1984 Tigers Tribute Site

Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation

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February 23, 2005

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Aurelio Lopez

by @ 9:05 pm. Filed under Aurelio Lopez, Debate

Senior Smoke had one of the more underappreciated careers of any Tiger in 1980s. He emerged as the Tigers’ closer in the last 70s, and his best season might have been 1979, when he finished seventh in the Cy Young. By 1981, he had lost the closer job to Kevin Saucier, and later, Dave Tobik until he picked it back up in 1983 and made the All-Star team.

His 1984 season was nothing short of fantastic. He set a career high by pitching in 137 2/3 innings (unheard of by a reliever these days), and posted a near perfect 10-1 record, with his only loss coming in the final week of the season. If there was one fault to Lopez’s game, it was his propensity to give up the long ball. But he finished his career with an impressive 62-36 career record, while racking up 93 saves.

Here’s Lopez’s 1984 numbers:

Innings Pitched 137 2/3
Wins 10

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Losses 1
Saves 14

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ERA 2.94
ERA+ 133

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WHIP 1.169
H/9 7.13
BB/9 3.40
SO/9 6.15
HR/9 1.05
Pitching Runs Above Replacement 43
Stuff 4

Both his PRAR and his Stuff were hurt because of his homer rate, but this is an impressive season for a reliever by any standard. The fact that he was the second best reliever on the team that year means Sparky had two outstanding arms coming out of the pen.

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Will McEnaney, while having a solid season, doesn’t really match up. Lopez was better, and he did it over several more innings. So it looks like we’re tied going into the homestretch.

Scorecard – 1975 Reds 7, 1984 Tigers 7

You can read Blade’s analysis of Will McEnaney at Reds Cutting Edge.

January 25, 2005

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Milt Wilcox

by @ 9:06 pm. Filed under Debate, Milt Wilcox

Championship teams usually consist of a convergance between an improving core of young players with a handful of career years from a couple of your veterans. Milt Wilcox had a 16 year career in baseball, and he never won three games more then he lost in a season. Had it not been for his 17-8 campaign in 1984, he would have ended his career with a losing record. Simply put, in 1984, Milt Wilcox came out to pitch, and pitch he did.

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He also saved his best for the end of the season. In game three of the ALCS against the Royals, Wilcox gave up only two hits in eight innings of shutout ball to put the Tigers into the World Series.

Equally ironic is the fact that his opponent in this debate, Jack Billingham, threw for Detroit, while Wilcox started his career in Cincinnati.

Let’s take a look at how he did in 1984:

Innings Pitched 193 2/3
Wins 17
Losses 8
ERA 4.00
ERA+ 98
WHIP 1.286

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H/9 8.5
BB/9 3.09
SO/9 5.53
HR/9 0.60
Pitching Runs Above Average 37
Stuff 14

If you take a look at the differences between Jack Morris, Dan Petry, and Milt Wilcox, you won’t many. Wilcox threw around 40 innings less then both of them, but when he was in there, he was equally effective. In fact, their strikeout rates are nearly identical, with the best (Petry) just .02 SO/9 better then the worst (Wilcox).

At first glance, I thought this one was going to be a lot tighter, but it’s really no contest. Billingham threw a few more innings, but that’s about all you can say.

Scorecard 1975 Reds 6, 1984 Tigers 5

You can read Blade’s analysis of Jack Billingham at Reds Cutting Edge.

January 16, 2005

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Dan Petry

by @ 8:21 pm. Filed under Dan Petry, Debate, Jack Morris

Dan Petry had one of those typical 1980s career. He pitched a ton of innings at an early age, and went from looking like an ace to someone who’s just a little overmatched. From 1982 through 1985, he pitched no less 233 innings and won no less then 15 games. After that, he never pitched more then a 150 innings, and never won more then ten.

1984 was a great year for Petry. Coming off a 19-11 season the year before, Dan really picked up the slack when Jack Morris struggled. He had a career high 144 strikeouts during the season, and led all starters in ERA (3.24).

Dan Petry is now the television announcer here for UPN 50. He did a nice job last year in his first season, and I’m looking forward to him being back this year.

