Monday, August 12, 2013

1984 detroit tigers

this post covers the 1984 detroit tigers and cards numbered 229 to 235 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
it's the third appearance for the detroit tiger franchise, but these are all new faces.  well, in a tigers' uniform, anyway. 

what team is this?:  the 1984 world champion detroit tigers

why this team?:  the 1984 tigers began the season by going 35-5 in their first 40 games.  they wound up winning 104 games and led the american league east from start to finish.  the team also featured the league's mvp and cy young award winner, although he is not included in the set.  more on that later.

which players are featured?:  we have the ace, three-fourths of the infield, two-thirds of the outfield, and the manager.  that would be jack morris, alan trammell, howard johnson, lou whitaker, chet lemon, kirk gibson, and sparky anderson.

why these players?:  let's break it down.

alan trammell had a big year in 1984.  he matched his career highs to that point in doubles, triples, and home runs, and set a new personal best in rbi.  he hit .314 over 139 games and finished 9th in the al mvp race.  he also was named to the all-star team and won a gold glove.  he hit .364 in the alcs against the royals, and a huge .450 in the world series against the padres.  in the fall classic, he had 2 homers, 6 rbi and won the mvp award for the series.

chet lemon was in his third season as the tigers' centerfielder in 1984.  he hit .287 with 20 home runs and 76 rbi, and was a starter in the all-star game that year.  unfortunately, lemon was 0 for 13 in the alcs, but he did rebound to hit .294 with a couple of steals in the world series.

howard johnson began the season as the tigers' third baseman, but was replaced by marty castillo by the time the world series came around.  he did get one at bat (as a pinch hitter) in the fall classic, and reached on an error.  he was traded to the mets shortly after the series ended.

jack morris went 19-11 for the tigers in 1984.  he threw a no-hitter in his second start and was 5-0 at the end of april.  at the end of may, morris was 10-1 with 7 complete games in 12 starts.  he was 3-0 in the postseason, including 2-0 in the world series with wins in games 1 and 4.

kirk gibson played in right for the 1984 tigers.  he appeared in 149 games and hit 27 homers.  he drove in 91 runs and scored 92 times himself (the most on the team).  gibson hit .417 in the alcs and was named the mvp of that series.  he did well in the world series, too, hitting 2 home runs with 7 rbi and posting a .333 average.  both of his home runs came in the deciding game 5 - a 2-run home run in the first inning to start the scoring, and a mammoth 3-run shot off of goose gossage in the 8th to put the game away.  gibson also scored another run in the game, hustling home on a short sacrifice fly by rusty kuntz.

lou whitaker hit .289 with 14 homers and 56 rbi in 1984.  as the tigers' second baseman, whitaker played in 143 games, was the starter for the american league in the all-star game, and also won the gold glove and silver slugger awards.  he hit .143 in the alcs, and .278 in the world series.

sparky anderson won his fifth career pennant and third world championship with the tigers in 1984.  he was named the american league's manager of the year in his seventh season in detroit, and he would remain their manager for 11 more seasons.  so far, sparky is the only manager to appear in the set, and he's shown up twice.

the stadium on the back is...?: tiger stadium.  as it should be, although it's tough to tell when the photo was taken.

did upper deck get it right?: no doubt that this team, above all others (even steve garvey's 1984 san diego padres) deserves a spot.  still, it would have been good to see the padres represented in the set.  garvey, goose gossage, and graig nettles were all big parts of that team and are already on this set's checklist.  plus, dick williams would have been a good add (and he could have been featured with some of the early oakland a's teams in the set).  oh well.

as for the players, the obvious omission is willie (guillermo) hernandez.  he had pitched in a league leading 80 games during the regular season, compiling a 9-3 record with 32 saves.  he was also voted the american league mvp and cy young award winner.  he should be in the set.  lance parrish, their catcher, is another one conspicuous by their absence.  parrish led the team in home runs and rbi in 1984 and would have been a better choice than howard johnson for the set, even though hojo shows up again with the 1986 mets.

i don't see too much with the photos that make me think they are not from 1984 or the immediate era, but the tigers don't mess with their uniforms too often.  having said that, the whitaker photo is from no earlier than 1985, as that was the year that the team went to a button-up road jersey, as opposed to the pullovers that lemon, hojo, and morris are wearing.

is this team timeless?:  i believe so.  they were dominant from the start of the season, and gibson's home run off of gossage is fairly unforgettable.

