YEAR IN REVIEW : 1980 National League

Off 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.

In 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.

In the National League...

The Cincinnati Reds' Cesar Geronimo experienced déjà vu at the plate, as he became the three-thousandth career strikeout of the Houston Astros' Nolan Ryan. Ironically, he was also Bob Gibson's three-thousandth career strikeout victim six seasons earlier.

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.

Around 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.

Baseball Almanac Top Quote

"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
Chicago
.324
Philadelphia
42
Los Angeles
200
Philadelphia
48
St. Louis
.410
Philadelphia
121
St. Louis
111
Philadelphia
.624
Montreal
97
Philadelphia
342
Pittsburgh
13
Montreal

1980 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Montreal
14
Los Angeles
2.20
Chicago
84
St. Louis
28
Los Angeles
6
Philadelphia
286
Pittsburgh
.760
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
National League Team Standings

1980 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

San Diego
563
St. Louis
.275
St. Louis
300
St. Louis
1,541
Los Angeles
148
St. Louis
.331
St. Louis
738
St. Louis
.400
San Diego
239
Houston
67

1980 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

St. Louis
34
Houston
3.11
Fewest Hits Allowed
Los Angeles
1,358
Fewest Home Runs Allowed
Houston
69
Fewest Walks Allowed
Pittsburgh
451
Pittsburgh
43
Los Angeles
19
Houston
929
Seasonal Events: All-Star Game | All-Star Game | World Series
Navigation: Year in Review Menu | Previous Season | Next Season
Miscellaneous: A.L. Leaderboard
Retirements | Rookies List
Average Salary: $143,756.00
Minimum Salary: $30,000.00
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baseball almanac fast facts

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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