01 March 2010

it's lonely in the infield - gcrl in 1983

sadly for me, steve garvey signed as a free agent with the san diego padres in december of 1982.  that gives you an idea of what my christmas was like.  fortunately for the dodgers, 1983 would bring a return to the postseason, although it was shortlived.

for garvey, 1983 had to have been bittersweet.
he left the dodgers, and was playing in san diego, wearing a uniform that he said made him look like 'a taco'.  on the bright side, he extended his consecutive game streak to 1207, along the way breaking billy williams' national league record of 1117 while visiting dodger stadium (i was there, by the way, and obtained my only in person garvey autograph that night).  unfortunately for the garv, the streak ended after he hurt his thumb on a play at the plate in late july, causing him to miss the rest of the season.
statistically, garvey had a decent year going at the time of his injury.  he was batting .294 with 14 home runs and 59 rbi, but perhaps most impressively, he had already scored 76 runs!  that was more than he scored in 1982 in 62 more games!  he didn't hit 2 home runs in any games, and 10 of his home runs were solo shots, but he did manage to hit a couple against fernando valenzuela.  his final home run of the season, number 233 of his career, was a grand slam.

about a month after garvey signed with the padres, ron cey was traded to the cubs for a couple of minor leaguers.
his first year in chicago was a pretty good one.  he hit 24 home runs, drove in 90 runs, tied a career high by playing in 159 games, and logged more total bases (267) than he had since 1975.  he hit 2 home runs in a game twice during 1983 - once against charles hudson and the phillies, and once against larry mcwilliams and the pirates.  his second home run against mcwilliams was also the 250th of his career.  his next home run was his first (and only) inside the park job, and it came against lee tunnell at wrigley.
one other thing to mention about cey and the 1983 season.  i believe he was the only player mentioned by name in manager lee elia's famous april 1983 tirade, although the transcripts online don't show that.  i'll have to give it a closer listen.

the lone dodger among the infield in 1983, bill russell tasted the sweet nectar of victory, as the dodgers won the nl west over the atlanta braves.
1983 was a down year for russell offensively as his average dropped to .246.  he did play in 131 games, and managed 13 stolen bases.  his only home run of the season was a big one - a 2-run, 9th inning job off of the reds' ben hayes to give the dodgers a 3-2 lead.  dave stewart got the reds out in the bottom of the 9th to nail down the save.  it would be the final home run of russell's career.

in the postseason against the phillies, russell was 4 for 14 (.286) with a run and a stolen base.  he unfortunately made the last out in the final two games of the series - both 7-2 wins for the phillies.

dave lopes spent his second season with the a's in 1983, and he was all over the place.
playing primarily at second base, lopes also saw action at third, right field and center field.  he also dh'ed for the first time in his career.  he enjoyed an offensive resurgence of sorts, hitting .277 with 17 home runs and 67 rbi.  one of his home runs was a grand slam, and he hit 2 home runs in a game once - against old teammate don sutton - with the second home run being a game tying, bottom of the 9th shot.  the a's would go on to win that game in 17 innings.  lopes also stole 22 bases while being caught only 4 times.

so that was 1983 - going from 3/4 of the infield to a mere 25%.  up next, 1984 would see two of the infielders reunited, with three of them making the postseason...

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