1984 World Series
Detroit Tigers (104-58, AL) over San Diego Padres (92-70, NL)
The 1984 World Series began on October 9, 1984 and ended October 14th. The American League champion Detroit Tigers played against the National League champion San Diego Padres, winning the series 4 games to 1.
The San Diego Padres won the National League West division by 12 games over both the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros then defeated the Chicago Cubs, three games to two, in the National League Championship Series. The Detroit Tigers won the American League East division by 15 games over the Toronto Blue Jays then defeated the Kansas City Royals, three games to none, in the American League Championship Series.
The Detroit Tigers
The Tigers had one of the greatest starts to a season in major league history. On May 24th, they had won their 9th straight game with Jack Morris on the mound winning his 9th game of the season and their record stood at 35-5 – a major league record. In the next three games they were swept by the Seattle Mariners and settled down to play .500 ball over the next 40 games. But in the end, they wound up with a franchise-record 104 wins and become only the third team in major league history to lead the league wire-to-wire.
These Tigers were strong up the middle featuring All-Stars at each middle position with catcher Lance Parrish setting a career high in home runs with 33, the record-setting tandem of Lou Whitaker at second base and Alan Trammell at shortstop (they played together from 1977 to 1995.). They also boasted solid center fielder Chet Lemon with ace starting pitcher Jack Morris and eventual Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player winner, Willie Hernandez (9-3, 1.92, 32 svs) closing.
Ageless wonder Darrell Evans had been signed as the Tigers' first-ever free agent, and a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies brought in first baseman Dave Bergman and aforementioned reliever Hernandez. Bergman settled in as the Tigers' everyday first baseman providing steady glove-work and a decent batting average. And of course there was "Mr. Clutch", right-fielder Kirk Gibson who had a break-out year with 27 home runs, 29 stolen bases, 91 RBIs, and a .282 batting average.
After winning two World Championships with the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and 1976, manager Sparky Anderson won his first in the American League in his 7th season with the Detroit Tigers.
The San Diego Padres
The Padres set a franchise record for victories with 92 in 1984, being led by veteran first baseman Steve Garvey and third baseman Graig Nettles. Statistically, this team was not overwhelming, with Nettles and Kevin McReynolds leading the team with just 20 home runs. The team lost CF McReynolds in game four of the NLCS with a broken wrist and came into the World Series handicapped, having to play journeyman Bobby Brown in his place. Indeed, the team's bench was particularly shallow and with the designated hitter being in effect in an even-numbered year, it was not clear who would fill the role for the Padres; they turned to veteran pinch-hitter Kurt Bevacqua and he proved an inspired choice, coming out of nowhere to be the club's most dangerous hitter of the Series. No player would come close to 100 RBIs (Garvey led with 86) or have over 30 doubles in the season, although contact specialist Tony Gwynn led the National League in hitting (for the first time) with a .351 average and in hits with 213. They finished 4th in the league in runs scored thanks to their balanced attack.
The pitching staff was also good but not great, 5th in the league with a 3.48 ERA – a staff of 20-somethings and 32-year-old closer Goose Gossage (10-6, 25 saves), who was signed as a free agent from the New York Yankees. Eric Show led the staff with 15 wins with Ed Whitson and lefty Mark Thurmond had identical 14-8 records. But the sterling bullpen, headed by Gossage and lefty Craig Lefferts, held the staff together enough to take this team to the "Big Show", although they would falter and get ripped by the Tiger bats losing the Series in 5 games. In fact, the Padres' pitching was a problem throughout the postseason, as their starters repeatedly got knocked out early in the game in both their upset win over the Cubs in the NLCS and in the World Series itself. In fact, their most dependable pitchers turned out to be their two long relievers, Andy Hawkins and Dave Dravecky, who managed to keep the Padres in a number of games in which their starting pitchers had faltered early.
Sparky Anderson's counterpart with the Padres, Dick Williams had also won two World Series - both with the Oakland Athletics, in 1972 and 1973. Williams was in his third season with the Padres after leading them to identical 81-81 (.500) records in 1982 and 1983. 1984 marked only the second time in Padre history that the team had finished over .500, the other time having been an 84-78 record in 1978.
In an interesting twist, before this Series, no manager had ever guided both a National League team and an American League team to a World Series title. This first was bound to happen this time, as both Anderson and Williams stood to write that page of thje record book if his team won. Anderson was the one to come out on top, but both managers would eventually be voted into the Hall of Fame.
