The All-80's Team: AL Designated Hitters

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've finished with the National League and now 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.

After an extended holiday break, we're back to bring you the AL DH finalists. Dave Winfield won the RF poll and will be the starter on the American League team.

AMERICAN LEAGUE DESIGNATED HITTERS

Harold Baines
Chicago White Sox (1980-89), Texas Rangers (1989)

All-Star: 1985-87, 1989
Silver Sluggers: 1989

Notes: Not that anyone is going to really count and call me out on this but Baines technically shouldn't be here since he played more games in the outfield than at DH in the 80's. It wasn't until 1987 that Harold became utilized as a DH majority of the time. Baines was a great slugger for the White Sox throughout the decade. In 1989 he was traded to the Rangers for Sammy Sosa and a couple other guys. The Sox retired his number after his departure, only to have it un-retired twice as Harold came back to play for them a couple more times.




Don Baylor
California Angels (1980-82), New York Yankees (1983-85), Boston Red Sox (1986-87), Minnesota Twins (1987), Oakland A's (1988)

Silver Sluggers: 1983, 1985, 1986
Postseason: 1982 ALCS, 1986 WS, 1987 WS, 1988 WS
League Leader: 1984-87 Hit By Pitch

Notes: Prior to his career as a mediocre manager, Baylor was a big slugging DH for a whole gaggle of ballclubs in the 80's. Baylor is 4th all-time for HBP. During his career, Don was beaned 267 times. Baylor also played in three consecutive World Series with three different ballclubs.





Reggie Jackson
New York Yankees (1980-81), California Angels (1982-86), Oakland A's (1987)

Nickname: Mr. October
Hall of Fame: Inducted in 1993
All-Star: 1980-84
Silver Sluggers: 1980, 1982
Postseason: 1980 ALCS, 1981 WS, 1982 ALCS, 1986 ALCS
League Leader: Home Runs 1980 & 1982

Notes: Most remember Reggie for his postseason heroics with the New York Yankees, but in the 1980's, Jackson spent most of his time with the California Angels. Towards the end of his career his reputation was mired by his assassination attempt against the Queen.



Hal McRae
Kansas City Royals (1980-1987)

All-Star: 1982
Silver Sluggers: 1982
Postseason: 1980 WS, 1981 ALDS, 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: 1982 Doubles & RBI

Notes: Hal originally started out as an outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds. He was a mediocre outfielder at best and eventually found his niche as a solid hitting DH for the Royals. While many DH's hit for power with a low AVG, McRae provided some pop while posting .300 seasons. Hal's son, Brian played a couple seasons with the Cubs at CF. In fact Brian could probably play CF right now better than any of the other options the team has.



Ken Singleton
Baltimore Orioles (1980-84)

All-Star: 1981
Postseason: 1983 WS

Notes: Ken was primarily an outfielder at the start of the decade, but eventually took on the full-time DH gig in his final three seasons. Ken is no relation to the former ballplayer and current White Sox radio color commentator, Chris Singleton. Ken is a commentator himself for the YES Network.








Andre Thornton
Cleveland Indians (1981-87)

All-Star: 1982, 1984
Silver Sluggers: 1984

Notes: Of all the certainties through the 80's, one of the most ironclad givens was that the Cleveland Indians were shitty, finishing no better than 5th in the AL East throughout the decade. Wasting away on those dismal teams was the sweet hitting of Andre Thornton. Thornton had a handful of solid seasons as the Indians DH, including his 1982 season where he finished with 32 home runs and 116 RBI's. A fairly disciplined hitter at the plate, Andre finished his career with more BB's than K's.




Be sure and vote for your choice of AL Designated Hitter for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar.

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