1984 World Series Re-Imagined: Game 3
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.
After losing the first two games in Detroit, the Cubs returned home for the first weekday afternoon World Series game since 1971. With ace and probable Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe rested and ready, Chicago was in position to gain its first victory in a World Series game since 1945 and first home win in a Fall Classic since 1935. The Tigers countered with 17-game-winner Milt Wilcox. The story after the jump.
SUTCLIFFE GETS CUBS BACK IN SERIES WITH 7-3 WIN
CHICAGO (October 12, 1984) – Rick Sutcliffe struck out 10, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in the third game of the 1984 World Series Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Sutcliffe, who was 16-1 in the regular season after a mid-June trade from Cleveland, improved to 3-0 in the postseason* by throwing eight innings to win a game the Cubs absolutely had to have. Detroit now leads 2-1 in the series, which continues tomorrow afternoon.
In front of a crowd of 36,282 fans delirious over the Cubs’ first appearance in a World Series since 1945, Sutcliffe shut out the Tigers for six and a third innings. Meanwhile, his mates were scoring six times on 10 hits and a pair of costly Tiger errors, with Leon Durham’s 3-for-4 day and Richie Hebner’s two-run single among the highlights for Chicago.
Durham led off the bottom of the second with a double past Howard Johnson at third and advanced to third on Keith Moreland’s groundout to Dave Bergman at first. When Ron Cey grounded to short, Alan Trammell threw home to try to get Durham, but Lance Parrish dropped the throw and the Cubs led 1-0. Two batters later, Jody Davis followed with a shot into the right field corner that took a crazy bounce away from Kirk Gibson, allowing the slow-footed Davis to make it to third with an RBI triple. Light-hitting Larry Bowa followed with a double just fair down the first base line, making it 3-0 on three unearned runs.
Shaky Tiger defense contributed to two more Chicago runs in the fifth. Gary Matthews led off with a single to left center, and Durham followed with a single to center. Moreland then bounced to short, but Lou Whitaker mishandled Trammell’s toss for an error, loading the bases. After Cey struck out, Hebner delivered a two-run bloop single over Bergman at first, making it 5-0. A Ryne Sandberg RBI single an inning later scored Bowa with the sixth Chicago run of the day.
Sutcliffe was cruising with a shutout through 6 1/3 innings when Chet Lemon drilled a one-out home run into the basket in right field in the seventh. Whitaker led off the top of the eighth with a home run to right to make it 6-2, and a walk to Trammell and a single and stolen base by Gibson threatened to cut the lead further and make Cub faithful uneasy. Manager Jim Frey stuck with his ace, though, and Sutcliffe got out of the jam after intentionally walking Parrish by inducing a Rupert Jones sacrifice fly, a Darrell Evans popup to short and a Lemon groundout.
The Cubs made it 7-3 in the bottom of the frame on Durham’s third hit of the day, a bases loaded single off Game Two winner Aurelio Lopez. Lee Smith pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to keep Detroit from threatening and giving the Cubs their first World Series home victory since October 6, 1935, also against the Tigers.
Game-winning RBI: None. E – Parrish, Whitaker. DP – Detroit 1. 2B – Sandberg, Durham, Bowa. 3B – Gibson. HR – Lemon (1), Whitaker (1). SB – Gibson. CS – Matthews. SF – Jones
Umpires: HP – Bruce Froemming, 1B – Rich Garcia, 2B – Paul Runge, 3B – Mike Reilly, LF – Doug Harvey, RF – Larry Barnett.
*Remember, in this fantasy world, Sutcliffe actually won Game Five of the NLCS.