1987 Baseball Season

During the 1987 baseball season, record-breaking performances were the name of the game. Mark McGwire, Oakland's imposing first baseman, set a rookie record with 49 homers. Yankee first sacker Don Mattingly set one mark and tied another, smacking a single-season record six grand slams and homering in eight consecutive games. And Cincinnati's Eric Davis tied a major-league record with three grand slams in May.

Mike Schmidt, 38, notched his 500th career homer. Angel Bob Boone, 39, caught his Major League-record 1,919th game. Tiger Darrell Evans became the first 40-year-old to tally 30 homers in a season (34). Cleveland's Phil Niekro cranked up his 48-year-old knuckleball to combine with brother Joe for 530 career wins, a sibling record.

Nolan Ryan, 40, fanned 200 batters for a record 11th year. (Although Ryan topped the National League in strikeouts with 270 and ERA at 2.76, he finished with just an 8-16 record.) Cub Andre Dawson, the 1987 National League Most Valuable Player with a .287 average and 137 RBI, belted 49 homers, tying for first in the majors and for 18th place on the all-time single-season list.

St. Louis won 95 games, three better than the Mets, to snare the National League East. Oft-injured Jack Clark nailed 35 homers with 106 RBI. Rabbit Vince Coleman (.289) swiped a league-best 109 bases, the first major leaguer to record 100 steals in three consecutive seasons. Ozzie Smith had his finest season, hitting .303 with 75 RBI. At the other end of the scale, Chicago came in last despite Rick Sutcliffe's league-leading 18 wins.

The Giants heated up after the Fourth of July to finish 6 games ahead of Eric Davis (.293 average, 37 homers, 100 RBI, 50 stolen bases) and the Cincinnati Reds in the National League West. Will Clark, San Fran's 23-year-old first baseman, hit .308 with 35 homers and 91 RBI. The Padres, who finished dead last in the West, had a bright spot in Tony Gwynn and his major league-leading .370 average.

In the American League East, George Bell almost single-handedly carried the Blue Jays to first place. Although the outfielder seized the 1987 MVP Award by blasting .308 with 47 homers and a circuit-topping 134 RBI, Toronto faded. Detroit won the division by two games. Shortstop Alan Trammell finished third in batting with a .343 average, 28 homers, and 105 RBI. Juan Nieves of third-place Milwaukee had the season's only no-hitter, winning 7-0 over Baltimore on April 15.

Kirby Puckett
Kirby Puckett was the
inspirational leader for
the Twins during their
Cinderella season of 1987.

Baseball's biggest surprise, however, was the American League West champion Twins. Nearly unbeatable at home, they won just nine road contests after the All-Star Game to finish with 85 victories. Kirby Puckett, the short and stocky outfielder, posted a .332 average, 28 homers, and 99 RBI while southpaw Frank Viola anchored the staff with a 17-10 season.

Minnesota's Tom Brunansky mauled the Tigers in the American League Championship Series, hitting two homers and four doubles and walking four times in the four-games-to-one romp. In the NLCS, St. Louis lost the slugging Clark to injury but managed to hang on in seven games.

The 1987 World Series spoke volumes for home cooking. In the deafening Metrodome, Minnesota routed the Cards to take a lead of two games to none; at Busch Stadium, St. Louis swept three. Back home, the Twins feasted on John Tudor in game six, winning 11-5. Viola started game seven and Jeff Reardon finished it, giving Minnesota the franchise's first World Series triumph since the Washington Senators won in 1924.

See the next page for headlines and summaries of the major stories of the 1987 baseball season.

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Here are some of the headlines from the 1987 baseball season:

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.

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Below are more headlines from the 1987 baseball season, including great performances by Alan Trammell and Kirby Puckett.

Eric Davis: 37 HRs, 100 RBI

Eric Davis joined the list of outfielders inviting comparison to the great Willie Mays as he enjoyed a spectacular season in 1987. Getting off to an early start, he clubbed three home runs in a game played on May 3, 1987. Finishing the season with a .293 average, he totaled 37 homers, 100 RBI, and 50 stolen bases. He won both his first All-Star selection and Gold Glove Award that year.

Twins Trump the Cards

Among the sluggers the Cardinal pitching staff had to face in the 1987 World Series were Twins Tom Brunansky, Kirby Puckett, and Kent Hrbek. Puckett, who finished the regular season batting .332, had the best Series average of the trio, turning in a .357 mark. Brunansky scored five runs and Hrbek tallied one homer and six RBI. The Twins outdid the Cards in runs scored (38-26), and home runs (7-2).

