The year 1982 marked the first of three 1980′s appearances in the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals. It also marks the one and only time that the Milwaukee Brewers reached the World Series.
With the two teams, now in the same league, prepared to face off for the National League Pennant, i70baseball brings you a look back to that series in 1982. A monumental series that took all seven games to decide a winner. A series that would see would see both teams win a game by a double digit margin as well as each team winning a game by two or fewer runs.
While the Cardinals were the favorites to win the series, they made a strong statement by taking the first game in Milwaukee for a victory. Young Willie McGee was showing why the Cardinals had such faith in him, the team was playing “Whiteyball” and generating runs, and the upstart “Harvey’s Wallbangers” Brewers were on the ropes having lost two of the first three. Getting back into this series in game four was going to be very important and the Brewers would need to focus on the task at hand.
Game Four: October 16, 1982
The visiting Cardinals would turn to rookie hurler Dave LaPoint to try to gain more of an upper hand against the Brewers. LaPoint pitched in 42 games in 1982 and started 21 of those. He finished the regular season with nine wins, three losses, a 3.42 earned run average, 81 strikeouts, 52 walks, and a 1.454 WHIP while ranking eighth in the Rookie Of The Year voting. LaPoint had started his career in Milwaukee and now had the opportunity to show them what they lost when they traded him away. Of course, they knew what they got: Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons, and Pete Vuckovich.
The Brewers would rely on a pitcher that had struggled his way through the 1982 season, Moose Haas, to try and get them back into things. Haas was a contact pitcher that seldom walked hitters during that season, only 38 walks over 193 1/3 innings pitched, but tended to give up a few runs, as apparent by his 4.47 earned run average. It would be an uphill climb for Haas and the Brewers but anything can happen in baseball.
Anything started happening quickly in this game for the National League Champions. Between strikeouts of leadoff man Tom Herr and third place hitter Keith Hernandez, Kent Oberkfell would stroke a double down the first base line. A single from clean up hitter George Hendrick, and the Cardinals were out to an early lead.
The second inning would not help the Brewers out any at all. The Cardinals once again showed they small ball approach as, with one out, Willie McGee would stroke a base hit. He would then steal second on a play that the Brewers had anticipated but catcher Ted Simmons bobbled the pitch out. Ozzie Smith would walk and a wild pitch would allow both runners to move into scoring position. Tom Herr would lift a fly ball deep to the warning track in centerfield that Gorman Thomas would track down. Thomas, however, would fall after making the catch and a hustling Ozzie would score all the way from second base. Kent Oberkfell would then walk and steal second, finally scoring on a ground ball by Keith Hernandez that was booted by secondbaseman Jim Gantner. After two innings, the heavily favored Cardinals were already up by a score of four to nothing.
Things would calm down until the Brewers would finally get on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. A lead off double from Don Money would be followed by a single from Charlie Moore, placing runners at the corners with no one out. Gantner would follow with a ball up the middle that would see Ozzie turn a defensive gem of a snag into a double play, yielding the run. It would be all the Brewers could muster that inning and the score would stand at four to one in favor of the Cardinals.
Brewers fans would feel the pressure of the uphill battle shortly thereafter as the Cardinals would get the run right back in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back doubles for Lonnie Smith and Dane Iorg would plate the Cardinals fifth run and chase Haas from the game.
The bottom of the seventh rolled around and Ben Oglivie would reach base for the Brewers with one out on a botched play by Dave LaPoint covering first base. Money would follow with a single and Moore would pop out to shortstop. With two outs and two on, Gantner would plug the gap in rightfield, scoring both runners and chasing LaPoint from the game. Doug Bair would walk Paul Molitor to load the bases before giving up a two run single to Robin Yount, placing Yount at first and Molitor now at third. With the Brewers suddenly within a run, Herzog would go to his bullpen again and call on Jim Kaat to face Cecil Cooper, who promptly singled in Molitor, tying the game. Kaat’s wild pitch to Simmons would move the runners to second and third and cause Herzog to bring in Jeff Lahti in the middle of the at-bat. Lahti would walk Simmons intentionally to once again load the bases before surrendering a two run single to Gordon Thomas in his second at bat of the inning. The Cardinals would finally get out of the inning after another intentional walk to Oglivie and a fly out by Money. The Brewers had taken the lead seven to five after seven innings of play.
The Cardinals would not threaten again on this day and a disastrous seventh inning would lead to a tie series. With one game left in Milwaukee, the series was knotted up at two games a piece and the excitement was building.
Stay tuned as i70baseball brings you game recaps for all seven games of the 1982 World Series on game days of the 2011 National League Championship Series.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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