1984 World Series Re-Imagined: Game 1
What if Leon Durham hadn’t booted that ball? What if Lee Smith hadn’t let Steve Garvey take him deep? What if the Chicago Cubs had actually won the 1984 National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres? We’re re-imagining the 1984 World Series through the use of the APBA Pro Baseball Game, with the Cubs facing the American League champion Detroit Tigers.
With Commissioner Peter Ueberroth having decreed that the Cubs would give up home-field advantage if they made it to the World Series because of Wrigley Field’s lack of lights, the 1984 Fall Classic opened at Tiger Stadium in Detroit on Tuesday, October 9, 28 years ago today. With Rick Sutcliffe having pitched in the decisive fifth game of the NLCS two days prior, the starting assignment for Chicago went to Steve Trout, whose father, Dizzy, had started and won Game Four of the 1945 World Series for the Tigers against the Cubs 39 years and three days prior. Detroit countered with 19-game winner Jack Morris. The story after the jump.
TIGERS OPEN SERIES WITH 3-1 WIN BEHIND MORRIS, GIBSON
DETROIT – (October 9, 1984) Kirk Gibson’s two-run home run in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie and Jack Morris pitched a complete game three-hitter, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the 1984 World Series Tuesday night at Tiger Stadium.
Gibson’s towering home run to left with Alan Trammell aboard and none out in the sixth was one of the few mistakes Cub lefthander Steve Trout made while throwing a complete game four-hitter. But the first four hitters in the Chicago lineup – Bob Dernier, Ryne Sandberg, Gary Matthews and Leon Durham – went a combined 0-for-12 and the Cubs left seven men on base.
Despite their offensive struggles, Chicago scored first, with Ron Cey’s fourth-inning double over Darrell Evans at first scoring Matthews. Detroit quickly got that run back as Gibson doubled to right center leading off the bottom of the inning, moved to third on a comebacker to the mound by Lance Parrish and scored on Larry Herndon’s sacrifice fly to center.
Trout – who had won Game Two of the NLCS against San Diego after going 13-7 during the regular season – walked Trammell on a very close pitch leading off the sixth, then hung a breaking ball that Gibson took the opposite way and into the left field bleachers for a 3-1 lead.
Morris did the rest, giving up only a walk to Matthews with two out in the eighth and a single to Keith Moreland leading off the ninth before striking out Ron Cey and Jody Davis, then retiring pinch-hitter Richie Hebner on a force to short to end it.
The Tigers, who had led wire-to-wire in the American League in winning 104 games and swept Kansas City in the American League Championship Series, will send 18-game winner Dan Petry to the mound for Game Two Wednesday night. Chicago will counter with Dennis Eckersley, who was roughed up in a 7-1 loss to San Diego in Game Three of the NLCS.
Game-winning RBI: Gibson (1). E – Bowa. DP – None. 2B – Cey, Gibson. HR – Gibson (1). SF – Herndon.
Umpires: HP – Doug Harvey, 1B – Larry Barnett, 2B – Bruce Froemming, 3B – Rich Garcia, LF – Paul Runge, RF – Mike Reilly.