MLB Memory Lane: September 7, 1980

I went to a lot of baseball games before I started working in baseball.  MLB Memory Lane is a look back at some of those games.

This week, I went to a baseball game and a football game was all we talked about on the way home.

Date: September 7, 1980
Opponent: Texas Rangers
Stadium: Milwaukee County Stadium
Seat Location: First Base Lower Deck
With: Family

This was the highlight of the Brewers game I attended on September 7, 1980.

Before the game, the choice was easy.  Go see the Brewers play an early September game against the Texas Rangers or stay home and watch the Green Bay Packers open the 1980 season against the Chicago Bears.

The Brewers (73-65) well above .500, but they were in fifth place in the American League East.  Heck, everyone in the East – except the Toronto Blue Jays -was  above .500.  But, the New York Yankees 84-51 and the only team close to them were the Baltimore Orioles.

But, it didn’t matter that the Brewers were 12-1/2 games behind the Yankees.  This was the last chance to catch a game in 1980.  It was our last chance to see George Bamberger as the manager of the Brewers.  Bambi had announced his retirement and was managing his last game for Milwaukee on this day.

Besides, what could possibly happen in that Packers-Bears game?  Green Bay finished 5-11 in 1979.  They were playing a Bears team that made the playoffs in 1979.  Plus, the Bears had Walter Payton.  He shredded the Packers every time.

Heading to County Stadium for a game that featured a starting pitching matchup of Bob McClure against Doc Medich was easy.

Also making it easy was the fact that we had tickets through the Brewers/Pepsi Fan Club.  We were going to the Brewers game.

But, I really don’t remember much from the baseball game.

Looking back at the boxscore, I see that Paul Molitor went 4-for-5.

Digging a little farther, I see that Cecil Cooper‘s 2-for-5 bumped his batting average to .361.  During a normal year, that should lead the American League by about 30 to 40 points.  But, George Brett was hitting an insane .396 at the time.

The play-by-play shows that the Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Cooper to score Eddie Romero.

But, the Rangers rallied for two runs after there were two outs and none on base in the top of the second.  The two-run single with the bases loaded was by Mike Richardt, who happened to be playing in his eighth major league game.

That a rookie like Richardt would get the key hit in a lineup of that had Mickey Rivers, Al Oliver, Richie Zisk, and Jim Sundberg should have told me what day it was going to be.

The Rangers added on three more runs in the top of the third.  Four of the first five Rangers to bat had base hits.  The last three hits (by Zisk, John Ellis, and Sundberg) drove in runs to knock McClure out of the game.  On came Fred Holdsworth in relief to end the inning.

The Rangers added a run in the fifth off Holdsworth and another in the sixth off John Linn.

The Brewers had 13 hits over 8-2/3 innings against Doc Medich.  But, they would score only two runs.  One in the first inning.  The other when Cecil Cooper tripled to start the sixth inning and Gorman Thomas drove him in to make the score 7-2.  And that was the last run of the game.

I’m not sure when in the game the following event happened.  But, it must have been around this point in the game….Maybe the seventh inning.

The Packers game started at noon.  The Brewers game started at 1:00pm.  So right around 3pm or so, Chester Marcol would have been lining up a kick in overtime to beat the Bears.

Keep in mind, the 1980 season was the first season for this thing:

State of the Art technology for 1980!

I can’t remember if there was an announcement between innings that asked fans to turn their attention to the scoreboard or not.  All I remember is seeing a replay of the winning play in the Packers game.

There was a groan from the fans in attendance as Marcol’s kick was blocked – by Alan Page if I remember right.  Then, there was a slow-rising cheer as the fans watch the ball come right back to Marcol and the Packers kicker take off for the endzone:

This happened. This was a real thing.

The cheer rose to a crescendo as Marcol crossed the goal line just inside the pylon, raised the ball awkwardly over his head with both hands, and tried to keep from running into the wall.

That play, shown on the grainy video board at County Stadium, took the sting out of Romero’s second error of the game and the fact that Robin Yount didn’t play in this game.

We may have gone to a Brewers game, but the talk on the ride home was all about the Polish kicker who scored a touchdown.

Brewers Batting Order for 9/7/80:
Paul Molitor, 2b
Eddie Romero, ss
Cecil Cooper, 1b
Gorman Thomas, cf
Ben Oglivie, lf
Don Money, dh
John Poff, rf
Jim Gantner, 3b
Buck Martinez, c

Paul Molitor was 4-for-5
Robin Yount did not play.

And Wisconsin went wild!

LINKS:
Retrosheet Boxscore and Play-by-play for this game

Baseball Reference.com WPA Chart for this game

Milwaukee Journal Archive Brewers Article for 9/7/80 Game

Milwaukee Journal Archive Packers Article for 9/7/80 Game

BONUSES:
Reporter shut off by Starr: Packers coach Bart Starr announced he would no longer take questions from Milwaukee Journal reporter Dave Begel “at any time, under any circumstances”. He would answer questions from other Milwaukee Journal reporters, just not Begel.

Horton wins Battle: This would be the headline from the results of a wrestling card at the Milwaukee Auditorium on September 6. Horton is a typo/misprint/didn’t care enough to check by the Journal. This is obviously Bob Orton, Jr. who won the $20,000 Battle Royale. Also on the card: Randy Savage pinned King Kong Patterson and Orton and Ronnie Garvin wrestled to a no-contest. Click the link for other results.

Past MLB Memory Lane entries:
Rally against The Eck & Walkoff the A’s (1989)

Dennis Lamp near no-hitter (1981)

Teddy & Team Streak (1987)

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