The All-80's Team: AL Starting Pitchers

January 09, 2007 | Comments (0) | 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'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.

In a close race, Reggie Jackson narrowly edged out Harold Baines to be named starting AL DH. Now we move on to starting pitchers.


Bert Blyleven
Cleveland Indians (1981-85), Minnesota Twins (1985-88), California Angels (1989)

All-Star: 1985
Postseason: 1987 WS
League Leader: Shutouts 1985 & 1989

Notes: Blyleven is one of those pitchers that gets arguments from both sides of the fence on whether he should or should not be in the Hall of Fame. I think he should, but I'm also pretty liberal with everyone I'd like to see in. One thing's for sure. Bert's broadcasting skills probably aren't getting him a Ford Frick Award any time soon.

Mike Boddicker
Baltimore Orioles (1980-88), Boston Red Sox (1988-89)

All-Star: 1984
Awards: 1983 ALCS MVP
Postseason: 1983 WS, 1988 ALCS
League Leader: 1984 ERA, Wins, 1983 Shutouts

Notes: Boddicker was a stud early in his career, winning 20 games for the Orioles in 1984. In 1988 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for a couple unknown young guys named Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

Roger Clemens
Boston Red Sox (1984-89)

Nickname: The Rocket
All-Star: 1986, 1988
Awards: 1986 AL Cy Young, 1987 AL Cy Young, 1986 AL MVP
Postseason: 1986 WS, 1988 ALCS
League Leader: 1986 ERA, Wins, 1987 Wins, Shutouts, 1988 Strikeouts, Shutouts

Notes: Well most of you should know this guy. Roger was the man in Boston for the latter half of the 1980's. While it's still purely speculative, many believe he is in fact the antichrist.

Ron Guidry
New York Yankees (1980-1988)

Nickname: Gator, Louisiana Lightning
All-Star: 1982, 1983
Gold Gloves: 1982-86
Postseason: 1980 ALCS, 1981 WS
League Leader: 1985 Wins

Notes: One of the most feared lefties in the early 80's, Gator had 2 of his 3 20-win seasons in this decade. Guidry was also known for his great glovework, winning 5 straight Gold Gloves. By the late 80's arm troubles had taken their toll and he officially retired in 1989.

Teddy Higuera
Milwaukee Brewers (1985-89)

All-Star: 1986

Notes: Milwaukee's answer to Fernandomania, this wily Mexican busted onto the scene in the latter half of the decade. Teddy went 78-44 during 5 seasons in the 80's and averaged 171.2 strikeouts per season. He quickly flamed out in the 90's and was last seen running a car wash in East Los Angeles.

LaMarr Hoyt
Chicago White Sox (1980-84)

All-Star: 1985 (with the Padres)
Awards: 1983 AL Cy Young
Postseason: 1983 ALCS
League Leader: Wins 1982, 1983

Notes: Often mistaken for a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dewey LaMarr Hoyt's short career peaked in 1982 and 1983 where he won 43 games for the Sox over that span. LaMarr loved pitching, but not as much as he loved cocaine. Hoyt's drug problems would push him out of baseball before the end of the decade.

Jimmy Key
Toronto Blue Jays (1984-89)

All-Star: 1985
Postseason: 1985 ALCS, 1989 ALCS
League Leader: 1987 ERA

Notes: For nine seasons, Jimmy Key was top pitcher for the Blue Jays, helping them make the playoffs twice but never winning the World Series. Then in 1993 he signed with the Yankees and Toronto went on to.....doh!

Mark Langston
Seattle Mariners (1984-89)

All-Star: 1987
Gold Gloves: 1987, 1989
League Leader: Strikeouts 1984, 1986, 1987

Notes: Talk about squandered talent. Langston spent his best years pitching for a horrible Seattle club that never had a winning record while he was there. Despite that, Langston still managed to have some solid seasons, including going 19-13 in 1987. Mark struck out over 200 batters in 5 different seasons in the 1980's, leading the league three of those times.

