The All-80's Team: NL Starting Pitchers

October 04, 2006 | Comments (1) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Astroturf, powder blue uniforms, wearing batting helmets in the field to protect your jheri curl, hitting 25 homers and being considered a legitimate slugger, big-league hair, that horrible gum from packs of baseball cards.... who doesn't love baseball from the 80's? Over the next several weeks I will be looking at the best players of the decade as we assemble the TMS All-80's Team. We will start with the National League and then we'll tackle the American. To meet the criteria a player will have to have played in at least 4 seasons in the 1980's and they must have played the bulk of their games at a certain position during that time to qualify there. Included will be a poll on the left sidebar, so our faithful readers can weigh in on this great debate. But remember, we're focusing on a player's contributions in just the 1980's. What they did in the decades before and/or after are not being considered in this.

We're nearing the final stretch here for the National League. This past week, Tony Gwynn won the online poll and has been named the starting RF to the TMS All-80's National League Team.


Joaquin Andujar
Houston Astros (1980-81, 88), St. Louis Cardinals (1981-85)

All-Star: 1984, 1985
Gold Gloves: 1984
Postseason: 1980 NLCS, 1982 WS, 1985 WS
NL Leader: 1984 Wins, 1984 Shutouts

Notes: Andujar had two great seasons with St. Louis in the mid-80's, winning 20 games in 1984, and 21 in '85. Joaquin is also known for making retarded quotes such as, "You can't worry if it's cold; you can't worry if it's hot; you only worry if you get sick. Because then if you don't get well, you die." Um, sure thing. Where's Joaquin's AFLAC commercial?

Steve Carlton
Philadelphia Phillies (1980-86), San Francisco Giants (1986)

Nickname: Lefty
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1994
All-Star: 1980-82
Awards: 1980 NL Cy Young, 1982 NL Cy Young
Gold Gloves: 1981
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 NLDS, 1983 WS
NL Leader: 1980 Wins & K's, 1982 Wins & K's, 1983 K's

Notes: Winner of two Cy Young Awards in the decade, Carlton was one of the most dominating pitchers of the early 80's. Steve finished his career with 4,136 strikeout which was the most ever by a left-handed pitcher until he was surpassed by Randy Johnson a couple years ago.

Dwight Gooden
New York Mets (1984-89)

Nickname: Doc
All-Star: 1984-86, 1988
Awards: 1984 NL ROY, 1985 NL Cy Young Award, 1985 NL Triple Crown
Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 NLCS
NL Leader: 1984 K's, 1985 K's, Wins, and ERA

Notes: Gooden was a force early in his career and his run in 1985 is probably one of the most dominate seasons ever. The numbers are unbelievable. A record of 24-4, 268 strikeouts, an ERA of 1.53, 16 complete games, 8 shutouts and 276.2 IP. If we were just picking single seasons, Gooden would win this hands down.

Orel Hershiser
Los Angeles Dodgers (1983-89)

Nickname: Bulldog
Awards: 1988 NL Cy Young Award, 1988 NLCS MVP, 1988 WS MVP
All-Star: 1987-89
Gold Gloves: 1988
Postseason: 1985 NLCS, 1988 WS
NL Leader: 1984 Shutouts, 1988 Shutouts & Wins

Notes: Hershiser was a National League ace in the late 80's. His 1988 season is legendary as he threw 5 consecutive shutouts, breaking Don Drysdale's consecutive shutout innings record of 58.2 by just one out. Orel went on to not only win the NL Cy Young, but was the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP as he helped lead the Dodgers over the A's.

Mike Krukow
Chicago Cubs (1980-81), Philadelphia Phillies (1982), San Francisco Giants (1983-89)

All-Star: 1986
Postseason: 1987 NLCS

Notes: Mike was a serviceable starting pitcher for most of the decade, but his career year in 1986 was impressive. That year Krukow went 20-9 with 178 strikeouts and a 3.05 ERA. Mike was also who the Cubs traded to get Keith Moreland. I'm not sure what the point of mentioning that is other than to fill in more space in Krukow's notes.

Greg Maddux
Chicago Cubs (1986-89)

Nickname: Mad Dog
All-Star: 1988
Postseason: 1989 NLCS

Notes: Maddux is probably better suited for the All-90's team but he had two great seasons in 88 and 89 where he put up 18 and 19 wins respectively. That marked the beginning of 17 straight seasons of 15 wins or more. Of course that streak ended last season with the hapless 2005 Cubs. Also check out the stache. I vote that Greg brings it back for the playoffs this season. It'd make him much more intimidating on the mound.

Phil Niekro
Atlanta Braves (1980-83, 1987)

Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1997
Nickname: Knucksie
All-Star: 1982, 1984(AL)
Gold Gloves: 1980, 1982, 1983
Postseason: 1982 ALCS

Notes: Look, grandpa is pitching in the bigs! Phil Niekro, the greatest knuckleballer ever in the majors and a big hater of Just For Men. He mocked Father Time, starting the 1980 season at the age of 41 and playing until he was 48. Phil pitched 18 seasons with the Atlanta Braves and is one of the most adored players by their fans.