Anyway, here’s the numbers:

Innings Pitched 233 1/3

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Wins 18
Losses 8
ERA 3.24
ERA+ 121
WHIP 1.273
H/9 8.91
BB/9 2.55
SO/9 5.55
HR/9 0.81
Pitching Runs above Replacement 65
Stuff 16

This may be the toughest one yet. Petry threw more, had a better walk rate, and won more games. Don Gullett won 15 games in only 22 starts (so three less, but in a third of the of starts). Their Stuff is identical, and their SO/9 is nearly identical, but Gullett has a better ERA and WHIP, and gave up fewer homers.

I hate to hang Dan out to dry, but at least comparing these two seasons, Gullett has him beat.

Scorecard 1975 Reds 6, 1984 Tigers 4

You can read Blade’s analysis of Don Gullett over at Reds Cutting Edge once he’s done reminiscing about the 1880s.

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January 10, 2005

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Jack Morris

by @ 7:00 am. Filed under Debate, Jack Morris

At this point, Jack Morris thrives and starves on reputation, and it shows when the voting for the Hall of Fame comes out. He’s heralded as a clutch pitcher mostly for his 1991 World Series Game Seven ten inning shutout. He had a 4-2 record in the World Series, but he was 4-0 until his last World Series when he played for the Jays in 1992. And although he never won the Cy Young, he finished in the top five on five different occasions.

The general criticism is that his career numbers aren’t quite there. He has a career ERA of 3.90, and his career ERA+ is 105, so it’s a touch above average. And he never hit any of those magic marks like 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts.

As far as his career, I’m right in the middle. I know he’s not quite as good as his best moments would indicate (similar to Kirk Gibson), but he’s not quite as bad as his numbers might show. As long as Bert Blyleven isn’t in the Hall of Fame, I can’t quite give him the nod, but barring that, Jack Morris was a very good pitcher for a very long time, and that’s worth something.

1984 was a tale of two seasons for Morris. by the end of May he stood 10-1, and people started throwing out the potential for 30 wins. When it was all said and done, he didn’t even win 20, but by the time he began to struggle, the Tigers already had a nice enough cushion to where it didn’t matter as much.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Innings Pitched 240 1/3
Wins 19
Losses 11
ERA 3.60
ERA+ 109
WHIP 1.282
H/9 8.28

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BB/9 3.26
SO/9 5.54
HR/9 0.75
Pitching Runs Above Replacement 60
Stuff 14

All pretty good numbers. He finished seventh in the Cy Young (behind two teammates) and that was all despite the horrible second half.

As Blade indicated, this was a lot closer then I first through it would be. Gary Nolan had a nice season in 1975, but in my eyes, it just didn’t stack up to the season Morris had. And Morris was better for 30 more innings.

Scoredboard – 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 4

You can read Blade’s analysis of Gary Nolan over at Reds Cutting Edge.

December 16, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Kirk Gibson

by @ 9:27 pm. Filed under Debate, Kirk Gibson

Kirk Gibson may not get into the Hall of Fame, but he definitely had some Hall of Fame moments. His monster three run shot in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series, and an equally impressive Game 1 walk off homer in the 1988 World Series are my two most memorable moments in all of baseball.

1984 was Gibby’s breakout season, and he was extremely consistent for the next five years. He hit between 24 and 29 homers in each of those five seasons, and he stole between 26 and 34 bases. He was plagued by injuries most of his career, and was only able to play in 140 games in three or more seasons.

There’s no doubt that Kirk Gibson had the most potent bat of all his 1984 counterparts. Gibson finished sixth in the MVP voting in 1984, and he was ninth in OPS+.

Let’s take a look at his numbers.

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Runs 92
Homeruns 27
RBIs 91
Avg. .282
OBP .363
Slg% .516
Runs Created 98
OPS+ 142

Batting Runs Above Replacement 52
Fielding Runs Above Replacement -1
Equivalent Average .305
Wins Above Replacement Player 5.6

Gibson was never known for his fielding, but he could hit. Ken Griffey had a nice season, but Gibby had a great one. Blade says this one was close, and it might have been if we were comparing Gibson to the 1976 Griffey, but we’re not.

Scorecare – 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 3

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You can read Blade’s analysis of Ken Griffey at Reds Cutting Edge.

December 7, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Chet Lemon

by @ 7:47 pm. Filed under Chet Lemon, Debate

If there was one player I most tried to mimic as a kid, it was Chet Lemon. The way he’d casually go back, stand under the ball, and just sort of hold his mitt under the ball, letting it fall into his glove was classic. Rarely did he catch anything two handed, and rarely did I. In fact I still catch grief when I play softball, since I basically conditioned myself to catch the ball without both hands.

