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Traces: 1983
Key components of 'u30ws' introduced
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

Microsoft Word was born, and so was Cole Hamels.

The McNugget was introduced, and so was Matt Garza.

The year was 1983, and while "M*A*S*H*" was wrapping up in front of 125 million viewers, some prominent members of the 2008 World Series were just getting started.

Hamels, born on Dec. 27, 1983, was the anchor of a rotation that guided the Phillies to their first World Series championship in 28 years. He went 14-10 in the regular season but saved his best work for October, during which he went gone 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts.

Born on Nov. 26, 1983, Garza delivered for the Rays during the 2008 postseason, going 2-1 with a 3.96 ERA in four starts. The clutch right-hander turned in seven masterful innings in Game 7 on his way to American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player honors.

Hamels and Garza aren't the only products of 1983 who took the Fall Classic stage in 2008. The Rays' J.P. Howell (April 25), Edwin Jackson (Sept. 9), Andy Sonnanstine (March 18), Willy Aybar (March 9) and Fernando Perez (April 23) all entered the world that year.

As such, their pop culture roots are relatively fresh.

What TV show, for instance, did Perez grow up watching?

"'The Wonder Years' reruns on Nick at Nite," he said. "It's pretty much the best show ever."

Given the number of key World Series contributors who were born in 1983, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Rays skipper Joe Maddon might think it was one of the best years ever. Here are some of the headlines that made it special:

* ARPANET officially changes to use the Internet Protocal, creating the Internet.

* The first Nintendo video gaming system is launched in Japan.

* Motorola Company unveils its first mobile phones.

* Guion Bluford becomes the first African-American astronaut to travel into space.

* Tom Brokaw becomes the lead anchor for the NBC Nightly News.

* Martin Luther King Jr. Day is declared a national holiday by President Ronald Reagan.

* The De Lorean Motor Company ceases production.

On the pop-culture front, Americans made pit stops for their McNuggets on the way to see a hit movie such as "Return of the Jedi," "Tootsie," "Trading Places," "WarGames," "Superman III," "Flashdance" and "National Lampoon's Vacation."

On the radio, the Police scored big with "Every Breath You Take," as did the Eurythmics with "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)."

But no one was bigger than Michael Jackson, whose "Thriller" album dominated the charts en route to becoming the best-selling album of all time. The hit songs were "Beat It," "Billy Jean," and, of course, the title track with its vastly innovative music video.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.