Sunday, January 25, 2015

1980 Milwaukee Brewers (3rd): 86-76, 17GB

The Brew Crew wins the "Underachiever of the Year" award for 1980.  Coming off a 95 win campaign in 1979 "Bambi's Bombers" were predicted by many to win the AL East or at least be one of the top contenders.  The stats (3rd in hitting and 4th in pitching) give credence to them being the hands down award winner.  For those who go by baseball numbers their Pythagorean had them winning 94 games, which still would have had them 9 games out, but still closer to contention.  With a 47-45 start GM Harry Dalton gave manger George Bamberger the pink slip.  His replacement, Buck Rodgers (39-31) had them improving marginally.  This was supposed to be the team of the 80's, not a middle of the road group.  Collectively they led baseball with over 200 homers, which for the power starved early 80's was a lot of long balls.

Future HOF'er Robin Yount really came into his own hitting 23 homers while knocking in 87 runs, which were astronomical numbers for a shortstop in that era.  Paul Molitor, who was still trying to find a permanent position in the field, hit .304 and swiped 34 bags.  Cecil Cooper had an MVP caliber year hitting .352 with 25 homers and 122 RBI's.  Ben Oglive (.304-41-118) and Gorman Thomas (.239-38-105) also eclipsed the century mark in runs batted in.  The Brew crew had one scary lineup for opposing pitchers to face.  Their pitching was top tier, which is really why this team is so enigmatic.  When you get a 16-15 (3.10) season out of Moose Haas you have to think you've left some wins on the table.  The only rap here had to be leadership and fielding.  Still it wouldn't shock me to see the Brew Crew win the division in ARAIG with all this talent.

Only 11 new cards were needed to fill out the set.  By far this was the smallest amount needed by any team, which showcases just how steady their roster was all season.

Dan_Boitano_MILDave_LaPoint_MILEd_Romero_MILFred_Holdsworth_MILGeorge BambergerJohn_Flinn_MILJohn_Poff_MILMark_Brouhard_MILNed_Yost_MILRickey_Keeton_MILVic_Harris_MIL

Even though this was a small set of cards, I still feel it is one of the most incomplete sets.  I hate the B&W shot of Dave LaPoint probably because of the fact that he went on to have a pretty good career in St. Louis and wasn’t just your normal outlier.  The Holdsworth airbrush is kind of interesting.  I took a card from the Brewers minor league affiliate and airbrushed in the Brewers cap logo (which is my all time favorite) and jersey logo.  Interestingly they work the same colors as the parent team, but only in reverse, which is why most of you are sitting there scratching your head thinking, “I didn’t know the Brewers had yellow jerseys”, LOL !  It was great to have AY find a nice color shot of Dan Boitano.  In previous seasons I was forced to use some variation of his rookie panel cards.

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