1979 Leaders & Numbers

Keith Hernandez was that “other guy” who the shared NL MVP with Willie Stargell, not for his inspiration but, instead, for outright performance. The fabled Red Sox rookies of 1975—Jim Rice and Fred Lynn—ganged up to destroy the AL like never before. There were Royals all over the bases, as George Brett became the first player to go 20-20-20 (doubles-triples-home runs) since 1957 while Darrell Porter became the first AL catcher with ten triples since 1935. Brooklyn native Lee Mazzilli attracted male Met fans for his hitting and female ones for his good looks. All-or-nothing slugger Dave Kingman not only set a career high in homers, but actually did it with a respectable batting average. Davey Lopes powered up in the leadoff spot with a career-high spike in homers, while continuing to be the toughest guy to catch stealing. With 313 strikeouts, J.R. Richard broke his own NL record among right-handers of a year earlier. Tommy John took his amazing post-Tommy John surgery act to New York, where he only got better. Phil Niekro became the first major leaguer to lead his league in both wins and losses. Joe Niekro was happy to tie his brother in victories—and even happier not to tie him in defeats. Mike Flanagan became the latest in a string of Oriole hurlers who rose to flash-in-the-pan prominence amid a career of average results (see also Wayne Garland, Rudy May and Steve Stone). Jerry Koosman, 11-35 despite a fair 3.60 ERA with the derelict Mets over the previous two years, found both refuge and support in Minnesota.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1979
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Keith Hernandez St. Louis 161 .344 610 116 210 48 11 11 105 75 5 1 11 6 9
2. Dave Winfield San Diego 159 .308 597 97 184 27 10 34 118 61 24 2 15 9 9
3. Mike Schmidt Philadelphia 160 .253 541 109 137 25 4 45 114 108 12 3 9 5 13
4. Dave Parker Pittsburgh 158 .310 622 109 193 45 7 25 94 53 14 9 20 4 7
5. Dave Kingman Chicago 145 .288 532 97 153 19 5 48 115 38 7 4 4 2 7
6. Davey Lopes Los Angeles 153 .265 582 109 154 20 6 28 73 93 4 4 44 4 8
7. Gary Matthews Atlanta 156 .304 631 97 192 34 5 27 90 55 5 0 18 6 6
8. George Foster Cincinnati 121 .302 440 68 133 18 3 30 98 52 7 3 0 2 11
9. Pete Rose Philadelphia 163 .331 628 90 208 40 5 4 59 85 10 2 20 11 18
10. Lee Mazzilli New York 158 .303 597 78 181 34 4 15 79 88 5 0 34 12 6
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1979
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Fred Lynn Boston 147 .333 531 116 177 42 1 39 122 78 4 4 2 2 9
2. Jim Rice Boston 158 .325 619 117 201 39 6 39 130 53 4 4 9 4 16
3. Don Baylor California 162 .296 628 120 186 33 3 36 139 65 6 11 22 12 10
4. George Brett Kansas City 154 .329 645 119 212 42 20 23 107 37 14 0 17 10 8
5. Sixto Lezcano Milwaukee 138 .321 473 84 152 29 3 28 101 72 5 3 4 3 11
6. Darrell Porter Kansas City 157 .291 533 101 155 23 10 20 112 113 8 8 3 4 11
7. Ken Singleton Baltimore 159 .295 570 93 168 29 1 35 111 93 16 1 3 1 16
8. Steve Kemp Detroit 134 .318 490 88 156 26 3 26 105 66 2 2 5 6 13
9. Cecil Cooper Milwaukee 150 .308 590 83 182 44 1 24 106 46 10 0 15 3 14
10. Gormon Thomas Milwaukee 156 .244 557 97 136 29 0 45 123 92 6 2 1 5 8
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1979
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. J.R. Richard Houston 2.71 18 13 .581 0 0 38 38 292.1 311 88 93 5 19 3 1 28 10 17
2. Joe Niekro Houston 3.00 21 11 .656 0 0 38 38 264 302 88 106 1 19 7 0 31 9 27
3. Ken Forsch Houston 3.04 11 6 .647 0 0 26 24 177.2 231 60 33 2 0 0 1 8 4 16
4.Tom Seaver Cincinnati 3.14 16 6 .727 0 0 32 32 215 277 75 55 6 4 0 0 27 14 19
5. Kent Tekulve Pittsburgh 2.75 10 8 .556 31 6 94 0 134.1 146 41 29 20 4 2 0 14 2 18
6. Burt Hooton Los Angeles 2.97 11 10 .524 0 0 29 29 212 261 70 59 4 6 2 0 14 7 11
7. Tom Hume Cincinnati 2.76 10 9 .526 17 3 57 12 163 239 50 24 9 2 0 0 6 2 17
8. Gaylord Perry San Diego 3.06 12 11 .522 0 0 32 32 232.2 306 79 57 10 6 4 0 21 13 20
9. Phil Niekro Atlanta 3.39 21 20 .512 0 0 44 44 342 496 129 105 8 18 11 4 40 11 25
10. Bruce Sutter Chicago 2.22 6 6 .500 37 10 62 0 101.1 88 25 27 5 9 0 0 8 2 5
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1979
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Tommy John New York 2.96 21 9 .700 0 0 37 36 276.1 347 91 64 1 11 4 1 10 8 45
2. Jim Kern Texas 1.57 13 5 .722 29 9 71 0 143 130 25 56 6 5 2 0 6 5 11
3. Mike Flanagan Baltimore 3.08 23 9 .719 0 0 39 38 265.2 363 91 69 1 6 3 0 9 7 29
4. Ron Guidry New York 2.78 18 8 .692 2 0 33 30 236.1 318 73 71 0 9 0 0 6 14 24
5. Jerry Koosman Minnesota 3.38 20 13 .606 0 0 37 36 263.2 393 99 79 4 2 3 1 7 16 29
6. Mike Caldwell Milwaukee 3.29 16 6 .727 0 0 31 31 235 349 86 37 2 5 4 0 9 9 26
7. Geoff Zahn Baltimore 3.57 13 7 .650 0 0 26 24 169 252 67 40 1 1 0 0 2 9 26
8. Mike Marshall Minnesota 2.66 10 15 .400 32 10 90 1 142.2 189 42 46 2 8 4 1 7 6 21
9. Jim Palmer Baltimore 3.30 10 6 .625 0 0 23 22 155.2 203 57 43 0 1 0 0 6 4 12
10. Aurelio Lopez Detroit 2.41 10 5 .667 21 5 61 0 127 150 34 48 3 3 3 0 7 5 10

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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1979 Awards


NL MVP
Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh
Keith Hernandez, St. Louis

AL MVP
Don Baylor, California


NL Cy Young Award
Bruce Sutter, Chicago

AL Cy Young Award
Mike Flanagan, Baltimore


NL Rookie of the Year
Rick Sutcliffe, Los Angeles

AL Rookie of the Year
John Castino, Minnesota
Alfredo Griffin, Toronto


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Phil Niekro, Atlanta
C Bob Boone, Philadelphia
1B Keith Hernandez, St. Louis
2B Manny Trillo, Philadelphia
3B Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia
SS Dave Concepcion, Cincinnati
OF Dave Parker, Pittsburgh
OF Garry Maddox, Philadelphia
OF Dave Winfield, San Diego


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Jim Palmer, Baltimore
C Jim Sundberg, Texas
1B Cecil Cooper, Milwaukee
2B Frank White, Kansas City
3B Buddy Bell, Texas
SS Rick Burleson, Boston
OF Dwight Evans, Boston
OF Fred Lynn, Boston
OF Sixto Lezcano, Milwaukee