When they busted out of the winter with a 9-0 start to the new season, the Detroit Tigers got people thinking about the 1984 World Series early in the spring.

And, by the time they streaked all the way to 35-5, we all pretty much assumed the Tigers would end the year as champions.

It would have been a disappointment if they didn’t, really.

But before the Tigers could ascend to the throne, we had an exciting summer ahead of us, one that included breakout seasons by the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs, not to mention another AL West title for the Kansas Royals.

1984 world series program

In the end, the Pads beat out the sweetheart Cubs and MVP Ryne Sandberg for National League supremacy.

And Detroit rolled over K.C. in the ALCS.

Would the Tigers hold true to their season-long dominance and prevail over San Diego in the Fall Classic?

You probably know the answer to that by now, but it’s never too late to drink in the 1984 World Series again … so let’s imbibe game by game, with a nod to one baseball card which best exemplifies how each contest played out.

1984 World Series Game 1 – Tigers 3, Padres 2

1984 Topps Larry Herndon (#333)

1984 Topps Larry Herndon (#333)

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This game started exactly the way the Tigers wanted it to … a Lou Whitaker double followed by an Alan Trammell single had Detroit up 1-0 after two batters.

Trammell got caught stealing, and Kirk Gibson flied out, but the next two Tigers — Lance Parrish and Larry Herndon — singled.

Barbaro Garbey grounded out to end the inning, but the Tigers had shown they could rough up starter Mark Thurmond, and, with ace Jack Morris on the mound, they probably only needed a single run, anyway.

Those assumptions fell apart quickly, though, as Morris surrendered two-out singles to Steve Garvey and Graig Nettles, and then a double to catcher Terry Kennedy that drove both home.

Bobby Brown ended the inning with a groundout, but the Friars were up at home in Game 1.

For the next three innings, the two starters settled into bend-but-don’t-break mode, allowing some baserunners but no runs.

It looked like more of the same in the top of the fifth when leftfielder Larry Herndon stepped to the plate against Thurmond with two outs and Parrish on second after he had doubled.

This time, though, Herndon drove Thurmond’s three-one pitch the other way and deposited it behind the rightfield wall.

As it turns out, that was the end of the scoring.

San Diego manager Dick Williams lifted Thurmond for Andy Hawkins in the sixth, and he and Morris quieted the lumber the rest of the game.

Herndon juiced just enough thunder from his bat to get the job done, though, and his 1984 Topps card appropriately shows him and his weapon about to step in to the batter’s box to get down to business.

1984 World Series Game 2 – Padres 5, Tigers 3

1984 Topps Kurt Bevacqua (#346)

1984 Topps Kurt Bevacqua (#346)

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Game 2 started out eerily similar to Game 1, with slugger Darrell Evans joining Trammell, Gibson, and Parrish in a first-inning Tigers attack on Padres starter Ed Whitson before Hawkins came in for the last out.

After a string of hits and steals and sacrifices, Detroit emerged with a 3-0 lead.

San Diego scratched out a run in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of an Alan Wiggins single, a Tony Gwynn walk, a Garvey sac bunt, and a Nettles sac fly.

That was all anyone could muster until the Pads gritted out another run against Dan Petry in the fourth inning, as Hawkins turned in a string of one-two-three innings.

After the Tigers went down in order in the fifth, Garvey flied out to center, Nettles walked, and Kennedy singled to bring up Kurt Bevacqua.

The former bubble gum bubble-blowing champ wouldn’t have been in the lineup at all had the designated hitter rule not been in effect, but he used that quirk to good advantage and rocked the 0-1 pitch from Petry for a three-run blast.

(Note: From 1976 through 1984, the DH was used in the Fall Classic in even-numbered years.)

In came Aurelio Lopez to retire the Padres, but the damage was done … that was the last bit of scoring for the night, and San Diego had its first win in a World Series game. (And their only one to date).

Bevacqua’s 1984 Topps card ironically shows him in the field, a position he never assumed on his big night.

1984 World Series Game 3 – Tigers 5, Padres 2

1984 Donruss Marty Castillo (#247)

1984 Donruss Marty Castillo (#247)

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The first two games of the 1984 World Series came down to big innings — big moments — and then long stretches of stingy pitching.

