1978 Leaders & Numbers

How dominant was Jim Rice? His 406 total bases were followed up in the AL by major league sophomore Eddie Murray—at 293. Dave Parker checked in as the NL’s titan in size and performance, the lumbering Pirate gradually improving until he was virtually unstoppable in the home stretch. Three inches taller but a tad lighter, Dave Winfield—who spurned offers to play in the NFL and NBA—finally emerged to superstar status after years of steady growth. Racist comments made by Minnesota owner Calvin Griffith convinced Rod Carew that his seventh AL batting title would be his last for the Twins. Larry Hisle made the Brewers look good on their $3.1 million investment on him. Ron LeFlore emerged as a premier robber of bases for the Tigers five years after an early parole from State Prison of Southern Michigan, where he was doing 5-to-15 for armed robbery. Bobby Bonds remained on the run on the field and off it, playing for his second and third teams among six over a five-year period. Ron Guidry netted the best winning percentage of any 20-game winner, and his nine shutouts were the most by a lefty since…Babe Ruth. Gaylord Perry, age 40 at year’s end, likely was still wet behind the ears for his final hurrah in San Diego. Speaking of spitballs, hitters skeptically credited Mike Caldwell’s saliva with his sudden rise after years of elbow woes. The Expos’ Ross Grimsley gave a big league Canadian team its first 20-game winner, while Ed Figueroa became the first Puerto Rican to win 20. With the revived Giants, Vida Blue got a new and sweeter life across the bay from Charles Finley. Ferguson Jenkins returned to Texas and found the winning knack he apparently forgot to take with him to Boston two years before.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1978
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Dave Parker Pittsburgh 148 .334 581 102 194 32 12 30 117 34 23 2 20 7 8
2. George Foster Cincinnati 158 .281 604 97 170 26 7 40 120 54 16 7 4 4 18
3. Jack Clark San Francisco 156 .306 592 90 181 46 8 25 98 42 8 3 15 11 15
4. Greg Luzinski Philadelphia 155 .265 540 85 143 32 2 53 101 85 15 11 8 7 10
5. Reggie Smith Los Angeles 128 .295 447 82 132 27 2 29 93 62 8 1 12 5 5
6. Dave Winfield San Diego 158 .308 587 88 181 30 5 24 97 35 20 2 21 9 13
7. Steve Garvey Los Angeles 162 .316 639 89 202 36 9 21 113 31 9 1 10 5 17
8. Jose Cruz Houston 153 .315 565 79 178 34 9 10 83 48 9 0 37 9 9
9. Jeff Burroughs Atlanta 153 .301 488 72 147 30 6 23 77 105 12 0 1 2 16
10. Willie Stargell Pittsburgh 122 .295 390 60 115 18 2 28 97 40 10 7 3 2 8
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1978
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Jim Rice Boston 163 .315 677 121 213 25 15 46 139 51 7 5 7 5 15
2. Larry Hisle Milwaukee 142 .290 520 96 151 24 0 34 115 64 3 5 10 6 14
3. Amos Otis Kansas City 141 .298 486 74 145 30 7 22 96 59 7 4 32 8 10
4. Ron LeFlore Detroit 155 .297 666 126 198 30 3 12 62 58 7 4 68 16 11
5. Rod Carew Minnesota 152 .333 564 85 188 26 10 5 70 59 19 1 27 7 18
6. Andre Thornton Cleveland 145 .262 508 97 133 22 4 33 105 89 4 6 4 7 17
