June 15, 2016

Wednesday Wallbangin'

A Tribute to the Team That Beat the Tigers in '81

In 1981, Major League Baseball players went on strike. The strike lasted most of the summer. It was a terrible summer for a nine-year-old baseball fanatic. I'm sure I continued to collect the baseball cards — at the time they were licensed by Topps, Fleer, and Donruss, so there were many to choose from and buy. Anyhow, I suppose that was 35 years ago that this crazy baseball strike happened. Suddenly, the season resumed, though, and the baseball playoffs took on a new look because the 1981 season was called the "split season." And as the season wound down, the Detroit Tigers were in the thick of things and on the verge of making the expanded playoffs.

You can hear the awesome voice of George Kell when you watch this video. 

The last series was against the Milwaukee Brewers who had the old ball in the glove logo that looked suspiciously like an M and a B as well as a potent line–up and vaunted pitching staff. The Tigers, in '81, weren't too shabby themselves. However, the Brewers took the series from the Tigers and the Tigers' players headed home for the off season.

I'll never forget my disappointment because the Tigers had never been very good in my lifetime. Granted, they had made the playoffs in '72 (I wasn't even one years old so I barely remember when Bert Campaneris threw that bat at the Tiger pitcher …) This team was on the verge, though, with lots of young future stars and (well, not quite) Hall of Famers. The Tigers team in '81 was a group of up–and–comers who were not quite ready for prime time.

The Tigers' roster in 1981.

The schedule.

And the Brewers almost won it all a year later, with the Tigers winning the World Series in '84.

And if you want the definitive read on the crazy season, please pick up a copy of Split Season by Jeff Katz. It's a great read and seems like a novel. I highly recommend it because it will bring back memories your forgot and also add information that we had no idea of back them.

Click here to order a copy. It's great.

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