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Astros, Dodgers try to bring back the 80s

By in Press Enterprise on October 23, 2017

By Mark Whicker

Fred Claire has the same problem you do.

“I just have trouble accepting that Houston is in the American League,” said Claire, the Dodgers’ general manager in 1988.

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Nostalgists were pumped for a Dodgers-Yankees series. But this is fine. The Dodgers and Astros were opposites in the 80s who didn’t attract. Their conflict couldn’t be resolved in a World Series until Houston shifted to the AL in 2013.

The Dodgers and Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine won the old NL West every year in the 70s, with the two most glamorous rosters in baseball.

But in 1980, the Astros joined in, uninvited, with peach-melba jerseys and a plastic-bat offense. They had just lured Nolan Ryan back home, from Anaheim. Their baseball cards weren’t worth much, but they were a problem.

“You’d go to the Astrodome and you’d be asking, ‘When are they going to turn on all the lights?”’ said Rick Monday, now the Dodgers’ radio analyst. “They had Ryan, and they had Joe Niekro with his knuckleball. It was dark and tough.”

“It was a great place to pitch,” said Mike Scott, who won the Cy Young Award for Houston in 1986. “And it got loud for big games. One side would yell ‘Houston!’ and the other side would yell ‘Astros!’ Personally I loved it.”

The 1980 Astros hit 26 home runs at home. The opposition hit […]    

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