Year In Review : 1985 American League

O ff the field...

TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by a group of Shi'ite terrorists who were identified as members of Islamic Jihad, a group of various fundamentalists, operating in Lebanon and other Middle East countries. The militant Muslims held one-hundred fifty-three people (including women and children) hostage while demanding the release of their brothers in arms. One passenger, U.S. Navy Diver Robert Stethem was executed and his body was dumped onto the tarmac. After several unsuccessful negotiations, Israel agreed to release thirty-one of its Shi'ite prisoners and the hostages were freed in return.

The wreck of the RMS Titanic (which sunk in 1912 killing 1,522 passengers and crew after striking an iceberg) was finally discovered by a joint U.S.-French expedition who located the remains of the "unsinkable" ocean liner three-hundred fifty miles southeast of Newfoundland in thirteen-thousand feet of water.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev held a Summit Meeting in Geneva to discuss improving relations between the U.S.S.R. and the United States and to help decrease the risk of nuclear war. In the end, both agreed not to attempt to achieve military superiority and banned the development of chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

I n the American League...

The Milwaukee Brewers' Rollie Fingers recorded his two-hundred seventeenth American League career save breaking the record originally set by Sparky Lyle. The victory gave "The Mustache" a Major League record of three-hundred twenty-five saves overall. He retired at the end of the season capping off a brilliant seventeen-year career with a 114-118 record, a 2.90 ERA and three-hundred forty-one saves.

On August 4th, thirty-nine year-old Anaheim Angel Rod Carew became only the sixteenth player in Major League history to join the "3,000 Hit Club."

Major League Baseball's oldest stadium, Chicago's Comiskey Park, celebrated its 75th anniversary with eleven fans in attendance who were present at it's opening in 1910. The Seattle Mariners spoiled the festivities with a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

I n the National League...

Dwight "Doc" Gooden of the New York Mets became the first National League pitcher to reach two-hundred strikeouts in each of his first two seasons as well as the youngest twenty game winner in baseball history. The previous mark was set by Bob Feller in 1939, but Gooden managed to beat him by one month.

Nolan Ryan, of the Houston Astros, struck out Danny Heep, of the New York Mets, to become the first pitcher ever to reach four-thousand strikeouts. The Texas ace went on to sit down ten more batters as the Astros won 4-3 in twelve innings.

Fifty-seven years to the day after Ty Cobb played in his last game, Pete Rose, of the Cincinnati Reds, knocked his 4,192nd career hit breaking "The Georgia Peach's" record. Newly approved owner Marge Schott presented Rose with a shiny red Corvette bearing the license plate PR 4192.

A round the league...

Newly appointed Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstated Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle after Commissioner Bowie Kuhn had banned the Hall of Famers from association with Major League Baseball for being employed by companies with ties to legal gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Pittsburgh Associates reached an agreement in principle with the Galbreath family to purchase the sinking Pirates franchise. As a result the team was able to stay afloat in the "Steel City" thanks to the combined financial commitments of Pittsburgh's most influential corporations including Carnegie Mellon University, the Aluminum Company of America, Mellon Bank, PNC Financial, PPG Industries, USX Corporation and Westinghouse Electrical Company.

Sports Illustrated pulled off a major April Fool's Day joke by publishing a story about a 168 mph pitching Tibetan Buddhist monk named Sidd Finch who was the New York Mets latest rookie phenomenon. Despite the April 1 date on the article and byline by George Plimpton, many fans believed the story was real and were disappointed after discovering that Finch was a fake.

Baseball's Championship Series was altered from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven format in an effort to generate up to $9 million dollars in additional revenues.

"I just take my three swings (at Phil Niekro's knuckleball) and go sit on the bench. I don't want to mess up my swing." - Dick Allen
1985 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

114

Batting Average

Boston

.368

Doubles

New York

48

Hits

Boston

240

Home Runs

Detroit

40

On Base Percentage

Boston

.452

RBI

New York

145

Runs

New York

146

Slugging Average

Kansas City

.585

Stolen Bases

New York

80

Total Bases

New York

370

Triples

Kansas City

21

1985 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

24

Minnesota

ERA

Toronto

2.48

Games

Kansas City

84

Saves

Kansas City

37

Shutouts

Cleveland

5

Minnesota

Strikeouts

Cleveland

206

Minnesota

Winning Percentage

New York

.786

Wins

New York

22

1985 American League

Team Standings

Toronto Blue Jays

99 62 .615 0

$11,800,281

New York Yankees

97 64 .602 2

$15,398,047

Detroit Tigers

84 77 .522 15

$10,850,643

Baltimore Orioles

83 78 .516 16

$12,371,429

Boston Red Sox

81 81 .500

$11,080,695

Milwaukee Brewers

71 90 .441 28

$12,216,965

Cleveland Indians

60 102 .370 39½

$6,623,133

Kansas City Royals

91 71 .562 0

$11,754,512

California Angels

90 72 .556 1

$11,559,593

Chicago White Sox

85 77 .525 6

$9,849,689

Minnesota Twins

77 85 .475 14

$7,238,667

Oakland Athletics

77 85 .475 14

$10,008,823

Seattle Mariners

74 88 .457 17

$5,549,870

Texas Rangers

62 99 .385 28½

$8,101,222

1985 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

California

648

Batting Average

Boston

.282

Doubles

Boston

292

Hits

Boston

1,615

Home Runs

Baltimore

214

On Base Percentage

Boston

.350

Runs

New York

839

Slugging Average

Baltimore

.430

Stolen Bases

New York

155

Triples

Toronto

53

1985 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

41

ERA

Toronto

3.31

Fewest Hits Allowed

Toronto

1,312

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Kansas City

103

Fewest Walks Allowed

Minnesota

462

Saves

New York

49

Shutouts

Detroit

11

Kansas City

Strikeouts

Chicago

1,023



On October 6, 1985, Phil Niekro joined the 300 Wins Club and became the oldest pitcher, at forty-six, to throw a complete game shutout.

Rich Gedman of the Red Sox, September 18, 1985, along with Oddibe McDowell of the Rangers, July 23, 1985, were the only two American League players to hit for the cycle during the 1985 AL season.

In 1985, American League players Eddie Murray , Donnie Scott , Nelson Simmons , and Mike Young all hit a home run from each side of the plate in one game . By comparison, not a single player in the National League accomplished this feat during this season.

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