Chicago Cubs: Turning it all around
The year before, in 1983, the Cubs finished a paltry 73-89. It was one of many lackluster seasons where the team could not win. By the finish of the 1984 regular season, the club had recorded a 96-win season and a trip to the League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres.
At the time, the Division Series did not exist for the two leagues, so the postseason consisted of only two rounds. The series was also still a best-of-five. The Division Series would not exist until 1995.
In Game 1 of the series, the Cubs dominated in all facets of the game. They battered Padres starter Eric Show for five runs before dumping seven more on Greg Harris, winning the game 13-0. Sutcliffe pitched seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and five walks.
In Game 2, the Cubs found themselves one win from a World Series appearance, taking it 4-2. Steve Trout pitched phenomenally, throwing 8 1/3 innings while allowing just two earned en route to the victory. It would, however, be the final bright moments on the Cubs’ season.
Dennis Eckersley got the ball with a chance to clinch the series in Game 3. After the Cubs struck early on an RBI hit from Ron Cey, the middle innings ran foul for Eckersley quickly, as he finished with 5 1/3 innings pitched and five earned runs. The fall began.
The Cubs lost the series after a furious three-straight wins from the Padres, who lost handily to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Steve Garvey found himself named NLCS MVP, after an impressive three-game performance.
The 1984 season would stand out amongst the general fray of the average performance from the team throughout most of the 1970s and 80s. Following the heroic run to the Championship Series, the team faded back into mediocrity the immediate next season, finishing 77-84.
In fact, throughout the next handful of years, they averaged only 75 wins per season. It would not be until the 1989 season where the team would even sniff the playoffs. Nevertheless, for a moment and a season, Cubs fans could relish in a fantastic year, enjoying the excitement the team had brought together.