Year In Review : 1989 American League

O ff the field...

On October 17 th as 60,000+ Giants and A's fans inside Candlestick Park anxiously awaited the start of Game 3 of the World Series, an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale shook the San Francisco area killing sixty-seven people and causing nearly $10 billion in damages.

U.S. Armed Forces invaded Panama after General Manuel Noriega, clamped down on the country's already limited democracy. After taking control of the region and holding a siege over Noriega's compound, U.S. troops arrested the self-proclaimed military dictator and brought him to the United States to face charges of drug trafficking.

The super-tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska spilling eleven million gallons of oil into the Prince Willliam Sound. About seventy-hundred thirty miles of coastline and wildlife was affected by the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history and Exxon spent over $1 billion in trying to clean up the damage.

I n the American League...

On June 27 th , Frank Robinson's Baltimore Orioles went up against Cito Gaston's Toronto Blue Jays for the first meeting in Major League history between two black managers. The Orioles went on to dominate the outing 16-6.

Seattle Mariners' rookie sensation Ken Griffey, Jr. debuted at age nineteen and hit the first pitch he saw for a double off of the Oakland Athletics' Dave Stewart. His father, Ken Griffey, Sr. was still with the Cincinnati Reds making them the first father and son to play in the majors simultaneously.

Texas Ranger Nolan Ryan set the all-time strikeout record after sitting down the Oakland Athletics' Rickey Henderson with a 95-mph fastball for his 5,000th career "K". The forty-two year old ace started the contest needing six and finished with seven despite losing 2-0.

I n the National League...

On June 3rd, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers battled for twenty-two innings in a seven hour, fourteen minute marathon that set the all-time record for the longest night game in National League history. As Saturday rolled into Sunday, the home team managed to break the stalemate for a 5-4 victory courtesy of an unlikely hero. Originally slated as a starting pitcher for the following day's outing, Mike Scott was sent home to rest before the game went into extra innings. As the contest wore on, he was eventually called back to the Astrodome and ended up pinch-hitting for his exhausted teammates. Drafted by the New York Mets in the 2nd round of the 1976 amateur draft, the right-hander had never been known for his skills at the plate. Statistics meant nothing though as Scott surprised everyone in attendance with a clutch, sacrifice-fly that ended the game. Both teams (and fans) staggered out of the ballpark, but returned a few hours later for an afternoon game that had already been scheduled. Amazingly, both opponents went toe-to-toe again for another thirteen-inning marathon that ended with a second Astros' victory (7-6). As 1989 was not exactly a banner year for the Houston franchise, the two-day, and thirty-five inning series was an exhilarating highlight for both the players, as well as the fans.

San Francisco Giants' pitcher, Dave Dravecky snapped his own arm while delivering a pitch in the sixth-inning against the Montreal Expos. The injury resulted in a stress fracture of the humerus, which was attributed to arm surgery that he had in 1988 due to cancer. Dravecky was pitching a shutout at the time and was given credit for the final 3-2 decision. Soon after, he retired with a 64-57 win-loss record.

Howard Johnson, of the New York Mets, hit his thirtieth homerun on August 20 th matching the thirty stolen bases that he had tallied to date. The tying statistic made him only the third, two-time member of the 30-30 club along with Bobby Bonds and Willie Mays.

A round the league...

Sports Illustrated printed details of Pete Rose's rumored gambling activities including allegations of hand signaling from the dugout in Riverfront Stadium to several betting associates. A few months later, the FBI reported possessing several betting sheets with the Reds' manager's handwriting and fingerprints on them. In August after a thorough investigation, the baseball commissioner's office found him guilty of betting on the games and forced Rose to sign an agreement banning him entirely from Major League Baseball.

Donnie Moore, the thirty-five year-old former pitcher for the Anaheim Angels, shot his wife, then killed himself after battling severe depression attributed to the home run he yielded to the Red Sox's Dave Henderson in the 1986 American League Championship Series.

On September 1 st , Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti died at age fifty-one of an apparent heart attack while vacationing at his summer cottage in Martha's Vineyard. He became only the second Major League Baseball Commissioner to die while serving office along with Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Two modern baseball classics hit the big screen as "Field of Dreams" and "Major League" debuted at the box office. The first starred Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones in a film version of the W.P. Kinsella novel "Shoeless Joe" and the second featured Tom Berenger, and Charlie Sheen who took a more "tongue-in-cheek" approach to Cleveland Indian's baseball.

"He's (Dave Stieb) good, but there's nobody in this world as good as he acts like he is." - Gene Mauch
1989 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

126

Oakland

Batting Average

Minnesota

.339

Doubles

Boston

51

Hits

Minnesota

215

Home Runs

Toronto

36

On Base Percentage

Boston

.434

RBI

Texas

119

Runs

Boston

113

New York

Oakland

Slugging Average

Texas

.543

Stolen Bases

New York

77

Oakland

Total Bases

Texas

344

Triples

Texas

14

1989 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Kansas City

12

ERA

Kansas City

2.16

Games

Milwaukee

76

Saves

Texas

38

Shutouts

California

5

Strikeouts

Texas

301

Winning Percentage

Kansas City

.793

Wins

Kansas City

23

1989 American League

Team Standings

Toronto Blue Jays

89 73 .549 0

$16,016,666

Baltimore Orioles

87 75 .537 2

$10,944,499

Boston Red Sox

83 79 .512 6

$19,064,885

Milwaukee Brewers

81 81 .500 8

$11,901,500

New York Yankees

74 87 .460

$18,482,251

Cleveland Indians

73 89 .451 16

$10,349,500

Detroit Tigers

59 103 .364 30

$14,147,763

Oakland Athletics

99 63 .611 0

$17,772,999

Kansas City Royals

92 70 .568 7

$17,101,047

California Angels

91 71 .562 8

$15,362,333

Texas Rangers

83 79 .512 16

$10,831,781

Minnesota Twins

80 82 .494 19

$14,303,000

Seattle Mariners

73 89 .451 26

$8,702,500

Chicago White Sox

69 92 .429 29½

$8,981,094

1989 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

643

Batting Average

Boston

.277

Doubles

Boston

326

Hits

Boston

1,571

Home Runs

California

145

On Base Percentage

Boston

.355

Runs

Boston

774

Slugging Average

Boston

.403

Stolen Bases

Milwaukee

165

Triples

Texas

46

1989 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

California

32

ERA

Oakland

3.09

Fewest Hits Allowed

Texas

1,279

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Kansas City

86

Fewest Walks Allowed

Cleveland

452

Saves

Oakland

57

Shutouts

California

20

Oakland

Strikeouts

Texas

1,112



Did you know that on July 2, 1989, future 3,000 Hits Club member Robin Yount got career hit number two-thousand five-hundred?

On October 1, 1989, Kirby Puckett (in the American League) and Tony Gwynn (in the National League) both clinched a batting title after trailing only one day before.

On November 20, 1989, Robin Yount , a centerfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, won his second Most Valuable Player Award . His first was won in 1982; however, Yount was a shortstop during that particular season.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac12h
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@krbach @mcall I did typo that entry, and was off by a little, but not by much! 😉
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