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Monday, August 8, 2022
Home Sports MLB chapter 20 (40 years ago, again)

chapter 20 (40 years ago, again)


I’ve been a bit absent from the blog this week because, as I’ve mentioned before, the Olympics and the Super Bowl are dominating work and it’s overflowing into off-time.

I’ve been working on a story on local fans of the Bengals and Rams, because those two fan bases are pretty much non-existent around here, and it’s been a lot of work tracking them down.

But I’ve been doing this for quite awhile now and I have my tricks. I’ve also been doing it so long that I can not get over how young everyone is. I talked to an 11-year-old Rams fan who does not remember Kurt Warner. Of course he does not remember Kurt Warner. He’s 11! But how is that possible that someone does not remember him? Wasn’t I just being deluged with stories about how Warner was stocking shelves before becoming the Rams QB?

Then I was talking to his mom, who’s in her 30s. She mentioned the halftime show, referring to the rap stars as “real, old-school rap from my day,” and I was like, “what? Snoop Dog and Mary J. Blige aren’t still popular?”

It’s hell to get old.

This moves nicely into today’s blog topic, which is about the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers. It’s the 40th anniversary of that team. That boggles my mind, too. And it boggles my mind that grown adults do not remember that team. How unfortunate.

This is easily my favorite Brewers team. Peak Milwaukee baseball. Not only were they great – they played in the World Series that year and took it to seven games before losing – but they were a fun group of players, as interesting as the ’86 Mets or the ’93 Phillies, but in a less tragic way.

Harvey’s Wallbangers were known for their offense and they were great fun to watch on the NBC Game of the Week. It was interesting how some of my childhood favorites came together on that team. I liked Cecil Cooper from his Red Sox days in the mid-1970s and then he showed up on the Brewers. I was a Paul Molitor fan from the time he broke out as a rookie and who did not love the 1975 Robin Yount card?

I also had an appreciation for the mustachioed Gorman Thomas and the mustachioed pitchers on the team, Pete Vukovich and Mike Caldwell. Heck, everyone had a mustache on that team. It was one hairy squad, as you’ll see when I show off the 1982 Topps Brewers team set, right now:

I think you saw more than 20 players with facial hair in the group. That is phenomenal and Don Money and Ted Simmons need to get their act together. (By the way, this is a popular topic among “Joy of a Team Set” posts on this blog, I probably harp on it a bit, too much. But I like my “real, old-school” ballplayers!)

I included the Traded set with the rest of the cards, but there is only one Brewers card in ’82 Traded, Rob Picciolo. I think that speaks to how well-prepared the Brewers were for contending heading into 1982, as they were a known contender for a couple of years before.

OK, now to the traditional “Joy Of A Team Set” breakdown:

Favorite card runners-up: 5. Ben Oglivie; 4. Ned Yost; 3. Charlie Moore; 2. Gorman Thomas.

Famous error card: The ’82 set is known for its “blackless” parallels that are missing black ink. They’re not really parallels, just goofs. There are several Brewers, including Moose Haas, Ted Simmons and Gorman Thomas.

Dugouts galore: There are several Brewers cards of players hanging around in the dugout. Now that I look at this, I do not know if Jim Slaton is in the dugout or in the bullpen. I also left out Ted Simmons, who is clearly in a dugout.

Bats galore: In a throwback to the old ’50s cards with players toting multiple bats, here is a couple examples, including one of the birthday boy, Ben Oglivie! He is 73. (Mind blown again!)

Players I’ve talked to: None. I tried to get ahold of Jim Slaton once because he was good buddies with former Orioles manager Dave Trombley, an area native. I had a number for him and everything but we just were not able to connect (that was when Richie Zisk called me, and, well, I was so excited about that, I forgot about Slaton).

Team’s claim to fame: The first – and only – Brewers team to reach the World Series. It’s amazing to me that they did this in just their 13th year of existence. To my youngster way of thinking at the time, it felt like the Brewers had been around a lot longer than that.

Former and future Dodgers: A lot of players I wished were on the Dodgers, but the only one who came close was Larry Hisle, who was acquired by the Dodgers before the 1972 season. He was listed as a Dodger on his 1972 Topps card but he spent the entire year in the minors in Albuquerque and was traded after the season to the Cardinals (who traded him to the Twins a month later).

And speaking of Hisle:

Favorite card in the team set:

Thanks for joining me for another edition of Joy of a Team Set.

And if you do not remember the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers:

A) I do not want to know.

B) Too bad for you.



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