Year In Review : 1984 National League
Off the field...
Republican President Ronald Reagan was reelected after defeating Democratic candidate Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first female Vice Presidential candidate to represent a major party.
Doctor's replaced the ailing heart of an infant girl known as "Baby Fae" with that of a baboon's at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. Although she died twenty-one days later of organ failure, doctors discovered that she hadn't rejected the heart as many had expected. That gave hope to the doctors and inspired continued research to find a cure for neonatal heart disease.
James Huberty gunned down twenty-one children and adults in a McDonalds restaurant in San Ysidro, California before being shot dead by the police at the scene. The incident was one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
In the American League...
On May 9th, Harold Baines hit a 420-foot homerun in the twenty-fifth inning to give the White Sox a 7-6 victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers. The eight hour and six minute marathon set an all-time record for the most innings ever played in an American League game as well as the longest game ever in the Major Leagues.
Sparky Anderson's Detroit Tigers echoed the glory days of Cobb as they dominated the American League with a 104-58 record and one-hundred eighty-seven home runs. Lance Parrish hit thirty-three home runs and ninety-eight RBIs while batting .237, Kirk Gibson added twenty-seven round-trippers and ninety-one RBIs plus a .282 average and Alan Trammell led the team with the top average of .314. Jack Morris anchored the Tigers' pitching staff with a 19-11 record and Guillermo Hernandez tallies thirty-two saves in thirty-three opportunities.
On the 17th Anniversary of his first round-tripper, Reggie Jackson launched a Bud Black fastball into the right field stands for his five-hundredth career homer. He was the thirteenth player ever to reach that mark following Willie McCovey in 1978. Unfortunately, "Mr. October" and his Anaheim Angels fell 10-1 to the visiting Kansas City Royals.
In the National League...
Pete Rose, then with the Montreal Expos, played in his 3,309th Major League game on June 29th beating Carl Yastrzemski's record as well as his former team the Cincinnati Reds (7-3).
At Fulton County Stadium, the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres erupted in a ten-minute brawl over a pitching duel that resulted in sixteen major ejections by the officials. Several Major League umpires stated that it was the worst disgrace ever witnessed on a baseball diamond and that it clearly set the game back fifty years in the minds of many fans.
The Chicago Cubs finally won their first title (of any kind) since 1945 after they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 for the National League East.
Around the league...
Due to a strike by the Major League umpires, the first game of the National League Championship Series was called by college replacement officials. The labor dispute was predominately over a pool of $340,000 that the regulars wanted distributed to all umps, including those that were not working the post-season.
"The Natural," an instant classic based on the novel by Bernard Malamud, debuted on the big screen with Robert Redford starring as Roy Hobbs, an aging slugger with the New York Knights. The climatic finale is still considered one of the greatest scenes ever filmed on a baseball diamond.
Al Schacht, better known as "The Clown Prince of Baseball" died on July 14th at the age of ninety-one. The former Washington Senators pitcher turned top hat jester had entertained the crowd before twenty-five World Series and eighteen All-Star Games.
Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth warned the city of Chicago that he would move all future playoff games involving the Cubs to St. Louis unless outdoor lights were installed at Wrigley Field.