Year In Review : 1980 National 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.

"We (ex-Brooklyn Dodgers) wept when they tore down Ebbets Field. They tore down a little piece of me." - Duke Snider at his HOF induction on August 3, 1980
1980 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cincinnati

93

Houston

Batting Average

Chicago

.324

Doubles

Philadelphia

42

Hits

Los Angeles

200

Home Runs

Philadelphia

48

On Base Percentage

St. Louis

.410

RBI

Philadelphia

121

Runs

St. Louis

111

Slugging Average

Philadelphia

.624

Stolen Bases

Montreal

97

Total Bases

Philadelphia

342

Triples

Pittsburgh

13

Montreal

1980 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Montreal

14

ERA

Los Angeles

2.20

Games

Chicago

84

Saves

St. Louis

28

Shutouts

Los Angeles

6

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

286

Winning Percentage

Pittsburgh

.760

Wins

Philadelphia

24

1980 National League

Team Standings

Philadelphia Phillies

91 71 .562 0

Montreal Expos

90 72 .556 1

Pittsburgh Pirates

83 79 .512 8

St. Louis Cardinals

74 88 .457 17

New York Mets

67 95 .414 24

Chicago Cubs

64 98 .395 27

Houston Astros

93 70 .571 0

Los Angeles Dodgers

92 71 .564 1

Cincinnati Reds

89 73 .549

Atlanta Braves

81 80 .503 11

San Francisco Giants

75 86 .466 17

San Diego Padres

73 89 .451 19½

1980 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

San Diego

563

Batting Average

St. Louis

.275

Doubles

St. Louis

300

Hits

St. Louis

1,541

Home Runs

Los Angeles

148

On Base Percentage

St. Louis

.331

Runs

St. Louis

738

Slugging Average

St. Louis

.400

Stolen Bases

San Diego

239

Triples

Houston

67

1980 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

St. Louis

34

ERA

Houston

3.11

Fewest Hits Allowed

Los Angeles

1,358

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Houston

69

Fewest Walks Allowed

Pittsburgh

451

Saves

Pittsburgh

43

Shutouts

Los Angeles

19

Strikeouts

Houston

929



On April 9, 1980, George Foster of the Cincinnati Reds became the first Major League player to be credited with the newly formed game winning RBI statistic when he hit a two run homer off Phil Niekro of the Atlanta Braves.

On May 3, 1980, legendary slugger Willie McCovey hit the final home run of his career. The blast was McCovey's 521st and the victim was Scott Sanderson of the Montreal Expos.

On July 4, 1980, Nolan Ryan struck out Cesar Geronimo during the second inning to become only the fourth member of the 3,000 Strikeouts Club . TRIVIA ALERT: Why did Geronimo once say, "I was just in the right place at the right time."? Because he was also Bob Gibson's 3,000th strikeout victim in 1974.

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