Thursday, January 17, 2013

#291 1982 Pittsburgh Pirates

On the Pittsburgh Pirates leaders and checklist we see a Pirate with a black top and yellow helmet and one with a yellow jersey and black pillbox hat. Looks like maybe Candelaria was in mid sentence when his picture was taken.
Baseball Card Database
The 1982 Pittsburgh Pirates finished in 4th place in 1982 winning 84 against 78 losses.  Offensively they were led by Bill Madlock and his team best .319 average.  He also hit 19 HR and drove in 95 runs which were both second on the team to Jason Thompson who had 31 HR and 101 RBI. 
Tall lefty John Candelaria led the team with a 2.94 ERA although it should be mentioned he pitched just 174 innings as he averaged less than six innings per start.  Don Robinson led the staff with 15 wins and 165 strikeouts. Rick Rhoden worked a team best 230 innings.
 
Baseball Card Database
Flipside: Besides being woefully offcenter, the back of the card shows a checklist for 26 Pirate cards including skipper Chuck Tanner.  Willie Stargell who played out the last year of his HOF career in 1982 did not get a card although Fleer and Donruss gave him one.  Jim Bibby who missed the entire year with a bum shoulder got a card though.
 
The Starting Nine:
 
C:  Tony Pena .296 BA, 3.1 WAR
1B: Jason Thompson .284/.391/.511, 4.6 WAR
2B: Johnny Ray .281 BA played all 162 games 3.6 WAR
SS: Dale Berra 2.9 WAR, 1.3 rest of career
3B: Bill Madlock 134 OPS+, 5.9 WAR
LF: Mike Easler .276, 15 HR, 1.0 WAR
CF: Omar Moreno 60 SB despite .292 OBP, -1.4 WAR zoiks!
RF: Dave Parker played 73 games, 6 HR, 0.5 WAR

The Pirates led the National League in runs scored with 724 even though they had the on base challenged Moreno in the leadoff spot.  He and 4th outfielder Lee Lacy combined for over 100 steals while Madlock and Ray chipped in with 18 and 16 each. Pittsburgh hit an NL best .273 but weren't a patient bunch as Thompson with 101 walks was the only Buc over 50.  They had good power finishing first in doubles and third in home runs.

Among the reserves, Lacy was the only one to bat more than 100 times as manager Chuck Tanner started the same eight on offense as much as possible.  Lacy hit .312 and subbed at all three outfield spots.  Willie "Pops" Stargell hit .233/.318/.411 as a pinch hitter. 

A secret weapon for the Pirates was their pitcher's hitting ability which hit .223 as a group.  "Caveman" Robinson clubbed two HR and drove in 18 runs with a .282 average while Rhoden hit .265 with a three homers. 

Defensively the infield was strong with Berra and Ray both with double digits in fielding runs. Madlock was a positive with the glove as was agile backstop Tony Pena.  The outfield was a different story.  Neither Easler nor Parker, who was battling weight and health problems, had range in the corners.  Moreno despite his speed was rated at -8 fielding runs.  Lacy in part time duty somehow finished with -12 fielding runs.

Pitching Staff:

SP Rick Rhoden 35 GS, 11-14, 4.14 ERA, 230 IP
SP Don Robinson 38 G, 30 GS, 15-13, 4.28 ERA, 227 IP
SP John Candelaria, 31 G, 30 GS, 12-7, 2.94 ERA, 174 IP
SP Manny Sarmiento, 35 G, 17 GS, 9-4, 3.39 ERA, 164 IP
SP Larry McWilliams, 19 G, 18 GS, 6-5, 3.11 ERA, 121 IP
 
RP Kent Tekulve 85 G, 20 Sv, 2.87 ERA, 128 IP
RP Rod Scurry 76 G, 14 Sv, 1.74 ERA, 103 IP
RP Enrique Romo 45 G, 1 Sv, 4.36 ERA, 86 IP

Of the Pirates top five starters only Rhoden and Candelaria began the year in the rotation.  Ross Baumagarten and Eddie Solomon each made ten starts but both were eventually castoff with ERAs over six.  Veteran Tom Griffin also started the year in the rotation but allowed nearly a run an inning and was released in May. McWilliams helped solidify the staff when he arrived mid-year from Atlanta.  Robinson and Sarmiento started the year in the bullpen but entered the rotation in May and June respectively.
As a staff they allowed the ninth most runs in the National League and missed veteran Jim Bibby.  As recently as 1980 he had won 19 games but was injured in '81 and missed all of '82. 
The bullpen was a solid right-left punch of the sidewinding Tekulve and the surprising southpaw Scurry.  Romo was prone to gopher balls and "vultured" nine wins in relief.

The Pirates were sinking fast after a 18-27 start to the season but once they cut bait and rearranged their pitching staff they were able to right the ship.

Ok, so that was probably too punny but it's true.  After the rotten start they got hot in June and evened their record at 36-36 on July 1st.  On September 19 they were 79-69 but won just five of the last fourteen games and finished eight back of the Cardinals. 
  




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