The 1984 Detroit Tigers season seemed to be preordained from greatness from the jump. They won their first nine games and a simply incredible 35 of their first 40 and never looked back. Managed by Sparky Anderson, no stranger to success of formidable teams with the Cincinnati Reds, the Tigers had won 92 games the previous year, finishing a half dozen games behind the eventual World Series Champion Baltimore Orioles. But the Tigers made a couple of moves in the offseason which helped put them over the top.
The first was the acquisition of Designated Hitter Darrell Evans to the lineup. Evans was coming from the San Francisco Giants where he hit more than 30 home runs and was added to a lineup which included perennial All-Stars Lance Parrish at catcher and shortstop Alan Trammell next to second baseman Lou Whitaker. While Evans struggled at times, hitting .232 with 16 homers, Parrish more than doubled that with 33 (and a team-leading 98 runs batted in) while Trammell batted .314 and Whitaker .289, while outfielder Kirk Gibson hit 27 homers and 91 RBI to go with a .282 average.
The second acquisition was for relief pitcher Willie Hernandez and first baseman Dave Bergman from Philadelphia. Bergman battled .273 and provided capable fielding at first, but Hernandez took over as closer for the Tigers and delivered 32 saves and an earned run average of under 2 runs per game, which garnered both the Cy Young Award (as best pitcher) and a rare Most Valuable Player double trophy performance. Combined with Jack Morris, Dan Petry and Milt Wilcox, all of whom won at least 17 games each as starting pitchers, the Tigers were a juggernaut, sweeping the Kansas City Royals with three straight wins to earn a World Series appearance with the San Diego Padres.
From there, the Padres, like everyone else in Major League Baseball, stood little chance. The Tigers won Game One 3-2 with a two-run homer by Larry Herndon and started Game Two with three runs in the first inning before San Diego woke up and evened the Series at one game each. The Series went to Detroit for the next three games, and would not return to San Diego as the Tigers won Game Three 5-2 and Four 4-2, the latter behind a pair of two-run homers from Trammell. Game Five proved to be a formality, as the Tigers won the game behind two Gibson home runs 8-4, clinching the Series. It was the first Series for Detroit since 1968 and for Anderson, he became the first manager to win the Series in the American and National Leagues.
With Spring Training underway and this being the 30th anniversary of their amazing run, the Detroit Tigers' 1984 season gets the Collector's Edition treatment from MLB video and A&E that it properly deserves. There may be less uncertainty as to who wins the Series these days, but the Tigers' campaign reminds us that such domination over a year is a rare thing.
The discs are in full frame and are faithful to the source material, or at least as much as possible without any inherent image noise or artifacts in them. Colors are reproduced accurately though any sort of vivid note to them is lacking both because of the source and the uniforms themselves. There are moments of crushing and pixelization though most of the discs, but at the end of the day this is a presumed straightforward tape to disc transition done without complaint, save for the MLB watermark present on all discs.
Dolby Digital stereo for all discs, and like most previous releases there is an alternate audio option to hear the radio broadcasts of each games. It should be noted, however, said broadcasts are not completely with Tigers broadcasters, and are the national radio broadcasts, so no Ernie Harwell. The audio is as straightforward as can be with little if any hisses, mosquito noise or dropouts that I could pick up on. It is sans objection.
Similar to the 2000 World Series set I recently reviewed set, the packaging is slimmer and the extras are barren.
The 1984 World Series Collector's Edition for the Detroit Tigers is a straightforward look at the championship for fans of the Motown based baseball team. While it is not as robust as other sets it does deliver on what it is supposed to, and does it as could as one could expect. Technically it is adequate and for the Tigers fan you know, this is a nice little item to add to their collection. I mean, since there were barely any VCRs at the time and all.