Tony Gwynn Racks Up .370 BA

Tony Gwynn donned his second National League batting crown in 1987, as he hit .370 with a loop-high 218 hits. The outfielder's average was the best mark in the senior circuit since Stan Musial batted .376 in 1948. With his average placing 32 points higher than that of the runner-up, he became the 15th player in baseball history to win the batting title by a 30-point margin. He also placed second with 13 triples, a .450 on-base percentage, and 56 stolen bases. At the end of the 1987 season, Gwynn led the Padres in career batting average (.335).

Alan Trammell: 28 HRs, 105 RBI

For the second time in his career, Alan Trammell put together an MVP season only to be denied the honor. Racking up 109 runs scored and 205 hits, the shortstop led the Tigers to a dramatic final-game clinching of the American League East Division in 1987. Enjoying his best season to date and batting cleanup for the first time, he hit .343 (third in the loop) with 28 homers and 105 RBI. Trammell finished a close second to George Bell in the MVP vote.

Kirby Puckett: .332 BA, 99 RBI

Kirby Puckett was the inspirational leader for the Twins during their Cinderella season of 1987. The center fielder led the American League that year with 207 hits while batting .332 with 28 homers and 99 RBI. His outstanding fielding made him a fixture of season highlight films and earned him his second Gold Glove. In a poll of major leaguers, Puckett ranked as one of the top three players his peers would pay to see play.

Mark McGwire and Wally Joyner: American League's Best

The American League West Division had two of the best young players in baseball in Mark McGwire of Oakland and Wally Joyner of the Angels. Between them, the two whacked 83 homers and drove in 235 runs for the 1987 season. McGwire hit three homers against the Indians on June 27 and another two dingers on the 28th, matching the major league record for home runs in consecutive games. Joyner, the MVP for the Angels, established a club record for home runs by a first baseman (34). He also became the ninth player to post consecutive 100-plus RBI seasons in his debut and sophomore years.

Kent Hrbek: 34 HRs, 90 RBI

Kent Hrbek helped the Twins to the World Championship in 1987. He batted .285 with 34 homers and 90 RBI for the season. In postseason play, he made the last putouts in the game that clinched the American League West Division, in the decisive game five of the League Championship Series, and in game seven of the fall classic. The first sacker also whacked a grand slam in game six of the Series (No. 14 in the history of the tournament). As a kid, he lived so close to Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium (the Twins' ballpark) that he could see the stadium lights from his bedroom. Some 20 years later, in the Metrodome (the team's new digs), he was pulling in more than $1.5 million as the first baseman for the Twins.

Find highlights from the 1987 baseball season on the next page.

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The 1987 baseball season was filled with record-breaking performances by Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Nolan Ryan, and others. The Twins won their first World Series since their move to Minnesota. Below are some of the highlights from the 1987 baseball season:
  • Twins win in the American League with a .525 win pct. -- the lowest ever by an American League winner.

  • Cards cop their third flag in the 1980s.

  • In NLCS, Cards beat SF in seven games, shutting out the Giants in games six and seven.

    Paul Molitor
    Paul Molitor made
    headlines when he hit
    in 39 consecutive games.

  • Brewer Paul Molitor hits in 39 consecutive games -- the most in the American League since Joe DiMaggio's 56 in 1941.

  • SF's Jeff Leonard hits .417 and ties LCS record with four homers.

  • In the ALCS, the Twins beat Detroit in five games.

  • The Twins win their first World Series since moving to Minnesota in seven games, as both clubs are unable to win on the road.

  • Frank Viola is the 1987 World Series MVP with two wins for Twins.

  • Tigers win the American League East on the last day of the season after the Jays begin the final week with a seemingly insurmountable lead.

  • Cub Andre Dawson is named 1987 National League MVP.

  • Toronto's George Bell is 1987 American League MVP.

  • Roger Clemens wins his second consecutive American League Cy Young Award.

  • Steve Bedrosian wins 1987 National League Cy Young Award, saving a Major League-leading 40 games.

  • Oakland's Mark McGwire is 1987 American League Rookie of the Year, hitting a rookie record 49 homers.

  • Padre Benito Santiago is 1987 National League Rookie of the Year after setting a new frosh record by hitting safely in 34 straight games.

  • Tony Gwynn takes 1987 National League bat crown with .370 BA -- the highest in the National League since 1948.

  • Wade Boggs wins his fourth American League bat crown in 1980s (.363).

  • Cardinal Vince Coleman steals 100 or more bases for major league record third straight season.

  • Arbiter Thomas Roberts rules owners guilty of collusion after they fail to sign free agents.

  • National League wins 1987 All-Star Game 2-0 in Oakland in 13 innings.

  • Don Mattingly hits six grand slams in the season and also hits at least one homer in eight consecutive games.

