Tag Archives: Darryl Strawberry

Bridging The Gap… From Amazin’s to Bad Boys…

From 1958-1961 the Yankees we’re the only baseball team in The Big Apple. Then in 1962, New York was awarded an expansion National League ballclub. They would become known as the Mets, short for Metropolitans. 

“The circular Mets logo, designed by sports cartoonist Ray Gatto, was unveiled. It has gone virtually unchanged throughout the history of the club. The shape of the insignia, with its orange stitching, represents a baseball, and the bridge in the foreground symbolizes that the Mets, in bringing back the National League to New York, represent all five boroughs. It’s not just a skyline in the background, but has a special meaning. At the left is a church spire, symbolic of Brooklyn, the borough of churches. The second building from the left is the Williamsburg Savings Bank, the tallest building in Brooklyn. Next is the Woolworth Building. After a general skyline view of midtown comes the Empire State Building. At the far right is the United Nations Building. The Mets’ colors are Dodger blue and Giant orange, symbolic of the return of National League baseball to New York after the Dodgers and Giants moved to California. Blue and Orange are also the official colors of New York State.” ( newyork.mets.mlb.com )

Mets Logo Adorned with Dodger Blue, and Giants Orange, the Mets logo has pretty much stood the test of time, for the most part retaining it’s look throughout their history with some minor tweaks. 

After playing their first two seasons at The Polo Grounds, the Mets would move into Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, where the Dodgers may have ended up if not for a struggle of power between the beloved Dodger owner ( or hated depending who you talk to ) and New York City Planner Robert Moses. Lovable losers from their infancy throughout the 60s, the Mets would actually outdraw the Yankees at the gate during that period. ( I would have to think the fans with ties toward the Dodgers and Giants had something to do with the huge support).  

1969 would bring a miracle as the Mets, those lovable losers of the sixties, would shock the baseball world and bring home a World Championship, forever known as The Amazins’. Shea Stadium would be home to another World Champion, as well as 2 other National League pennant winners.

A Dynasty in the Making ?

The eighties would see the Mets parade such talent as Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, and of course Crenshaw High’s Darryl Strawberry. From 1984-89, the Mets would win 90 plus game in 5 of those seasons. However, in the days long before the wild card, the Mets would only see post-season action twice during that period, finishing in 2nd place in four of those seasons. The Mets, winners of 108 games in 1986, would find themselves in some of baseball’s most intense playoff moments, narrowly getting by the Astros in six games .

Of course many of you do know the story of the 1986 World Series, as well as a huge moment in Game 6 that, when given much deep thought, involves a former Dodger, and a Hall of Fame Dodger announcer. Yup, that’s right…. Bill Buckner and Vinny…

The ’86 Mets we’re brash. They we’re now baseball’s Bad Boys. They we’re cocky. They defied the law... They partied hard… They we’re the buzz of MTV ( More on that later…) They we’re a dynasty in the making… Or we’re they ? In 1988, the Mets would win 100 games en route to their 2nd NL East crown in 3 years. They would face our beloved Dodgers in the NLCS, a team they beat 10 of 11 times, uh, make that dominated, 10 of 11 during the regular season. I know you already know the story of 1988 so I’ll spare the dramatics. But I will give my memories of that 1988 NLCS in my next post. Stay tuned… In the meantime… Back to 1986, when MTV was, Music Television…

 In the context of 1986, this was brash….

Even our Boys in Blue gave the music video gig a try in 1986, performing The Baseball Boogie Bunch. Before you view this, let me just add… The Dodgers record in 1986 ? 73-89

 Oh, The Eighties… I WANT MY MTV !!!

MTV logo

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Regular Season Head to Head vs. Playoff Head to Head

Interesting read in today’s Dodger Insider regarding the significance, or lack of, between regular season and post-season head to head matchups.

regular-season-vs-postseason

For those of you who may be in a panic over the Blue Crew’s 1-5 mark against the Brew Crew after being swept this weekend, as you can see from past playoff match-ups listed above, the regular season is not always a true indicator of how teams match up in the post-season, ESPECIALLY, in baseball, where 162 games are played and any team, no matter how good, can look bad during a slump against anyone, no matter how bad the opponent is. Lets take a look at recent history going back to 2008.

In 2008 and 2009, the Dodgers had 2-5 regular season records against the Cardinals and Cubs. Dodgers swept both teams in the NLDS 3 games to none. Let’s look at last season. The Braves had our number in the regular season. What did it matter come playoff time ?

