1984 Chicago Cubs season
|1984 Chicago Cubs|
|National League East Champs|
|Major League affiliations|
|Local television||WGN-TV/Superstation WGN
(Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Milo Hamilton)
(Milo Hamilton, Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, Harry Caray)
|Previous season Next season|
The Chicago Cubs' 1984 season was the 109th season for the Cubs. The team finished with a record of 96-65 in first place of the National League Eastern Division. Chicago was managed by Jim Frey and the general manager was Dallas Green. The Cubs played at Wrigley Field, and their postseason appearance in this season was their first since 1945.
The Cubs pitching staff included 1984 Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe, and the lineup included 1984 Baseball Most Valuable Player Award winner second baseman Ryne Sandberg. Frey was awarded Manager of the Year for the National League for leading the Cubs to 96 victories. The Cubs were defeated in the 1984 National League Championship Series by the San Diego Padres three games to two.
- 1 Offseason
- 2 Regular season
- 3 Game log
- 4 Player stats
- 5 Cultural Influences
- 6 NLCS
- 7 Awards and honors
- 8 Farm system
- 9 References
- January 17, 1984: Damon Berryhill was drafted by the Cubs in the 1st round (4th pick) of the 1984 Major League Baseball Draft. Player signed June 2, 1984.
- March 26, 1984: Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz were traded by the Cubs to the Philadelphia Phillies for Porfi Altamirano, Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier.
- March 31, 1984: Alan Hargesheimer was traded by the Cubs to the Kansas City Royals for Don Werner and Derek Botelho.
The Cubs began their third season under the control of the Tribune Company and Dallas Green in Mesa, Arizona in February 1984. The previous year, the Cubs had fired manager Lee Elia during a 71-91 campaign, but the Cubs showed flashes of being competitive. As late as July 4, the Cubs were within a game of first place. After the 1983 season, general manager Green hired Jim Frey, the former Kansas City Royals manager who was Green's adversary during the 1980 World Series.
The Cubs opened camp with only a few new players. Richie Hebner, the former Pittsburgh Pirate, was signed as a free agent. The Cubs also made a three-way deal with San Diego and Montreal, sending Craig Lefferts and Carmelo Martínez to the Padres, and getting Scott Sanderson from the Expos.
The Cubs struggled in Cactus League action, so Green began to rebuild the team before it left Mesa. Green began by releasing Ferguson Jenkins, who was just 12 games shy of winning 300 games. Jenkins' release ended the right-hander's second stint with the Cubs, and effectively, his career. Green's biggest move of the spring came on March 26, when he sent journeyman reliever Bill Campbell and catcher Mike Diaz to Philadelphia for pitcher Porfi Altamirano and outfielders Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier.
The Cubs rebuilt the starting pitching staff through a series of trades by Dallas Green after a disappointing 1983 season where they went 71-91. Green had been brought to the Cubs by the Tribune company which purchased the team in 1981. Before the season started, Green dealt Carmelo Martínez, Craig Lefferts, and Fritzie Connally to acquire right-hander Scott Sanderson. On May 25, the Cubs traded Bill Buckner to the Boston Red Sox for righty Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley. Finally on June 13, Mel Hall, Joe Carter, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks were sent to the Cleveland Indians for starter Rick Sutcliffe, George Frazier, and Ron Hassey. The acquisition of these three starters solidified the rotation for the year.
The Cubs opened up the season going 12-8 in April, and were tied for first place with the New York Mets and a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 27 against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, third baseman Ron Cey hit what was originally ruled a home run down the left field line. Believing the ball had gone foul, Mario Soto and Reds manager Vern Rapp disputed the call, and during the argument, Soto shoved third base umpire Steve Rippley, who had made the call.
After conferring, the umpires changed their decision and ruled it a foul ball, drawing a protest from the Cubs. However, for shoving Rippley, Soto was ejected, prompting him to charge the field and attack Cubs coach Don Zimmer, which triggered a ten-minute brawl. Four days later, National League president Chub Feeney suspended Mario Soto for five games. This game is also notable because Soto's opponent that day was Dennis Eckersley, who would go on to become a record-setting closer years later. "Eck", who was making his Cubs debut after being acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox (the Cubs traded Bill Buckner and got Eckersley and then-minor league middle infielder Mike Brumley), would take the loss that day. 
The race stayed tight through the first half of the season, with the Cubs and Phillies tied at 42-34 on June 30, with the Mets trailing by just one and a half games. The second half of the season was different, with the Cubs posting a 54-31 record, with the Mets trailing, and the Phillies slumping back to a .500 record.
