A change in the power structure, as the Yankees slipped to 4th in the East (but still won 89 games) and Baltimore took the division and the pennant. Kansas City finished 2nd to California in the West, even though the Angel's 88 wins were fewer than the 4th-place Yankees. Following the Angels were KC with 85 wins, Texas with 83, and Minnesota with 82, with Chicago 5th, Seattle 6th, and Oakland hitting bottom with 108 losses. The Orioles beat out Milwaukee by 8 games and Boston by 11.5. Detroit was 5th with 85 wins. Cleveland was 6th, one game over .500 at 81-80, while everyone beat up on Toronto as the Jays lost 109 times.
Fred Lynn won the batting title at .333, followed by George Brett at .329. The race had a lot of contenders, like Brian Downing third at .326 and Jim Rice fourth at .325. Brett led with 212 hits followed by Rice at 201. Buddy Bell had 200 exactly. Cecil Cooper and Chet Lemon tied with 44 doubles. Brett had 20 triples. Gorman Thomas led with 45 homers, followed by Rice and Lynn with 39. Willie Wilson led in steals with 83 followed by Ron LeFlore with 78. Jim Rice led in total bases, but Don Baylor won the MVP leading in runs with 120 and RBI with 139. I think the shiny RBI total distracted the voters. Brett scored 119 runs, Rice 117, Lynn 116. Rice had 130 RBI, Thomas 123 and Lynn 122. Lynn led in on-base, slugging, OPS, and runs created.
Ron Guidry led in ERA with a 2.78 mark, followed by Tommy John at 2.96 and Dennis Eckersley at 2.99. Nolan Ryan paced in strikeouts with 223 followed by Guidry at 201. Mike Marshall led in saves with 32 followed by Jim Kern at 29. Dennis Martinez led with 39 starts, 292 innings, and 18 complete games. Mike Flanagan took the Cy Young as the wins leader with 23. John won 21 and Jerry Koosman 20.
Win Shares leaders, players; Fred Lynn (Boston) 34, George Brett (Kansas City) 33, Ken Singleton (Baltimore) 32, Darrell Porter (Kansas City) 31, Don Baylor (California) 29, Jim Rice (Boston) and Bobby Grich (California) 28, Sixto Lezcano (Milwaukee) 27, Chet Lemon (Detroit), Paul Molitor and Gorman Thomas (Milwaukee) 26, Eddie Murray (Baltimore), Brian Downing (California) and Steve Kemp (Detroit) 25, Toby Harrah (Cleveland), Willie Wilson (Kansas City), Cecil Cooper (Milwaukee) and Roy Smalley (Minnesota) 24, Amos Otis (Kansas City), Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph (New York) 23.
WS leaders, pitchers; Jim Kern (Texas) 25, Dennis Eckersley (Boston) 24, Mike Flanagan (Baltimore), Jerry Koosman and Mike Marshall (Minnesota), and Tommy John (New York) 23 each, Ron Guidry (New York) 22, Sid Monge (Cleveland) 21, Mike Caldwell (Milwaukee) 20, Aurelio Lopez (Detroit) 19, Dennis Martinez (Baltimore) 18, Rick Wise (Cleveland), Jack Morris (Detroit) and Mike Parrott (Seattle) 17.
WARP3: Brett 7.9, Porter 7.8 (career year), Lynn 7.3 (best season), Molitor 6.3, Grich 6.2, Singleton 5.5, Wilson 5.2, Jackson and Buddy Bell (Texas) 5.0, Rick Burleson (Boston) 4.9, Lemon and Kemp 4.7, Lezcano and Smalley 4.4, Rice, Randolph and Gary Roenicke (Baltimore) 4.1, Murray 4.0, Baylor and Lance Parrish (Detroit) 3.8, Thomas and Ron LeFlore (Detroit) 3.7.
Pitchers, Marshall 7.4, Monge 7.3 (career year), Koosman 6.7, Eckersley 6.6, Kern 6.3 (career year), Guidry 5.8, John 5.6, Parrott (career year) and Lopez (also career year) 4.9, Wise 4.7 (last good year), Rick Langford (Oakland) 4.6, Caldwell 4.5, Morris 4.0, Dave Goltz and Geoff Zahn (Minnesota) 3.9. Still no Flanagan.
WAR from Fangraphs, position players: Lynn 9.0, Brett 8.8, Porter 8.0, Bell 7.1, Rice and Wilson 6.3, Lemon 6.2, Singleton 6.1, Grich 6.0, Randolph 5.8, Lezcano and Molitor 5.6, Downing and Thomas 5.4, Murray 5.2, Kemp 4.6, Parrish 4.5.
Pitchers: John 7.1, Koosman 6.4, Guidry 6.3, Flanagan 6.1, Goltz 5.5, Ryan 5.3, Eckersley and Kern 5.2, Caldwell 4.8, Stanley 4.7, Martinez 4.4, Parrott 4.2, Frost and Torrez 4.1.
Actual award voting-
MVP (top 15):
Place Name Team 1st Place Points
1 Don Baylor CAL 20 347
2 Ken Singleton BAL 3 241
3 George Brett KCR 2 226
4 Fred Lynn BOS 0 160
5 Jim Rice BOS 0 124
6 Mike Flanagan BAL 3 100
7 Gorman Thomas MIL 0 87
8 Bobby Grich CAL 0 58
9 Darrell Porter KCR 0 52
10 Buddy Bell TEX 0 48
11 Jim Kern TEX 0 25
11 Mike Marshall MIN 0 25
11 Eddie Murray BAL 0 25
14 Brian Downing CAL 0 24
15 Sixto Lezcano MIL 0 18
Baylor was the clear winner, for no other reason than that he led the league in RBI for a division-winning team. He's not the worst award winner in history, but this is nowhere near a good selection. Baylor was probably not even the best player on his team.
Place Name Team 1st place Points
1 Mike Flanagan BAL 26 136
2 Tommy John NYY 1 51
3 Ron Guidry NYY 1 26
4 Jim Kern TEX 0 25
5 Mike Marshall MIN 0 7
6 Jerry Koosman MIN 0 5
7 Dennis Eckersley BOS 0 1
7 Aurelio Lopez DET 0 1
Flanagan was the clear winner, even though he got a lot of help from his team. This is a couple of very poor award selections, with voters distracted by RBI and by wins. Not very good ways to pick the best players.
Place Name Team Points
1 John Castino MIN 7
1 Alfredo Griffin TOR 7
3 Mark Clear CAL 5
4 Ross Baumgarten CHW 3
4 Ron Davis NYY 3
4 Pat Putnam TEX 3
Not much of a rookie field.
Best player: Fred Lynn. His team was 3rd, but won 91 games, 3 more than Baylor's Angels. As hitters, they were about even, but Lynn was much more valuable defensively. George Brett and even Darrell Porter has a case here, but the Royals missed the division after three years on top, so that's hard to award.
#1 Fred Lynn, #2 George Brett, #3 Darrell Porter, #4 Bobby Grich, #5 Ken Singleton, #6 Don Baylor.
Best pitcher: Jim Kern. He's a reliever, but pitched 143 innings with a 1.57 ERA, finishing second to Marshall with 29 saves and posting 13 wins. Marshall also had a good year, but his ERA was a run higher and he lost 15 games. Dennis Eckersley was the best overall starter.
#1 Jim Kern, #2 Dennis Eckersley, #3 Jerry Koosman, #4 Mike Flanagan, #5 Tommy John.
Best rookie: I'll take John Castino, but it's not much of a choice.
Best manager: Earl Weaver as the Orioles broke through the Yankee dynasty.