1984 was a great season for Chet Lemon. What’s funny is, I don’t remember him for a great catch. And I don’t remember him for a clutch homer. What I do remember him for is going back on a fly ball, losing it in the sun, and getting clocked in the head. I vividly remember sitting in friend’s basement and watching Gibby and a couple other Tigers carrying Chet off the field.

Chet Lemon didn’t set any career marks in 1984, but he probably had his best all-around season. His twenty homers were second best to the year before, and his batting average, on base percentage, and slugging were all above his career marks.

Here’s the numbers:

Runs 77
Homeruns 20
RBIs 76
Average .287
OBP .357

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Slg% .495
Runs Created 88
OPS+ 135
Batting Runs Above Replacement 41
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 41
Equalized Average .295
Wins Above Replacement Player 9.0

Chet Lemon had a WARP of 9.0, which tied him with Tram for the team lead, so he was as much of an MVP on this team then anyone. Gibby had a monster season at the plate, but his defensive skills (or lack of) hurt when it came to WARP.

And it looks like Blade doesn’t have much to argue about here. In fact he conceded a lot more easily then I thought.

Scorecard – 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 2

You can read Blade’s analysis of Cesar Geronimo at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 30, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Larry Herndon

by @ 6:37 am. Filed under Debate, Larry Herndon, Ruppert Jones

Sparky Anderson loved to platoon. And left field was no exception in 1984. After coming off of back to back quality seasons in 1982 and 1983, Larry Herndon lost time to the recently acquired Ruppert Jones, who actually outplayed him in the time he got.

Herndon, as you’ll see, had a pretty mediocre season. He only played in 125 games, and although he did hit .280, it was really without a lot of punch. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 52
Homeruns 7
RBIs 43
Avg. .280
OBP .333
Slg% .400
Runs Created 54
OPS+ 104

Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 12
Equalized Average .266
Wins Above Replacement Player 3.2

The OPS+ of 104 and the equalized average of .266 tell it all. To take things one step further, his Batting Runs Above Average was 3, and his Fielding Runs Above Average was 0. It’s unanimous. Larry Herndon had a pretty average season, and doesn’t match up to George Foster.

Score Card 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 1

You can read Blade’s analysis of George Foster at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 21, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Alan Trammell

by @ 11:00 am. Filed under Alan Trammell, Debate

Leave it up to Tram. Old reliable. He had a career OPS+ of only 110, and he had just as many seasons below 100 as he did above. But over almost 2,300 career games, he posted a batting average of .285, and an OBP of .352.

1983 was Alan Trammell’s breakout season. In fact it was almost a carbon copy of what he would do in 1984. The five time All Star finished in the top five in hitting in four different seasons, and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting on three different occasions, including a ninth place finish in 1984. He never won the award, but probably should have in 1987, when he lost out to George Bell.

Alan Trammell was also a solid fielder, winning four gold gloves in five years until Tony Fernandez stepped onto the scene and began his streak of four straight in 1986.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 85
Homeruns 14
RBIs 69
Avg. .314
OBP .382
SLG% .468
Runs Created 98
OPS+ 136

Batting Runs Above Replacement 46
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .297
Wins Above Replacement Player 9.0

So, the shutout ends. I actually thought Dave Concepcion would give Trammell a run, because he had quite a good career, but 1975 wasn’t one of his better seasons. Outside of fielding, Trammell is the better player. And even comparing these two seasons, that differential wasn’t very big.

Scorecard 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 1

You can read Blade’s analysis of Dave Concepcion at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 15, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Howard Johnson

by @ 9:09 pm. Filed under Debate, Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson was one of those Tigers who got away. The switch hitting rookie had a solid campaign his first season, hitting twelve homeruns and driving in fifty in 355 at bats. But for whatever reason, he never was on Sparky’s good side and during the offseason, he was traded to the Mets for Walt Terrell, a solid left handed starter.

HoJo then went on to have three 30/30 seasons, and he finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting three times for the Mets. In 1991, he led the league in homeruns (38) and RBIs (117) and was seventh in OPS (.877). The Tigers on the other hand, went through Tom Brookens (a solid player and a fan favorite, but hardly an all star as he hit .246 for his career), Darnell Coles (had a solid 1986, but nothing much after that), Rick Schu (.214 as a starter in 1989), and Tony Phillips (utility man who played more at third then anywhere else) during Johnson’s peak years. It wasn’t until Travis Fryman in 1991 when the Tigers developed a regular, everyday third basemen.