A key game during the season occurred on June 23 at Wrigley, with the Cubs facing the rival St. Louis Cardinals on the nationally televised "game of the week". The Cardinals led throughout the game, and led 9-8 going into the bottom of the ninth with closer Bruce Sutter on the mound. 24 year-old second baseman Ryne Sandberg led off the ninth with a solo home run into the left-field bleachers, tying the game at nine. The following inning, St. Louis regained the lead, and Sutter stayed in the game attempting to close out the win. After the first two batters were retired, Bob Dernier walked, bringing up Sandberg again. He promptly hit another game-tying home run into the left-field bleachers, sending the Wrigley fans into a frenzy. The Cardinals did not score in the top of the 11th, but the Cubs loaded the bases on three walks, then rookie Dave Owen singled in the winning run. Ryne Sandberg had 7 RBI in the game. Henceforth, this game has become known as "The Sandberg Game". On September 3, 1984, Rick Sutcliffe had 15 strikeouts in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Cubs ended their playoff drought on September 24 at Three Rivers Stadium in front of just over 5,000 fans. Rick Sutcliffe threw a two-hit complete game for his sixteenth straight victory, and the Cubs won the National League East.
Opening Day starters
- Larry Bowa
- Ron Cey
- Jody Davis
- Bob Dernier
- Leon Durham
- Gary Matthews
- Keith Moreland
- Dick Ruthven
- Ryne Sandberg
|New York Mets||90||72||.556||6.5|
|St. Louis Cardinals||84||78||.519||12.5|
- May 25, 1984: Bill Buckner was traded by the Cubs to the Boston Red Sox for Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley.
- June 4, 1984: 1984 Major League Baseball Draft
- June 13, 1984: Mel Hall, Joe Carter, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks (minors) were traded by the Cubs to the Cleveland Indians for Rick Sutcliffe, George Frazier and Ron Hassey.
- July 2, 1984: Dickie Noles was traded by the Cubs to the Texas Rangers for players to be named later. The Rangers completed the deal by sending Tim Henry (minors) and Jorge Gomez (minors) to the Cubs on December 11.
|1984 Chicago Cubs|
|1984 Game Log|
Starters by position
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|C||Davis, JodyJody Davis||150||523||134||.256||19||94|
|1B||Durham, LeonLeon Durham||137||473||132||.279||23||96|
|2B||Sandberg, RyneRyne Sandberg||156||636||200||.314||19||84|
|3B||Cey, RonRon Cey||146||505||121||.240||25||97|
|SS||Bowa, LarryLarry Bowa||133||391||87||.223||0||17|
|LF||Matthews, GaryGary Matthews||147||491||143||.291||14||82|
|CF||Dernier, BobBob Dernier||143||536||149||.278||3||32|
|RF||Moreland, KeithKeith Moreland||140||495||138||.279||16||80|
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|Hebner, RichieRichie Hebner||44||81||27||.333||2||8|
|Buckner, BillBill Buckner||21||43||9||.209||0||2|
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Trout, SteveSteve Trout||32||190||13||7||3.41||81|
|Eckersley, DennisDennis Eckersley||24||160.1||10||8||3.03||81|
|Sutcliffe, RickRick Sutcliffe||20||150.1||16||1||2.69||155|
|Sanderson, ScottScott Sanderson||24||140.2||8||5||3.14||76|
|Ruthven, DickDick Ruthven||23||126.2||6||10||5.04||55|
|Rainey, ChuckChuck Rainey||17||88.1||5||7||4.28||45|
|Schulze, DonDon Schulze||1||3||0||0||12||2|
Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Reuschel, RickRick Reuschel||19||92.1||5||5||5.17||43|
|Bordi, RichRich Bordi||31||83.1||5||2||3.46||41|
Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
|Smith, LeeLee Smith||69||9||7||33||3.65||86|
|Stoddard, TimTim Stoddard||58||10||6||7||3.82||87|
|Brusstar, WarrenWarren Brusstar||41||1||1||3||3.11||36|
|Frazier, GeorgeGeorge Frazier||37||6||3||3||4.10||58|
|Noles, DickieDickie Noles||21||2||2||0||5.15||14|
|Altamirano, PorfiPorfi Altamirano||5||0||0||0||4.76||7|
Before the season began, Grammy-award winning artist Steve Goodman recorded the tune "Go Cubs Go" which was played as the lead-in music for the radio broadcast on WGN radio. Goodman, who died just days before the Cubs clinched the division, also recorded "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request." During the 2007 season, the song was played at Wrigley Field after victories.
A myth is that the Cubs were deprived of home-field advantage for the 1984 National League Championship Series (NLCS) because they could not host night games.
However, from 1969–1984, the LCS were five-game series played in a 2-3 format. The NL West and AL East champs hosted the first two games in odd years and the NL East and the AL West hosted the first two games in even years. Thus, no changes were made to the NLCS schedule due to Wrigley Field's lack of lights.
