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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.


  1. 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


  2. John Candelaria won 97 games in the 1980s with an ERA+ of 110. Enough said.

    You should read about a player named Dan Quisenberry, he is not only far more deserving than Dan Plesac, but he was better than Eckersley and the other relievers on the list in THE 1980s.

    With due respect, these teams would make better sense if you picked a left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder. You have two right fielders here and a left fielder. You may want to look up Andre Dawson and Dale Murphy.


  3. Jack Morris and Lance Parrish. Both should be recognized with Morris on First Team and Parrish on Second Team. The Tigers won more games than anyone not named the New York Yankees. Morris had more wins and innings pitched, amidst other stats he led or was top 3 or 5. He pitched late into games which is why his ERA is high. Gary Carter wins first place, no doubt. But, Fisk? Before Parrish? Go look at stats, and then explain how Fisk was better defensively. Detroit won 2 divisions, and a world series. If the wild card was around, they are in the playoffs at least 4 more times. Morris and Parrish a big reason why. Your wrong, sorry


  4. Whoever did this list should be ashamed to not even mention Dale Murphy. None of those outfielders would have been taken over him in about a 7 year span in the 80s. He was a legend and carried a team for years.


  5. Serious omissions: Lance Parrish, Dale Murphy, Dave Stieb, and Andre Dawson. Parrish was primarily a catcher, the top cleanup hitting catcher, and Fisk was far less catcher at that point. I’m not sure why the only argument is which 3 of Dave Winfield, Dale Murphy, Andre Dawson, and Rickey Henderson is the starting outfield, and 2 aren’t even mentioned. Would any team have traded Dawson or Murphy in the 80s? Dave Stieb just needs to be there somewhere. Jack Morris should be mentioned. And isn’t everyone tired of the whole Don Mattingly thing? Would any team trade Eddie Murray for Don Mattingly? Any team? I do bow to the Lou Whitaker pick—a rare right call there.


  6. Yeah…lol…You made a list of best players in the 80’s and left off arguably the best player. Dale Murphy. You actually have Dwight Evens…lmao over him. Could hold his Jock. That’s an unforgivable error. Go write some badminton reviews


  7. Lol…Strawberry and Evens over Murphy. Just say you have no clue. This is laughable. No Brett either ouch. Stick to badminton


  8. All Time 80’s Team

    LF Rickey Henderson
    2B Ryan Sandberg
    CF Kirby Puckett
    RF Dave Winfield
    3B Mike Schmidt
    1B Eddie Murray
    DH Andre Dawson
    SS Cal Ripken Jr.
    C Gary Carter

    P Nolan Ryan

    You can alternate Dawson and Winfield at RF or DH. Schmidt had 3MVPs in the 80’s. All that I listed are HoFers. Mattingly and Evans are out of place. Puckett averaged 200 hits for 6 years of the decade of the 80’s so he did enough to take it. Oh and this is a tough team to beat.


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