But enough about my gripes. Here’s the the numbers on HoJo’s rookie season:

Runs 43
Homeruns 12

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RBIs 50
Average .248
OBP .324
Slg% .394
Runs Created 45
OPS+ 99
Batting Runs Above Replacement 13
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 6
Equalized Average .260
Wins Above Replacement Player 2.1

Well, it looks like I’m getting skunked so far, because the Howard Johnson of 1984 doesn’t match up to Pete Rose. But with Tram and the outfield coming up, I see a turn coming.

Scorecard – 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Pete Rose at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 8, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Lou Whitaker

by @ 9:26 pm. Filed under Debate, Lou Whitaker

Lou Whitaker was always my favorite Tiger growing up. I think it was the way everyone chanted “Lou” at the games. Little did I know that this was common practice for any player with the first name Lou. Lou Piniella apparantly got the chant, as does Lou Merloni (at least he did when he played for the Red Sox).

Whitaker is listed as the thirteenth best second basemen of all time by Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract. He was a great hitter with two strikes on him, and ended his career with more walks then strikeouts. He followed up what was probably his best season in 1983 with a solid campaign in 1984. He won the gold glove despite what the numbers show over at Baseball Prospectus, and played in the All Star Game in 1984.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 90
Home Runs 13
RBIs 56
Avg. .289
OBP .357
SLG% .407
Runs Created 81
OPS+ 113

Batting Runs Above Replacement 30
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 19
Equalized Average .276
Wins Above Replacement Player 5.4

A fine season, but compared to the MVP of the league, and according to Bill James, the 15th best player of all time at any position, he just doesn’t quite stack up.

Scorecare 1975 Reds 3, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Joe Morgan at Red’s Cutting Edge.

November 3, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Darrell Evans

by @ 8:07 pm. Filed under Darrell Evans, Debate

Prior to the 1984 season, the Tigers made what, at the time, was the biggest free agent pickup in the history of the team. Signing Darrell Evans was a big deal, similar to the Tiger’s signing Pudge in 2004 was a big deal. And in 1984, Darrell Evans was a big bust. I won’t go into too much detail on him because he mostly played DH, but his contribution was minimal. Of course in 1985 he’d hit 40 homeruns, but his 28 extra base hits in 1984 left Tiger’s fans wondering if, at 37, he was over the hill.

The other deal the Tigers made was a trade with the Phillies. The Tigers sent John Wockenfuss and Glenn Wilson to the Phillies for Willie Hernandez and first basemen Dave Bergman. Bergman got the bulk of the starts at first base in 1984, and was platooned there for the rest of the 1980s.

He only played in 131 games during the season, and here’s what his numbers looked like in 1984:

Runs 42
Homeruns 7
RBIs 44
Average .273
OBP .351
SLG% .417
Runs Created 39
OPS+ 113

Batting Runs Above Replacement 15
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 15
Equalized Average .276

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Wins Above Replacement Player 3.3

The 113 OPS+ isn’t anything to complain about, but the rest of his numbers just weren’t there. This one was pretty much a clean sweep, as Tony Perez and the Reds win another one.

Score – 1975 Reds 2, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Tony Perez at Reds Cutting Edge.

October 21, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds Vs. 1984 Tigers – Lance Parrish

by @ 9:19 pm. Filed under Debate, Lance Parrish

With the exception of the 1945 Team, the Detroit Tigers have had great catchers on each of their World Championship Teams. In 1935, player/manager Mickey Cochrane ended up number four among all catchers in Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. The 1968 team had Bill Freehan (ranked 12th), and of course 1984 sported Tiger great, and current bullpen coach, Lance Parrish (ranked 19th).

1982 is probably Parrish’s best season, although he was fairly consistent throughout the early 1980s. 1984 was also one of his better seasons, and this is what it looks like:

Runs 75
Homeruns 33
RBIs 98
Average .237
OBP .287
SLG% .443
Runs Created 73
OPS+ 100

Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .255
Wins Above Replacement Players 5.9

It’s hard to argue against a Hall of Famer, so I think I’m going save the good fight for another day. This one goes to Johnny Bench.

Score – 1975 Reds 1, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis at Reds Cutting Edge.

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