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Opening Day Countdown: The 1984 Brewers

As we're just 84 days away from Opening Day, our countdown tie in today will take a look at the 1984 Brewers.

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The year 1984 is the most monumental in all of human history for one simple reason: It's the year yours truly was born. Much rejoicing was had that year. Well, unless you were a Brewers fan. That year's team finished with one of the worst season records in franchise history. Their 67-94 record is one game worse than last years. It's not the absolute worst in franchise history though. That belongs to the 2002 team and their 56-106 record.

Back then there were still just two divisions in each league: East and West. The Brewers were part of the AL East at that point. The other teams in their division were the Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Cleveland Indians. Of those teams the Brewers were dead last. Actually they had the worst record in the entire American League. The only National League team that finished with a lower record were the San Francisco Giants.

This was before expansion so there were 26 teams in baseball instead of the 30 that exist now. So the Brewers were the 24th worst team in baseball. Fun trip down memory lane, right?

As a team the Brewers hit 262/317/370 with 96 home runs. Their 93 wRC+ ranked 18th that year, but it was pretty close to middle of the pack. The ninth ranked Indians only hit for a 99 wRC+. So the offense wasn't good, but it also wasn't atrocious.

The opposite holds true for the Brewers pitching staff. It's combined 4.03 ranks 19th in baseball. But instead of being pretty close to some of the upper half teams, they're a lot closer to the bottom teams. The 9th place Phillies owned a 3.62 ERA while the 26th place Athletics had a 4.48 ERA.

It's kind of jarring to look at strike out rates from 1984. The Brewers pitching staff owned a 4.83 K/9 and 12.7 K%. The best were the Mets with a 6.41 K/9 and the Dodgers with a 16.8 K%. In contrast, league average for 2015 was 7.76 K/9 and 20.4 K%. The Cubs' 23.9 K% was best as was the Indians' 8.84 K/9. The Twins' 17.0% was the worst as was their 6.52 K/9. So 2015's worst rates were better than 1984's best.

Robin Yount led the Brewers position players with a 5.3 fWAR. He hit 298/362/441, 124 wRC+, with 16 home runs and 14 stolen bases. Next was catcher Jim Sundberd. He hit around league average--266/332/399, 109 wRC+--but was very highly rated by the defensive metrics available. Dion James was the only other position player worth one win or more. He hit 295/351/377 and was worth 1.5 fWAR.

Believe it or not, Bill Schroeder was the fourth most valuable position player for the Brewers that year. But that speaks to the quality of the team overall more than it does his talent level. He hit 257/288/486 with 14 home runs. That was actually above average with a 112 wRC+. He caught 57 games that year and was worth 0.8 fWAR.

Don Sutton was the team's best pitcher. He made 33 starts--three more than anyone else--throwing 212.2 innings and logged a 3.77 ERA and 3.65 FIP. That was good for a 3.3 fWAR. Next was Moose Haas with his 30 starts, 188.2 IP, 4.01 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 3.0 fWAR.

In the bullpen to close games was Rollie Fingers. He notched 23 saves that year with a 1.96 ERA in just 46 innings. That was the penultimate season of his career. Ray Searage was really good for the Brewers but he too pitched a low number of innings. But in those 39 innings he held a 0.70 ERA and 2.59 FIP.

You can browse the entire team's statistics here on FanGraphs if you're interested. It can be kind of fun to go back and see how different things were back then. Although if you were around to watch this team you might feel somewhat differently...