Year In Review : 1980 American League

O ff the field...

Former Beatle John Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman who opened fire outside the musician's New York City apartment. The forty-year-old was hit several times as he entered the Dakota, his luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, opposite Central Park. He was later rushed in a police car to St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he died of four gunshot wounds to the back. Chapman, a disturbed individual who identified with Holden Caulfield, the irked hero of J.D. Salinger's cult novel "Catcher in the Rye" still remains in jail to this day.

Eighty-seven million American TV viewers wondered "Who Shot J.R.?" as America's hottest prime-time series, a slick soap opera depicting the private lives and public connivances of the somewhat dysfunctional, oil-rich Ewing family ended with one of the most shocking season finales ever produced on television. Eight months later the show earned the second largest audience share in television history with a record 53.3 rating. The final tally: forty-one million of the nearly seventy-eight million households in the U.S. tuned in and the answer was...

A failed U.S. military rescue mission called "Operation Desert One" was attempted several months after Shiite Muslim militants had attacked and seized the Embassy in Teheran, taking fifty-two Americans hostage. The attack upon the American Embassy occurred after the Shah of Iran was overthrown and power was seized by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The American hostages were subjected to four-hundred forty-four days of brutal conditions including mock executions and unfortunately their rescue attempt (ordered by President Jimmy Carter) failed miserably in the Iranian desert resulting in the deaths of eight Americans.

I n the American League...

Both Dwayne Murphy and Rickey Henderson stole home in the first inning of an Oakland 'A's 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals to tie a Major League record originally set in the American League by the Minnesota Twins (1969) and in the National League by St. Louis Cardinals (1925).

The Cleveland Indians tied a Major League record on June 1st after hitting four sacrifice flies in a single game thanks to Ron Hassey, Dave Rosello, Gary Alexander, and Dell Alston. Despite their selfless efforts, the Indians went on to lose 8-7 to the Seattle Mariners.

Despite missing forty-five games with injuries, George Brett was named the American League's Most Valuable Player. The twenty-seven year-old third baseman's .390 average was the highest in the Major Leagues since the Boston Red Sox's Ted Williams' .406 in 1941. He also added twenty-four home runs and one-hundred eighteen RBIs to lead the Kansas City Royals to their first American League pennant.

I n the National League...

Pitcher Steve Carlton, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, fanned 7 St. Louis Cardinals in a July 6th, 8-3 win, crowning him as the major leagues' left-handed strikeout king with 2,836 K's.

Ron LeFlore, of the Montreal Expos, stole his sixty-second base on July 28th, during the seveth inning of a 5-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds, but was tagged out after stepping off the bag while trying to read the scoreboard that was noting the first stolen base occurrence one-hundred fifteen years earlier.

A round the league...

Henry Aaron refused an award from Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn honoring him for hitting his 715th home run in protest of Major League Baseball's treatment of retired black ballplayers.

The National Labor Relations Board ruled in favor of the umpires' union after they demanded that the National League release its umpire evaluations, particularly those of the replacement officials who were retained after filling in for striking umps in 1979.

On May 23rd, five hours after the midnight deadline passed, the players and owners averted a strike by announcing a new four-year basic agreement. The new deal raised the minimum player's salary from $21,000 to $30,000 and increased the clubs' contributions to the players' pension fund.

On August 20th, Pittsburgh Pirate centerfielder Omar Moreno stole his seventieth base of the season off the Houston Astros, becoming the first player in the 20th century with three consecutive seventy-steal seasons. Moreno swiped seventy-one in 1978, seventy-seven in 1979, and finished 1980 with a career-high ninety-six.

"What I did was stupid and I'll never do it again. I never wanted this to happen and I didn't know the consequences. Besides, I'd only scratched three balls that night and none of them did anything." - Rick Honeycutt
1980 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

119

Batting Average

Kansas City

.390

Doubles

Milwaukee

49

Hits

Kansas City

230

Home Runs

Milwaukee

41

New York

On Base Percentage

Kansas City

.461

RBI

Milwaukee

122

Runs

Kansas City

133

Slugging Average

Kansas City

.664

Stolen Bases

Oakland

100

Total Bases

Milwaukee

335

Triples

Toronto

15

Kansas City

1980 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Oakland

28

ERA

New York

2.46

Games

Kansas City

75

Saves

New York

33

Kansas City

Shutouts

New York

6

Strikeouts

Cleveland

187

Winning Percentage

Baltimore

.781

Wins

Baltimore

25

1980 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

103 59 .636 0

Baltimore Orioles

100 62 .617 3

Milwaukee Brewers

86 76 .531 17

Boston Red Sox

83 77 .519 19

Detroit Tigers

84 78 .519 19

Cleveland Indians

79 81 .494 23

Toronto Blue Jays

67 95 .414 36

Kansas City Royals

97 65 .599 0

Oakland Athletics

83 79 .512 14

Minnesota Twins

77 84 .478 19½

Texas Rangers

76 85 .472 20½

Chicago White Sox

70 90 .438 26

California Angels

65 95 .406 31

Seattle Mariners

59 103 .364 38

1980 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Detroit

645

Batting Average

Kansas City

.286

Doubles

Milwaukee

298

Hits

Kansas City

1,633

Home Runs

Milwaukee

203

On Base Percentage

Cleveland

.355

Runs

Detroit

830

Slugging Average

Milwaukee

.448

Stolen Bases

Kansas City

185

Triples

Kansas City

59

1980 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Oakland

94

ERA

Oakland

3.46

Fewest Hits Allowed

Oakland

1,347

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

New York

102

Fewest Walks Allowed

Milwaukee

420

Saves

New York

50

Shutouts

New York

15

Strikeouts

Texas

890



On May 3, 1980, Fergie Jenkins defeated the Orioles 3-2 for his one-hundredth American League victory. Did you know that Cy Young , Jim Bunning , and Gaylord Perry are the only other pitchers in Major League history to win one-hundred games in each league?

On July 14, 1980, Eddie Murray of Baltimore did not appear on the lineup card which ended his consecutive games played streak at four-hundred forty-four. Murray was not on the lineup card because he was hit by a George Brett ground ball the day before.

On September 30, 1980, Bill Kunkel ejected Mariners' pitcher Rick Honeycutt for doctoring baseballs. Honeycutt, who was fined $250 and suspended for ten days, was wearing a thumbtack under a band-aid on his glove hand.

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