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The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Willie Hernandez

The trade seemed pretty innocent at the time. Near the end of spring training, the Tigers parted ways with Glenn Wilson and John Wockenfuss, and got in return Dave Bergman and Willie Hernandez. Bergman started more games at first base then any other Tiger, and we all know Hernandez went on to win the Cy Young and MVP.

Hernandez wasn’t your typical closer. He threw in 140 1/3 innings, and on 15 different occasions, he threw three innings or more. You’d be hard pressed to find a more effective relief combination then Hernandez and Aurelio Lopez. Ever. They combined for almost 280 innings, and went a combined 19-4 with 46 saves.

Let’s take a look at Hernandez’s (fantastic) numbers:

Innings Pitched 140 1/3
Wins 9
Losses 3
Saves 32
ERA 1.92
ERA+ 204
WHIP 0.941
H/9 6.16
BB/9 2.31
SO/9 7.18
HR/9 0.38
Pitching Runs Above Replacement 78
Stuff 21

I’ll let you go read those numbers again, just because they’re so impressive. What’s a little ironic is this isn’t even the best season a Tiger reliever’s ever had. That’s reserved for John Hiller in 1973.

No offense to Rawly Eastwick, but he never stood a chance. Not even a snowball’s chance in hell.

Scorecard – 1984 Tigers 8, 1975 Reds 7

Well, what do you know. It’s the first time in this entire debate where the Tigers have had the lead. And unfortunately for the Reds, it’s the most important because we’ve finally wrapped this up.

We all knew who had the better team anyway.

You can read Blade’s analysis of Rawly Eastwick at Reds Cutting Edge.

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