The 1980s brought on some fun times for baseball fans. Then again, which decade hasn’t, save the one we’re in now? Thanks, COVID-19…
Baseball is a very entertaining sport in a number of ways but most fans will tell you the hits are the most fulfilling to watch. The 1980s, of course, had several top hitters and some of their swings are remembered to this day. The top hitters in the game are the ones who could deliver when called upon to meet the needs of their teams.
This facet is all about individual brilliance, there’s little use for the collective if the hits don’t translate into wins. Baseball is built on runs and, as long as you outscore the opponent, that’s all that really matters. Fans love to see that contact between bat and ball but they’re also keen on seeing their favorite team, or the team they bet on, win. Betting is a huge part of the sport and MLB expert picks could be found for every single game.
Betting odds for the next World Series are already available from the top bookmakers in the business, with the Los Angeles Dodgers tipped as the outright favorites at 11/2 while the Houston Astros are at 7/1 and the New York Yankees are at 9/1. This year’s champions, the Atlanta Braves, are not among the favorites at 14/1 for the time being.
Despite the above, fans do take notice of the individuals who set themselves apart on certain fronts; in the case of hitters, there were plenty of exciting ones who ruled the '80s. This list takes a look back at the best.
1. George Brett
Left-hander George Brett was the third baseman for the Kansas City Royals in 1980, a year in which he won the American League batting title and MVP Award via a batting average of .390. He hit 24 home runs with 118 RBI and recorded a slugging percentage of .664 to lead the league.
Of the 10 years making up the 80s, Hall of Famer Brett was an All-Star in nine of them. He helped Kansas City win the World Series in 1985, winning a Gold Glove in the process. The 65-year-old, who played 21 years, won three batting titles and three Silver Slugger awards in the 80s as well. While he wasn’t a regular home run hitter, he gave the Royals 19.3 home runs from 1980 to 1989. He is the only MLB player to win a batting title in three different decades.
2. Robin Yount
Robin Yount had a stroke pretty similar to Brett’s but from the other side of the plate. The former Milwaukee Brewers star batted over .300 in six years during the 80s. A shortstop/outfielder, he also wasn’t a huge hitter of home runs but he was great at finding outfield gaps.
He was an All-Star for three seasons in the 80s and won the AL MVP as a shortstop in 1982 and a center fielder in 1989.
Eddie Murray was a consistent switch hitter for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers during the pertinent period, which is why he was nicknamed “Steady” Eddie Murray.
He spent most of his career with the Orioles, from 1977 to 1988, moving to Los Angeles in 1989 and playing there for two seasons before short stints with the New York Mets and Cleveland Indians. He returned to Baltimore for a season before leaving again, for the Anaheim Angels. He ended his career with the Dodgers, signing on for a second spell in 1997.
An incredible hitter, Murray was also prone to hitting home runs from either side of the plate. Such feats of greatness hadn’t been seen since Mickey Mantle, who played for the New York Yankees in the 50s and 60s.
Murray hit over .300 in five years during the 80s and drove over 20 home runs in four of those years. He was named to an All-Star team in six years during said decade.
4. Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs was also one of the most impressive hitters in the MLB in the 80s and dominated in the AL as a left-handed third baseman for the Boston Red Sox. He would win five batting titles over the course of the decade and led the division in on-base percentage on six occasions.
He wasn’t a home run hitter yet hit a remarkable 314 doubles in eight years out of the 10, during which he won five Silver Slugger awards. He was an All-Star from 1985 through to 1989.
5. Keith Hernandez
Keith Hernandez, a former left-first baseman, played out most of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. The California native hit over .300 in six years during the 1980s, registering an average of .400 on five occasions.
A four-time All-Star, Hernandez won two Silver Slugger awards and has two World Series wins to his name, having captured baseball’s greatest prize in 1982 and 1986 with the New York Mets.