Rick Reuschel
Chicago Cubs (1980-81, 1983-84), Pittsburgh Pirates (1985-87), San Francisco Giants (1987-89)

Nickname: Big Daddy
All-Star: 1987, 1989
Gold Gloves: 1985, 1987
Postseason: 1987 NLCS, 1989 WS
NL Leader: 1987 Shutouts

Notes: Reuschel was a good pitcher for the Cubs in the late seventies, but a torn rotator cuff in 1982 all but ended his career. Despite that, Rick managed to come back with the Pittsburgh Pirates and ended the decade in grand fashion with the Giants, going 19-11 and 17-8 in 1988 and '89 respectively. Despite his portly physique, Rick was also pretty good defensively, earning him 2 Gold Gloves during the decade.

Jerry Reuss
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-87), Cincinnati Reds (1987)

Nickname: Rolls
All-Star: 1980
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1983 NLCS, 1985 NLCS
NL Leader: 1980 Shutouts

Notes: Looking like his best years were behind him, Reuss managed to bounce back from two disappointing seasons in Pittsburgh to win the Comeback Player of the Year in 1980. 'Rolls' Reuss played a huge role in the Dodgers beating the Yankees in the 1981 World Series outdueling Ron Guidry in a legendary Game 5 pitching duel.

Steve Rogers
Montreal Expos (1980-85)

All-Star: 1982, 1983
Postseason: 1981 NLCS
NL Leader: 1982 ERA, 1983 Shutouts

Notes: Who the hell is Steve Rogers you ask? Beats the shit out of me. Rogers was the staff ace in Montreal for the first half of the decade. He then retired to further pursue his career as Captain America.

Nolan Ryan
Houston Astros (1980-88)

Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1999
Nickname: Ryan Express
All-Star: 1981, 1985
Postseason: 1980 NLCS, 1981 NLDS, 1986 NLCS
NL Leader: 1981 ERA, 1987 ERA & K's, 1988 K's

Notes: Now Steve Rogers I can understand if you arent familiar, but if you don't know this guy, then you probably have lived under a rock. Ryan was strikeout machine, and although his W-L didn't necessarily reflect his dominance (In 1987 he went 8-16 with 270 strikeouts and a 2.76 ERA. WTF?!), Ryan was one of the most feared pitchers in the league. You don't mess with Nolan, as Robin Ventura would find out in later years.

Mike Scott
New York Mets (1980-82), Houston Astros (1983-89)

All-Star: 1986, 1987, 1989
Awards: 1986 NL Cy Young, NLCS MVP
Postseason: 1986 NLCS
NL Leader: 1986 ERA & K's, 1989 Wins

Notes: Mike Scott got his start with the New York Mets. In 1982 the Mets traded him to the Astros for Danny Heep. Scott would later face his former team in the 1986 NLCS where he won both his starts en route to a 4-2 series loss to the Mets. Despite Houston losing, Scott's pitching was good enough to garner him the NLCS MVP, which seems bittersweet given they couldn't win any games without him.

Mario Soto
Cincinnati Reds (1980-88)

All-Star: 1982-84

Notes: Soto was a pretty damn good pitcher in the early 80's. Unfortunately he was stuck playing for some truly awful Reds teams, so aside from a few All Star appearances he doesn't have much to show for it. Soto was the Reds opening day starter five years in a row. He is of no relation to Cubs catcher Geovany Soto. Again, just trying fill some space here.

Rick Sutcliffe
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-81), Chicago Cubs (1984-89)

Nickname: Red Baron
All-Star: 1983(AL), 1987, 1989
Awards: 1984 NL Cy Young Award
Postseason: 1984 NLCS, 1989 NLCS
NL Leader: 1982 ERA, 1987 Wins

Notes: From his Realm of Red feature: After breaking into the majors with the Dodgers in 1979, "Sutty" won Rookie of the Year, but later overturned chairs in Tommy Lasorda's office after being left off the postseason roster (for arguably the greatest and sexiest pitcher off all-time, Fernando Valenzuela). So ended his tenure in LA. Off to Cleveland, where he languished in obscurity until one fateful night in 1984 when he was traded to the Cubs for Mel Hall and some announcer named Joe Carter. "Sutt" went an amazing 16-1 for the Cubbies, winning Cy Young and leading them to their first playoff appearance since 1945. After retiring, he got into announcing, coaching, and more notably, drinking. His on-air drunken antics at a 2006 Padres game with Bill Murray have cemented his place in Cubs lore and brought much needed attention to the ongoing AIDS crisis in Africa. And Clooney. Rick Sutcliffe does not dye his beard and if you ask him to shave it, he will punch you in the throat and key your car.

Fernando Valenzuela
Los Angeles Dodgers (1980-89)

All-Star: 1981-86
Awards: 1981 NL ROY, NL Cy Young
Gold Gloves: 1986
Silver Sluggers: 1981, 1983
Postseason: 1981 WS, 1983 NLCS, 1985 NLCS
NL Leader: 1981 K's, 1986 Wins

Notes: Name another player that unleashed their own brand of "mania"? Fernandomania swept across Southern California in the early '80's. Winner of the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award, Valenzuela baffled hitters with his screwball. Plus he had a record album made about him and he enjoys Corn Flakes.

Be sure and vote for your choices of NL Starting Pitcher for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar. Note: You can vote for multiple choices.


Justin L. Brown @ 5:05 AM, February 17, 2016

There are numerous youthful grown-ups who are to a great degree fruitful. They are savvy and driven. They have made an imprint for themselves as they have made riches. They are improving the world. The Cy Young