Game 3 was no different, except the big inning and big moment came early on and set the tone for the rest of the game … and, really, the rest of the Series.

With the Fall Classic knotted at a game apiece and moving back to Detroit, you had to figure the Tigers had the advantage, but this was no rollover of a Padres team.

Things stayed as tied-up as they could be through three scoreless half-innings before Chet Lemon singled with one out in the bottom of the second.

Padres starter Tim Lollar then uncorked a wild pitch, sending Lemon to second, and Evans lofted a sac fly to center that got his teammate to third.

All the next batter, Marty Castillo, needed in order to get the Bengals on the board was a deep fly ball, and he obliged … with a home run to leftfield.

That 2-0 lead greased the skids for a hit-and-walk barrage by Lou Whitaker, Trammell, Gibson, Parrish, and Herndon, staking Tigers starter Milt Wilcox to a 4-0 lead.

(On a side note, DH Barbaro Garbey made the first and last outs of the second for the Tigers.)

The Pads squeaked out a couple of runs over the next seven innings, but it was a 5-2 romp for Detroit, and they never really looked back.

A smiling Castillo on his 1984 Donruss card looks like he just might have an inkling of what lay ahead, don’t you think?

1984 World Series Game 4 – Tigers 4, Padres 2

1984 Drakes Big Hitters Alan Trammell (#30)

1984 Drake’s Big Hitters Alan Trammell (#30)

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As Game 4 dawned, you could sense the Tigers were starting to lock in.

And, if you needed more proof of that, Jack Morris gave it to you in the top of the first by inducing groundouts from Wiggins, Gwynn, and Garvey.

That brought up the top of the Tigers order, and they repeated their exploits from the beginning of Game 1, only better.

After Lou Whitaker reached base on an error by Wiggins, Trammell went deep on a 2-0 offering from Eric Show.

Kennedy touched Jack Morris for a homer in the bottom half of the inning, but Whitaker and Trammell struck again in the third — a Sweet Lou single followed by a Trammell dinger.

Morris shut down the Padres the rest of the way until allowing a run in the ninth on a wild pitch, but it was much too little too late for the San Diego crew.

Even though his season-high home run total entering the season was just 14, Trammell’s appearance in the Drake’s Big Hitters set seems just about perfect given his World Series MVP performance.

1984 World Series Game 5 – Tigers 8, Padres 4

1984 Nestle Kirk Gibson (#65)

1984 Nestle Kirk Gibson (#65)

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There was blood in the water for the Tigers as they entered Game 5 of the World Series at home, up three games to one.

They feasted heartily.

After a leadoff single by Alan Wiggins, starter Dan Petry retired the Padres in order in the first.

In the bottom of the first, the Tigers sang a familiar song, even if the parts were jostled a bit … Whitaker led off, Trammell grounded out to advance the should-be Hall of Fame second baseman, and then Kirk Gibson stepped to the plate.

Channeling his 1988 flair for the dramatic, Gibby drove Mark Thurmond’s first pitch into the right-center bleachers, and the Tigers were up, 2-0.

They would tack on another run before the inning was over.

The Pads fought back with a run in the third and two in the fourth, but the Tigers reclaimed the lead with single scores in the fifth and seventh.

After Bevacqua connected on a solo shot off Willie Hernandez in the top of the eighth, the Tigers clung to a one-run lead.

Castillo led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, then Whitaker reached base on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

Trammell bunted, too, sacrificing himself to move his teammates along.

That brought up Gibson again, and he did what Kirk Gibson does in the postseason — namely, he pounded Rich Gossage‘s 1-0 offering over the rightfield fence, and the Tigers suddenly were up, 8-4.

In the top of the ninth, Bruce Bochy managed a one-out single against Hernandez, but this thing was over.

Gibson’s 1984 Nestle card shows the two-time World Series hero getting ready to practice his craft in the cage at Tiger Stadium.

Think he was imagining the glory to come, playing through World Series scenarios like a kid in the back yard?

Yeah, me too.

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