Monday March 15, 2004
A LOOK BACK:
The 1984 USA OLYMPIC TEAM
Over the course of this week, I will be taking a look at the rosters of the USA Baseball Olympic teams back to the 1984 team. (Check out my posting on the 2003 Team USA Roster) Baseball was an exhibition/demonstration sport in the 1984 Olympic games with an 8-team tournament format. In 1992, it became a medal sport. Some really great players were able to represent America throughout these years. Some of the best college players of those years were chosen for the teams, until the 2000 team, when minor leaguers were allowed to play. Some players have gone on to become stars of the major leagues; some had remarkable college careers that simply did not translate into the professional level. Some were affected by injuries and some became coaches. I will discuss the players on the US Roster, with their big league successes, if any. Today, I will begin with the 1984 team.
1984 OLYMPIC TEAM
Team USA assembled an impressive collection of college stars and was expected to run through the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. They went through their pool undefeated. However, despite having defeated Japan six of seven times in pre-Olympic games, the Japanese team won the championship game by a score of 6-3. They won the silver.
Head Coach - Rod Dedeaux
Rod Dedeaux is a legendary name in college baseball. He coached 45 seasons at the University of Southern California (1942-1986) where he won 11 National Championships and compiled a record of 1,332-571-11. He actually got four at bats (one hit) in two games with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935. Dedeaux recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
Dedeaux had put together an all-star team for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. It wasnít an Olympic Sport, and in actuality, it was just a one-game exhibition between the United States and Japan. But the US team had toured Japan and played a number of other exhibition games. Baseball was not in the Olympics again until 1984.
Dedeaux surrounded himself with some great, well-experienced coaches. Jack Stallings was a coach for Wake Forest from 1958-1968, Florida State from 1969-1975 and Georgia Southern from 1975-1999. Dave Bingham coached NAIA Emporia State from 1974-1987 and Kansas from 1988-1995, when he led the Jayhawks to the 1993 College World Series championship. His career record is 807-495-2. This year, he returned to coaching as an assistant at New Mexico. John Scolinas coached Cal-Poly Pamona to three national titles (Division II champs in 1976, 1980, 1983) and had a career record of 822-736. Art Mazmanian received thanks from Sparky Anderson when he was inducted into baseballís Hall of Fame.
Sid Akins - RHP - U. of Southern California - Drafted in 1984, 3rd Round by the Texas Rangers
In the Olympics, he pitched in two games in relief. He gave up one hit and no runs in 2 1/3 innings. He never got to the major leagues. He is a cousin of Phillies pitcher Randy Wolf.
Flavio Alfaro - SS - San Diego State - Draft Status Unknown
Alfaro was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1984. He spent a few seasons in the minor leagues with the Braves before being traded to the Brewers (with Rick Cerone for Ted Simmons). He never made it to the big leagues. There is very little on him on the internet, except one interesting rumor.
Don August - RHP - Chapman State - Drafted in 1984, 1st Round, 17th overall by the Houston Astros
The Astros traded him to the Brewers in 1986 with another pitcher for Danny Darwin. He made his big league debut on June 2, 1988. In 22 starts (24 games), he went 13-7 with a 3.09 ERA, a solid rookie campaign. In 1989 he was 12-12 in 25 starts, but his ERA was 5.31. He pitched in just 5 games in 1990, and went 9-8 in 1991. That was the end of his big league days. Shortly following his retirement, he began pitching for an amateur team in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
Scott Bankhead - RHP - U. of North Carolina - Drafted in 1984, 16th overall by Kansas City Royals
Spent 10 seasons in the big leagues with five big league teams (Royals, Mariners, Reds, Red Sox, Yankees). He made his major league debut May 25, 1986 for the Royals. He was 8-9 with a 4.61 ERA that season. However, that offseason, he was sent in a package of players to the Seattle Mariners for Danny Tartabull. He spent the next five years in Seattle, including his best season in 1989. He was 14-6 with a 3.34 ERA. However, he was then hurt for much of the 1990 season. After leaving the Mariners following the 1991 season, he was moved to the bullpen. He was 10-4 in 1992 with the Reds with a 2.93 ERA. For his career, he was 57-48 with a 4.18 ERA.
Bob Caffrey - C - Cal-State Fullerton - Drafted in 1984, 13th overall by the Montreal Expos
There is very little about him online. I did learn that in 1979, as the quarterback for his high school team, he threw 32 TD passes.
