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Opening Day Countdown: The 1979 Brewers

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We're 79 oh so short days away from MLB's opening day. For our count down tie in we're taking a look at the 1979 Brewers!

Remember yesterday when I mentioned how the Brewers and Orioles were in a stretch of being really good at the same time? Well this year is like an exclamation point. The Brewers were awesome in 1979. We talk about the 1982 team a lot because that was the year they went to the world series and won 95 games. Best in franchise history prior to 2011!

Actually the 1979 Brewers technically had the best franchise record. They too won 95 games. But whereas the '82 team lost 67 games the '79 team only lost 66. So they were technically half a game better! They had a .590 win percentage vs the '82 team's .586. None of these really means anything important. It's just that I never hear about any past Brewers teams besides the '82 team and that seems unfair to a team like the 1979 Brewers.

Here's the painful thing about that season. Even though the Brewers were awesome and won a buttload of games, they still only game in second place to the Orioles. And it was a distant second. The Orioles won 102 games that year. They were ahead of the Brewers by a whopping 8 games. That's a pretty huge lead between 1st and 2nd place.

The current playoff system is flawed. I can understand why some fans even hate it. The more teams you allow it, the less special it becomes to make it in. I can get that point of view. But you know what? I think it's way better than a team finishing second in a league, besting all but 2 other teams in all of baseball, and still going going home after Game 162. Sure, sometimes the two best teams in the regular season don't make it past the first round and a team that didn't even win their division wins the World Series. But this format makes things a lot more interesting.

By the way, if you're curious, the Pirates and the Orioles faced each other in the World Series. They went to Game 7 where the Pirates ended up winning 4-1.

The Brewers top five position players by fWAR were

Player Triple Slash fWAR
Sixto Lezcano 321/414/573 5.2
Paul Molitor 322/372/469 5.1
Gorman Thomas 244/356/539 5.0
Cecil Cooper 308/364/508 3.8
Ben Oglivie 282/343/525 3.0

The Brewers top five pitchers by fWAR were

Player ERA FIP fWAR
Mike Caldwell 3.29 3.52 4.4
Jim Slaton 3.63 3.69 3.5
Lary Sorensen 3.98 4.44 1.9
Moose Haas 4.78 4.49 1.3
Jerry Augustine 3.47 3.77 1.0

That's another strong offensive core and middling pitching staff. Seems like pitching has never been a particularly strong part of Milwaukee baseball. Maybe that will change in the future. I do rather like some of the pitchers they have both at the major league level and at AAA. Not mention a handful of guys in the lower minors.

As always, that's a question we might begin to answer in another 79 days when the official MLB season begins. It's so close folks! Come on, just pretend with me, okay?

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs