Monday, January 31, 2022

1981...the Strike Season (the original)

 

1981…You Can’t Please Everyone

 

                The 1981 baseball season is one of the most memorable season in baseball history. During the heat of summer, when fans would hear about names like Seaver, Carlton, Carew and Schmidt, instead we heard about Ray Grebey, and Ken Moffett, Marvin Miller and Bowie Kuhn.

                Most notably, the first ever in-season strike called by a major professional sport cost each team close to fifty games each. And the settlement plan led to some extenuating post-season berths.

                Since the strike happened in mid-season, it was decreed that season would be split into halves. It would be the second ‘split-season’ in major league history, with the National league doing so in 1892.

                In that year, the American Association folded, and four teams were merged with the existing National League. The eight existing NL teams (Boston Beaneaters, Chicago Colts, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Spiders, Brooklyn Grooms, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates) absorbed the St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, Louisville Colonels and the Washington Senators.

                It was then decided that there would be a split season, with the winner of the first half playing the winner of the second half in a best of nine tournament called “The World’s Championship Series”, which was won by Boston, in six games over the Cleveland Spiders. (There was a tie in the first game, and the Beaneaters swept the rest.

                There was some speculation that Boston, the decided first half winners, purposely did not play up to par in order to choose their second half opponents. So much was the scuttlebutt that the National League abandoned the split season for the 1893 season, as they also shortened the season to 13o games each, down from the 150 in 1892.

In 1981, the first-place team at the end of play would be declared that 1st half winner, and the first-place team at the end of the regular season would be declared the second half winner. Those teams would face each other in the first ever Divisional Playoff Series, which was best of five. Those winning that series would then move on to the League Championship Series, again best five, and those winners would face each other in the World Series.

But the two teams with the best overall records, the Cincinnati Reds and The St. Louis Cardinals were shut out of the playoffs. Both teams finished second in their divisions in each half. And the Kansas City Royals, who finished first in the second half, made the playoffs with an overall losing record. They finished at 50-53.

The Montreal Expos won their first ‘title’ in their history, a game against the Mets that I actually attended, and then won their Divisional playoff, only to lose on a heartbreaking home run by Rick Monday of the Dodgers. That Championship Series would mark the last post-season appearance by the franchise while it was in Montreal.


As an aside, like I do, Les Expos were in first place at the call of the 1994 strike, which canceled the season outright.

Some of the topics discussed between the owners at their meetings included splitting leagues into three divisions and adding a wild-card component to begin in 1993 (didn’t happen then but did eventually. And also roster expansion to twenty-eight players instead of forty. That also didn’t happen then but did begin in the 2021 season.

Most of the baseball news was centered on the strike talks and collective bargaining and such. But there was enough on-field action to cover as well.

As mentioned earlier, the Dodgers defeated the Expos in the National League Championship Series. The Expos beat the Phillies in five games, and the Dodgers felled the Astros, also in five games.

In the American League, The Yankees beat Milwaukee in five, and the A’s swept the Royals. Then the Yankees swept Billy Martin’s A’s to set up another match-up against the Dodgers.

They faced each other in 1977 and 1978, with the Yankees winning both times. But this year, it was all Dodgers, as they took the Series four games to two.

In the Series, Yankee pitcher George Frazier was the losing pitcher in each of the three games he appeared in, tying Eddie Cicotte of the 1919 Chicago White Sox for the most losses in a single Series. Alluding to the allegations that the Sox 'threw' that Series, Frazier said, tongue in cheek, that he deserves more credit, because he was actually trying to win those games.

The Yankees had made the biggest splash before the season, signing big dollar Free Agent Dave Winfield, who didn’t fare too well in his World Series debut. Prompting Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to dub him “Mr. May”, an allusion to teammate Reggie Jackson, known as Mr. October.


Also, prior to the season’s starting, the Red Sox, owing to an egregious clerical error, allegedly mailed contracts to two of their star players late, two days past the major league baseball rules allowed. The players, perennial All-Stars Fred Lynn and Carlton Fisk both filed for free agency, citing the missed deadline. A grievance was filed.

While the arbitration was looming, the red Sox worked a trade with the California Angels, sending Lynn westward, along with pitcher Steve Renko, in exchange for long coveted outfielder Joe Rudi, and pitchers Frank Tanana and Jim Dorsey.

Lynn then negotiated a four-year contract with the Angels, believed to be worth just over $1 million per season.

There was no such deal for Fisk, who was declared a Free Agent and signed with the White Sox for five years. Fisk, a future Hall of Famer, would play for Chicago for the next thirteen seasons.

The season started with an historic note, as there were two African American managers in the Major Leagues. Frank Robinson, who was the first African American manager was at the helm of the San Francisco Giants, and Maury Will was leading the Seattle Mariners. Robinson would have a lengthy managerial career with several franchises over a sixteen-year career. He would win the Manager of the Year Award in 1989 with the Orioles.

Wills, on the other hand, did not fare so well as skipper. He took over late in the 1980 season, and lasted just twenty-four games into the 1981 season, when he was replaced by Rene Lachemann. Wills struggled with some serious off-field issues, and never was called to manage in the majors again. But not before controversy.

In late April, he allegedly instructed the grounds crew at the Kingdome to extend the batters boxes by a foot on each side, in preparation for a game against the Oakland A’s. Now the A’s staff was made up of curve ball pitchers who had stymied the league, and an extra foot in the box would allow extra time for batters to identify and adjust to the breaking pitches.

Unfortunately for Wills, the A’s skipper, Billy Martin, noticed something odd and had home plate umpire Bill Kunkel to check it out. He did and found the boxes in violation. Wills was suspended and fined $500 for his actions.

In April, baseball’s 3,000 strikeout club gained two new members. Tom Seaver struck out Keith Hernandez, and Steve Carlton struck out Tim Wallach. They became the fifth and sixth pitchers to reach that milestone. (More on Carlton below)

Cleveland’s Len Barker hurled a perfect game against the Blue Jays on May 15th. It was the first perfect game in the majors since Catfish Hunter’s 1968 gem. Ron Hassey was Barker’s catcher that game, and he also caught Dennis Martinez’ perfect game in 1991. Hassey is the only player to have caught two perfect games.

And first-base umpire Greg Kosc was behind the plate or the next perfect game, which was pitched by Mike Witt of the Angels in 1984.

Los Angeles, and really all of the baseball world, was entranced by rookie southpaw Fernando Valenzuela. He was the talk of the country, having fans running for the box scores in their local papers (before the 24 hours sports networks) to see how he did the night before.   

The young phenom from Mexico won his first eight starts, five of them by shutout. He would finish with thirteen wins and tied a rookie record with eight shutouts. He won both the Rookie of the Year Award AND the Cy Young Award, something that has yet to occur again.

As a minor leaguer, the Dodgers were not overly impressed with his speed, but did like his movement. They thought he needed to add another pitch, so they asked teammate Bobby Castillo to work with Fernando on a screwball, which worked well with his unorthodox windup and delivery. The result was “Fernandomania.”

Fernando was on magazine covers and television shows around the country. As he warmed up, the Dodger’s PA system would play the song “Fernando” by ABBA.

Fernando could hit as well. In sixty-four at bats, he struck out just nine times, and won the NL Silver Slugger Award for pitchers.

Fernando would become the first National league pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts in his rookie season, and just the second to do so after Herb Score with the 1957 Indians.

Dodger teammate Steve Garvey would play in his 945th consecutive game, which is the fifth longest in history.

In Oakland, the Billy Martin led A’s, playing a brand of baseball dubbed “Billyball” shot out to an early lead in their division. They won the first eleven straight of the season. Despite losing fifty-three scheduled games due to the strike, the A’s were the only team to increase their attendance over the 1980 season.

The pugilistic Martin was involved in an on-field altercation with umpire Terry Cooney. During an argument, Martin bumped the umpire, and then reached down and threw dirt at him. Martin was given a one-week suspension and fined $1,000. In the meantime, Cooney pressed criminal charges on Martin, but dropped those when Martin publicly apologized.

Phillies manager Dallas Green was also fined and suspended for his actions in a game against the Braves in Atlanta. During an argument with umpire Steve Fields, Green knocked fields’ cap off, and then kicked the cap. He was fined $1,000 and served a five-game suspension.

Cardinals’ shortstop Garry Templeton was suspended indefinitely and fined $5,000 for making an obscene gesture towards the hometown St. Louis fans at Busch Stadium. The suspension began on August26th, and Templeton returned to the field on September16th, but not before undergoing a psychiatric evaluation and apologizing to the fans of the team.

He would be traded to San Diego following the season for Ozzie Smith.

Astro’s outfielder Cesar Cedeno was fined $5,000 for going into the stands in Atlanta after a heckler, and Reggie Smith of the Dodgers received the same fine plus a five-day suspension for going into the stands in San Francisco and fighting a fan.

In the 1977 amateur draft, in the 15th round, the Toronto Blue Jays selected infielder Danny Ainge out of North High School in Eugene, Oregon. Ainge signed a three-year deal to play baseball, and not play basketball. After reaching the big leagues in 1979 with Toronto, Ainge struggled, never hitting higher than .3248 at any level, and decided to give up his baseball career and concentrate on basketball. He was then drafted by the Boston Celtics of the NBA in the second round of the 1981 draft.

But…he was still under contract to the Toronto Blue Jays. A federal court ruled that his baseball contract was binding and forbade Ainge from joining the Celtics. However, the two teams reached an agreement that allowed Ainge to join the Celtics, where he became an All-Star shooting guard.

Pete Rose of the Phillies tied Stan Musial’s all-time National League hit record at 3,630 before the strike was called. On resumption of play, Rose wasted little time eclipsing the record, singling off of Cardinal’s stopper Bruce Sutter in a game in Philadelphia, with Musial in attendance.

Rose would lead the National League in hits for the seventh time, besting Musial’s record of six.

Phils third-baseman Mike Schmidt would hit his 310th career homer, setting a new record for any Philadelphia player. Jimmie Foxx hit 309 while playing for the A’s.

(As an aside, I was at the game at Shea Stadium where Schmidt hit his 300th homer, off of Mike Scott)

Phillies ace Steve “Lefty” Carlton became the first left-handed pitcher to reach the 3,000-strikeout mark. His strikeouts and the Mets have a strange history. On September 15, 1969, for example, Carlton struck out a record nineteen Mets, yet lost the game on a pair of home runs hit by Ron Swoboda.

On September 14, 1981, nearly twelve years to the day, Carlton was the only pitcher to reach fifteen strikeouts in a game. Against the Mets. He lost on a home run to Met’s catcher John Stearns. It was Stearns’ first homer in 197 games.

Houston’s Nolan Ryan, in front of a large television audience on NBC’s Game of the Week no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was Ryan’s record fifth no-hitter. (He would pitch two more before his illustrious career would end, no one else has more than four)

Nolan also set the new career walks issued record breaking the one set by Early Wynn. Wynn finished with 1,775 walks. And while Steve Carlton (1,833) and Gaylord Perry (1,809) both surpassed Wynn as well, it is safe to say that no one will touch Ryan’s career total of 2,795.

(Justin Verlander is the current active leader with 851 as of this writing)

And Ryan finished with a 1.69 ERA, to win his first and only ERA title, he also led the league in wild pitches for the fourth time in his career. He set the record for the lowest ERA for a league wild pitch leader.

Gary Gaetti of the Twins homers in his first major league at bat. Joining him on the home run barrage were rookie teammates Kent Hrbek and Tim Laudner, who hit their fist home runs in that same game.

In Seattle, Mariner’s third baseman (and prospective stand-up comedian) Lenny Randle got down on all fours to blow a slow rolling ball foul. The umpires called the ball fair and allowed Amos Otis of the Royals to remain on first with a base hit. Randle claimed there was no rule against his play and has claimed credit for a ‘no blow’ rule that baseball clarified and implemented.

In Montreal, rookie speedster Tim “Rock” Raines stole a total of 71 bases to set a rookie record. Prior to the strike, he stole 50 bases in 55 chances, a 91% success rate.

The Pirates, in an attempt to get a stadium deal, threatened to move the team to New Orleans.

With no major league baseball in the summer, fans turned to the minor leagues. The saw Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings play in a record 33-inning game. Future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. went a combine 6 for 25 in that game.

Bob Dernier of the Phiilies affiliate Oklahoma City 89ers in the American Association stole 72 bases.

In the International League, the aforementioned Wade Boggs of the Pawtucket Red Sox won the batting title edging out Brett Butler of the Richmond Braves by 5 thousandth of a percentage, .3353 to .3348.

Steve Balboni of the Columbus Clipper, the Yankees IL affiliate led the league with 33 homes and 98 runs batted in.

In the Pacific Coast League, Mike Marshall of the Albuquerque Dukes (Dodgers) won the offensive triple crown and was voted the Minor League Player of the Year by The Sporting News.

Teammate Ted Power led the league with 18 wins, and Rudy Law amassed 56 stolen bases. Jimmy Sexton of the Tacoma Tigers (A’s) also stole 56 bases. They both finished second to Alan Wiggins of the Hawaii Islander (Padres) who stole 73.

In the Eastern League, Ron Kittle of the Glens Falls White Sox hit 40 homers and Tom Lawless of the Waterbury Reds stole 60 bases.

In the Southern League, Orlando Twins led professional baseball with 42 homers, while Kevin Rhomberg of the Chattanooga Lookouts (Indians) stole 60 bases.

In the Texas League, Shreveport Captains (Giants) stole 52 bases.

In the California League, Rob Deer of the Fresno Giants hit 33 homers. Robert McNeely of the San Jose Missions (independent team) stole 63 bases, Wayne Rudolph of the Modesto A’s stole 55 bases, and Ron Wilkinson of the Visalia Oaks (Twins) stole 53 bases.

In the Carolina League, Gerald Davis of the Salem Redbirds (Padres) hit 34 homers, Gus Burgess of the Winston-Salem Red Sox stole 68 bases, and teammate Mike Brown finished with a 1.49 ERA, and Jeff Bittiger of the Lynchburg Mets struck out 168 in 137 innings, an 11.04 k/9 innings rate.

In the Florida State League, Julio Beltran of the Daytona Beach Astros stole 69 bases. Al Nipper of the Winter Haven Red Sox finished with a 1.70 ERA and Nick Fiorello of the Tampa Tarpons (Reds) finished with a 1.98 ERA.

In the Midwest League, Glen Walker of the Wausau Timbers (Mariners) hit 35 homers and drove in 111 runs. Teammate Harold Reynolds stole 69 bases, and pitcher Edwin Nunez struck out 205 batters in 186 innings, a 9.9/k per 9 innings.

Henry Cotto of the Quad City Cubs stole 52 bases.

In the Pioneer League, Eric Payton of the Butte Copper Kings (Brewers) led the short-season league with a .403 average, the only pro player to eclipse the .400 mark.

 

And in the Amateur Draft, the Seattle Mariners chose pitcher Mike Moore as the first overall choice in the draft. Other players of note from the early rounds include Joe Carter (Cubs), Kevin McReynolds (Padres), Ron Darling (Rangers), Mark Langston (Mariners), Frank Viola (Twins).

In the second round, the fifty-second pick, the Yankees drafted John Elway from Stanford. Elway would continue to play football for Stanford but was signed and assigned to the Oneonta team of the New York Penn League for the 1982 season. Elway would famously leverage his baseball career to avoid being drafted by the Baltimore Colts of the NFL in the 1983 draft, saying that he would continue to play baseball.

Elway was indeed drafted by the Colts in the first round but would be traded to the Denver Broncos a few weeks later. There were eight future NFL Hall of Famers drafted in that first round.

In the third round, the Padres drafted outfielder Tony Gwynn form San Diego State. Gwynn was also drafted in the tenth round of the NBA draft that same day, by the San Diego Clippers. Luckily, the San Diego native was not put off by the Padres and in Gwynn’s words, the “ugliest uniforms I’ve ever seen in my life.” And signed with the Padres.

He was the only baseball Hall of Famer from the 1981 baseball draft class.

Two other NFL stars of note were drafted as well. Future Steelers quarterback Bubby Brister was drafted in the fourth round by the Tigers and spent the 1981 season with the Bristol Tigers in the Appalachian League. And future Tennessee Titans head coach Jack Del Rio was drafted out of high school in the twenty-second round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Del Rio did not sign, opting to accept a scholarship to USC where he was a two-sport star. He was teammates with future major leaguers Don Wakamatsu, Mark McGwire and Randy Johnson.

Other draftees include Paul O’Neill (4th round Reds), John Franco (5th round Dodgers), Devon White (6th round Angels), Fred McGriff (9th Yankees), Len Dykstra (13th Mets) and Matt Nokes (20th Giants).

Notable unsigned draftees include Alvin Davis (6th A’s), Mark McGwire (8th Expos), Roger Clemens (12th Mets), Vince Coleman (20th Phillies), Lance Johnson (30th Pirates) and Cecil Fielder (31st Orioles).

