brother of another hall-of-famer, Joe Niekro. He had 17 wins with a 2.47 ERA.

Another sign of the changes in the game in the past 25 years, Niekro pitched 16 complete games. Nolan Ryan pitched 10 and 11 games complete games were pitched by other pitchers. That is a total of 37 complete games or almost 23% of the games played. Was this an oddity to have so many complete games. Well here is a look at the NL West teams in 1982:
Atlanta - 15 (didn't have a very deep rotation)
Los Angeles - 37 (18 of these were by Fernando Valenzuela)
San Francisco - 18
San Diego - 20 (thrown by 7 different pitchers)
Houston - 37
Cincinnati - 22 (13 by Mario Soto)

By way of comparison, the Giants had 11 complete games in 2009...and they had the two league leaders in complete games thrown in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

Rookie Card of the Year
Not much to choose from here...I'll go with Joe Pittman, he was a utility infielder through 1984 with the Astros, Giants, and Padres. It was either Pittman or George Cappuzzello. Pittman is shown with the Astros on his card so he gets the pick.

Most Interesting non-Topps Card
Danny Heep had a 13 season career as a utility first basemen/outfielder, seeing action with the Astros, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, and finally ending it with the 1991 Braves. In 1981, he was one of the three players on the Astros future stars card. He had his own card in the 1981 Fleer set. You would think Topps would've given him his own card in 1982, since he already had one in a competitor's set. Nope, he was put on the Astros prospects card in the 1982 Topps set as well. Again, Fleer gave him his own card. He finally got his first solo Topps card in 1983.

Note: if you want to check out more cards of Houston Astros go to Astros Baseball Cards, a blog devoted to nothing else except Houston Astros cards.

__ TO 433 C Alan Ashby HOU
__ TT 57 1B Ray Knight HOU
__ TO 683 2B Phil Garner HOU
__ TO 453 3B Art Howe HOU
__ TO 404 SS Dickie Thon HOU
__ TO 325 LF Jose Cruz HOU
__ TO 698 CF Tony Scott HOU
__ TO 277 RF Terry Puhl HOU

Starting Pitchers
__ TO 611 SP Joe Niekro HOU
__ TO 90 SP Nolan Ryan HOU
__ TO 305 SP Don Sutton HOU
__ TO 672 SP Bob Knepper HOU
__ TO 539 SP Vern Ruhle HOU

Relief Pitchers
__ TO 761 CL Dave Smith HOU
__ TT 61 RP Mike LaCoss HOU
__ TO 248 RP Frank LaCorte HOU

Other Players
__ FL 217 RF Danny Heep HOU
__ TO 582 C Luis Pujols HOU
__ TO 147 UT Denny Walling HOU

UT Alan Knicely
__ TO 57 SS Craig Reynolds HOU

2B Bill Doran
__ TO 377 SS Kiko Garcia HOU
__ TO 509 1B Harry Spilman HOU

CF Scott Loucks

UT Tim Tolman

OF Kevin Bass
__ TO 119 UT Joe Pittman HOU
__ TO 734 PH Mike Ivie HOU

RF Larry Ray

RP Randy Moffitt

SP Frank DiPino

RP Bert Roberge
__ TO 137 RP George Cappuzzello DET
__ TO 34 RP Joe Sambito HOU

RP Danny Boone

RP Mark Ross

RP Gordie Pladson

__ DO 144 MG Bill Virdon HOU

MG Bob Lillis