“How do the Dodgers and Braves matchup ? During the regular season the Boys from Georgia took 5 of 7 against the Boys in Blue however it should be noted that 3 of those wins came during a 3 game sweep in Atlanta during the Dodgers rough start, injuries had still crippled the team and that included the loss of Hanley Ramirez. “

My words from last season’s preview of the NLDS matchup with the Braves . I’m sure you all remember who came out on top.

“The Dodgers had a slight edge over the Cardinals in the regular season, winning 4 out of 7, with the visiting teams winning their respective series. How much of an advantage either team may have on one another, who knows ? So how do the Dodgers and Cardinals matchup heading into the NLCS ? We do know that this time around both teams will be coming into this series at their best unlike during the regular season, when the Cards took 2 of 3 at Dodger Stadium back in May as the Dodgers we’re still mired in their early season funk and the Dodgers took 3 of 4 at Busch Stadium in early August when the Dodgers we’re at the height of their post all-star break run while the Red Birds we’re experiencing a swoon of their own having lost 13 of 18 during that stretch…..”

Once again, My words from last season’s preview of the NLCS . Unfortunately, we still remember the end result there. My point, fellow Dodger fans, is that there are a number of factors as to why the regular season means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when teams cross paths come playoff time. Injuries, a team slump, among other numerous factors, could have and all likely play a key role as to why certain teams dominate other teams in the regular season. Let’s also not forget, in a 162 game season, even the best teams lose at least 60 games. Let’s also not forget no matter how good a team is, every team is prone to losing streaks as well. I’ll say it again folks, no matter how good a team is, anyone can go cold at any point in the season even against some bad teams. Also ask yourself, is 6 games out of 162 really a true indicator of how one matches up against each other ? I think not.

Let’s also go back to a decade far far away, the 80s. During the 1983 season, the Dodgers dominated the season series against the Phillies taking 11 games out of 12. Come playoff time, the Phillies entered the NLCS having won 25 of their final 32 while the Dodgers limped into the NL West title. In the 1983 NLCS, it was the Wheeze Kids , a lineup of Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton, and Mike Schmidt, at 34 being the youngest of that bunch, and a hot bat from Gary Matthews that would do the Dodgers in.

Flash forward to 1988. This time it was the Dodgers who we’re in the short end of a regular season matchup, as the Mets, 2 years removed from their 1986 triumph and a possible dynasty in the making, who had taken 10 of 11 from the Dodgers in the regular season. The Mets, led by Doc Gooden’s arm and Darryl Strawberry’s bat, we’re heavy favorites to beat the Dodgers in the NLCS. But the Dodgers defied all odds in a series that would go the full 7 games, and well, you know what happened …

So there you have it. The regular season is a marathon. The playoffs are a whole different beast.

Dre_88trophy It’s been 26 years. Is 2014 the year we party like it’s 1988 ?

Tuesday’s Happenings, 5/6/20014, and a Tribute To Derek Jeter

Kershaw_Nats Welcome Back Kershaw ! In his first start since the season opener down under, Kershaw throws 7 shutout innings while striking out 9 as the Dodgers behind 14 hits take the 2nd of 3 in Washington, defeating the Nationals 8-3 .

Down I-5

With the Yankees doing battle against the Angels until tomorrow night, barring a post-season matchup against the Halos or even a Fall Classic showdown with, well…. this will mark the final appearance in the southland for future Yankee Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. Even if you hate the sight of pinstripes, you got to give it up for the legend. 19 seasons all in the same uniform, 16 playoff appearances, 13 all-star appearances, 5 time World Champion, AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, 5 time Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner, 2000 World Series MVP. Yeah, we can go on. Derek Jeter, the game is going to miss you. Much respect from Erick Aybar, who coincidentally dons the number 2 in honor of Jeter, Mike Trout, who, growing up in nearby Millville N.J., idolized the Yankee captain, and baseball fans, from Dodger Blue to Angel Red to the future HOFer.

Jeter_Dodgerstadium View from the Top Deck after Jeter strikes out, June 2010

To this day I still say fan interference on Jeffrey Maier !!!

Jeter_yankeestadium Thanks for the memories Derek !!!

Old-Timers Lineups Set

For the 2nd straight year the Dodgers will be featuring an old-timers game this time featuring Dodgers from the last 5 decades. Here’s the list of Dodgers participants for this years game. On a side note, for me personally, I know i’m getting old when I’ve seen 21 of the 24 participants don the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Being that the Dodgers are playing the Giants this weekend I would have loved to see a battle of past Dodgers and Giants even for laughs. Speaking of, 4 of the participants, Dusty Baker, Reggie Smith, Darryl Strawberry, and Steve Finley, donned both the dreaded Halloween colors and the Dodger Blue at one time or another. Speaking of Steve Finley, perhaps you may remember this from 10 years ago….

