Below are more headlines of the 1986 baseball season, including the debuts of Wally Joyner, Bo Jackson, and Jose Canseco.
Wally Joyner, Don Mattingly Star at First
Wally Joyner finished right behind Jose Canseco in 1986 American League Rookie of the Year voting. Joyner batted .290 with 22 homers and 100 RBI in his debut season. Many considered Joyner to be the second coming of Don Mattingly. In 1986, Mattingly notched a major league and club-high 238 hits. He also spearheaded the majors in doubles (53), total bases (388), and slugging average (.573).
Bo Jackson Makes His Debut
The Royals were betting that Bo Jackson knew baseball, as they selected the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner in the fourth round of the 1986 free agent draft. Jackson played just 53 games in the minors before reporting to the majors. The left fielder ended his 1986 debut with a total of two homers and nine RBI in 25 games.
Don Sutton, 41, Wins 300th
In 1986, at age 41, Don Sutton won 15 games. Recording his 300th career triumph on June 18 against the Rangers, Sutton became the 19th pitcher to reach the milestone. Sutton made other marks on history that year as well. When he went up against Tom Seaver of the White Sox on June 9, the occasion marked the highest combined victory total -- Sutton had 298 triumphs, Seaver had 306 -- of two opposing hurlers. When he faced Phil Niekro of the Indians on June 28, the event signified the first time two 300-game winners faced off since 1892.
Joe Carter Blasts into Spotlight
After two years of relative anonymity, Joe Carter made his presence known in 1986. He topped the majors with 121 RBI, batted .302, and nailed 29 homers (including three in one game on August 29). In the succeeding four years, Carter's average fell substantially -- yet he still averaged more than 100 RBI per year. A large percentage of his hits were extra-base blows.
1986 Houston Astros Clinch National League West
Mike Scott & Co. celebrated their berth in the National League Championship Series in 1986. The 6' 2", 210-pound righty hurled a no-hitter against the Giants to snare the league's West Division title for the Astros. The mood of the Astros would become somber as they battled the Mets through an extremely tight NLCS before bowing in six games.
Fernando Valenzuela Wins 21
Fernando Valenzuela bypassed the 20-game mark for the first time in his career in 1986, as he led the National League in victories with 21. In the 1986 All-Star Game, Valenzuela pitched three scoreless innings, which included five straight strikeouts. When Tommy Lasorda was asked what Valenzuela signified to him, the Dodger manager replied, "It is good for the Dodgers. It is good for base ball. It is good for Mexico. It is good for our relations with Mexico. And it is very good for Tommy Lasorda."
Rickey Henderson Repeats 20/50 Year
In 1986, Rickey Henderson whacked 28 homers and stole 87 cushions (tops in the American League) to post his second consecutive 20/50 season. Style Dog led the loop with 130 runs scored, collected 74 RBI, and made his sixth All-Star squad in eight seasons. The greatest leadoff hitter in baseball history, Henderson holds the all-time record for home runs leading off a game (36).
1986 New York Mets Go All the Way
The New York Mets were unstoppable in 1986, finishing a whopping 21½ games ahead of the runner-up Phillies. When it came to postseason play, however, the team found some stiff competition. The Mets battled the Astros for six games before reigning victorious in the League Championship Series, and the fall classic ran the entire seven games before the Mets triumphed over the Red Sox.
Keith Hernandez: .310, 83 RBI
The Mets relied heavily on Keith Hernandez in 1986, as he propelled them to the National League pennant by batting .310 with 13 homers and 83 RBI. His defense was nearly flawless, as the first baseman led the loop in fielding percentage with a .996 average. Hernandez leads all first basemen in lifetime assists (1,662).
Jose Canseco Is 1986 American League ROTY
Oakland slugger Jose Canseco captured the title of 1986 American League Rookie of the Year when, despite setting a club season record for strikeouts (175), he smacked 33 home runs while driving in 117 runs. Canseco represented a new breed of ballplayer -- a muscleman with speed to match.
Find more highlights from the 1986 baseball season on the next page.
To learn more about baseball, see:
- 1985 Baseball Season
- 1987 Baseball Season
- Baseball History
- How Baseball Works
- How the Baseball Hall of Fame Works
- How Minor League Baseball Teams Work
- Babe Ruth