100 FAVORITE PLAYERS FROM THE 1970'S AND 1980'S
SEASON TWO: 100 FAVORITE PLAYERS FROM THE 1980'S
The 1970's was a difficult decade for the Braves. There was one season when the team finished above .500 (88-74 in 1974), but still finished fourteen games out of first place even that year. They had one season where they finished at roughly at .500 (82-80 in 1971, the first year I followed baseball.) The other eight years of the decade, they finished well under .500 in each of them and finished last or next to last in seven of them. They finished the decade with four last place finishes in a row!
The eighties had to get better, right?
Bobby Cox's 1980 Braves did show some improvement from 1979 and actually finished a game over .500! Then the weird strike shortened 1981 season came up and the Braves finished six games under .500. Not great, but much better than the late 70's so far. Then Cox left for the Toronto Blue Jays and Joe Torre took over as manager. And they contended in 1982! They began the season with 13 wins in a row! They slumped late in the season and lost 19 out of 21. Then they came back and overtook their new arch nemesis the Dodgers and actually won the division!
The Braves were also contenders in 1983, though the Braves 88-74 record that year fell a couple of games short to the Dodgers. But they were a contender! Maybe 1984 would be their year?...But it was not. The Braves slumped to 80-82 and Torre got fired. But overall, the first part of the 80's certainly topped any part of the 70's...but then a strange thing happened. The Braves got bad again. Really bad. They finished next to last or last in all of the last five seasons of the decade. The 106-loss 1988 team was probably the worst team in Braves history.
They also finished last in 1990...then they got better...but that's another story.
This story was going to be about my 100 favorite Braves that played during the 1980's, much like I did for the 70's last year. But looking over the stats, I really didn't want to stop there. 142 men played for the Braves during the decade and I decided that I wanted to list every blessed one of them!
This did create a few problems since there were a few players that wore the uniform so briefly that I honestly don't remember them. There were also problems with listing players that made basically the same contribution during the late 70's that they made in the early 80's. At least I can include them now. It is also a problem ranking players that clearly were integral to the Braves 1990's pennant teams that I have to rate based on their 80's performance.
Anyway, within this list of 142, I made some list within the lists for some runs. They include:
1)The Moonlight Graham award for players that made a very, very brief (Out, out brief candle!) contribution to the major league cannon.
2) The "Braves Guys I included in the 70's list and wasn't going to include in the 80's list but now I have since I decided to list every single player that wore a Braves uniform during the 1980's!"
3) The bomb squad. A late 80's nickname for veteran Braves reserves that came off the bench which I use more generally here as players who had success on other teams, but clearly had their best days behind them when they joined the Braves.
4) 90's Braves players who were also 80's Braves players.
Tomorrow I will start with the managers. Then I will start with the 142 players.*
*I assume I got everyone, but you never know what I may have missed. I almost forgot to list Ed Romero. You wouldn't want to skip Ed Romero!