While channel surfing during the recent holidays, I ran across Baseball Seasons on the MLB Network. I usually don’t head to that channel until spring training starts and I can no longer contain my appetite for baseball – any baseball – after the long winter months.
I thought Baseball Seasons might be a Ken Burns-type documentary, which immediately intrigued me. Turns out, Baseball Seasons takes a look back at – you guessed it – seasons of MLB past. This particular episode looked back at the 1982 season – the top teams and players of the year.
Well, I placed the remote on the armchair and settled in, for 1982 was the last time my beloved Milwaukee franchise appeared in the World Series. If I had been thinking, I would have recorded the episode for my archives.
Sure, 1982 didn’t end well for Wisconsinites, but to see the original footage from the season, interviews from the participants and how the year unfolded in baseball was quite entertaining. For instance, a stat that jumped out at me was the disparity in home runs between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for the 1982 season, the two teams that would end up facing each other in the Fall Classic. The soon-to-be runners-up belted 216 home runs. The Cardinals hit just 67 for the year.
The saying the regular season doesn’t matter when it comes to postseason play remains true to this day. In the 1982 World Series, St. Louis nearly matched Milwaukee in the home run department (four home runs vs. five), and they outscored Harvey’ Wallbangers in seven games en route to the championship.
The Hall of Famers were many in that series, with Bruce Sutter and Ozzie Smith participating for the Cardinals, and Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Don Sutton playing for the Brewers. Rollie Fingers was also on the Brewers roster, but he didn’t play in the series due to injury.
It’s a blast revisiting seasons gone by. For Brewers fans, that season especially sticks out since nothing like that has happened before or since 1958. It’s no wonder, even with the expanded playoffs of today, Brewers fans go crazy just to make it into the postseason.
While I enjoyed the playoff runs in 2008 and 2011, 1982 is still my favorite year as a fan, even though I don’t recall the games themselves.
So now I turn the tables and ask SCD readers what their favorite baseball season is of all time. No doubt, given the heavy concentration of East Coast readers and the success of the New York teams, I expect heavy doses of teams from the 1950s and ’60s starring Mantle, Mays and Koufax.
But I hope to also hear from Oakland A’s fans, devotees of the Big Red Machine and San Francisco Giants crazies. And it doesn’t have to be strictly years that saw your favorite team win the World Series. It might have been the year your favorite player did something extraordinary or the season you were introduced to baseball and saw those magnificent grass fields for the first time. The criteria doesn’t matter; I’m just looking for your favorite year in baseball. If we get enough responses, I’ll compile them and share in a future issue of SCD.