Jack Morris
Detroit Tigers (1980-89)

All-Star: 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987
Postseason: 1984 WS, 1987 ALCS
League Leader: 1981 Wins, 1986 Shutouts

Notes: Like Blyleven, Jack has a devout core of fans that are pushing for his entry into the HOF. Morris was a postseason stud. In 1984 he pitched two complete game wins for the Tigers to help them defeat the Padres in the World Series. He'd later top that with his effort in 1991 with the Twins. Morris posted a winning record in 9 of his 10 seasons in the decade including two 20-win years.

Bret Saberhagen
Kansas City Royals (1984-89)

All-Star: 1987
Awards: 1985 AL Cy Young, 1985 WS MVP, 1989 AL Cy Young
Gold Gloves: 1989
Postseason: 1984 ALCS, 1985 WS
League Leader: 1989 ERA, Wins

Notes: Saberhagen was an absolute ace for the Royals. In 1985 at the age of 21, Bret won the Cy Young Award as well as the World Series MVP after winning two games against the Cardinals including a complete game shutout. Bret would also have an outstanding Cy Young season in 1989 where he went
23-6 with a 2.16 ERA.

Dave Stewart
Texas Rangers (1983-85), Oakland A's (1986-89)

Nickname: Smoke
All-Star: 1989
Awards: 1989 WS MVP
Postseason: 1988 WS, 1989 WS
League Leader: 1987 Wins, 1988 Complete Games

Notes: Not to be confused with this Dave Stewart, the man known as Smoke was signed in 1986 by Oakland following what had been a pretty lackluster major league career so far. Stewart proceeded to rattle off 4 straight 20 win seasons and became the ace of the Oakland staff.

Dave Stieb
Toronto Blue Jays (1980-89)

Nickname: Sir David
All-Star: 1980, 1981, 1983-85, 1988
Postseason: 1985 ALCS, 1989 ALCS
League Leader: 1982 Shutouts, 1985 ERA

Notes: Stieb was a horse for the Blue Jays throughout the decade. He also made more All-Star teams in the 80's than any other pitcher on this list. Stieb was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Frank Viola
Minnesota Twins (1982-89)

Nickname: Sweet Music
All-Star: 1988
Awards: 1987 WS MVP, 1988 AL Cy Young
Postseason: 1987 WS
League Leader: 1988 Wins

Notes: Viola was a major fan-favorite in Minnesota. In 1987, Frank won the World Series MVP as helped the Twins defeat the St. Louis Cardinals. He would then follow that up with a phenomenal season in '88, going 24-7 with 193 K's and a 2.64 ERA. The Twins would trade him to the Mets the following season.

Pete Vuckovich
Milwaukee Brewers (1981-86)

Awards: 1982 AL Cy Young
Postseason: 1981 ALDS, 1982 WS
League Leader: 1981 Wins

Notes: From Wikipedia: "Vuckovich developed a reputation for bizarre, hyper-competitive behavior during his eleven season career. He would fidget, twitch, pace, and convulse while on the mound. He was known to cross his eyes and stick his tongue out at batters. He would spit in his glove, scream at umpires while in the stretch, and sometimes step to the back of the mound and dry heave. His colorful personality made him a fan favorite." Never mind all that though. Aside from sporting a sweet man-perm, Pete is best known as Clue Haywood from the movie "Major League".

Mike Witt
California Angels (1981-89)

All-Star: 1986, 1987
Postseason: 1982 ALCS, 1986 ALCS

Notes: Witt was one of the best pitchers for the Angels in the mid-1980's. In 1984, Mike threw only the 11th perfect game in baseball history. The wheels came off his career in 1987 when he began to lose his overpowering stuff. His strikeout numbers began to decline and by age 32 was out of the league.

Be sure and vote for your choices for AL Starting Pitchers for the TMS All-80's Team. Check out the poll in the left sidebar. NOTE: You can vote for multiple players.