The Atlanta Braves were the talk of the early 1982 baseball season, when they won their first 13 games. A mediocre team 1980-1981, few thought Atlanta would make a pennant run in 1982. The manager Joe Torre's record was no winner, either. The Mets, from whom he was fired in the off-season, had never finished higher than fifth under Torre.
But Torre's 1982 Braves led the league in runs and homers, hung tough in the pennant race, and made the playoffs for the first time since 1969. Atlanta center fielder Dale Murphy won the MVP, with 36 homers and 109 RBI.
Another exciting club was Harvey Kuenn's Milwaukee Brewers, a.k.a. "Harvey's Wallbangers." The Brewers were loaded with menacing hitters, including Robin Yount (.331 average, 29 homers, 114 RBI), Paul Molitor (.302, 19 homers, 136 runs), Cecil Cooper (.313, 32 homers, 121 RBI), Ted Simmons (23 homers, 97 RBI), Ben Oglivie (34 homers, 102 RBI), and Gorman Thomas (39 homers, 112 RBI).
The Brewers also featured Cy Young winner Pete Vuckovich, who went 18-6, and Rollie Fingers, who saved 29.
Milwaukee didn't coast to the American League East title -- the regular season went down to the final series. The Orioles, four games out of first, beat the Brewers three straight times at Memorial Stadium.
If the Orioles had won again, a one-game playoff would have decided the division-winner. It never came to that, though, as Don Sutton beat Jim Palmer in game 162 and Milwaukee took the American League East.
Prior to 1982, free agent Reggie Jackson left the Yankees to join the Angels. With four former MVPs now on its squad (Jackson, Don Baylor, Fred Lynn, and Rod Carew), California won the West Division by 3 games over Kansas City.
Whitey Herzog's speedy Cardinals edged out the Phillies to win the National League East, thanks in part to Ozzie Smith (obtained from San Diego), Lonnie Smith (picked up from Philadelphia), and rookie Willie McGee. Steve Carlton won another Cy Young Award, going 23-11.
Dave Kingman of the Mets led the league with 37 homers, though he hit .204 and was a butcher in the field. Al Oliver of Montreal took the batting title with a .331 average and also led the league in RBI, hits, doubles, and total bases.
With the Reds' dismissal of Ken Griffey, Ray Knight, George Foster, and Dave Collins in the off-season, its dynasty collapsed and the team fell into the cellar.
A couple of infielders, Baltimore's Cal Ripken and Los Angeles' Steve Sax, were named Rookies of the Year. Sax represented the fourth straight year a Dodger won the award.
In the National League Championship Series, St. Louis flattened Atlanta in three games. Atlanta mustered only one extrabase hit -- a double -- in the Series. In the junior circuit playoffs, the Brewers beat the Angels in five, coming back from a two-game deficit. California, though, featured the best hitter in Lynn, who batted .611 (11-for-18).
The 1982 World Series had its share of exceptional performances. In game one, Molitor became the first player to get five hits in a Series game, as Milwaukee won 10-0. Yount had four hits in that same game, then repeated the feat four games later. Game three was a showcase for McGee, who not only cracked two homers, but made a circus catch at the center-field wall.
The 1982 World Series went to game seven. Milwaukee built a 3-1 lead, but the Cardinals scored three in the sixth and two in the eighth to win it 6-3.
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1982 Baseball Season HeadlinesIn 1982, Rickey Henderson set a new record for base-stealing, Harold Baines had a great rookie year, and Reggie Jackson moved to California. Here are some of the headlines from the 1982 baseball season:
Robin Yount Named 1982 American League MVP
Robin Yount won the 1982 American League MVP Award -- and his premier Gold Glove -- tallying a .331 average, 29 homers, 46 doubles, and 114 RBI (all career-bests). To cap his All-Star season, Yount batted .414 in the 1982 World Series, collecting 12 hits in 29 at-bats.
Dan Quisenberry Saves 35
In 1982, Dan Quisenberry was American League Fireman of the Year for the second time and an All-Star for the first time. With a quirky underhanded delivery that aggravated hitters while preserving his arm from strain, Quisenberry saved a circuit-high 35 games while compiling a 9-7 record.
