Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reviewing From Decades Past: 1980 - Position Players

From 1960 to 1970 there were two position player hold-overs, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo. But not a single player on the 1970 roster stayed with the team through 1980, let alone a starter. The team had been completely turned over. Turned over, but not improved.

First Baseman Bill Buckner was the star of the team and probably the most popular player. He was my favorite player at the time. Billy Buck had a great season in 1980, hitting a career high .324 and leading the National League in hitting. When Dave Kingman got hurt, Buckner and hit gimpy ankle moved to left field for 50 games.

Second Baseman Mike Tyson was picked up from the Cardinals in the off season. He and his lousy .238 handled things at second.

Shortstop Ivan DeJesus was in his fourth season as the Cubs everyday shortstop. He played in a team-high 157 games and hit .259. The problem was that he was the lead-off man. You'd like to see him have a better average than that.

Third Baseman Lenny Randle came to the team at the end of spring training and took over for Steve Ontiveros as the third baseman. After five seasons in the majors, Randle spent most of 1979 in the minors and Topps didn't make a card for him in 1980. The long deep hole at third was just starting, as he became the third player in the last seven season to fill the spot that Ron Santo held for so long. Lenny lasted only one season with the Cubs, hitting .276 in 130 games.

Catcher Tim Blackwell and Barry Foote shared the duties behind the plate, with Blackwell and his big floppy mustache catching a career high 103 games and hitting a career high .276.

Left Field Dave Kingman was the regular left fielder, though he missed half the season with injuries. After leading the NL with 48 HRs in 1979, Kong tailed off to 18 in his half season. His relationship with the team and fans was falling apart fast, too, and after the season he was traded to the Mets.

Center Field Jerry Martin covered center field and hit a team-high 23 home runs. He also had the lowest average among the regulars, .227

Right Field saw several different players taking a stab at it, with Mike Vail getting the most time out there. He had a decent season at the plate, hitting .298.

So, does anyone want to guess why this team finished in last place??

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