Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1983 Atlanta Braves

While doing some research on this team, I found the following quote on the wikipedia page.."It was a season of extreme excitement followed by profound disappointment." I think this sums it up. The Braves were coming off of winning the NL West in 1982 and started out very strong in 1983. They had a 5 1/2 game lead as late August 15. That was a key date in this season, as that is when they lost slugger Bob Horner for the season, and collapsed to finish second in the NL West.

Also of note is 1983 was the last season (well, until a token appearance in 1987) in a Braves uniform for Phil Niekro. The knuckleball pitcher had been a Brave since 1964, when the team was still known as the Milwaukee Braves. That '64 team included Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, and a 43 year old pitcher you may have heard of named Warren Spahn. Spahn could trace his career back to the 1942 Braves, who were then known as the Boston Braves.

Best player: Dale Murphy...by a mile

Best pitcher: Craig McMurtry

All-Stars: Bruce Benedict, Glenn Hubbard, Dale Murphy, Pascual Perez

Rookie Card of the Year: Craig McMurtry...a true first year player with a card in the Topps Traded set. He led the starters in ERA to go with 15 wins. He was second in the Rookie of the Year vote to Darryl Strawberry. This was his best season in the majors. He was out after 1990 with a career playing for the Braves and Rangers, and then had a cup of coffee with the 1995 Astros. Another highlight of his career is that he gave up home run #1 to all time home run leader Barry Bonds.

Other Rookie Cards: Joe Cowley, Carlos Diaz (listed under players on new teams), Randy Johnson, Ken Smith, Larry Whisenton (listed under retired players)...Whisenton appeared on the Braves prospects card all the way back in 1979, but did not receive his own card until the 1983 Topps set. He was done in the majors after 1982. Carlos Diaz was traded in mid-September of 1982 from the Braves to the Mets for Tom Hausman. He got into 4 late games with the Mets in 1982. His rookie cards are in the 1983 sets, with Donruss showing him as an Atlanta Brave and Fleer showing him as a New York Met.

First Brave cards: Pete Falcone, Tom Hausman (listed under retired players), Terry Forster, Mike Jorgensen, Pascual Perez

Most interesting non-Topps card: Matt Sinatro was a catcher who may best be described as a career third string catcher. His career stretches from 1981 to 1992, but he never played more than 37 games in a season, that coming with the 1982 Braves. His rookie card is in the 1982 Donruss set. He appears again in the 1983 Donruss set. He would not appear again on a baseball card until the 1990 Topps Traded set when he was a member of the Mariners. Under the White Sox, I mused about Jerry Hairston going 6 years without a card appearance, but Sinatro ties him with 6 years with no cards, and considering his next card comes in a traded set, you might add another 1/2 to Sinatro. Under the White Sox comments, readers gave examples of players who went longer.

__ TO 521 C Bruce Benedict ATL
__ TO 792 1B Chris Chambliss ATL
__ TO 624 2B Glenn Hubbard ATL
__ TO 439 SS Rafael Ramirez ATL
__ TO 50 3B Bob Horner ATL
__ TO 364 LF Brett Butler ATL
__ TO 760 CF Dale Murphy ATL
__ TO 235 RF Claudell Washington ATL
__ TO 26 IF Jerry Royster ATL
Starting Pitchers
__ TT 69 SP Craig McMurtry ATL
__ TT 84 SP Pascual Perez ATL
__ TO 410 SP Phil Niekro ATL
__ TO 314 SP Ken Dayley ATL
Relief Pitchers
__ TO 157 CL Steve Bedrosian ATL
__ TT 33 RP Terry Forster ATL
__ TO 207 RP Rick Camp ATL
__ TT 31 RP Pete Falcone ATL

RP Donnie Moore
__ TO 255 RP Gene Garber ATL
Other Players
__ TO 339 OF Terry Harper ATL
__ TO 572 1B Bob Watson ATL
__ TO 596 3B Randy Johnson ATL
__ TO 676 C Biff Pocoroba ATL
__ TT 51 UT Mike Jorgensen ATL

UT Gerald Perry

OF Brad Komminsk

C Larry Owen
__ DO 622 C Matt Sinatro ATL
__ FL 148 1B Ken Smith ATL

OF Albert Hall

2B Paul Runge

3B Brook Jacoby

SS Paul Zuvella

RP Rick Behenna

SP Len Barker

RP Tony Brizzolara
__ TO 76 RP Rick Mahler ATL
__ TO 649 RP Tommy Boggs ATL

RP Jeff Dedmon
__ TO 104 SP Bob Walk ATL
__ TO 288 MN Joe Cowley ATL
__ TO 467 MN Rufino Linares ATL
__ TO 126 MG Joe Torre ATL


  1. Combine TBS with 1983 as my first year of watching baseball daily, and I can STILL name the '83 Braves by position without looking it up. On my local cable system, I got the Braves on channel 5 (WTBS), Yankees on channel 6 (WPIX), and Mets on channel 7 (WWOR). I kept flipping between games a lot. That was about as good as it got back then. If I only had WGN available in my area... woah...

  2. Funny you bring this up, because that was going to be something I brought up about this being America's Team and I never worked it in.

    In my neck of the woods cable must've came about 1983 because I remember most of the songs always listed on the top songs of 1983 being on MTV constantly. I watched that channel nonstop when we first got cable TV. We did get WGN and TBS, although I was a Tiger fan and paid little attention to the other teams at the time. I think the America's Team thing wore into my head because my dad was constantly watching old sitcoms on TBS at the time and they ran the promos constantly.