Will Clark - 1B - Mississippi State - Drafted in 1985, 2nd overall by the San Francisco Giants
After winning the Golden Spikes Award as the nations best amateur player in 1985, "Will the Thrill" did not spend much time in the minors. He began the 1986 season as the Giants first baseman. He spent the next eight seasons with the Giants before signing as a free agent with the Texas Rangers. He spent five seasons there before signing with the Orioles. Midway through the 2000 season, he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in 51 games for them and hit .345, helping the Cards to the playoffs. He called his time in St. Louis "as much fun as Iíve ever had playing baseball." Following the playoffs, he retired. The smooth-fielding first baseman with a sweetest of left-handed swings ended his 15 season big league career with a .303 average with 284 home runs and 1,205 RBI. His career OPS+ was 138 and had just one season when it was under 118.
Mike Dunne - RHP - Bradley University - Drafted 1st round in 1984, 7th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals
At the start of the 1987 season, Dunne was traded to the Pirates with Mike Lavalliere and Andy Van Slyke for Tony Pena. Dunne came up in June, 1987, and went 13-6 with a 3.03 ERA in 23 starts for the Pirates. In four more big league seasons, he never had more than 7 wins. He was traded again (to the Mariners), then signed by the Padres, released and signed with the White Sox. His record in his five seasons was 25-30 with a 4.08 ERA. After those first two seasons, he never really pitched much again. He is now the pitching/assistant coach at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.
Gary Green - IF - Oklahoma State - Drafted 1st round in 1984, 27th overall by the San Diego Padres
He made his big league debut with 12 games in 1986. He hit .212. He did not get back to the major leagues until 1989 at the age of 27. This time, he played in 15 games and hit .259. He was drafted in the minor league draft by the Texas Rangers. In 1990, he played in 62 games and got just 88 at bats, hitting .216. He played 8 games in 1991, and 8 games in 1992 (for the Reds), and that was it for his playing days, at least in the majors. He did spend some time in the independent Texas-Louisiana League. He will spend the 2004 season as the manager of the Detroit Tigers Hi-A Florida State League team in Lakeland.
Chris Gwynn - OF - San Diego State - Drafted 1st Round in 1985, 10th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers
Known as the brother of Tony Gwynn, Chris was a pretty good hitter in his own right. He made his big league debut in August of 1987 and played in 17 games. He was primarily used as a pinch hitter throughout his 10 season major league career. He played in 599 games and had 1,007 at bats. He hit .261 with 17 home runs and 118 RBI. His career consisted of five seasons with the Dodgers, two with the Royals, two back with the Dodgers and his final season was 1996 with the San Diego Padres. That turned into a job as a pro scout, West Coast checker with the team.
John Hoover - RHP - Fresno State - Drafted 1st Round in 1984, 25th overall by the Baltimore Orioles
John Hoover still has many pitching records at Fresno State, including 18 wins (and 19 complete games) in 1984. I think it is fair to say that his college career and draft position did not carry over into pro baseball. He struggled with three organizations in the minor league before making his big league debut on May 23, 1990, for the Texas Rangers. He pitched just 4 2/3 innings in two games. He gave up 6 runs for an ERA of 11.57.
Barry Larkin - SS - U. of Michigan - Drafted 1st Round in 1985, 4th overall by the Cincinnati Reds
An All-American at Michigan, Larkin has built for himself an impressive Hall of Fame resume. He made his big league debut for the Reds on August 13 of 1986 and has been with the team ever since. It was believed that 2003, his 18th big league season with the organization was to be his last. However, he and the team came to an agreement to bring him back for his 20th in the organization. The 1995 NL MVP was an 11-time All Star and has won three Gold Gloves (probably would have won more if not for Ozzie Smith). In almost 7,600 at bats, he has walked 905 times and struck out just 778 times! He is a career .295/.371/.446 hitter with 190 home runs and 916 RBI. He has also stolen 377 based. Unfortunately, injuries have worn down his body the last three or four seasons, certainly hurting his numbers.
Shane Mack - OF - UCLA - Drafted 1st Round in 1984, 11th overall by the Padres.
At the age of 23, he made his major league debut on May 25, 1987 with the Padres. He played in 161 games for them in í87 and í88 and was generally considered a bust, hitting just .240. He did not even play in the big leagues in 1989 before the Twins drafted him as a minor league free agent after that season. He went on two five quality seasons in Minnesota. He hit .326 in 125 games in 1990 and .310 in 143 games in 1991. His best season was in 1992 when, in 156 gaems, he hit .315 with 16 homers and 75 RBI. Following the 1994 season, Mack had priced himself out of the Twins budget. He signed a two-year contract and played in Japan. Ha came back in 1997 with the Red Sox, and then split 1998 between Kansas City and Oakland.
