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

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