This season marks the 30th anniversary of the 1981 World Champion team that rallied from a 2 game deficit to beat the hated Yankees to claim their 4th World Series title in their 24th season in Los Angeles. In honor of the 30th anniversary , on Sunday May 1st the Dodgers will be giving out retro 1981 World Champion T-Shirts . One of the more memorable highlights of the 1981 season was during the ’81 NLCS , Game 5 against the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium. With the series tied at 2, it was winner take all . ( Best of 7 in the LCS would not take place until 1985 ) . The Expos, whom many of you know now as the Washington Nationals, had some good teams in the late 70’s and early 80’s , amongst the players we’re Tim Raines, Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Jeff Reardon, Steve Rogers, and last but not least Tim Wallach. ( I wonder if he will want to observe any 30th anniversary celbrations that may take place this year…) In the top of the 9th of a pitchers duel between some 20 year old kid named Fernando ( Who would later be the teams 3rd straight Rookie of the Year ) and Ray Burris of Montreal, Steve Rogers, the Montreal ace, would come in and pitch the 9th. Rogers would retire Garvey and Cey and then, Rick Monday would hit what was then the biggest home run in Dodger history. Fernando came back out in the bottom of the 9th and retired the first two hitters before walking Gary Carter and Larry Parrish, putting the tying and winning runs on base. ( Back then folks, emphasis on pitch counts was non-existant, if a pitcher felt he could finish what he started, it was his game to finish no matter the score ) So Lasorda goes to Bob Welch, who 3 years prior, had struck out Reggie Jackson in an epic battle to end Game 2 of the World Series, to record the final out of the game, sending the Dodgers to New York in what would be the final time the Dodgers and Yankees would see each other in post season play. Who would have thought that after so many battles with each other going back to the Brooklyn days that these two would not see each other in the World Series for 30 years and counting. As for the Montreal Expos, this would be their only post-season appearance in their 35 year history. It’s too bad MLB and Bud Selig didn’t have any interest in saving baseball in Montreal. Many felt that the players strike in 1994 had a lot to do with the downfall of baseball in Montreal. The Expos had baseball’s best record at 74-40 when the strike hit, and with the post-season being cancelled, the Expos best chance of winning a world series, and perhaps the future of their franchise, was dealt a sever blow. OK, below is a clip from a Montreal news station I found on youtube giving a recap in French of game 5 of the LCS including Rick Monday’s home run.
And speaking of Mr. Monday…..