Willie Hernandez was a fine, but unsung, reliever until 1984. He had been among the
NL leaders in appearances with the Cubs in 1982 and the Cubs and Phillies in 1983.
Traded to Detroit March 24, 1984, Hernandez quickly became manager Sparky Anderson
stopper. His phenomenal season (9-3, 1.92, 32 saves in 33 chances, 80 games, 112
strikeouts in 140 innings) earned both the MVP and Cy Young
awards. He appeared in
every non-complete postseason game for Detroit, with three saves in as many chances.
In 1985 he became the first Tiger with back-to-back 30-save seasons, but he lost
10 games and gradually fell into disfavor with the fans. Stating a preference to
be called Guillermo (his given first name), the mustachioed screwballer took a back
seat to Mike Henneman
in Detroit's bullpen in 1987 and 1988.