Johnny Bench, Carl Yastrzemski, and Gaylord Perry all retired after the 1983 baseball season. Bench, with the Reds since 1967, finished his career with a total of 389 homers and four World Series appearances. Yaz, who had worn the Red Sox uniform for 23 years, slugged 3,419 hits. And Perry left with 314 wins for eight different teams, although he never made it to the World Series.
Some other aged players had no intentions of retiring. Philadelphia's Steve Carlton, 38, and Houston's Nolan Ryan, 36, spent the spring battling for the all-time strikeout crown.
Ryan passed longtime strikeout king Walter Johnson in April, only to be overtaken by Carlton in June. Ryan wound up the winner and Carlton got his 300th career victory. Tom Seaver returned to Shea Stadium and won nine games for the Mets.
Wade Boggs won the
1983 batting title.
In the National League East was Philadelphia, a team loaded with aging stars, including Pete Rose (42), Joe Morgan (40), Tony Perez (41), Tug McGraw (39), and Carlton. But the Phillies -- "the Wheeze Kids," as they were called -- still had enough to win the National League East. In the playoffs, the Phillies would meet a Dodgers team with no pitchers who won more than 15 games and only one hitter (Pedro Guerrero) who knocked in more than 73 runs.
Joe Altobelli replaced the legendary Earl Weaver as manager of the Orioles and -- with the solid performances of MVP Cal Ripken (.318 average, 27 homers, 102 RBI) and Eddie Murray (.306, 33 homers, 111 RBI) -- took them to their first World Championship since 1970. Although none of the Baltimore pitchers won 20 games, the staff was strong and consistent.
The Chicago White Sox won the West Division with 99 games. Their offense lived by the long ball, as skipper Tony LaRussa had four players who blasted at least 20 home runs: Greg Luzinski, Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, and 1983 Rookie of the Year Ron Kittle. The team led the league in runs. Its pitching staff, which relied on control, was spearheaded by Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt, a 24-game winner.
The Mets finished 68-94, but they laid the groundwork for future success. They traded Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey to St. Louis for Keith Hernandez, and introduced young slugger Darryl Strawberry, who slammed 26 homers, collected 74 RBI, and took Rookie of the Year honors.
The Phillies defeated the Dodgers three games to one in the National League Championship Series. Carlton won two of the games, allowing a total of just one earned run. The Orioles shot down the White Sox in the American League Championship Series. Chicago, which had such a potent offense during the season, scored a measly three runs in four games against Baltimore.
In the 1983 World Series, the Orioles took care of the Phillies in five games. No Baltimore pitcher won more than one game, but together they limited Philadelphia to a .195 average and 1.8 runs per game. Oriole catcher Rick Dempsey, who batted .385, was named 1983 World Series MVP.
Continue to the next page for headlines and summaries of the big stories from the 1983 baseball season.
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