26 Years and Counting Since 1988, Part 1, 1989 And The 90’s

Re-blogged from last season.  It is 26 years now since Chavez Ravine has hosted a World Series.  Here’s a recap of each season, part 1, from 1989 to 1999

 

On the eve of the 109th World Series will mark 25 years now since the Dodgers won their last World Series title, let alone appear in one.  While I enjoy telling stories what it was like being a fan experiencing the Dodgers triumph in 1988, explaining the feeling to the fans who have potentially graduated college in the last 4 years certainly is not making me feel any younger.  Now that I have all but let it out that i’m up there in years, lol, let’s now look back on the last 25 years, first with the 90’s, with it’s highs and lows.  And let’s hope by this time next year i’m writing a piece about The Boys in Blue in the World Series.  But first…

OK. Let’s look back upon the last 25 years of non World Series years

1989 77-83 4th Place

Despite leading the NL with a team ERA of 2.95, the last time anyone finished the season with a team ERA below 3.00, the Dodgers, one season after shocking the world, would finish in 4th place 14 games behind the Giants. So anemic was the offense that Orel Hershiser, despite winning 15 games with an ERA of 2.31, would also lose 15 as well , finishing the season with a .500 mark.

So the 80’s finished on a down note. However, the Dodgers was still a strong decade for the Boys in Blue, winning two World Championships (1981 and 1988), four National League Western Division titles (1981, 1983, 1985 and 1988) and 825 games, tying them with the St. Louis Cardinals for most victories by a National League team during the decade. The 80’s was also a strong decade in L.A. sports as well. Between the Dodgers 2 titles, the Lakers 5 titles, and the Raiders lone Super Bowl in 1983 9 This is a 49ERS fan acknowledging this), 8 championship titles we’re won for the great city of Los Angeles. Oh yeah, let’s also not forget the 1984 Olympics, with baseball debuting as an olympic sport here, played at, of course, Dodger Stadium. Those we’re some fun times as a sports fan in the 80’s. The 90’s certainly look promising, right ? kirk-gibson One last look of the 80’s

The 90’s

The United States enacts Operation Desert Storm, destroying the Iraqi army and ending the Gulf War in a few short weeks. A video is released of driver Rodney King being beaten by L.A. police officers following a traffic stop, igniting a national controversy. Bill Clinton is elected the 42nd president of the United States. Magic Johnson announces his retirement from the NBA after contracting the HIV Virus ( What’s Magic up to these days ? ). In the meantime, on the field…

1990 86-76 2nd Place

Even without Orel Hershiser for much of the season due to shoulder surgery and an injury plagued Kirk Gibson a mere cry from his 1988 season, the Dodgers would finish 5 games behind the eventual World Champion Cincinatti Reds. This would also be the last season for Fernando Valenzuela in a Dodger uniform, as he would be released prior to the 1991 season.

1991 93-79 2nd Place

Hometown product Darryl Strawberry, who put up big numbers in his eight stormy seasons with the New York Mets, would be signed in the off-season for a then whopping 5 years, $20.25 million dollars. After a slow start, Strawberry would lead the team in both home runs (27) and RBI’s (100) In spite of a strong 20-8 finish to the season, the Dodgers would finish 1 game behind the upstart Atlanta Braves for the NL West crown.

1992 63-99 6th Place

Eric Davis, the one time Cincinatti Reds outfielder, would team up with childhood buddy Darryl Strawberry in the outfield. However, both Strawberry and Davis would miss much of 1992 and the Dodgers, for the first time since 1905, would finish the season in last place

1993 81-81 3rd Place

In the final season before the current 3 division alignment, the Dodgers would improve upon their 1992 performance by 18 games. Though they would miss out on the post season , the second of 5 consecutive Rookie of the Year winners would don the Dodger Blue as Mike Piazza , with 35 home runs and 112 rbi’s, would take home the prize, Eric Karros winning the award in 1992. 1993 also marked the final season a 100 plus win team would miss out on post-season play as the Dodgers, on the final game of the season, highlighted by Rookie of the Year winner Mike Piazza’s 2 home runs, would knock out the Giants 12-1, leaving the Giants 1 game behind the Atlanta Braves for the NL West crown ( Yup, I was at that game folks ). The following season would be the year divisional re-alingment would take place as well as the wild card. From 1969-1993, only the division winners qualified for the LCS. So yeah, had the wild card been in effect in 1993, the Giants would have easily made the post season. Bummer huh ? ( In my sarcastic voice, LOL ) piazza93 Mike Piazza being greeted by future 3rd base coach Tim Wallach after belting one of two home runs to knock the Giants out of the playoffs

