Andre Dawson: 49 HRs, 137 RBI
In 1987, Wrigley Field fans thrilled to the exploits of Andre Dawson. Dawson, who had requested in spring training that Cub GM Dallas Green fill in the numbers on a blank contract, hit .287 with circuit-topping totals in homers (49) and RBI (137). His performance earned him the distinction of being the first player on a last-place team to be voted National League MVP. His salary for the season was $500,000.
George Bell Pulls Out the Stops
George Bell had a banner year. Not only was he named 1987 American League MVP, he was also christened Sporting News Player of the Year. Despite playing for a ballclub which let a pennant slip away, the slugging left fielder was recognized for nailing 47 four-baggers, driving in a circuit-topping 134 runs, and batting .308.
Mark McGwire Is 1987 American League ROTY
Oakland welcomed the second half of the "Bash Brothers" to the lineup in 1987 in the person of Mark McGwire. Teamed with Jose Canseco to form one of the most potent one-two power combinations in history, the first baseman set a major league rookie record with 49 dingers (besting the old record by 11). Batting .289 and driving in 118 runs in his debut season, McGwire was named 1987 American League Rookie of the Year.
Ripken Clan Fuels Orioles
The Ripken family loomed large in Baltimore in 1987, as father Cal managed the team and sons Billy and Cal Jr. started at second base and shortstop, respectively. Ripken the skipper got off course, as the talent-poor Orioles finished in last place in 1987 with a 67-95 record. Cal Jr. socked 27 homers and tallied 98 RBI, started his fourth straight All-Star Game, and was forced by ownership to end his consecutive-innings-played streak on September 14. Cal's double-play partner, Billy, gave a surprising performance that season, batting .308 after being called up in July.
Paul Molitor Hits a Streak
Despite missing 44 games due to injuries in the first half of the 1987 season, Paul Molitor made headlines that year as he hit in 39 straight games, the seventh-longest hitting streak in history. The third baseman also managed to spearhead the American League in runs scored (114) and doubles (41) while batting a career-high .353 (second in the circuit). Had he played the full season, he may have scored 150 runs.
Lance Parrish Joins the 1987 Phillies
Signing as a free agent with Philadelphia in 1987, Lance Parrish batted .245 with 17 homers and 67 RBI. The onetime bodyguard to Tina Turner had enjoyed better days in the American League. A six-time All-Star, the catcher hit .286 with 24 homers and 82 RBI in 1980; in 1982, his 32 homers shattered the American League record set by Yogi Berra for home runs by a catcher.
Steve Bedrosian Snares Awards
Steve Bedrosian enjoyed a spectacular season in 1987, winning both the Fireman of the Year and the 1987 National League Cy Young Awards. The Philadelphia reliever wrapped up a year in which he appeared in 65 contests, collected 40 saves, five wins (against only three losses), and a 2.83 ERA.
Wade Boggs Wins 1987 American League Bat Title
In 1987, Wade Boggs led the American League in batting for the third year in a row, posting a .363 average combined with an even 200 hits. He batted .390 when he was 0-2 in the count. After six years in the majors, the third baseman had achieved a lifetime batting average of .354. That season, Boggs also socked 24 homers (three times his previous year's total), tallied a .588 slugging average (third in the loop), and posted a circuit-high on-base percentage (.467).
Roger Clemens Wins 1987 American League Cy Young
Although his Red Sox made an early departure from the American League pennant race in 1987, Roger Clemens continued to dazzle. Reigning victorious in 20 games (tied for first in the league), he led the loop in winning percentage (.690), complete games (18), and shutouts (seven). His final victory that year was gained on the last afternoon of the season, as the righty pitched a masterful two-hitter against the Brewers at Fenway Park. The Rocket's performance earned him his second consecutive Cy Young Award that season -- only the fourth pitcher ever to do so.
Bob Boone Catches a Record
Bob Boone made his mark in 1987 by shattering a major league record for games caught with his 1,919th game; by season's end, his total stood at 1,935. At age 39, he caught 128 games, batted .242, and won his fifth Gold Glove Award that year.
Check out the next page for more headlines from the 1987 baseball season.
To learn more about baseball, see: