03 November 2009

gcrl in 1979

in the spirit of the fall (and pumpkin) season, i'll start with 'shakedown, 1979 - cool kids never have the time'. well, i thought i was cool and i definitely had the time in 1979 to follow the dodgers and their infield. sadly for me, after two straight pennants, the dodgers fell to third in the nl west, finishing below .500 for the first time since 1968. on the bright side, all four of the infielders played in at least 150 games, all exclusively at their respective infield position, and three of the four had exactly 28 home runs!

steve garvey's 1979 season was pretty similar to his 1978 campaign. he hit .315 (down from .316), had over 200 hits (204) for the second year in a row and the fifth time in six years. he raised his home run total from 21 to 28, and drove in 110 rbi, which was just 3 less than the previous year. he did slip in the mvp voting from 2nd to 14th, though. he kept two streaks alive - his consecutive games played streak continued, as did his string of consecutive all star game starts. at the all star game, played in seattle, garvey went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. he hit two home runs in a game just once (against joe niekro), and also slugged his 150th career home run (off of john denny).

ron cey had another solid year in 1979. his home run total increased to 28, and he raised his average to .281, posting his highest full-season ops of .888. he was selected to the all-star team, although mike schmidt was voted to start the game at third. in the midsummer classic, he went 0 for 1 with a walk as the first replacement at third. like garvey, the penguin also hit two home runs in a game just once (against gaylord perry), the second of which just happened to be his 150th career blast.

bill russell wasn't the third infielder to hit 28 home runs in 1979. he did, however, hit a career high of 7, to go with a .271 average. one of his home runs was a 2-run walkoff against the expos and woodie fryman, which gave the dodgers an 11-inning 6-5 victory.

in 1979, davey lopes exploded offensively. he set career highs in home runs (28), runs (109) and ops (.836). he also stole 44 bases in 48 attempts, and was voted to start the all star game for the first time. in that game, he went 1 for 3 before being replaced by joe morgan in the 7th inning. of his 28 home runs, 2 came in the same game (against john denny), 7 were leadoff shots (including one of the ones he hit off of denny), 1 was an inside-the-park job, and 2 were walk-off jobs, including a walk-off grand slam for the second straight year, this time off of bruce sutter.

for the first time since 1974, there were no 'extra cards' featuring any of the dodgers' infielders. that wouldn't change, unfortunately, until 1982. before we get there, though, we have a couple more seasons to recap, including 1980, where the dodgers would right the ship and make a push for a postseason return, only to fall short in game 163.


Doc said...

Even though I am a life long Padres fan, I did enjoy many games at Chavez Ravine from 1983 to 1994. It's nice to see the Dodger infield get the yearly rundown they deserve.

Garvey may always be a Dodger to you, but will be a Padre to me. 1984 NLCS baby!

As an aside, would it have been really hard for Topps to have centered Cey in the photo or did they have to have the NBC camera logo in the picture?

MattR said...

The Dodger stumble in 1979 definitely wasn't the fault of GCRL. If I remember right, there was a rash of injuries on the pitching staff.