Monthly Archives: January 2014

Best Individual Game (Batting): Mike Young

It is always special to witness an historic baseball event in person. I was at Yankee Stadium in 1985 when White Sox pitcher Tom Seaver won his 300th game. One of my friends saw Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt hit his 500th career home run in Pittsburgh.

For the 28,361 fans in attendance at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium on May 28, 1987 for the Orioles-Angels game, they witnessed something that had only been accomplished four times previously in major league history.

Baltimore opened up a 5-1 lead after four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Orioles

image courtesy of marketplace.beckett.com

image courtesy of marketplace.beckett.com

fans did not realize that Mike Young’s pinch hitting appearance for DH Jim Dwyer would be essential to a Baltimore win. His production was not immediate as he struck out in his first at bat.

Leading 5-4 in the top of the ninth, California first baseman Wally Joyner led off with a home run to tie the game. Then in the top of the 10th, Gary Pettis’s RBI single gave the Angels at 6-5 lead. Thanks to Joyner and Pettis’s heroics, it allowed Young to be an extra inning hero twice.

Young led off the bottom of the 10th with a game-tying home run off DeWayne Buice to keep Baltimore alive. After a scoreless 11th inning, Pettis struck again with an RBI ground out to once more give California a one-run advantage.

But it was Young who upstaged Pettis’s two extra inning RBI’s. With Buice on the mound for his third inning of work in the bottom of the 12th, he allowed a lead off walk to Lee Lacy. Then Young sent everyone in Memorial Stadium home happy with a walk-off, two-run homer to give Baltimore an 8-7 triumph.

Young became just the fifth player in major league history to hit two home runs in extra innings. He was the last player to accomplish the feat until Philadelphia’s John Mayberry Jr. in 2013.

Rest of the 80s: The 1987 campaign turned out to be Young’s last best season. He finished the season batting .240 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI. The Orioles former first round draft pick played two more seasons with Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland. He only played in 115 games in 1988 to 1989, batting .206 with three home runs. 

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Best Season (Starting Pitcher): Ron Guidry – 1985

New York Yankees starter Ron Guidry was one of the best pitchers in the late 1970s. He was 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA in the Yankees 1978 championship season. Guidry won at least 11 games in the following five seasons, including 21 victories in 1983.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Image courtesy of amazon.com

But Yankee fans could be forgiven if they believed Guidry’s best days were behind him after going 10-11 with a career-high 4.51 ERA in 1984.

After starting 1-3 in 1985, Guidry returned to his old form with 12 straight wins (he received three no-decisions during the streak). He tossed a pair of complete game shutouts and allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of 15 starts.

Guidry also came up big down the stretch. He was 6-1 in September and October as the Yankees fell just short of the AL East Division champion Blue Jays. The 34-year old finished the season 22-6 but lost the AL Cy Young Award to Kansas City’s Bret Saberhagen.

The 1985 campaign was Guidry’s last best season. He only won 16 games over the next three seasons before retiring after the 1988 campaign.

My connection to Ron Guidry: He was the starting pitcher when I attended my first Yankees game on June 29, 1980. Guidry allowed two runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings to help lead New York to a 7-2 win over Cleveland. It was one of the Yankees 103 wins that season.

Throwing a Change Up

Hello. Considering it has been a few months since my last post, I figured it was time for an update. But like any pitcher, I shook off my catcher and decided to change things.

Thus, I’m changing the subject matter of my “Baseball History: Beyond the Stats” blog. My subject matter will still be on baseball history, but I decided to condense it to the decade of the 1980s. The decade featured a plethora of interesting players, performances and games. 

I have decided to keep the title of the blog, but that may change in the future. The subject matter will feature the best and worst of the decade. Some of the materials will include the best/worst players (at each position), regular season moments, free agent acquisitions and more.

I have a personal connection to 1980s baseball. I attended my first game, played Little League and neighborhood baseball games and waited with excitement for highlights on SportsCenter. You may remember some of the subject matter, but whether or not you lived in the 1980s, I hope you learn some things about baseball in the decade you may not have realized before.

Enjoy the baseball memories of the 1980s!