It is true that Major League Baseball announced in August 1984 that if the Cubs were to make the World Series, the first game would be moved to the American League park, to maximize the television revenues from night games. In 1984, the series was to be a seven-game series in a 2-3-2 format with the NL hosting the first two and last two games. Thus, if the Cubs had beaten the Padres in 1984, they would have been "cheated". 
|W: Rick Sutcliffe (1-0) L: Eric Show (0-1) S: none|
|HR: SD – none CHC – Bob Dernier (1) Gary Matthews (2), Rick Sutcliffe (1), Ron Cey (1)|
|Pitchers: SD – Show, Harris (5), Booker (7) CHC – Sutcliffe, Brusstar (8)|
|W: Steve Trout (1-0) L: Mark Thurmond (0-1) S: Lee Smith (1)|
|HR: SD – none CHC – none|
|Pitchers: SD – Thurmond, Hawkins (4), Dravecky (6), Lefferts (8) CHC – Trout, Smith (9)|
|W: Ed Whitson (1-0) L: Dennis Eckersley (0-1) S: none|
|HR: CHC – none SD – Kevin McReynolds (1)|
|Pitchers: CHC – Eckersley, Frazier (6), Stoddard (8) SD – Whitson, Gossage (9)|
|W: Craig Lefferts (1-0) L: Lee Smith (0-1) S: none|
|HR: CHC – Jody Davis (1), Leon Durham (1) SD Steve Garvey (1)|
|Pitchers: CHC – Sanderson, Brusstar (5), Stoddard (7), Smith (8) SD – Lollar, Hawkins (5), Dravecky (6), Gossage (8), Lefferts (9)|
|W: Craig Lefferts (2-0) L: Rick Sutcliffe (1-1) S: Rich Gossage (1)|
|HR: CHC – Leon Durham (2), Jody Davis (2) SD – none|
|Pitchers: CHC – Sutcliffe, Trout (7), Brusstar (8) SD – Show, Hawkins (2), Dravecky (4), Lefferts (6), Gossage (8)|
The Cubs started out well in the final and deciding game of the series. Durham hit a two-run homer in the first and Davis added a solo homer in the second to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. With Sutcliffe pitching well, the Cubs maintained their lead until the bottom of the sixth. Then disaster struck in a way that left many Cubs fans muttering about curses and other storied collapses in the franchise's history.
Chicago's downfall began innocently enough, with San Diego getting two sacrifice flies in the sixth to cut the Cubs' lead to 3-2. But the Padres' seventh proved catastrophic for Chicago. Carmelo Martínez led off the inning with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Garry Templeton, and scored when Tim Flannery's grounder trickled through Durham's legs for a crucial error. Alan Wiggins singled Flannery to second, and Gwynn doubled both runners home to give the Padres a 5-3 lead. Garvey followed with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 6-3. Steve Trout then replaced Sutcliffe on the mound and got out of the inning unscathed.
The Cubs got three baserunners over the final two innings against Gossage but could not score, and San Diego took home its first National League pennant. The Padres would go on to lose the World Series to the dominant Detroit Tigers in five games.
Awards and honors
- Jim Frey, Associated Press Manager of the Year
- Ryne Sandberg - National League Most Valuable Player
- Rick Sutcliffe – National League Cy Young Award Winner
- Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, N.C.: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3.
- Damon Berryhill page at Baseball Reference
- Mike Diaz page at Baseball Reference
- Alan Hargesheimer page at Baseball Reference
- Scott Sanderson Bio, Baseball-Reference.com, Retrieved on August 8, 2007.
- Dennis Eckersley Bio, Baseball-Reference.com, Retrieved on August 8, 2007.
- Rick Sutcliffe Bio, Baseball-Reference.com, Retrieved on August 8, 2007.
- The Cubs's road to the NL East championship, month by month, Chicago Tribune, October 2, 1984
- Mitchell, Fred, Cub Turning Point, Chicago Tribune, page 3, October 2, 1984
- June 23, 1984 Cubs Cardinals Boxscore, Baseball-Reference.com, Retrieved on August 8, 2007
- Sept 24 1984 Cubs Pirates Boxscore, Baseball-Reference.com, Retrieved on August 8, 2007
- Dennis Eckersley page at Baseball Reference
- Greg Maddux page at Baseball Reference
- Laddie Renfroe page at Baseball Reference
- Rick Sutcliffe page at Baseball Reference
- Dickie Noles page at Baseball Reference
- Muskat, Carrie, Cubs Mailbag 8/13/07, MLB.com, Retrieved on August 13, 2007
- From http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080806&content_id=3267314&vkey=news_chc&fext=.jsp&c_id=chc
|NL East Championship Season
St. Louis Cardinals