 

Going back to the major league season at hand, our overall complete season team leaders for offense were:

National League

American League

Phillies

Red Sox

Cardinals

Brewers

Reds

White Sox

Dodgers

Rangers

Pirates

Indians

 

And on the pitching side, we have this ranking:

Astros

Yankees

Dodgers

A’s

Expos

Rangers

Cardinals

Tigers

Giants

Brewers

 

 And our top five overall teams would fall this way:

Cardinals

1st overall NL East, no playoffs

Dodgers

2nd overall NL West, World Series Champs

Yankees

4th overall AL East, AL Champs

Astros

3rd overall in NL West. Lost 1st Round

Red Sox

5th overall AL East, no playoffs

 

 

And to look at the overall performances for the offensive players, beginning in the National League, we have this initial top ten list:

Player

Team

HR

RBI

AVG

SB

RC/G

Mike Schmidt

Phillies

31

91

.316

12

1.35

George Foster

Reds

22

90

.295

4

1.19

Gary Mathews

Phillies

9

67

.301

15

1.19

Andre Dawson

Expos

24

64

.302

26

1.08

Gary Carter

Expos

16

68

.251

1

1.00

George Hendrick

Cardinals

18

61

.284

4

1.09

Tim Raines

Expos

5

37

.304

71

1.06

Dave Concepcion

Reds

5

67

.306

4

1.12

Keith Hernandez

Cardinals

8

48

.306

12

1.02

Bill Buckner

Cubs

10

75

.311

5

1.04

 

And against their team averages, we get this list:

Bill Buckner

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Schmidt

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Andre Dawson

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Carter

Above

 

 

 

 

 

George Foster

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Raines

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Kingman

Mets

22

59

.221

6

0.77

Jack Clark

Giants

17

53

.268

1

0.97

Bob Horner

Braves

15

42

.277

2

0.87

Bill Madlock

Pirates

6

45

.341

18

0.90

 

That brings our overall top ten National League offensive players to this:

Mike Schmidt

National League MVP

George Foster

3rd in MVP

Andre Dawson

2nd in MVP

Bill Buckner

10th in MVP (tied)

Gary Carter

6th in MVP

Tim Raines

19th in MVP, 2nd in Rookie of the Year

Gary Mathews

13th in MVP

Dave Concepcion

4th in MVP

Bill Madlock

17th in MVP

George Hendrick

14th in MVP

 

On to the American League, where their batters fared 2.7% better than the National leaguers, our initial top ten list is:

Dwight Evans

Red Sox

22

71

.296

3

1.23

Eddie Murray

Orioles

22

78

.294

2

1.14

Cecil Cooper

Brewers

12

60

.320

5

1.11

Rickey Henderson

A’s

6

35

.319

56

1.09

Carney Lansford

Red Sox

4

52

.336

15

1.07

Bobby Grich

Angels

22

61

.304

2

0.95

Tom Paciorek

Mariners

14

66

.326

13

0.98

Dave Winfield

Yankees

13

68

.294

11

1.02

Chet Lemon

White Sox

9

50

.302

5

0.97

Buddy Bell

Rangers

10

64

.294

3

1.01

 

And then compared to their team’s averages, we get this list:

Eddie Murray

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Paciorek

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Winfield

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Rickey Henderson

Above

 

 

 

 

 

John Mayberry

Blue Jays

17

43

.248

1

0.64

Dwight Evans

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby Grich

Above

 

 

 

 

 

Ken Singleton

Orioles

13

44

.248

0

0.82

George Brett

Royals

6

43

.314

14

0.89

Cliff Johnson

A’s

17

59

.260

5

0.98

 

Which brings our final top ten performers list to this:

Eddie Murray

5th in MVP

Dwight Evans

3rd in MVP

Rickey Henderson

2nd in MVP

Tom Paciorek

10th in MVP

Dave Winfield

7th in MVP

Cecil Cooper

8th in MVP

Bobby Grich

14th in MVP

Ken Singleton

23rd in MVP

Cliff Johnson

No votes

Chet Lemon

No votes

 

The National League Most Valuable Player, as voted by the BBWAA was Mike Schmidt. The American League winner was reliever Rollie Fingers, who also won the Cy Young Award.