- Doug Harvey (NL), Larry Barnett (AL), Bruce Froemming (NL), Rich Garcia (AL), Paul Runge (NL), Mike Reilly (AL)
SummaryAL Detroit Tigers (4) vs. NL San Diego Padres (1)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Tigers – 3, Padres – 2||October 9||Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego)||57,908||3:18|
|2||Tigers – 3, Padres – 5||October 10||Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego)||57,911||2:44|
|3||Padres – 2, Tigers – 5||October 13||Tiger Stadium (Detroit)||51,970||3:11|
|4||Padres – 2, Tigers – 4||October 14||Tiger Stadium (Detroit)||52,130||2:20|
|5||Padres – 4, Tigers – 8||October 15||Tiger Stadium (Detroit)||51,901||2:55|
October 9, 1984 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California
|San Diego Padres||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||8||1|
|W: Jack Morris (1-0) L: Mark Thurmond (0-1)|
Game 1 set the tone for the contest as Mark Thurmond managed to last five innings with a 2-1 lead, but surrendered a crucial two-out, two-run homer to Larry Herndon in the 5th. Graig Nettles and Terry Kennedy both singled to open the San Diego 6th, but the Tigers' Jack Morris (a 19-game winner) snuffed out their momentum by striking out the rest of the side. Kurt Bevacqua continued the fleeting comeback with a leadoff double in the 7th, but was thrown out at third while attempting to stretch the bases. Despite the close call, Morris remained focused and sat down the last nine remaining Padre batters for the 3-2 victory.
October 10, 1984 at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California
|San Diego Padres||1||0||0||1||3||0||0||0||X||5||11||0|
|W: Andy Hawkins (1-0) L: Dan Petry (0-1)|
Kurt Bevacqua evened the series at 1-1 with a 5th-inning home run. To date, this remains the only World Series victory in Padres history. Andy Hawkins, the winning pitcher, relieved starter Ed Whitson in the 1st inning.
October 12, 1984 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan
|San Diego Padres||0||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||5||0|
|W: Milt Wilcox (1-0) L: Tim Lollar (0-1) S: Willie Hernández|
Tim Lollar failed to make it out of the 2nd inning as Detroit erupted for four runs en route to a 5-2 victory for Milt Wilcox. The victory gave the Tigers a two games to one series lead.
October 13, 1984 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan
|San Diego Padres||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||10||2|
|W: Jack Morris (2-0) L: Eric Show (0-1)|
Alan Trammell drilled two homers to account for all of Detroit's offense as the Tigers beat Eric Show to take a three games to one lead in the Series. Jack Morris got his second Series victory.
October 14, 1984 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan
|San Diego Padres||0||0||1||2||0||0||0||1||0||4||10||1|
|W: Aurelio López (1-0) L: Andy Hawkins (0-1) S: Willie Hernández|
The Tigers won their first World Series since 1968. After running out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the 1st inning, after another poor performance from a Padres starter, this time Mark Thurmond, the Padres rallied to tie the game in the 4th. After the Padres closed it to a one-run game in the 8th, manager Dick Williams called on Goose Gossage to get Kirk Gibson out. With two on and two out, Gossage talked Williams into letting him pitch to Gibson, and Gibson responded with a three-run blast in the upper deck to clinch the Series for the Tigers. Willie Hernandez closed the series out.
1984 World Series (4-1): Detroit Tigers (A.L.) over San Diego Padres (N.L.)
|San Diego Padres||3||1||2||3||3||0||1||1||1||15||44||4|
|Total Attendance: 271,820 Average Attendance: 53,364|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $51,381, Losing Player’s Share – $42,426 *Includes Playoffs and World Series|
- The Tigers were rallied by fans to the cheer "Eat 'em up Tigers."
- The Tigers were ahead of the rest of the league since the first day of the season, leading their division wire-to-wire, winning by 15 games, then cruising through the postseason. It was the most dominant single-season performances of the 1980s.
- This was the first World Series that Peter Ueberroth presided over as commissioner. Ueberroth began his tenure on October 1st, succeeding Bowie Kuhn. Ueberroth had been elected as Kuhn's successor prior to the 1984 season, but did not take over until the postseason as he was serving as the chairman of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which ran from July 28 through August 12.
- While Alan Trammell won the Sport Magazine variation of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, Jack Morris won the official "Babe Ruth Award" variation.
- After being unceremoniously dumped by the Cincinnati Reds in 1978, Tigers manager Sparky Anderson immediately vowed that he would win a World Championship for Detroit in less than five years. Anderson became the first manager to win a World Championship in both the American and National Leagues.
- Less than 20 years after winning the 1984 World Series Most Valuable Player Award, Alan Trammell became manager of the Detroit Tigers. In a sad twist of irony, Trammell was the Detroit skipper in 2003, when the Tigers lost 119 games and threatened to break the modern (post-1900) Major League record for most losses in a season (120), set by the New York Mets in their first season of 1962.
- The 1984 World Series was a rematch between managers Sparky Anderson (Detroit) and Dick Williams (San Diego). Anderson and Williams previously faced off in the 1972 World Series between Anderson's Cincinnati Reds and Williams' Oakland Athletics. Incidentally, Anderson and Williams were also minor league teammates in the Los Angeles organization. Williams was actually managing his third different club in the Fall Classic, as he had led the Boston Red Sox to their "Impossible Dream" season in wininng the 1967 American League pennant; he was the first man to manage three different teams in a World Series.
