1984 World Series Re-Imagined: Game 2
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 Jack Morris having outdueled Steve Trout in Game One on Tuesday night, the Tigers looked to go up 2-0 with 18-game-winner Dan Petry on the mound in Game Two on Wednesday, October 10. The Cubs countered with Dennis Eckersley, who had gone 10-8 since coming over from Boston in a midseason trade, and whose dominance as a reliever was still years away. The story after the jump.
HUGE COMEBACK STAKES TIGERS TO COMMANDING 2-0 SERIES LEAD
DETROIT (October 10, 1984) – The Detroit Tigers stunned the Chicago Cubs in the second game of the World Series Wednesday night, coming back from a 5-0 first-inning deficit to win 10-9 and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
After managing just three hits in the series opener, the Cubs exploded for five first-inning runs on RBI singles by Leon Durham and Keith Moreland and a three-run home run by Ron Cey. But Dennis Eckersley couldn’t hold the lead, and a four-run fifth, capped by Kirk Gibson’s tiebreaking triple, put the Tigers ahead to stay and in a commanding position as the series heads to Wrigley Field.
The tone for a high-scoring night was set when Bob Dernier doubled over Darrell Evans’ head at third on Dan Petry’s first pitch of the game. The Cubs batted around and scored five times in the inning, with Cey’s three-run home run the big blow. Petry managed to get out of the inning and trailed just 5-2 after RBI singles by Lance Parrish and Evans in the Tigers’ half, but Ryne Sandberg’s solo home run with one out in the second finished his night.
Eckersley had been roughed up in a 7-1 loss in the third game of the NLCS against San Diego, and was clinging to a 6-3 lead entering the bottom of the third. But Dave Bergman lined a two-out, two-run single to make it 6-5 and Lou Whitaker’s single plated Bergman with the tying run.
Back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth by Gary Matthews and Durham off reliever Bill Scherrer gave Chicago the lead again, but the bottom of the fifth proved to be the Cubs’ undoing. Tim Stoddard gave up a single by Bergman, an RBI double by Whitaker and an RBI single by Alan Trammell before Jim Frey went to George Frazier with the game tied at 8-8.
Gibson then launched a 2-2 slider from Frazier over Dernier’s head in center for a tie-breaking triple, giving the Tigers the lead for good. Rupert Jones’ two-out single to left then scored Gibson with an insurance run. The Cubs manufactured a run in the sixth on a walk, single and a balk by Aurelio Lopez to get within 10-9, but Willie Hernandez shut the door, striking out the side in the ninth for his first save of the series.
Now in an 0-2 hole, the Cubs will start ace Rick Sutcliffe Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Central Time, marking the first weekday afternoon World Series game in 13 years. Because Wrigley Field has no lights, the Cubs had to give up home-field advantage and host games three, four and (if necessary) five at the behest of NBC.
Game-winning RBI: Gibson (2). E – None. DP – Chicago 2, Detroit 0. 2B – Dernier, Whitaker. 3B – Gibson. HR – Cey (1), Sandberg (1), Matthews (1), Durham (1). SB – Whitaker, Lopes.
Umpires: HP – Larry Barnett, 1B – Bruce Froemming, 2B – Rich Garcia, 3B – Paul Runge, LF – Mike Reilly, RF – Doug Harvey.
Stoddard faced three batters in 5th.
WP – Stoddard.