Pitching prospect Rickey Keeton! Eh, that’s right. No longer with the team. Was fun while it lasted!
I expect the Brewers to continue the momentum of a strike-shortened 1981 season and win the American League East in 1982. That said, if they aren’t successful, one or more of these five things will likely be the culprit(s):
1) Paul Molitor can’t stay healthy. The young shortstop turned second baseman turned center fielder turned third baseman is on the verge of super stardom. The one thing keeping Molitor from reaching his full potential is health. More specifically, a lack of health. In his first three seasons in the league, Molitor never played in more than 140 games. In fact, he only managed 125 and 111 in the other two. Last season, he was bothered by ankle problems, thereby making his adjustment to a new position all the more difficult. He played in only 64 of the Brewers’ 109 games. Assuming Roy Howell isn’t traded by opening day, the trio of Molitor, Howell and Don Money makes third base the deepest position on the team. Still, the Brewers will not be as successful with Howell or Money manning the hot corner. [Read more…] about Five Reasons the Brewers Won’t Win AL East
Today’s guest writer is Jim Reineking. Jim is originally from Sheboygan Falls, Wis., but in 2000 he moved from Wisconsin to Southern California, where he is now the self-proclaimed “Santa Monica’s greatest Brewers fan.”
Without the threat of a strike-shortened campaign, the 1982 baseball season figures to be a real thriller. After gazing into my crystal baseball, some perennial contenders are still expected to climb to the top of the standings by the time October rolls around …
1. New York Yankees — The Bronx Bombers lost Reggie Jackson in the offseason, but these are the Yankees, who sport the game’s richest history of success and — now with free agency playing a factor — the game’s thickest wallet. They’ll find a way to stay on top.
2. Milwaukee Brewers — The Brew Crew sported the AL East’s best overall record (62-47) in 1981, but the franchise’s first postseason appearance was ruined by the Yankees in the league divisional series. Milwaukee doesn’t face an expected contender until May, so a good start will be paramount for manager Buck Rodgers’ squad.
3. Baltimore Orioles — Keep an eye on a young chap named Cal Ripken, Jr. He’s just the latest in a long line of talents that have come up through the bountiful Orioles organization, which continues to be the envy of baseball.
4. Detroit Tigers — Famous for leading the “Big Red Machine” Reds to four NL pennants and two World Series championships, manager Sparky Anderson is working on building a winner in Detroit with young, talented players such as Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris.
5. Boston Red Sox — This team would like to get all-time great Carl Yastrzemski another run at the pennant, but that task will be very difficult in baseball’s deepest division.
6. Cleveland Indians — Where have you gone, Joe Charboneau? The 1980 AL Rookie of the Year’s production took a major dip in 1981. Can he recapture the imagination of Cleveland sports fans with his athletic exploits, or is he content being the best in the bigs at opening beer bottles with his eye socket?
7. Toronto Blue Jays — With a combined winning percentage of .359 in its five-year history, there’s little reason to believe that the AL’s Canadian entry won’t find itself at the bottom of the division once again in 1982.
1. Kansas City Royals — The dominant team in the AL West fell off in 1981 after reaching the 1980 World Series, but should add another crown to their four division titles in six years. After batting .390 in 1980, George Brett’s average fell to .314 last season. A rebound year for the all-star third baseman will go a long way toward returning the Royals to their rightful place atop the division.
2. Oakland Athletics — If Kansas City has a challenger on its road back to prominence in the AL West it’s “The Swingin’ A’s.” Oakland is highlighted by outfielder/sprinter Rickey Henderson, who anchors the best outfield in baseball, which also features Dwayne Murphy and Tony Armas.
3. Chicago White Sox — Adding Tom Paciorek and Steve Kemp to a lineup that already features Carlton Fisk, Harold Baines and Greg Luzinski could give manager Tony La Russa the most potent offensive machine in the American League.
4. California Angels — There are big names galore at “The Big A” … Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Don Baylor, Fred Lynn, Bobby Grich. Problem is, these guys aren’t getting any younger. Not one projected regular position player for the 1982 season is under the age of 30. Can these old-timers make one last run at glory?
5. Texas Rangers — Four times in the past eight seasons — including 1981 — the Rangers have finished second in the AL West. However, there are indications that the team’s luck might be turning in the wrong direction, such as pitcher Doc Medich coming down with hepatitis during the winter.