- The 1984 World Series was a battle of sorts between the multi-million dollar American fast-food chains. Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan owned the Tigers while McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, who died a few months before the 1984 World Series, owned the Padres.
- During his pivotal at-bat against Goose Gossage in Game 5, Kirk Gibson made a $10 bet (flashing ten fingers) with his manager Sparky Anderson that Gossage would pitch to him. Padres manager Dick Williams initially wanted Gossage, who had dominated Gibson in the past, to intentially walk Gibson. Gibson and Anderson successfully called the Padres' bluff as Gibson hit a game-winning three-run home run in what turned out to be the clincher.
- By the time the 1984 World Series rolled around, Tiger Stadium became the oldest ballpark to ever host a World Series. That record was soon eclipsed by Boston's Fenway Park, which hosted the Fall Classic in 1986, and later in 2004 and 2007.
- The 1984 Padres adopted Ray Parker Jr.'s Ghostbusters as their theme song (à la the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates using Sister Sledge's We Are Family as their theme song). During their playoff series against the Chicago Cubs, the Padres fans turned Ghostbusters into Cubbusters. Ironically, the movie Ghostbusters starred noted Chicago Cubs fan Bill Murray.
- As champions of the National League, the Padres had home field advantage. But had the Chicago Cubs won the NLCS (which appeared likely after the Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series), the Tigers would have gained home field advantage despite the fact the AL's Baltimore Orioles had it the season before. NBC was contractually obligated to show all mid-week series games in prime time, something that would have been impossible at Wrigley Field, since the Cubs' venerable facility lacked lights at the time (they wouldn't install lights until four years later). Had the Cubs advanced to the Series, Detroit would have hosted Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 (on Tuesday and Wednesday nights), while the Cubs would have hosted Games 3, 4 and 5 (on Friday, Saturday and Sunday), with all three games in Chicago starting no later than 1:30 p.m. Central time.
- Game 2 at Jack Murphy Stadium marked the last major league game to date where the designated hitter was used in a National League ballpark. Since then, any game in an American League park uses the DH (previously, the DH was used in alternating World Series), while pitchers bat in the NL parks.
- Game 5 was the last afternoon World Series game to be played outdoors. The next afternoon World Series game would be Game 6 of the 1987 World Series under Minnesota's Metrodome.
Quotes of the Series
Game 5 - Kirk Gibson's second home run of the day:
He don't want to walk you! - Sparky Anderson, yelling from the dugout, urging Kirk Gibson to "swing away" at Goose Gossage's offering in the 8th inning of Game 5. Gibson got the message, and planted the next pitch deep into the right field upper deck, for a three-run homer that essentially iced the game and the Series for the Tigers.
- Dick Williams: "Do you want to bring the infield in on him?"
- Goose Gossage: "No."
- Dick Wiliams: "So you're thinking about striking him out?"
- Goose Gossage: "Yeah!" - The meeting on the mound before the Gibson homer.
A high drive to right, and its a home run for Gibson! A three-run home run and the Tigers lead it 8-4! - Ernie Harwell called the Gibson homer.
You don't want to walk him! NO! DON'T WALK HIM! NO WAY! - Sparky Anderson after Gibson's homer.
A swing and there's a fly ball to left. There's Herndon, he's there...he's got it! And the Tigers are the champions for 1984! - Ernie Harwell announcing the final out of the series.
This is baseball's version of New Year's Day at Times Square - Scully, describing the scene on the field at Tiger Stadium after the Tigers won Game 5 and the World Series.
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 402-406.
- Brian Borawski: "What a Finish!", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 230-231. ISBN 1933599448
- 1984 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1984 NLCS |Game 5 at MLB.com
- 1984 ALCS |Game 3 at MLB.com
- 1984 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- Detroit Jumped All Over 'Em at SI.com
- 1984 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- History of the World Series - 1984 at SportingNews.com
- Baseball's Greatest Teams: 1984 Detroit Tigers at baseballlibrary.com
- 1984 Detroit Tigers: Day-by-Day Summary at baseballlibrary.com
- 1984 San Diego Padres: Day-by-Day Summary at baseballlibrary.com
- Twenty years ago, Padres concocted cohesive crew for run at World Series
NL Championship Series (3-2) Padres over Cubs
World Series (4-1) Tigers over Padres
AL Championship Series (3-0) Tigers over Royals
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series
We're Social...for Statheads
Every Sports Reference Social Media Account
Site Last Updated:
Question, Comment, Feedback, or Correction?
Subscribe to our Free Email Newsletter
This Month in Sports Reference
Find out when we add a feature or make a change
Do you have a sports website? Or write about sports? We have tools and resources that can help you use sports data. Find out more.