Carl Yastrzemski Knows No Bounds
Carl Yastrzemski entered the homestretch of his career in 1982. Batting .275, he tallied 72 RBI and 16 homers. A left fielder for 12 seasons, Yaz was shifted to center on July 21, where he went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. It is likely that, as he was approaching 43, he is the oldest major leaguer to play the position. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1989, his first year of eligibility.
Reggie Jackson: 39 HRs, 101 RBI
Upon being stripped of his power in 1990 as Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner said that his chief regret over his 17-year proprietorship was letting Reggie Jackson defect to the Angels once his option was unclaimed. Jackson batted .275, nailed 39 homers (tied for the American League lead), and had 101 RBI to spearhead the Angels to the West Division title.
Harold Baines: 25 HRs, 105 RBI
White Sox owner Bill Veeck scouted Harold Baines when he was just a 12-year-old sandlot star on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Baines played his first full season with the Sox in 1982, batting .271 with 25 dingers and 105 RBI. Baines went on to set the all-time White Sox record for round-trippers with 173.
Brewers Win 1982 American League Pennant
Until 1982, Milwaukee hadn't seen a championship game since the 1958 Braves pennant. Nearly two million fans flocked to County Stadium over the season to watch the team they nicknamed "Harvey's Wallbangers" for manager Harvey Kuenn and the club's 216 homers. The Brewers finished 1 game ahead of the Orioles in the American League East.
Rickey Henderson Sets Mark with 130 Swipes
In 1982, Rickey Henderson demolished the single-season major league stolen base record set by Lou Brock by swiping 130 bases. Under the guidance of A's manager Billy Martin, who appreciated the speedster's gifts, Henderson hit .267 in 1982. He tallied 119 runs scored (fourth in the American League), 116 walks (best in the majors), and a .399 on-base percentage (third in the circuit).
Catcher Gary Carter is an
All-Star player and an avid
baseball card collector.
Gary Carter Stars in 1982 All-Star Game
Gold Glove-winning Expo catcher Gary Carter displayed his usual form in 1982, batting .293, with 29 four-baggers, and 97 RBI. His single knocked in a run in the 1982 All-Star Game, played in his home park of Olympic Stadium. An avid baseball card collector, Carter is unlike many professional ballplayers in his unabashed love for the game.
Fernando Valenzuela: No Fluke
Fernando Mania grew in stature in 1982, as did the man himself. Avoiding the sophomore jinx, the lefty sported a 19-13 record with a 2.87 ERA in 1982.
Joaquin Andujar Carries the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals
Joaquin Andujar blossomed under the Cardinal pitching coach Hub Kittle, as he went 15-10 for a 2.47 ERA during the regular 1982 season.
In postseason play, Andujar became the stopper for the Cardinals, winning both the National League pennant-clinching game against the Braves and capturing the seventh game of the World Series against the Brewers. When asked to describe life in the majors, Andujar once remarked that everything could be summed up in one word: "youneverknow."
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More 1982 Baseball Season Headlines
Below are more headlines from the 1982 baseball season, including the Cardinals' run to the World Series.
Dale Murphy Named 1982 National League MVP
Dale Murphy enjoyed a great 1982 season, batting .281 with 36 homers and 109 RBI to lead the Braves to the National League West Division title. He was named the circuit's MVP for his efforts. Murphy spent most of his off-season deciding which products not to endorse. The one product he did agree to promote? Milk.
Tim Raines Leads National League in Steals
Tim Raines led the National League in stolen bases for the second consecutive season, swiping 78. Raines also played in his second consecutive All-Star Game. Although Raines lacked Rickey Henderson's power, the two were often described as the most talented players in their respective leagues.
Dave Kingman Is National League HR King
Dave Kingman led the National League in homers with 37 while driving in 99 runs and batting an anemic .204. Kong set a major league record for lowest batting average by a home run champion. His .204 mark was also the lowest ever for a first baseman with 400 or more at-bats.
1982 Milwaukee Brewers Win Game Five
After forcing out Cardinal Lonnie Smith at second base, Brewers shortstop Robin Yount tried in vain to get Keith Hernandez out at first in game five of the 1982 World Series. The Brewers defeated the Cardinals 6-4 take a one-game edge; it was their last victory in the tournament.
