1980s All-Decade Team

The 1980s was a decade where speed and pitching ruled. It wasn’t just Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman, and Tim Raines. Ron LeFlore and Omar Moreno stole 90 plus bases in a season. Eric Davis swiped 80 and Dave Collins, Willie Wilson, Rudy Law, Juan Samuel, and Alan Wiggins all stole 70 or more in a season. “Small ball” ruled the day highlighted by Whitey Herzog‘s NL Pennant winning Cardinals in 1985 when they stole 314 bases as a team including five players stealing at least 31. Plenty of players brought power to the plate as well led by Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.

Of the 16 players who have recorded 3,000 strikeouts seven of them recorded number 3,000 during the 1980s: Nolan Ryan (July 4, 1980), Tom Seaver (April 18, 1981), Steve Carlton (April 29, 1981), Ferguson Jenkins (May 25, 1982), Don Sutton (June 24, 1983), Phil Niekro (July 4, 1984), Bert Blyleven (August 1, 1986). Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton set themselves apart on July 12, 1985 and August 5, 1986, respectively, by becoming the first two players to record 4,000 strikeouts. Ryan widened the gap even further when he recorded his 5,000 K on August 22, 1989. Five players joined the 300-win club: Gaylord Perry (May 6, 1982), Steve Carlton (September 23, 1983), Tom Seaver (August 4, 1985), Phil Niekro (October 6, 1985), and Don Sutton (June 18, 1986).

Only Rod Carew collected hit number 3,000 and only Reggie Jackson and Mike Schmidt joined the 500 home run club. While only three hitters’s joined baseball immortals during the decade that doesn’t mean the decade lacked for quality offensive seasons. The list below is our position by position rundown of the best players at each position during the 1980s.

  • Catcher, Gary Carter


  • Gary Carter Batting Statistics
    WAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
    44.7 1,312 4,793 625 1,265 219 19 207 800 11 18 505 540 .264 .335 .447 .782

    • First Base, Don Mattingly


    • Don Mattingly Batting Statistics
      WAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
      33.2 1,015 4,022 615 1,300 272 15 164 717 8 7 314 238 .323 .368 .521 .889

      • Second Base, Lou Whitaker


      • Lou Whitaker Batting Statistics
        WAR G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
        43.4 1,418 5,282 814 1,452 252 43 143 619 87 45 659 666 .275 .353 .420 .773

2 comments

  • John Candelaria.. honorable mention,, lol… there are about 100 pitchers in the ’80s more deserving of mention … Jack Morris, Fernando Valenzuela, Bert Blyleven, Dave Stieb, Bob Welch, Ron Guidry, Bruce Hurst, John tudor, Frank Viola, Charlie Hough, Frank Tanana, Mark Langston, Dan Petry, Rick Sutcliff, Dave Stewart, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Mario Soto, Mike Scott, Teddy Higuera, Tommy John, Dave Stewart, Rick Reuschel, Bill Gullickson, Steve Rogers, John Denny, Eric Show, Rick Rhoden, Tom Browning, the Niekros, …. and many, many more

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