7. Carlton Fisk Boston 157 .284 571 94 162 39 5 20 88 65 6 7 7 2 10
8. Leon Roberts Seattle 134 .301 472 78 142 21 7 22 92 39 2 8 6 3 7
9. Bobby Bonds Chicago-Texas 156 .267 565 93 151 19 4 31 90 72 7 2 43 22 14
10. Eddie Murray Baltimore 161 .285 610 85 174 32 3 27 95 63 7 1 6 5 15
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1978
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Gaylord Perry San Diego 2.73 21 6 .778 0 0 37 37 260.2 328 79 58 8 4 2 3 18 16 24
2. Bob Knepper San Francisco 2.63 17 11 .607 0 0 36 35 260 292 76 74 11 6 4 0 16 8 19
3. Vida Blue San Francisco 2.79 18 10 .643 0 0 35 35 258 318 80 66 4 5 0 0 14 15 19
4. Steve Rogers Montreal 2.47 13 10 .565 1 0 30 29 219 255 60 62 2 1 2 1 10 12 20
5. Burt Hooton Los Angeles 2.71 19 10 .655 0 0 32 32 236 283 71 57 4 3 0 0 22 12 13
6. Phil Niekro Atlanta 2.88 19 18 .514 1 0 44 42 334.1 405 107 97 5 11 13 3 34 12 13
7. Ross Grimsley Montreal 3.05 20 11 .645 0 0 36 36 263 349 89 61 6 4 2 2 11 7 26
8. Craig Swan New York 2.43 9 6 .600 0 0 29 28 207.1 241 56 50 8 1 2 0 16 9 12
9. John Denny St. Louis 2.96 14 11 .560 0 0 33 33 234 280 77 70 4 8 6 4 15 12 34
10. J.R. Richard Houston 3.11 18 11 .621 0 0 36 36 275.1 277 95 137 4 16 2 3 34 14 14
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1978
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Ron Guidry New York 1.74 25 3 .893 0 0 35 35 273.2 270 53 71 1 7 1 1 9 14 15
2. Mike Caldwell Milwaukee 2.36 22 9 .710 1 0 37 34 293.1 336 77 51 3 8 7 1 11 7 25
3. Jim Palmer Baltimore 2.46 21 12 .636 0 0 38 38 296 348 81 96 1 5 1 1 18 17 21
4. Jon Matlack Texas 2.30 15 13 .536 1 0 35 33 270 339 69 47 4 8 4 0 16 13 14
5. Lary Sorensen Milwaukee 3.21 18 12 .600 1 0 37 36 280.2 362 100 46 4 3 5 2 12 8 18
6. Ferguson Jenkins Texas 3.04 18 8 .692 0 0 34 30 249 335 84 39 2 2 3 1 19 7 16
7. Larry Gura Kansas City 2.72 16 4 .800 0 0 35 26 221.2 272 67 57 3 1 4 1 12 7 16
8. Dennis Leonard Kansas City 3.33 21 17 .553 0 0 40 40 294.2 436 109 71 7 12 9 0 18 11 26
9. Ed Figueroa New York 2.99 20 9 .690 0 0 35 35 253 351 84 73 4 6 3 1 18 10 21
10. Dave Goltz Minnesota 2.49 15 10 .600 0 0 29 29 220.1 294 61 66 1 4 1 1 10 13 17

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1978 Awards


NL MVP
Dave Parker, Pittsburgh

AL MVP
Jim Rice, Boston


NL Cy Young Award
Gaylord Perry, San Diego

AL Cy Young Award
Ron Guidry, New York


NL Rookie of the Year
Bob Horner, Atlanta

AL Rookie of the Year
Lou Whitaker, Detroit


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Phil Niekro, Atlanta
C Bob Boone, Philadelphia
1B Keith Hernandez, St. Louis
2B Davey Lopes, Los Angeles
3B Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia
SS Larry Bowa, Philadelphia
OF Dave Parker, Pittsburgh
OF Garry Maddox, Philadelphia
OF Ellis Valentine, Montreal


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Jim Palmer, Baltimore
C Jim Sundberg, Texas
1B Chris Chambliss, New York
2B Frank White, Kansas City
3B Graig Nettles, New York
SS Mark Belanger, Baltimore
OF Dwight Evans, Boston
OF Fred Lynn, Boston
OF Rick Miller, California