Year In Review : 1988 American League

O ff the field...

Vice President and Republican candidate George Bush Sr. defeated Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis in the presidential race to become the forty-first President of the United States.

The investment firm of Kohlberg-Kravis-Roberts paid nearly $30 billion dollars for the R.J. Reynolds-Nabisco Company, which had merged in 1985, in the largest leveraged buyout ever. The investment deal went on to become the subject of a best-selling novel and television movie entitled "Barbarians at the Gate".

Undefeated heavyweight boxing champion "Iron Mike" Tyson's problems outside boxing started to gain prominence after his marriage to Robin Givens ended admidst a media circus. The highly publicized divorce set in motion a series of bizarre events that not only dimished his skills in the ring, but ultimately ended his career after repeated acts of reckless behavior and criminal violence.

I n the American League...

The Anaheim Angels signed University of Michigan pitcher Jim Abbott, who was a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team despite being born without a right hand.

Minnesota Twins reliever Jeff Reardon became the first pitcher in Major League history with forty saves in both leagues after finishing off the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on September 17th. In 1985, Reardon recorded forty-one saves with the National League's Montreal Expos.

The Oakland Athletics' Jose Canseco became the first player to hit at least forty home runs and steal forty bases in the same season. His thirty-ninth and fortieth stolen bases as well as his forty-first home run came in a 9-8, fourteen-inning marathon against the Milwaukee Brewers on September 23rd.

I n the National League...

On August 30th Kent Tekulve, the side-arm reliever of the Philadelphia Phillies, pitched two innings for a 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants in his 1000th game. Only one other player in baseball history, Hoyt Wilhelm, had reached the one-thousand milestone to date.

Tom Browning, of the Cincinnati Reds, tossed the first perfect nine-inning game in the National League in twenty-three years against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium. The young lefty threw one-hundred two pitches and finished with a 1-0 victory and seven strikeouts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' Orel Hershiser broke Don Drysdale's Major League record after pitching ten shutout innings against the San Diego Padres extending his string to fifty-nine. Hershiser had begun his streak with four shutout innings against the Montreal Expos. Then he beat the Atlanta Braves 3-0, the Cincinnati Reds 5-0, the Braves again 1-0, the Houston Astros 1-0 and the San Francisco Giants 3-0.

A round the league...

Chicago's Board of Alderman finally approved the addition of lights at Wrigley Field. After a vote of 29-19, the members repeal the anti-noise laws that had kept the Cubs' ballpark as the only Major League stadium without lights. The decision resulted in the introduction of night games to the other half of the "Windy City" and the promise of the 1990 All-Star Game at Wrigley.

Willie "Pops" Stargell became the only player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. The team captain / outfielder / first baseman played twenty-one years for the Pittsburgh Pirates and hit .282 with 475 home runs and 1,540 runs batted in. He led the National League in slugging average in 1974 with .646, led the Senior Circuit in home runs twice and played in two World Series while batting .315.

In December, Major League Baseball signed a four-year, $1.05 billion dollar television deal with the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) making it one of the largest agreements (to date) between the sport of baseball and the business of broadcasting.

The game-winning RBI was dropped as an official statistic by the rules and regulations committee.

"That's a lot of bombs (sixty-one home runs). The stars and planets have to be lined up just right for that." - Mo Vaughn
1988 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

125

Batting Average

Boston

.366

Doubles

Boston

45

Hits

Minnesota

234

Home Runs

Oakland

42

On Base Percentage

Boston

.480

RBI

Oakland

124

Runs

Boston

128

Slugging Average

Oakland

.569

Stolen Bases

New York

93

Total Bases

Minnesota

358

Triples

Seattle

11

Kansas City

Milwaukee

1988 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Boston

14

Oakland

ERA

Minnesota

2.45

Games

Milwaukee

70

Saves

Oakland

45

Shutouts

Boston

8

Strikeouts

Boston

291

Winning Percentage

Minnesota

.774

Wins

Minnesota

24

1988 American League

Team Standings

Boston Red Sox

89 73 .549 0

$15,629,592

Detroit Tigers

88 74 .543 1

$15,597,071

Toronto Blue Jays

87 75 .537 2

$14,098,725

Milwaukee Brewers

87 75 .537 2

$10,864,000

New York Yankees

85 76 .528

$21,524,152

Cleveland Indians

78 84 .481 11

$10,244,500

Baltimore Orioles

54 107 .335 34½

$11,370,404

Oakland Athletics

104 58 .642 0

$11,628,083

Minnesota Twins

91 71 .562 13

$13,444,800

Kansas City Royals

84 77 .522 19½

$14,058,873

California Angels

75 87 .463 29

$12,382,388

Chicago White Sox

71 90 .441 32½

$7,736,952

Texas Rangers

70 91 .435 33½

$7,105,500

Seattle Mariners

68 93 .422 35½

$6,545,950

1988 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

623

Batting Average

Boston

.283

Doubles

Boston

310

Hits

Boston

1,569

Home Runs

Toronto

158

On Base Percentage

Boston

.360

Runs

Boston

813

Slugging Average

Minnesota

.421

Stolen Bases

Milwaukee

159

Triples

Toronto

47

1988 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Texas

41

ERA

Oakland

3.44

Fewest Hits Allowed

Texas

1,310

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Kansas City

102

Fewest Walks Allowed

Milwaukee

437

Saves

Oakland

64

Shutouts

Toronto

17

Strikeouts

Boston

1,085



On June 11, 1988, Rick Rhoden , a pitcher for the New York Yankees , became the first pitcher to start at the designated hitter position, remain as the designated hitter, and he hit a sacrifice fly.

On June 25, 1988, a young player started in his one-thousandth career game. That player was none other than Cal Ripken, Jr. .

On September 23, 1988, Jose Canseco stole two bases and became the first player in history with forty stolen bases and forty home runs during a single season.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac19h
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