Al Oliver Posts .331 Average
Traded to Montreal for third baseman Larry Parrish of Texas, Al Oliver gained a lot of popularity. He responded by winning the National League batting title with a career-high .331 average. Topping the circuit in hits (204) and doubles (43), he tied Dale Murphy for the RBI title with 109.
Steve Sax Named 1982 National League Rookie of the Year
In 1982, Steve Sax became the fourth consecutive Dodger to capture National League Rookie of the Year honors. Sax hit .282 and set a Dodger rookie record with 49 stolen bases.
Ozzie Smith Wields Some Magic
In 1982, the Padres and Cardinals swapped shortstops, as Garry Templeton was shipped to San Diego and Ozzie Smith headed for St. Louis. Smith was considered an offensive liability despite his amazing glovework. Smith proved his critics only partly right, however, as he batted .248 for the season and then hit an impressive .556 in the three-game playoff sweep of the Braves.
Cecil Cooper's Fiery Bat
Cecil Cooper amassed a .313 batting average, .528 slugging average, 32 homers, and 121 RBI in 1982. Finishing out the year in style, the Brewers first baseman led his team to a come-from-behind victory in the fifth game of the 1982 American League Championship Series. In the seventh inning, he singled home the tying and winning runs as the Brewers defeated the Angels after having been down in the Series two games to none.
1982 St. Louis Cardinals Bomb 1982 Milwaukee Brewers
Brewers catcher Ted Simmons almost needed a calculator to count the Cardinals crossing his threshold in game six of the 1982 World Series. Before the night was over, 13 Redbirds -- and one Brewer -- had scored.
Paul Molitor Heats Up to .302
Nicknamed the "Ignitor," Paul Molitor batted .302 in 1982, spearheading the American League and setting a Brewers record by scoring 136 runs. Capping his season with a spectacular World Series, Molitor set a record with five hits in game one, sparking the Brewers to a 10-0 pasting of the Cardinals.
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1982 Baseball Season HighlightsThe 1982 baseball season led to a World Series victory for the St. Louis Cardinals, thanks to outstanding performances by players like Joaquin Andujar, Ozzie Smith, and Lonnie Smith. Below, find some of the highlights from the 1982 baseball season:
- St. Louis Cardinals win their first National League flag since 1968.
- Brewers become the second American League expansion team in three years to win its first flag.
- Cards sweep Braves in 1982 League Championship Series.
- Angels lose 1982 League Championship Series after leading two games to none -- they are the first club to suffer this fate.
- Cards win the 1982 World Series in seven games.
- Brewer Paul Molitor gets World Series record five hits in opener.
- Joaquin Andujar leads Cards with two Series victories.
- Braves win the National League West by 1 game when LA is beaten 5-3 by Giants on the last day of the season.
- Orioles could force playoff in the American League East by sweeping Milwaukee on season's final weekend, but lose to Brewers on Sunday 10-2.
- Steve Carlton wins his record fourth Cy Young Award.
- Milwaukee's Pete Vuckovich wins a controversial Cy Young vote in the American League.
- Atlanta's Dale Murphy is named 1982 National League MVP.
Robin Yount was named the
American League's Most
Valuable Player in 1982.
- Milwaukee's Robin Yount is named 1982 American League MVP.
- Braves open the 1982 baseball season with 13 consecutive wins, a National League record.
- Steve Carlton tops the major league in wins (23), innings (296), CGs (19), Ks (286), and shutouts (six).
- Harvey Kuenn takes over a 23-24 Brewers team and manages it to the pennant.
- Oakland's Rickey Henderson steals a major league record 130 bases.
- Reggie Jackson's tumultuous tenure with the Yankees ends, as he signs with the Angels.
- Billy Martin is fired as A's manager after team tumbles to 68-94 record.
- Rollie Fingers becomes first player in history to collect 300 saves.
- National League wins its eleventh straight All-Star Game, 4-1 at Montreal.
- Baltimore's Cal Ripken is named 1982 American League Rookie of the Year.
- Dodger Steve Sax is named 1982 National League Rookie of the Year.
- Phillie Garry Maddox wins last of eight consecutive GGs as a National League outfielder.
- Joel Youngblood gets hits for two different teams in two different cities in the same day as he's traded from Mets to Expos.
- Metrodome opens on April 6, Mariners vs. Twins.