1994 58-56, 1st Place *

In the first year of 3 division aligment, the Dodgers would finish in 1st place, and yes, that is an asterisk next to the feat, if one can consider being 2 games over .500 one. That is because in August, a bitter labor dispute between the players and owners would lead to the cancelation of the remainder of the 1994 season and wipe out post-season and World Series play altogether. Raul Mondesi would win the 3rd of 5 consecutive Dodger Rookie of the Year Awards. Darryl Strawberry, with his countless off the field problems during his time in L.A, would be released prior to the season.

1995 78-66, 1st Place

One year after the strike had put a black eye on Major League Baseball, in a 144 game season due to the previous season’s strike that carried over into 1995, the Dodgers would capture the NL West by one game over the Colorado Rockies 3 years into their existence. Hideo Nomo, The Tornadoe, would win the NL Rookie of the Year. In the first official League Division Series, not counting 1981’s ” intra-division playoffs “, the Dodgers would be swept in 3 straight by the NL Central Champion Cincinatti Reds.

1996 90-72 2nd Place, Wild Card

Tommy Lasorda, one of only two L.A. Dodger managers along with Walter Alston dating back to their arrival from Brooklyn in 1958, would step down from his managerial duties after suffering a mild heart attack. Bill Russell would take over the reins for Tommy. With a 2 game lead over the Padres and 3 to play against the Friars, San Diego would sweep all 3 games at Dodger Stadium to win the NL West by 1 game, pushing the Dodgers to Wild Card status. They would be swept in 3 straight in the LDS by the Atlanta Braves, ending the season on a 7 game losing streak. Todd Hollandsworth would round out the 5 consecutive Dodger Rookie of the Year Award winners dodgersROY The 5 consecutive ROY’s would surpass the 4 consecutive the Dodgers had from 1979-1982 when Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela, and Steve Sax won the prize

1997 88-74 2nd Place

This time, a late September swoon would cost them. Leading the NL West over the Giants by 2 games on September 16, they would be swept in a crucial 2 game series in San Francisco, the beginning of a 1-6 stretch that would find themselves 2 games behind the hated one’s heading into the final weekend of the year, in which the Dodgers would eventually finish 2 games behind the Giants but miss out on the Wild Card. This would also mark the final season of ownership under the O’Malley family

1998 83-79 3rd Place

In their first season under the Fox group, Mike Piazza , after a lengthy contract dispute, would find himself traded to the Florida Marlins along with Todd Zeile for Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson and Jim Eisenrich before landing with the Mets one week later. With a 36-38 record in June, Bill Russell would get his pink slip, as well as general manager Fred Claire. The thought of a Dodgers manager was unheard of at the time considering up until 1998 they had only 3 managers. Glenn Hoffman, brother of Padres relief phenom Trevor Hoffman, would finish out the season as the skipper. 1998 would also be the year that future Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa we’re involved in the home run record chase, with McGwire finishing with 70 home runs. piazza Though he did put up big numbers in Dodger Blue , Piazza will forever be remembered as a Met. To this day, I still don’t believe he has buried the hatchet towards the Dodgers and his fans. I wonder if he will blame me next for the Dodgers fans turning on him .

1999 76-86 3rd Place

Davey Johnson would take over as manager, and Kevin Brown, coming off 3 straight dominant season and two World Series appearances with the Marlins and Padres, would be signed to a 7-year $105 million contract just one year after Piazza had been offerred 6 years at $80 million, rasising some questions amongst the fans why the same deal could not be offered to Mike, an everyday player, as opposed to Brown, who only toes the hill every 5 games. The Dodgers would finish 24 games behind the 2nd year Arizona Diamondbacks.

So the 90’s we’re not exactly some glorious times for L.A. sports fans. The Lakers, though they would continue to make it to the post season, making the playoffs in 9 of the 10 years, also failed to bring L.A. another championship . The Raiders and Rams would leave L.A. after the 1994 season ( I really didn’t care since i’m a 49ERS fan ) , the Clippers we’re a far cry from what they are today, and the Kings would appear in the Stanley Cup in 1993 to lose to the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games. So next, the new millenium. Glory day’s are bound to return to L.A, right ?