Chicago Cubs: The summer of 1984 and Bobby Dernier
Picture 1984 as you walk into Wrigley Field; it’ older looking even though it’s really younger in 1984; mainly because the outfield isn’t littered with fancy digital scoreboards yet. There also aren’t any long nets extended for fan safety; just good old Wrigley Field before lights and even night games.
The fans are wearing Cubs stuff like they do today with Banks or Santo jerseys. New waves of Sandberg jerseys are making their way into Wrigley Field seats for the first time. The organist is playing Van Halen’s “Jump” as fans file in and Harry Caray, Steve Stone and Milo Hamilton are calling the game. That’s what it was like in 1984 going to Wrigley Field. That year, Steve Goodman wrote, “Go, Cubs, Go!” and it was sung by fans during the 1984 National League East Division Championship.
The Cubs had hired a new General Manager named Dallas Green after a disappointing 1983 season going 71-91. Green hired manager Jim Frey from the Kansas City Royals and waited to see what the Cubs would do over Spring Training before making any other deals.
It was evident that the Cubs pitching ranks needed tweaking and so 1984 was the year Green released Hall of Fame right-hander Fergie Jenkins from the Cubs. This was the second time Jenkins had been let go by the Cubs and this time, it led Jenkins to his retirement. Green picked up pitcher Porfi Altamirano and outfielders Bob Dernier and Gary Matthews in a trade with the Phillies.
As Dernier made his way out to center field we noticed outfielder, Thad Bosley had given up his #20 jersey to Dernier and was now #27. We all wondered who was this new guy? It didn’t take Dernier long to capture fans’ imaginations when he stepped up to the plate as the team’s leadoff hitter that season.