6. Seattle Mariners — At the ripe age of 43, Gaylord Perry is bringing his notorious Vasoline ball to the Pacific Northwest, where he’ll play for his seventh different team since starting his career in 1962. Perry’s addition might help lower the major league’s worst staff ERA (4.23) in 1981.
7. Minnesota Twins — This season, the Twins will become baseball’s third team to play its home games exclusively in a dome — Houston in the Astrodome, Seattle in the Kingdome. The move indoors likely won’t help reverse the fortunes on the field for what has become one of baseball’s worst teams.
MVP: Dave Winfield, Yankees
Cy Young: Dan Quisenberry, Royals
Rookie of the year: Cal Ripken, Orioles
1. Montreal Expos — With a packed lineup featuring Gary Carter, Al Oliver, Tim Wallach, Tim Raines, Andre Dawson and Warren Cromartie, as well as a pitching staff second to none in the NL East, Les Expos should easily be the first non-U.S. team to reach the World Series.
2. Philadelphia Phillies — Behind such heavy swingers as Mike Schmidt, Gary Matthews and Pete Rose, the Fightin’ Phils pack a wallop — leading the NL in 1981 in hits, runs, batting average and runs batted in. Throw southpaw Steve Carlton into the mix, and Philly looks to have a squad capable of giving mighty Montreal a run for its money.
3. St. Louis Cardinals — Despite having the best overall record in the NL East in 1981, the Cardinals failed to reach the league divisional series due to the strike-shortened split season. This time around, Whitey Herzog’s crafty addition of Gold Glove-winning shortstop Ozzie Smith can help the team attain its first pennant since 1968.
4. New York Mets — With former 52-homer slugger George Foster joining the Mets and hammering alongside another big bat, Dave Kingman, the Mets might just light up the scoreboard.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates — The glory of the “We Are Family” champions of 1979 is fading fast. With Willie Stargell’s career entering its twilight, it’s up to talented right fielder Dave Parker to carry much of the offensive punch in Pittsburgh.
6. Chicago Cubs — Maybe that unknown minor leaguer named Ryne Sandberg the Cubbies got in the Ivan DeJesus trade with the Phillies in January will amount to something.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers — Coming off an overwhelming triumph over the Yankees in the World Series, a Dodgers team featuring 1981 NL Cy Young award-winner and Rookie of the Year Fernando Valenzuela, MVP candidate Pedro Guerrero, promising youngster Steve Sax, and veteran slugger Steve Garvey could make Tommy Lasorda’s squad repeat champions.
2. Houston Astros — A rotation featuring flamethrower Nolan Ryan, Don Sutton, Joe Niekro and Bob Knepper will have Houston in the NL pennant hunt if only it could get a little run support (the Astros only hit 45 homers as a team in 1981, beating only the 31 hit by the woeful Padres).
3. Cincinnati Reds — Cincy’s 66-42 overall record in 1981 was best in the NL West, but the Reds did not make the postseason in baseball’s strike-shortened, split-season format. Continuing to lose stars from the “Big Red Machine” teams of the 1970s figures to be their undoing in 1982.
4. San Francisco Giants — Former Reds great Joe Morgan, sluggers Jack Clark and Reggie Smith, and promising rookie Chili Davis could help the Giants challenge for the division crown and make things exciting up at Candlestick.
5. Atlanta Braves — Since moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta following the 1965 season the Braves have finished first just once (1969), and have finished fifth or worse in 10 of those 16 seasons. That’s quite sad for a team that was among the National League’s best for much of its time in Milwaukee.
6. San Diego Padres — Maybe new manager Dick Williams, who led the A’s to back-to-back World Series titles in 1972-73, will help turn this moribund team around.
MVP: Pedro Guerrero, Dodgers
Cy Young: Nolan Ryan, Astros
Rookie of the year: Chili Davis, Giants
AL Championship Series: Royals over Yankees
NL Championship Series: Expos over Dodgers
1982 World Series: Expos over Royals
And now coming in from the bullpen, your high school math teacher…
Sal Bando would retire prior to the 1982 season, but at least we get one more card of him!
It’s sad to look at the back of Hisle’s card to see his career suddenly drop off due to injury. He went from putting up All-Star offensive numbers to struggling to get on the field. Hopefully, this is his year!