Monday, February 18, 2013

1982 milwaukee brewers

this post covers the 1982 milwaukee brewers and cards numbered 220 to 224 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
this subset is not too different from the 1981 brew crew previously profiled in the set, in fact, upper deck merely cut rollie fingers from the checklist this time.  i would have like to have seen one hall of famer replaced with another, but ud decided not to add don sutton to it's celebration of the 1982 american league champions.

what team is this?:  this is the 1982 milwaukee brewers, who won the american league east and went on to beat the angels in the alcs to capture their first pennant.

why this team?:  this is the first milwaukee brewer team to reach the world series.  they were 95-67 during the regular season, and played the maximum number of postseason games (12) without winning the championship.  in fact, they were down two games to none in the alcs against the angels and roared back to win three straight elimination games.  of course, they squandered a 3 games to 2 lead over the cardinals in the world series.

which players are featured?: cecil cooper, gorman thomas, paul molitor, robin yount, and don money.

why these players?:  this is a pretty good representation of the 1982 brewers squad, for the most part.  let's break it down.

cecil cooper again hit over .300 - .313 to be exact - and drove in 121 runs.  he scored 104 times (the first time he had topped 100 in that category) and slugged a career high 32 homers as well. the first baseman won the silver slugger award for the second year in a row, started in the all-star game, and finished 5th in the league mvp voting.  he hit only .150 in the alcs against the angels, but in the world series against the brewers, cooper hit .286 with a home run and 6 rbi.

gorman thomas was back in center field in 1982, and his 39 home runs led the american league.  he drove in over 100 runs for the last time in his career, and finished 8th in the league mvp voting. in the postseason, thomas' only hit of the alcs was a game 1 home run as he was held hitless in the final four games of the series.  he didn't improve on his .067 average much in the world series either, managing just 3 hits against the cardinals in 26 at bats.  one of those hits, however, broke a 5-5 tie in game 5 of the series, driving in the winning runs in the brew crew's 7-5 win to put them within a single win of a world championship.

hall of famer paul molitor moved back into the infield in 1982, although he didn't go to second base.  he was moved to the hot corner, and the transition did not affect him at the plate at all.  he led the league in plate appearances and at bats, and was third in hits with 201.  he led the league with 136 runs scored to go along with 19 homers and 71 rbi.  molly surely could have been the mvp of the alcs thanks to his pair of homers, 5 rbi, and .316 average, but the voters chose to recognize fred lynn from the defeated angels, who hit .611 with a .650 obp and an ops over 1.5 in the series.  molitor went on to hit .355 in the world series with 11 singles in 31 at bats. he didn't drive in any runs, but did score 5 times in the 7 game series.  and, as his 'memorable moment' card attests, 5 of those 11 hits came in record fashion in the first game of the series.

over the course of 156 games in the regular season, robin yount hit .331 and led the league with 210 hits, 46 doubles, and a .578 slugging percentage.  he was named the league's most valuable player, and was voted to start the all-star game for the american league at shortstop.  he also won his only gold glove award in 1982, and earned the second of three career silver slugger awards. yount hit only .250 in the alcs, but banged out 12 hits (including 3 doubles and a home run) in the world series for a .414 average.

don money is the one player who probably doesn't fit here (certainly not at the expense of rollie fingers, who was dropped from the checklist for this subset), although his 1982 season was better than his 1981 campaign.  he appeared in 96 games and hit .284 with 16 homers.  he played in 4 of the 5 alcs games and hit .182 along the way.  in the world series, money appeared in 5 of the games and hit .231.  he had a single rbi in each of the series.

the stadium on the back is...?:  milwaukee county stadium, home to the brewers from 1970 through 2000.  it had hosted the milwaukee braves prior to that, from 1953 through 1965 after which the braves left for atlanta.  county stadium even hosted a handful of white sox games in 1968 and 1969.

did upper deck get it right?: there are no issues with featuring this team since it was the first brewer team to reach the world series, and it featured a lot of good players.  and, upper deck did well with the player selection, although they could have dropped money and left rollie fingers in the subset instead, even though he missed the postseason due to injury.  ted simmons, jim gantner, ben oglivie, don sutton or cy young award winner pete vuckovich would have been better choices than money based on their 1982 seasons and contributions to the team.

as for the photos, they all look about right for the period, except for money. based on the uniform money is wearing, that photo is from 1977 at the latest.

is this team timeless?:  i would say so, at least for fans of the brewers.  it is the first (and so far only) brewer team to make it to the world series, and boasted four hall of famers on its roster.

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