- Royal Hal McRae tops majors with 133 RBI, most RBI ever by a designated hitter.
- Gaylord Perry wins 300th game on May 6.
- In August, Perry is ejected for the only time in his career for throwing a spitball.
- Royal John Wathan sets a major league record for catchers with 36 stolen bases.
- Montreal's Al Oliver leads National League in BA (.331), hits (204), and doubles (43), and ties in RBI (109).
- Mike Schmidt leads National League in walks (107), OBP (.407), and SA (.547).
- Yount leads American League in hits (210), total bases (367), runs produced (214), and SA (.578), and ties in doubles (46).
- New York's Dave Kingman leads National League with 37 homers.
- Kingman's .204 BA is lowest since 1901 by a first baseman in 400 or more at-bats.
- Willie Wilson tops American League in batting (.332) and triples (15).
- Angel Reggie Jackson and Brewer Gorman Thomas tie for American League homer lead with 39.
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More 1982 Baseball Season Highlights
Below are more highlights from the 1982 baseball season, including the year's big trades and Hall of Fame inductees.
- Boston's Bob Stanley sets an American League record by pitching 168 innings in relief.
- Terry Felton leaves baseball with an 0-16 lifetime record -- worst mark ever.
- The Hall of Fame inducts Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Travis Jackson, and Happy Chandler.
- Ron Guidry wins first of five consecutive Gold Gloves awarded to American League pitchers.
- KC's Frank White wins sixth consecutive Gold Glove as American League second baseman; he also bats a career-high .298.
- Yankee Dave Winfield
wins first of four consecutive Gold Gloves as an American League
outfielder after having won two Gold Gloves in the National League.
- California sends Tom Brunansky, Mike Walters, and $400,000 to Twins for Doug Corbett and Rob Wilfong.
- Texas trades Oliver to Montreal for Larry Parrish and Dave Hostetler.
- Oakland sends Tony Armas and Jeff Newman to Boston for Carney Lansford and two other players.
- Mets trade Lee Mazzilli to Texas for Walt Terrell and Ron Darling.
- Mets re-acquire Tom Seaver from Reds for three players.
- Phils deal Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa to Cubs for Ivan DeJesus.
- Phils deal Julio Franco, Manny Trillo, and three other players to Cleveland for Von Hayes.
- For the first time in history, Yankees' home opener is canceled by a blizzard.
- Brewers hit an American League record 1.57 homers per game on the road.
- Cal Ripken sets O's record for most homers by a rookie (32).
- Lloyd Waner dies.
- Satchel Paige dies.
- Trillo sets a new record for second basemen when he handles 479 consecutive chances without an error.
- Robin Yount sets records for American League shortstops with a .578 SA and 367 total bases.
- In a game vs. Omaha, Denver draws 65,666 -- a minor league record.
- 1982 American League Championship Series is the first time in
major league history that two expansion teams oppose each other in
- Oakland's Jimmy Sexton sets an American League record for most stolen bases in a season without being caught (16).
Mark Belanger leaves majors with 389 RBI in 2,016 games -- the
worst ratio in history by a player with ten or more years in the majors.
- Willie Stargell retires after 21 years with the Pirates, a club record.
- Padre Joe Lefebvre goes 6-for-8 in a 16-inning game on Sept. 13.
- Cardinal Lonnie Smith tops National League in runs (120), is fourth in hits (182) and BA (.307).
- Dickie Thon of Houston leads National League in triples (ten).
- Montreal's Tim Raines tops National League in steals (78) while Smith finishes second (68).
- Murphy tops National League in runs produced (186) and is second in homers (36).
- Montreal's Steve Rogers leads the National League in ERA (2.40) and is second in wins (19).
- Phil Niekro has the top win pct. in National League (.810).
- Vuckovich and Jim Palmer tie for the best win pct. in American League (.750).
- Molitor tops the majors with 136 runs.
- Boston's Dwight Evans tops American League in OBP (.403), is second in walks (112).
- Toronto's Dave Stieb leads American League in innings (288) and CGs (19).
- Floyd Bannister is the first Mariners pitcher to top the American League in Ks (209).
- With 19 wins, LaMarr Hoyt is first White Sox hurler to top the American League in that department since 1973.
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