  • Milwaukee's Juan Nieves no-hits Baltimore on April 15 -- first no-hitter by Brewers pitcher.

  • Brewers tie a major league record by opening the season with 13 consecutive wins.

  • Angel Bob Boone sets a new career record for catchers when he catches in his 1,919th game.

  • Milwaukee's Rob Deer sets an American League record when he fans 187 times.

  • Reggie Jackson retires with a major league career record 2,597 Ks.

  • Detroit's Darrell Evans sets a major league record for players over 40 years old by hitting 34 homers.

  • Evans sets an American League record for players over age 40 with 99 RBI.

  • Oriole Cal Ripken Sr. is the first man to manage two sons in the major league -- Cal Jr. and Billy.

  • Ripken's sons are the first brothers to form a regular keystone combo in the major league.

  • Cal Ripken's record skein of the most consecutive innings played (8,243) comes to an end.

  • Attendance tops 52 million, as the Dodgers, Cards, and Mets each draw more than three million.

  • A record 4,458 homers and 19,883 runs are produced in the major league during the regular season.

  • Every team in the American League hits more than 160 homers.
Check out more highlights of the 1987 baseball season on the next page.

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Below are more highlights of the 1987 baseball season, including the year's big trades, new records, and Hall of Fame inductees.

  • Yankees' payroll tops $18.5 million.

  • Four teams in the American League East win more games than the American League West champ Twins.

  • The Hall of Fame inducts Billy Williams, Catfish Hunter, and Ray Dandridge.

  • KC rookie Kevin Seitzer hits .323 and ties for the American League lead in hits with 207.

  • National League outfielders Eric Davis, Andre Dawson, and Tony Gwynn, all offensive superstars, also win Gold Gloves in 1987.

  • In 154 innings, Cleveland's Ken Schrom has a 6.49 ERA, the worst in the majors in the past 50 years.

  • Tim Raines leads majors with 123 runs.

  • Gene Mauch parts with the Angels, leaving with the record for the most years as a manager without winning a pennant (26).

  • Detroit's Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker become first keystone combo in major league history to play on the same team as regulars for ten seasons.

  • LaMarr Hoyt, 1983 American League Cy Young winner, is suspended for a full season after three separate drug infractions.

  • On August 3, Texas catcher Geno Petralli sets an American League record by committing six passed balls, as he can't handle Charlie Hough's knuckler.

  • On April 9, Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton pitch for Indians -- it is the first time since 1891 two 300-game winners have appeared in a game for the same team.

  • The Salt Lake Trappers of the Pioneer League break the OB record by winning 29 consecutive games.

  • ChiSox send Floyd Bannister and Dave Cochrane to KC for four minor leaguers.

  • Phils trade Glenn Wilson and two other players to Seattle for Phil Bradley and a minor leaguer.

  • Detroit trades John Smoltz to Atlanta for Doyle Alexander.

  • Pittsburgh deals Rick Reuschel to Giants for Jeff Robinson and Scott Medvin.

  • Royals manager Dick Howser dies of a brain tumor.

  • Dodgers coach Don McMahon dies of a heart attack after pitching batting practice.

  • Travis Jackson dies at age 83.

  • Dodgers executive Al Campanis is fired after saying that blacks don't have the necessary skills to perform in baseball management positions.

  • Orioles pitchers surrender a major league record 226 home runs.

  • In a game vs. Baltimore, Toronto hits a major league record ten homers.

  • Nelson Doubleday Jr. and his partners buy Mets for $100 million dollars.

  • Nolan Ryan tops National League with 2.76 ERA and 270 Ks but has only an 8-16 record.

  • Oakland's Dave Stewart and Roger Clemens tie for American League lead in wins with 20.

  • Clemens tops the majors in win pct. (.690), shutouts (seven), and CGs (18).

  • Hough leads the majors in innings with 285.

  • Mark Langston wins his third American League K crown in four years (262).

  • Toronto's Tom Henke leads American League in saves with 34.

  • Chicago's Rick Sutcliffe paces National League in wins with 18.

  • Reuschel ties with Fernando Valenzuela for most CGs in the National League with 12 -- a new loop low for a leader.

  • Three Dodgers pitchers -- Orel Hershiser, Bob Welch, and Valenzuela -- rank one-two-three in innings, Hershiser leading at 265.

  • Andre Dawson paces National League in RBI (137), total bases (353), and homers (49).

  • George Bell paces American League in RBI (134) and major league in total bases (369).

  • Mark McGwire is the first rookie since Al Rosen to top the American League in homers; he also paces major league in SA (.618).

  • Cardinal Jack Clark tops National League in SA (.597), OBP (.461), and walks (136).

  • Montreal's Tim Wallach leads the majors with 42 doubles.

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