John Marzano - C - Temple - Drafted in 1984 1st Round, 14th overall, by the Boston Red Sox
Marzano made his big league debut with the Red Sox on July 31, 1987 and played in 52 games. Following those two months of playing time, he was primarily a backup catcher the other nine years of his career, never playing more than the 52 games of 1987. In 10 seasons (with the Red Sox, Rangers and Mariners), he played in 301 games and got 794 at bats. He his .241/.289/.344 with 11 homers and 72 RBI. He is now a postgame commentator for the Philadelphia Phillies
Oddibe McDowell - OF - Arizona State - Drafted 1st Round in 1984, 12th overall by the Texas Rangers
Two years ago, then Cubs manager Don Baylor made a statement about young prospect Corey Patterson, comparing him to Oddibe McDowell, a "speedster, who never lived up to lofty expectations." That was anything but a compliment to Patterson (who last year became the star that was expected). McDowell won the 1984 Golden Spikes Award for his 1984 college season when he hit .405 with 23 homers, 74 RBI and 36 stolen bases. He was called up to the big leagues quickly, making his major league debut on May 19, 1995. His career highlight may have come a couple of months later when on July 23, he was 5-5 and hit for the cycle. Aside from a 76 game stint with the Braves in 1989 when he hit .304, he never hit over .266. He displayed power at times (considering he is just 5-9 and 165 pounds), he just never put it all together as was expected. He struggled in the big leagues from 1985-1990, then was out until a brief stint with the Rangers in 1994. In his 7 big league seasons, he played in 830 games and hit .253/.323/.394 with 74 home runs and 266 RBI. He also stole 169 bases. So, no, he may not have lived up to the hype, but most people would love to have had that career.
Mark McGwire - 1B - U. of Southern California - Drafted 1st Round, 10th overall by the Oakland Aís.
He was just 4-21 (.190) as the starting first baseman for Team USA. He hit .391 with 26 RBI in 30 pre-tournament games. He came up in 1986, and won the 1987 American League Rookie of the Year Award. After a few down years, he started lighting it up and become a big-time home run hitter through the late Ď90s with the Aís before being traded to the Cardinals. He broke Roger Marisís single-season home run record in 1998 when he hit 70. In his 16 year career, McGwire hit .263/.394/.588 with 583 home runs and 1,414 RBI. He was a 12 time All-Star. His career ended following back-to-back injury-plagued seasons in 1990 and 1991.
Pat Pacillo - RHP - Seton Hall - Drafted 1st Round in 1984, 5th overall by the Cincinnati Reds
Pacillo was actually and OF/Closer for Seton Hall. His junior year, he hit .360 with 27 homers, while recording 11 saves in 42 games pitched. His big league career was as a pitcher and didnít exactly pan out though. He is probably best known for being the guy put on the 40 man roster when Pete Rose was taken off the roster and became a manager only. Pacillo made his big league debut May 23 of 1987. He pitched in 12 games (7 starts) and was 3-3 a 6.13 ERA. In 1988, he pitched in just 6 games, all in relief, and was 1-0. He did strike out 11 in 10 2/3 innings and had a 5.06 ERA.
Cory Snyder - SS - Brigham Young - Drafted 1st Round in 1984, 4th overall by the Cleveland Indians
Snyderís BYU career got off to a great start. He hit home runs in his first three college at bats against UNLV. His junior year, he hit .450, with 27 home runs and 85 RBI while playing SS. He made his major league debut with the Indians on June 13, 1986 and proceeded to hit .272 with 24 home runs. He backed that up with 33 homers in 1987 (despite hitting just .236). In 1988, his average went back up to .272 while hitting 26 home runs. After that season, injuries and inconsistency followed his career to the White Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and Dodgers. He never hit over .270 again. He never hit more than 18 home runs. He now is raising his 6 kids.
BJ Surhoff - OF - U. of North Carolina - Drafted in 1985 in 1st Round, 1st overall by the Milwaukee Brewers
Came up and played mainly catcher for the Brewers for nine seasons. He signed with the Orioles in 1996 and caught some, played a year at 3B, before moving to LF for the 1998 season. He spent two-plus seasons with the Braves where injuries really cut into his playing time. Last year, he went back to the Orioles, and he is in camp with the Orioles again. Surhoff has been a very solid, never spectacular player for 17 major league seasons. He has hit .281/.332/.415 with 417 doubles, 175 homers and 1,069 RBI.
