1980 saw the Sahx have high hopes to contend for the pennant. Just 2 years removed from their 99 win campaign this franchise expected big things. Their off season addition of Tony Perez was a big step toward their resurgence if hitting was their issue. The team finished in the top 3 in most offensive categories, but their pitching was downright awful. 25 year old ace Dennis Eckersley dropped to a 12-14 (4.28) mark and didn't even reach 200 innings. Mike Torrez (9-16, 5.08) was the only starter that did, and with his result maybe it would have been better off if he didn't. John Tudor, in just 13 starts was 8-5 (3.02), but you know how Boston brass feels about lefty starters in Fenway. Bob Stanley (175 IP) was the jack of all trades for this staff pitching in 52 games, 17 as a starter. He compiled a 10-8 (3.39) record and notched 14 saves. Without him, this team would have fallen well below the .500 mark. 36 year old journeyman southpaw Tom Burgmeier (5-4, 2.00) noted 24 saves himself as the Sox unlikely closer. Desperate for a starter they picked up Tiger castoff Jack Billingham, who at 37 was completely done (1-3, 11.10). A pair of 22 year old lefty youngsters: Bruce Hurst & Bobby Ojeda came up but were overmatched at the major league level. There time would come, but it wouldn't be in 1980 and for Ojeda it wouldn't be in a Red Sox uniform. Bill Campbell, who they paid good free agent money to, was supposed to be there closer, but he had arm trouble and didn't even record a save.
You can't beat up the offense. Fisk was his normal defensive stalwart behind the dish, while hitting .289 and belting 18 homers in 131 games. The outfield of Rice (.294-24-86), Lynn (.301-12-61) and Evans (.266-18-60) was probably the best in baseball with all three still under the age of 30. Speaking of age, Yaz at the age of 40 still managed to hit .275 with 15 homers in just 105 games. Fans wanted him to get a ring in the worst way, but realized it would not be this year.
On September 9th the Bosox were 15 games over .500, but still 9.5 games behind the division leaders. From that point on the team went 8-13 and fell further out of the mix. Two 5 game losing streaks during that stretch closed the door on a mediocre season that had fans and ownership wondering if they needed to fine tune or blow things up.
22 new cards were added to this set.
Other than a colorization on the Keith MacWhorter card their isn’t much to discuss here with this group. I love Zim’s pose as he looks like he’s just about had enough with the pressures associated with managing in Boston and being blamed for the 1978 collapse.