Beginning with the National League pitchers, our initial list is:

Pitcher

Team

W-L

ERA

Svs

Nolan Ryan

Astros

11-5

1.69

0

Tom Seaver

Reds

14-2

2.54

0

Steve Carlton

Phillies

13-4

2.42

0

Fernando Valenzuela

Dodgers

13-7

2.48

0

Burt Hooton

Dodgers

11-6

2.28

0

Jerry Reuss

Dodgers

10-4

2.30

0

Don Sutton

Astros

11-9

2.61

0

Bob Knepper

Astros

9-5

2.18

0

Rick Camp

Braves

9-3

1.78

17

Vida Blue

Giants

8-6

2.45

0

 

And against their team’s performances, we get this list:

Steve Carlton

Above

 

 

 

Tom Seaver

Above

 

 

 

Rick Camp

Above

 

 

 

Jim Bibby

Pirates

6-3

2.50

0

Gary Lucas

Padres

7-7

2.00

13

Nolan Ryan

Above

 

 

 

Doug Bird

Cubs*

4-5

3.58

0

Mike Krukow

Cubs

9-9

3.68

0

Vida Blue

Above

 

 

 

Fernando Valenzuela

Above

 

 

 

*Bird was traded from the Yankees to the Cubs, along with another player, in exchange for Rick Reuschel.

As a brief aside, Doug Bird has one of my favorite baseball-literate nicknames. If you remember in 1976, the American League Rookie of the Year was Tigers pitching phenom Mark Fidrych. Tall and lanky with curly blond hair, Fidrych earned the nickname “The Bird”.

Doug Bird’s nickname was “The Fidrych”.

 Combining and consolidation\ng brings us to this final top ten pitchers in the National League:

Nolan Ryan

4th in Cy Young, 13th in MVP

Tom Seaver

2nd in Cy Young, 10th in MVP (tied)

Steve Carlton

3rd in Cy Young, 9th in MVP

Fernando Valenzuela

Cy Young winner, Rookie of the Year winner ,5th in MVP

Rick Camp

20th in MVP (tied)

Jerry Reuss

No votes

Jim Bibby

No votes

Don Sutton

No votes

Vida Blue

No votes

 

And to the American League, our initial top ten performers were:

Steve McCatty

A’s

14-7

2.33

0

Rich Gossage

Yankees

3-2

0.77

20

Rollie Fingers

Brewers

6-3

1.04

28

Dave Righetti

Yankees

8-4

2.05

0

Ken Forsch

Angels

11-7

2.88

0

Bert Blyleven

Indians

117

2.88

0

Jack Morris

Tigers

14-7

3.05

0

Larry Gura

Royals

11-8

2.72

0

Ron Guidry

Yankees

11-5

2.76

0

Rick Honeycutt

Rangers

11-6

3.31

0

 

And against team performances, we get this list:

Bert Blyleven

Above

 

 

 

Dave Steib

Blue Jays

11-10

3.19

0

Ken Forsch

Above

 

 

 

Rollie Fingers

Above

 

 

 

Steve McCatty

Above

 

 

 

John Denny

Indians

10-6

3.15

0

Lary Gura

Above

 

 

 

Rich Gossage

Above

 

 

 

Dennis Leonard

Royals

13-11

2.99

0

Jack Morris

Above

 

 

 

 

Combining, consolidating and calculating brings us this final top ten American League pitchers list:

Steve McCatty

2nd in Cy Young, 13th in MVP

Rollie Fingers

Cy Young Award, MVP Award

Rich Gossage

5th in Cy Young, 9th in MVP

Dave Righetti

Rookie of the Year

Ken Forsch

No votes

Bert Blyleven

No votes

Larry Gura

9th in Cy Young

Jack Morris

3rd in Cy Young, 15th in MVP

Rick Honeycutt

No votes

Dennis Leonard

No votes

 

 

As for post season awards in the National League, as mentioned earlier, Mike Schmidt of the Phillies won the National League Most Valuable Player, and Fernando Valenzuela won the Cy Young Award. It was definitely a better pitching year than offense, but my vote would have been:

Mike Schmidt

NL Player of the Year

 

Nolan Ryan

NL Pitcher of the Year

 

Tom Seaver

Steve Carlton

George Foster

 

And in the American League, where the pitching stars outpaced the batting stars, I have this top five list:

Steve McCatty

AL Player of the Year

 

Rollie Fingers

Rich Gossage

Dave Righetti

Eddie Murray

AL Offensive Player of the Year

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