Billy Swift - RHP - U. of Maine - Drafted 1984, 1st Round, 2nd overall by the Seattle Mariners
Swift signed late in 1984, after the Olympics. He spent just two months in the minor leagues before making his major league debut on June 7, 1985. In 21 starts, he went 6-10 with a 4.77 ERA. In 1986, he was 2-9 in 17 starts (29 games). Like so many star college pitchers, Swift eventually succumbed to bone spurs in his elbow and missed the entire 1988 season. He stuck with the Mariners through the 1991 season. After that season, he was traded with Dave Burba and Mike Jackson to the Giants for Kevin Mitchell and Mike Remlinger. In 1992, he started to turn things around. He pitched 30 games (22 starts), and was 10-4 with a 2.08 ERA. He followed that up with a 21-8 1993 with a 2.82 ERA. He made just 17 starts in 1994, but was 8-7 with a 3.38 ERA. That success vaulted him to a big-time status, and it was shown to him in the form of a 3 year-$13.15 million deal to pitch with the Rockies. Things went downhill for him from there. He finished his career with an 11-9 (5.85 ERA) season back with Seattle. For his 13 seasons in the major leagues, he was 94-78 with a 3.95 ERA.
Bobby Witt - RHP - U. of Oklahoma - Drafted 1st Round in 1985, 3rd overall
Bobby Witt was almost, by definition, an average pitcher. The thing is that he was average for a lot of seasons (16), and always had good enough "stuff" for teams to continue giving him a chance. He made his big league debut with the Rangers on April 10, 1986, after very just a couple of months in the minors. He went 11-9 as a rookie. In 1990, he had his best season, going 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA. Much of the last few years were battling injuries. For his career, he pitched for the Rangers, Aís, Marlins, Rangers (again), Cardinals, Devil Rays, Indians and Diamondbacks. He had a record of 142-157 with a 4.38 ERA.
Of the 20 players on the roster, 17 were taken in the first round of the draft (either in 1984 or 1985). 12 went on to significant major league careers. Mark McGwire is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while Barry Larkin and Will Clark could get Hall of Fame consideration.
Those are the members of the 1984 USA Olympic Baseball team. If you have any information, stories or anything on any of these players, please e-mail me.
FRIDAY - Twins 5, Pirates 0
The Twins got some great pitching on Friday. Johan Santana came back from a rough first outing to throw three strong innings, striking out 3 batters. Adam Johnson pitched two innings, followed by Joe Nathan, Aaron Fultz, Sean Douglass and Jeromy Palki who each pitched one scoreless inning. Michael Restovich went 3-4. Nick Punto, playing SS, was 3-4. Torii Hunter, returning to the lineup from his wrist injury, went 2-3. Corey Koskie went 2-2.
SATURDAY - Twins 5, Dodgers 4
Down 4-1 with two outs and nobody on base, the Twins mounted quite the comeback. Jason Kubel singled, Brandon Marsters singled, Justin Morneau singled. Michael Ryan singled to score two runs. Michael Cuddyer reached on an error, scoring the game-tying run. The Dodgers brought in reliever Steve Colyer and on his first pitch went to the backstop, allowing the winning run to cross the plate. The biggest story of the spring game however was the performance of starter Kyle Lohse. He pitched 4 innings and gave up 3 hits and a run, while striking out 3. JD Durbin pitched an inning and gave up 2 hits and a walk, and two earned runs. JC Romero pitched a scoreless inning. Jesse Crain pitched a scoreless inning, striking out two.
SUNDAY - Twins 5, Mets 6
The Twins lost the game in the bottom of the 9th, but the big story for the Twins was the Twins 5 run fourth inning. With two outs and no one on base against Al Leiter, Doug Mientkiewicz walked. Michael Cuddyer knocked his second single. Michael Ryan drove a ground rule double down the right field line to score Mientkiewicz. Joe Mauer too the next pitch and drove it to the left centerfield fence for a two run double. Michael Restovich then hit a two run homer off the left field foul pole. Cristian Guzman singled before the third out was recorded. That gave the Twins a 5-0 lead. Carlos Silva was great the first three innings. He gave up two earned runs in the fourth inning (which could have been prevented but for a Doug Mientkiewicz bad throw). Joe Nathan pitched a strong 5th inning. Aaron Fultz didnít help his cause with 3 runs in one inning, including a three-run homer to Mike Piazza. Grant Balfour, in his first outing of the spring went an inning and walked two, but struck out two. Pete Munro pitched a perfect inning, before Michael Nakamura took the loss in the bottom of the 9th. Michael Cuddyer was the lone Twins player with more than one hit.
