If the 1982 National League Championship Series were a beer, it’d be lukewarm and flat. You’d either love it — for some unknown reason — or despise it.
I’m the former. I love it.
The ’82 season was the first in my lifetime when my beloved St. Louis Cardinals made the playoffs. The Cardinals of Tim McCarver and Bob Gibson won the 1967 World Series (just before I turned 1), lost the 1968 World Series (just before I turned 2) and then, like that aforementioned beer, went lukewarm and flat.
The 1970s were middlin’ years in the STL. The Cards, MLB afterthoughts, posted five winning seasons, four losing seasons, one uninspiring 81-81 season and never made the playoff in those 10 years. The Yankees and Dodgers and Phillies and Royals and Red Sox were spectacular, more often than not. The Cardinals were astonishingly forgettable. I’m not sure why I didn’t jump ship to another team. Guess I didn’t know better.
Then came the 1980s — Whitey Herzog, Whiteyball, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee and the magical 1982 season. The Cards swept the Atlanta Braves (led by former Cardinal Joe Torre, the manager, and Gibson, the pitching coach), 3-0, and then took the World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers (and former Cardinal Ted Simmons), 4-3. All that familiarity, by the way, was a bit weird.
So, yeah, when I came across the Cards’ three-game sweep of the Braves on YouTube the other day, I couldn’t resist.
(A side note: Game 1 was played twice because of rain, and I couldn’t find video of the first Game 1. If you find it, shoot me an email.)
The Game 1 that counted, a 7-0 St. Louis victory, featured a complete-game gem from one of my heroes, Bob Forsch.
Game 2 ended on a Ken Oberkfell walk-off single.
Game 3 essentially ended when the Cards scored four runs in the second.
Two things I can’t get out of my mind:
First, Bob Gibson in a baby-blue Braves road uniform looks as weird as I would in a dress. Shouldn’t have to see that.
And, second, what’s up with ABC’s creepy obsession with showing closeups of players’ wives after every critical play? Just sayin’.