Monday, August 5, 2013

1983 baltimore orioles

this post covers the 1983 baltimore orioles and cards numbered 225 to 228 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
hey! long time no post, i know.  i hope to finish this up by the end of the postseason.  that's about a post a week - i think i can handle it.  by the way, this is the fourth time the orioles have been featured in the set.

what team is this?:  the world champion 1983 baltimore orioles

why this team?:  they were world champions!  the o's won 98 games during the regular season and then beat the white sox in the alcs and the phillies in the world series, 4 games to 1.  they also had the first and second place finishers in the al mvp voting that year.

which players are featured?:  we get cal ripken jr, dan ford, jim palmer, and john shelby

why these players?:  ripken was the mvp in his second full season, so he's a no-brainer.  the other three might be checklist fodder - let's break it down.

cal ripken jr played in 162 games for the first time in 1983.  he won the mvp award based on having led the league in runs scored, hits, and doubles, plus a .318 batting average, 27 home runs and 102 rbi.  his teammate, eddie murray, finished second in the voting (for the second straight year).  ripken also hit .400 in the alcs in 1983, but just .167 in the fall classic with no extra base hits.  the 'memorable moment' card that ripken receives in the set is pretty generic.  i suppose the 'moment' is supposed to be the final out of the series, which was a garry maddox line out to short, caught by ripken.

dan ford was the team's primary right fielder in 1983. he hit .280 in 103 games during the regular season, but was just 1 for 5 in the alcs.  he hit .167 in the world series, but did have a home run off of steve carlton in pivotal game 3.

jim palmer made just 14 appearances (11 starts) in 1983.  he was 5-4 with a 4.23 era during the regular season, and did not appear in the alcs.  he had one world series appearance which came in game 3.  in that game,  palmer pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win in what would be his final postseason appearance.

john shelby, like ripken, spent his first full season in the majors with baltimore in 1983.  shelby was the team's center fielder, playing in 126 games.  he hit .258 with 5 homers and 15 stolen bases.  in the outfield, shelby was second among al center fielders with 10 assists.  he hit .222 (2 for 9) in the 1983 alcs and .444 (4 for 9) in the world series.

the stadium on the back is...?:  memorial stadium

did upper deck get it right?: as with the other orioles posts, we have to look at the logo.  for some reason, upper deck put a different logo on the front of the memorable moments card.  that logo seems to be the primary logo used by the team from 1999-2008 which makes sense since this is a 2004 issued set.  the bird logo on the other card fronts (and all the backs), however, is correct for the 1983 season.  in 2004, the o's were using a more ornithologically correct version of an oriole.

what about the player selection?  ripken is an obvious choice, but so too would have been eddie murray, scott mcgregor (18-7 on the season), and mike boddicker (16-8, alcs mvp).  rick dempsey would have made a ton of sense, too, since he was the world series mvp, and was also on the 1988 dodgers team that shows up later in the checklist.  sure, he would have been a checklist convenience as a part of the dodger team subset, but jim palmer is only featured here because he was already part of the set.  shelby and ford, who are also featured elsewhere in the set, were at least regulars in joe altobelli's lineup.

as for the photos, ripken's is from much later in his career (thanks to the bird on his helmet), and it is a shame that there isn't a photo used of him making the catch to end the 1983 world series.  that would have really tied the card and photo together.  the other photos look to be pretty good for 1983.

is this team timeless?:  it's the last orioles team to win the world series, and the only title for two hall of famers.  i would say yes.