FORMER TWINS WEEKEND
Another look at how former Twins players performed over the weekend. For the record, OF Jon Barnes was designated to minor league camp on Friday.
∑ Brian Buchanan, 1B - San Diego Padres (1-3)
∑ Denny Hocking, SS - Colorado Rockies (0-3)
∑ Dustan Mohr, RF - San Francisco Giants (1-2)
∑ AJ Pierzynski, C - San Francisco Giants (0-2)
∑ Casey Blake, 3B - Cleveland Indians (0-2)
∑ Mike Jackson, RP - Chicago White Sox (1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, W)
∑ Danny Ardoin, C - Texas Rangers (0-1)
∑ Bobby Kielty, LF - Oakland Aís (0-3)
∑ David Ortiz, 1B - Boston Red Sox (1-4, 3 RBI, on his 3rd HR of spring)
∑ Todd Walker, DH - Chicago Cubs (0-3)
∑ Quinton McCracken, LF - Seattle Mariners (0-0, BB, R)
∑ Pat Mahomes, RP - Montreal Expos (1 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
∑ Jason Maxwell, 2B - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (0-1)
∑ Paul Abbott, SP - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (4 IP, 2 H, 1BB, 5 K, 2 R, 0 ER)
∑ Quinton McCracken, CF - Seattle Mariners (2-2, 2 solo HR)
∑ Todd Walker, 2B - Chicago Cubs (2-3)
∑ LaTroy Hawkins, RP - Chicago Cubs (2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 K)
∑ Matt Kinney, SP - Milwaukee Brewers (3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K)
∑ Dustan Mohr, RF - San Francisco Giants (1-3, 2B, RBI)
∑ Brian Buchanan, 1B - San Diego Padres (0-1)
∑ Denny Hocking, 2B - Colorado Rockies (1-3, 2B, RBI)
∑ Eric Milton, SP - Philadelphia Phillies (3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1-1)
∑ Todd Walker, 2B - Chicago Cubs (1-3)
∑ AJ Pierzynski, C - San Francisco Giants (1-4)
∑ Denny Hocking, 2B - Colorado Rockies (1-3, RBI)
∑ Chris Gomez, SS - Toronto Blue Jays (2-3, 2B)
∑ Matt Lawton, LF - Cleveland Indians (1-3)
∑ Casey Blake, 3B - Cleveland Indians (1-3, 2 RBI)
∑ David McCarty, 1B - Boston Red Sox (1-1)
∑ David Ortiz, 1B - Boston Red Sox (1-3, solo HR (4th of spring)
∑ Jason Maxwell, 2B - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (0-1)
∑ Quinton McCracken, CF - Seattle Mariners (1-4)
∑ Chad Allen, LF - Texas Rangers (1-3)
∑ Bobby Kielty, LF - Oakland Aís (1-2)
∑ Mark Redman, SP - Oakland Aís (3 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
∑ Brian Buchanan, 1B - San Diego Padres (0-5)
∑ Orlando Merced, CF - Pittsburgh Pirates (0-1)
∑ Dustan Mohr, RF - San Francisco Giants (0-3)
∑ Mike Jackson, RP - Chicago White Sox (1 IP, 1 H, 1 K, Save)
The Wolves continued their inconsistent ways of March.
Friday night, they played well and beat a full Lakers squad 96-86. Kevin Garnett led the Wolves with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 3 steals. Troy Hudson scored 19 points, including four big three pointers. Sam Cassell added 17 points with 7 assists. Latrell Sprewell added 16 points and 6 boards. Shaquille OíNeal led the Lakers with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
The big win did not carry over into Sunday, where the Wolves have been awful! For the second time this week, the Wolves lost to the Portland Trailblazers, 92-83. The Wolves were led by the 20 points and 14 rebounds of Kevin Garnett. He also had 7 assists, but fouled out of the game. Sam Cassell added 20 points and 8 assists. Trenton Hassell, with 12 points, was the only other Wolves player in double figures. Derek Anderson led the Blazers with 21 points. Zach Randolph chipped in 20 points with 11 rebounds. Darius Miles added 19 points, and Damon Stoudamire had 17 points and 8 assists.
The Wolves are now off until Friday night when they play in San Antonio, against the Spurs, in what will prove to be a big game, with possible playoff implications!
And on that note, that is it for today! Let me know what you think about the 1984 Olympic information. Also, if you have any information on any other Olympic baseball players from the 1988, 1992, 1996 or 2000 teams, please let me know! Or, if you have any questions or comments on anything, let me know. E-mail me. Happy Monday, and have a great week!
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