Tuesday, March 12, 2013

#321 1982 Milwaukee Brewers

You ever wonder what the Brewers cards would've looked like with yellow borders instead of green?  Well here is your chance since I took a few minutes, and I mean just a few, to give the below image a yellow border.  Better? Yeah I think so, but not as much as I thought it would.  Anyway, we see that Robin Yount's team best .331 batting average led the talented offensive unit known as Harvey's Wallbangers which was named after manager Harvey Kuenn. 
Pete Vukovich led all Brewers qualifying pitchers by over half a run with his 3.34 ERA.
The pair seem to be avoiding each other in the two pictures but look how awkward it look if they were on opposite sides and were facing each other. (Thanks to Andy @HighHeatStats for the suggested edit).
The 1982 Brewers were a fun team to watch and one of my favorite non-Tigers teams of all-time.  They began the season 23-24 which led to manager Buck Rodgers getting the axe.  In steps Kuenn and the Brewers win 72 of their last 115 games on the way to the AL pennant.  They lost a thrilling World Series to the Cardinals which is really the first Fall Classic I remember from my childhood.  

Flipside:  The checklist shows 27 Brewers including Kuenn.  It includes Hall of Famers Yount, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and Don Sutton who was acquired late in the year.  Larry Hisle got a card even though he played only nine games including the last game of his career on May 6. 
Starting Nine:
C: Ted Simmons  23 HR, 97 RBI, 3.1 WAR
1B: Cecil Cooper  .313, 32 HR, 121 RBI, 5.4 WAR
2B: Jim Gantner  .295, 2.4 WAR
SS: Robin Yount  .331/.379/.578, 46 2B, 29 HR, 114 RBI, 10.4 WAR
3B: Paul Molitor  .302, 19 HR, 41 SB, 6.1 WAR
LF: Ben Oglivie  34 HR, 102 RBI, 3.2 WAR
CF: Gorman Thomas  39 HR, 112 RBI, 4.6 WAR
RF: Charlie Moore  .254, 6 HR, 0.8 WAR
DH: Roy Howell  .260, 4 HR, -0.6 WAR
        Don Money  .284, 16 HR, 2.0 WAR
The last team card profiled was the Pittsburgh squad and like Bucs, the Brew Crew led their league in runs scored.  But Milwaukee was a very different team.  Led by Yount's amazing MVP season the Brewers bashed their way to a whopping 891 runs.  Their powerful lineup boasted three .300+ hitters in Yount, Molitor, and Cooper and had four sluggers top 100 RBI.  With Molitor healthy, previous thirdsackers Howell and Money shared the DH spot.  Money was money, but Howell didn't really hit enough to warrant a DH spot.  Another spot usually reserved for power hitters, rightfield, was manned by Moore who had moved out from the plate with Simmons arrival.  Marshall Edwards (10 SB) and Mark Brouhard (116 OPS+) also chipped in rightfield. 
Pitching staff:
SP: Mike Caldwell  34 GS, 17-13, 3.91 ERA, 258 IP
SP: Pete Vukovich  30 GS, 18-6, 3.34 ERA, 223 IP
SP: Moose Haas  27 GS, 11-8, 4.47 ERA, 193 IP
SP: Bob McClure  26 GS, 12-7, 4.22 ERA, 172 IP
SP: Randy Lerch  20 GS, 8-7, 4.97 ERA, 108 IP
RP/SP: Jim Slaton  39 G / 7 GS, 10-6, 6 Sv, 3.29 ERA, 117 IP
RP: Rollie Fingers  50 G, 29 Sv, 2.60 ERA, 79 IP
RP: Dwight Bernard  47 G, 6 Sv, 3.76 ERA, 79 IP
RP: Jerry Augustine  20 G, 5.08 ERA, 60 IP
RP: Jamie Easterly  28 G, 2 Sv, 4.70 ERA, 30 IP
RP: Pete Ladd 16 G, 3 Sv, 4.00 ERA, 18 IP
The staff doesn't seem all that impressive but does boast the AL Cy Young winner.  What, you say you don't see a CY caliber season in there?!?!  Well me either, but Vukovich walked away with the hardware despite allowing over one and a half runners per inning.  But that's a topic for another post.  Caldwell pitched to contact striking out just 75 batters and Haas actually had a lower WHIP than Vukovich despite the unhealthy ERA. 
The rotation began the year as Vukovich, Caldwell, Haas, Lerch and McClure.  By the end of the year veterans Don Sutton and Doc Medich, who were acquired in August, supplanted Lerch who was sold to the Expos and McClure who moved to the pen.  Sutton was effective in seven starts going 4-1 while Doc posted a 5.00 ERA in 10 starts. 
Fingers was very good but missed most of September and all of the postseason with an injury.  Slaton filled in wherever he was needed and Bernard was good enough for middle relief.  Augustine was with the club all year but made just 20 appearances.  He was used in a mop up role and made two starts including one 12 run nightmare.  Pete Ladd was a midseason call up and by September was closing games in Fingers place.
The Brewers won the ALCS in five games over the Angels and had a three games to two edge in the World Series before dropping the final two games to the Redbirds.

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