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On This Date in Sports October 20, 1982: The Suds Series

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

It’s this Bud’s for You over Miller Time as the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 in Game 7 of the World Series at Busch Stadium. Dubbed the “Suds Series” for both teams’ connection to the beer industry, the Cardinals outlast the Brewers, winning the final two games. The sixth inning was where the series decided as Keith Hernandez delivered a game-tying hit for the Cardinals with the bases loaded on his birthday.

The World Series was a battle of contrasts, as the Milwaukee Brewers won with power, while the St. Louis Cardinals had a lineup filled with players looking to burn up the base paths. Ironically the teams made a blockbuster trade in the winter of 1980 that helped turn the Brewers into a true contender. The Cardinals received pitchers Dave LaPoint and Larry Sorensen, along with outfielders Sixto Lezcano and David Green, in exchange for Catcher Ted Simmons, starter Pete Vukovich, and Reliever Rollie Fingers. Fingers won the Cy Young in 1981, with Vukovich following up in 1982, while Simmons became a valuable team leader behind the plate. Lezcano and Sorensen spent just one season in St. Louis, while LaPoint and Green were minor contributors to the Cardinals' pennant-winning team in 1982.

A year after losing the Division Series to the New York Yankees in the 1981 split season, saw the Milwaukee Brewers managed by Harvey Kuenn, won the first division championship, holding off the Baltimore Orioles on the final day of the season while posting a record of 95-67. Nicknamed “Harvey’s Wallbangers,” the Brewers hit 216 home runs in the regular season, led by Gorman Thomas, who had 39, and Ben Oglivie, who had 34. Their combined total was more than the St. Louis Cardinals had as a team at 67. On the way to the World Series, the Brewers made history, becoming the first ALCS team to win after losing the first two games. They beat the California Angels in five games, winning the last three at County Stadium after losing the first two games in Anaheim.

The St. Louis Cardinals, managed by Whitey Herzog, won their first division title with a record of 92-70. They were every bit a National League small-ball team, with aggressive base running led by Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith, Ozzie Smith, and George Hendrick. In addition, they had one of the best defensive teams in the league, with Ozzie Smith and Keith Hernandez dominating the decade for gold gloves in the 1980s. On the way to the World Series, the Cardinals swept the Atlanta Braves in three straight games.

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The series did not start well for the Cardinals, as the Brewers bashed them 10-0 in Game 1 at Busch Stadium, as the Milwaukee racked up Bob Forsch for ten hits. Leading the Brewers attack was Paul Molitor, who had a series record five hits in the leadoff spot with two RBI, while American League MVP Robin Yount batting second, added four hits, along with two RBI. On the mound, Mike Caldwell pitched a complete game three-hitter to earn the win. The Brewers jumped out early in Game 2, taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning as Ted Simmons hit his second series home run against his former team. However, Tom Herr got St. Louis back in the game with a run-scoring double in the bottom of the third. The Cardinals would tie the game 4-4 in the sixth inning on a two-run double by Darrell Porter. With the game in the bullpen, the Cardinals had a distinct advantage as they had Bruce Sutter, one of the game’s top closers, while Milwaukee was scrambling without Rollie Fingers, who missed the postseason with a torn bicep muscle in his arm. Pete Ladd closing in place of Fingers, would walk home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, as Sutter was nearly flawless in two innings to earn the 5-4 win to even the series.

As the series shifted to County Stadium in Milwaukee, the Cardinals stole the Brewers' thunder as Willie McGee hit a pair of two-run home runs in Game 3 to pace the Red Birds to a 6-2 win as Joaquin Andujar earned the win opposing Pete Vukovich. The Cardinals came out strong again in Game 4, taking an early 4-0 lead against Moose Haas. Ozzie Smith was in the middle of the St. Louis attack, scoring from second base on a two-run sacrifice fly by Tommy Herr to the deepest part of the ballpark. However, the Brewers turned the game around with six unearned runs in the seventh inning, capped by the two-run single by Gorman Thomas, as an error by Dave LaPoint opened up the floodgates as he dropped a toss from Keith Hernandez that started the Brewers rally. In Game 5, Mike Caldwell did his best Houdini impersonation, as the Cardinals managed just four runs despite 15 hits, while Robin Yount went 4-for-4, needing just a triple to complete the cycle as Milwaukee regained control of the series with a 6-4 win.

Needing just one win in St. Louis, the Brewers sent Don Sutton to the mound in Game 6 against the Cardinals John Stuper. Sutton delivered one of the worst starts of his career, allowing seven runs as the Cardinals won 13-1. Keith Hernandez led the attack for the Redbirds and a home run and four RBI, while Dane Iorg had a pair of doubles and a triple with three runs scored.

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In Game 7, the Cardinals had Joaquin Andujar on the mound against Pete Vukovich, the top pitcher in the American League, in 1982. The Cardinals broke open a scoreless tie in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Lonnie Smith. Ben Oglive quickly answered with a home run in the fifth to tie the game. The Brewers took the lead the following inning as Paul Molitor's bunt single sparked a two-run rally when Andujar threw the ball away. In the bottom of the sixth, the Cardinals chased Vukovich with one out on a double by Lonnie Smith to put the tying runs in scoring position. Bob McClure came on and walked Gene Tenace to load the bases. Keith Hernandez then laced a two-run single to tie the game 3-3. George Hendrick followed with an RBI single that put the Cardinals back in front 4-3. In the eighth inning, St. Louis added some insurance with runs driven in by Darrell Porter and Steve Braun to make 6-3, as Bruce Suter earned the save with two perfect innings, striking out Gorman Thomas to end the series.

Darrell Porter, who also won the NLCS MVP, was named World Series MVP with a .286 average, one home run, and five RBI, while Keith Hernandez had eight RBI while batting .259.