Year In Review : 1983 National League

O ff the field...

Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space (onboard the Space Shuttle Challenger) as a mission specialist on STS-7, which launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18th.

Over two-hundred American soldiers, acting as Peace-keepers, were killed in Lebanon after a truck loaded with explosives crashed into the U.S. Marine compound at a Beirut Airport. The Marines, who had been in Beirut as part of a multi-national force to promote peace in Lebanon, had become the target of Syrian-supported extremists. The terrorist-style attack resulted in swift U.S. military retaliation and the withdrawal of all American forces from that region.

The U.S. military invaded Grenada in an effort to ensure the safety of 1,100 American citizens who were stuck on the island against the rule of General Hudson Austin and Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard. Both were avowed Marxists who had placed Prime Minister Maurice Bishop under house arrest and threatened to turn the region into another Cuba. Under the guise of an invitation by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, U.S. troops intervened and took control of the island. Unfortunately, sixteen Americans were killed and seventy-seven were injured in the military action.

I n the American League...

One of baseball's most modern controversies occurred as the New York Yankees took on the Kansas City Royals in what would be penned as "The Great Pine Tar Incident". As Goose Gossage was attempting to protect a 4-3 advantage, George Brett hit a two-run home run putting his team in the lead. That was until home plate umpire Tim McClelland called him out for having more than eighteen inches of pine tar from the end of his bat. The game was immediately protested by Royals skipper Dick Howser and was postponed until several weeks later when they went on to win anyway 5-4.

On July 10th, the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox played the longest nine-inning game in American League history at four hours and eleven minutes. Milwaukee prevailed 12-9 thanks to the arm of Jim Slaton.

The revolving door at the New York Yankees clubhouse continued to spin when Billy Martin was fired as the Bronx Bombers skipper and was replaced by fellow teammate Yogi Berra. Both were hired, fired and rehired repeatedly by George Steinbrenner several times each.

I n the National League...

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Fernando Valenzuela set a major league record (off the field) as he became the first player ever to be awarded a $1 million dollar a year contract due to arbitration.

On April 5th, the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants went head-to-head at Candlestick Park in a 16-13 slugfest that set a new record for the highest scoring Opening Day game in over fifty years.

After twenty-one years and 5,923 innings, Walter Johnson set the all-time career strikeout record of 3,508 in 1927. Fifty-six years later, his record was surpassed twice in the same month. First, Nolan Ryan, of the Houston Astros, achieved the mark after sixteen years and 3,357 innings. Then Steve Carlton, of the Philadelphia Phillies, topped them both at 3,511.

A round the league...

Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle to end all associations with major league baseball after "The Mick" became involved in a sports promotion capacity with a casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Willie Mays was also targeted with a similar action due to his associations with legalized gambling.

Major League Baseball sold its rights for one year to both ABC and NBC for a combined $1.2 billion dollars. Each team received $7 million dollars as a result of the deal in which ABC contributed $575 million for regular season prime time and Sunday afternoons and NBC paid $550 million for thirty Saturday afternoon games. Both networks agreed to continue rotating all post-season and All-Star Game coverages.

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was given a $50,000 fine and a one-week suspension after making derogatory remarks about Major League umpires. White Sox president Jerry Reinsdorf was also given a $500 fine after making remarks of his own about the outspoken owner at the All-Star Game.

Steve Howe, then on suspension with the Los Angeles Dodgers, continued to battle his drug addictions after being banned for an entire season by the Commissioners Office. Bowie Kuhn refused to allow the troubled pitcher to return to Major League Baseball until he was proven to be drug-free. Earlier in the season, after completing thirty days of rehabilitation, he was fined $53,867 in salary for missed games in what was the largest fine ever levied to date.

"The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front. The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back." - Steve Garvey
1983 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Philadelphia

128

Batting Average

Pittsburgh

.323

Doubles

Chicago

38

Montreal

Pittsburgh

Hits

Houston

189

Montreal

Home Runs

Philadelphia

40

On Base Percentage

Philadelphia

.402

RBI

Atlanta

121

Runs

Montreal

133

Slugging Average

Atlanta

.540

Stolen Bases

Montreal

90

Total Bases

Montreal

341

Triples

Atlanta

13

1983 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cincinnati

18

ERA

San Francisco

2.25

Games

Chicago

82

Saves

Chicago

29

Shutouts

Montreal

5

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

275

Winning Percentage

Philadelphia

.760

Wins

Philadelphia

19

1983 National League

Team Standings

Philadelphia Phillies

90 72 .556 0

Pittsburgh Pirates

84 78 .519 6

Montreal Expos

82 80 .506 8

St. Louis Cardinals

79 83 .488 11

Chicago Cubs

71 91 .438 19

New York Mets

68 94 .420 22

Los Angeles Dodgers

91 71 .562 0

Atlanta Braves

88 74 .543 3

Houston Astros

85 77 .525 6

San Diego Padres

81 81 .500 10

San Francisco Giants

79 83 .488 12

Cincinnati Reds

74 88 .457 17

1983 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Philadelphia

640

Batting Average

Atlanta

.272

Doubles

Montreal

297

Hits

St. Louis

1,496

Home Runs

Los Angeles

146

On Base Percentage

Atlanta

.344

Runs

Atlanta

746

Slugging Average

Chicago

.401

Stolen Bases

St. Louis

207

Triples

St. Louis

63

1983 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Montreal

38

ERA

Los Angeles

3.11

Fewest Hits Allowed

Houston

1,276

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Houston

94

Fewest Walks Allowed

Philadelphia

464

Saves

Atlanta

48

Houston

Shutouts

Montreal

15

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

1,092



Did you know that on February 19, 1983, Dodgers' ace Fernando Valenzuela became the first player ever awarded $1 million via an arbitration hearing?

On April 16, 1983 , Steve Garvey of the Padres played in his 1,118th consecutive Major League game breaking the National League record once held by Billy Williams . On July 29, 1983 , the streak came to end when Garvey injured his thumb in game one of a double header versus the Padres and was unable to participate in the second game.

Steve Carlton became the 16th Major League pitcher to join the 300 Wins Club on September 23, 1983 ; however, he was only the 4th left-hander. Do you know who the other three lefties were?

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