In the fall of 1981, I was 9 years old and in love with the game of baseball. That season I was able to watch my favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, avenge two World Series losses to the New York Yankees, by beating them in the ‘81 World Series.
At 9, you don’t comprehend the economics or politics that stole part of that season from us, but thankfully the two sides were able to come together. In ‘94, at 22 years old, I could better understand what was going on, but still hate that we were robbed of a part of the season, the World Series and a potential Tony Gwynn (RIP) .400 chase.
The above image isn’t from ‘94, but I just like those uniforms better. Maybe I’m more partial to them because of who is in the on-deck circle (Steve Garvey). Gwynn was sitting at .394 when the season ended, and might have finished at .373, and might have finished at .404. Nobody knows, but it would have been fun to watch and track on a daily basis.
A few weeks ago, maybe a month, I was in a store called Ollie’s, which is like “Big Lots” step-brother, and was looking through some books, and saw the book pictured above. It’s by Rick Monday, a 19 year MLB vet, and member of that ‘81 World Championship team, so I thumbed through it. At $2.99 it was coming home with me, then i saw that it was a signed copy, made it all the better.
It was neat learning more details about players meetings, Steve Sax, even as a rookie messing with Tommy Lasorda, just little snippets here and there. How Dusty Baker played part of that World Series injured and was as much of a decoy, as he was a threat. How the majority of the players hated the Yankees. Monday recalled hating them as a kid, well all but Mickey Mantle.
He was baseball to kids back then. They don’t really make them like that any more.
I won’t spoil any other stories, for any Dodgers fan that wants to give it a read, but I did find it interesting that during the celebration below, that Steve Yeager swinging Steve Howe around nearly knocked Steve Garvey out with an errant elbow. It’s full of neat little tidbits that you really wouldn’t know, even if 1981 was in the Social Media or 24/7 news cycles of today.
Happy 30th birthday to “Bull Durham, released on June 15, 1988. I didn’t see in the theater, but I’ve watched it a dozen or so times. When it all comes down to it, it’s probably my favorite movie of all time, but I think I’ve said that a time or three.