01 June 2010

milestones and an end of the line - gcrl in 1986

1986 was a milestone season for each of the four infielders, and for steve garvey, it was the last complete season of his career.
garvey played in 155 games (all at first base) for the padres in 1986.  he played in each of the first 135 games, even though his primary consecutive games streak had ended at 1207 in 1983.  still, he had a 305 game streak going when he sat out on september 7th against the mets in favor of carmelo martinez.  i'm not sure if garvey was injured or if he was simply scratched from the lineup since the 6th place padres weren't going anywhere.  at any rate, garvey finished out the season with 21 home runs and 81 rbi, although he scored just 58 runs and batted a lowly .255 - by far his lowest average as a regular and the lowest he had posted since 1971.  there were no accolades for garvey in 1986 - no all star game and no mvp votes.  he didn't hit any walk off home runs, and didn't hit more than one home run in any game.  he did, however, record his 2500th career hit - a single on june 16th against bill laskey of the giants.

ron cey had a bit of a resurgence in 1986, even though he played in just 97 games for the cubs, all at third base.
his average bounced back from a poor 1985 to a robust .273 in 1986.  he hit 13 home runs and drove in 36, and his ops was .891 - a career high, although as mentioned earlier he was no longer a full time player.  interestingly enough, the players he shared time with at third base were seasoned veterans like himself - manny trillo and our own davey lopes.

while all but one of cey's 13 home runs in 1986 were solo shots, he did have a two-home run game - may 3rd at san francisco - when he hit two dingers off of scott garrelts.  the first home run of that game was also cey's first of the season and the 300th of his career.

for bill russell, 1986 marked the end of his career.
russell appeared in 105 games, the most he had played in since 1983.  he played all over the place - all three outfield positions, second base, third base, and, of course, shortstop.  he also made several appearances as a pinch hitter and pinch runner.  at the plate, he hit an even .250 with no home runs and 18 rbi.

russell made the final start of his career at shortstop on september 9th against the braves.  he went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored and an rbi.  and, since his only subsequent appearance as a shortstop would come about a week later in atlanta during a two-inning stint late in the game, it also marked his final dodger stadium appearance as a shortstop.

in light of his 18 seasons as a major leaguer, all as a dodger, topps depicted russell as the 'dean of the dodgers' on their dodgers leaders card.
the final at bat of his career came on october 1st.  russell was called upon to pinch hit for dennis powell in the 8th inning of a game against the padres in san diego.  with ken landreaux on base and the dodgers trailing 3-2, russell struck out against goose gossage.  no shame in that.

41 year old davey lopes began the 1986 season with the cubs, and on july 21 he was traded to the astros for frank dipino.
not a bad deal for lopes, as he went from being 23.5 games out of first in the nl east to being 3 games up in the nl west.  before he was traded, however, he hit the 150th home run of his career, a 7th inning shot against bob walk and the pirates with ron cey aboard to give the cubs a 5-4 lead.  while the cubs eventually lost that game in 11 innings, lopes made sure his final home run as a cub stood - it was a walk-off shot against bob mcclure and the expos in early july.

for the astros, lopes managed just one home run in 1986, but he stole 8 bases, giving him 25 on the season.  those 8 steals included the 550th career stolen base for lopes, who surpassed cesar cedeno on the all-time stolen base leaderboard.

on the season, lopes hit .275 with 49 runs scored, 7 home runs and 35 rbi.  he played in 96 games, splitting time between third base and the three outfield positions.  in the postseason, he made 3 pinch hitting appearances, the last of which came in the decisive, 16-inning game 6.  in the bottom of the 16th, with the mets having taken a 3 run lead in the top of the frame, lopes pinch hit for jeff calhoun with one out and noone on base.  lopes coaxed a walk out of jesse orosco, took second on bill doran's single, and scored the astros' 5th run of the game on billy hatcher's single.  unfortunately for lopes and the astros, orosco would get out of the inning with only two runs given up, and the mets were on their way to the world series. 

so, russell's career ended, and 1987 would see the end of garvey, cey and lopes' careers as well, with only one of them making it all the way to the end of the season...

No comments: