Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1984 Topps #546 Cleveland Indians '83 Batting & Pitching Leaders

(Before I begin with today's post, I'd like to wish my dear sister, Kylie, a wonderful 25th Happy Birthday!!!)

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Saturday, December 14, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1984 Topps #637.
  • Player Name, position, team: Mike Hargrove, first baseman, Cleveland Indians; Lary Sorensen, pitcher, Cleveland Indians.
  • Special: Batting & Pitching Leaders: Cleveland Indians
  • Commentary: In today's sabermetric world, there would be no way on earth that either Mike Hargrove or Lary (yes, with one "r"...had to look that one up to be sure) would have been the representatives on a team leader card. Nothing against either gentlemen, one who would later become the manager of said team. But in today's metrics, your batting leader representative would be Andre Thornton, the team's leader in home runs (17), and OPS (.822) while Rick Sutcliffe, who led the team with a 17-11 record, 10 complete games, and 160 strikeouts should have been the pitching rep on this card. But this was the 80's, and the team leaders Topps picked were the ones who led in batting average and ERA. Which I can understand, I don't think OPS was a stat people talked about much in the mid 80's. Maybe it's because Sorensen would have led the team in ERA based on innings pitched (I think the rule is that you have to have pitched in a minimum of 162 innings in a season to qualify for a pitching stat, unless you are a reliever, and at that rate, anything goes). And because his 4.24 is just 0.05 higher than Sutcliffe's 4.29, it was Lary who made it onto the card. But I digress. Individual statistics aside, it was another bad year for the Indians, a team who had not been to the postseason since 1954. From 1969 through 1993, when both leagues expanded and began divisional play, the Tribe had not finished above fourth place in the American League East (to their credit, the Indians did have three winning seasons in that stretch...and yes, when MLB went with the three-division format per league, the team did finish in second...and then went onto to greater things). The team that Hollywood chose for Major League really was that bad. The 1984 Indians improved from their previous season's record by five games, earning a 75-87 record for their efforts. Hargrove would go on to hit .267 with 2 homers and 44 rbi's, while the team's offensive powerhouse was again Andre Thornton (with a .271 average, 33 home runs, and 99 runs driven in). Sorensen left the Indians for Oakland after the '83 season, and earned a 6-13 record with a 4.91 ERA, a nd 63 k's in 183.1 innings of work. With Sorensen and Sutcliffe both off the team in 1984 (Sutcliffe was traded to the Cubs in that magical season...and won the Cy Young in the NL that year), future HOF Bert Blyleven was the team's pitching leader, thanks in part to a 19-7 record, a sparkling 2.87 ERA, and 170 strikeouts in 245 innings of work (12 complete games, four shutouts in 32 starts). Note that the checklist on the back contains 23 names, one of them being Manager Pat Corrales. By position, there are 8 pitchers, 3 catchers, 4 infielders (none of whom are listed as a 2B...Manny Trillo was the team's "regular" 2B and appeared in only 88 games before being traded to Montreal in August), 4 outfielders, two utility (multiple position) players, and one DH. 
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.08-$0.25.

Tomorrow is Retro Sunday, the one day of the week that we feature a card from 1951-1975. The card we will feature tomorrow is: 1967 Topps #245. Come back at 1:00 PM CST to see who (or what) it is.


JayBee Anama

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