On December 5, 1984 — The Oakland A’s send base-stealing OF Rickey Henderson and P Bert Bradley to the Yankees in exchange for pitchers Jay Howell and Jose Rijo, OF Stan Javier, and minor leaguers Tim Birtsas and Eric Plunk. On the same day, the Yankees trade C Rick Cerone to the Braves for P Brian Fisher.

Henderson Shifted to center field by the Yankees, Henderson batted .314, compiled a .419 on-base percentage, established new career highs with 24 home runs and 72 runs batted in, and led the American League with 80 stolen bases and 146 runs scored. Henderson’s 80 steals and 24 homers made him the first member of the 80/20 club in major league history (Cincinnati’s Eric Davis later joined him), and his 146 runs scored were the most tallied by any player since Ted Williams scored 150 times for Boston in 1950. Henderson’s magnificent season earned him a third-place finish in the league MVP voting, behind teammate Don Mattingly and Kansas City’s George Brett. It could easily be argued he was the best player in the league.

In Oakland, Tim Birtsas went 10-6 with a 4.01 ERA in 141 1/3 innings pitched. Jay Howell helped to solidify the back end of the bullpen, going 9-8 with 29 saves and a 2.85 ERA in 63 appearances. The Athletics overall did not fare so well, as they finished the 1985 season with a 77-85 record, good for 4th in the AL West.

In Tacoma (the AAA affiliate of the Athletics), Jose Rijo went 7-10 with a 2.90 ERA in 149 innings pitched before being called up to the big club. He posted a 6-4 record with a 3.53 ERA in only 63 2/3 innings pitched there. Eric Plunk split time between AA Huntsville and AAA Tacoma, compiling a 8-7 record overall with a 4.35 ERA in 24 starts.  Stan Javier spent 1985 with the AA Huntsville Stars, hitting .284 with a .418 OBP. He was a bit young for the league, only 21 during the 1985 season.

 

 


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