1985 Leaders & Numbers

Ballplayers across the country were seeking the conditioning recipe used by George Brett after his offensive revival in 1985. Willie McGee, yet another escapee from the Yankee farm system as part of George Steinbrenner’s addiction to trading later for now, set the NL mark for the highest batting average by a switch-hitter. Dave Parker’s monster season, after five rough years of underachievement fueled by drug and weight problems, evoked his vintage years at Pittsburgh. Rickey Henderson, who always seemed to be at his most content—and therefore his best—when playing for Billy Martin, scored the most runs by a major leaguer since 1949. And not since 1950 had anyone knocked in over 100 runs with less than ten homers until Tommy Herr showed up. Wade Boggs won his second batting title while going hitless in only 26 games. If there was any sophomore jinx related to the phenomenal Dwight Gooden, then it was on the confounded batters he faced. Ron Guidry gave it a last great ride before his career slowly but surely began to burn itself out. Fernando Valenzuela’s year began by pitching 41.1 scoreless innings. Tom Browning became the first 20-game-winning rookie in 31 years. Mike Moore tied a Mariner record with 17 wins—a year after tying another team mark with 17 losses. Dan Quisenberry remained the AL’s top closer, leading the league in saves for the fourth straight year.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1985
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Willie McGee St. Louis 152 .353 612 114 216 26 18 10 82 32 2 0 56 16 3
2. Dale Murphy Atlanta 162 .300 616 118 185 32 2 37 111 75 15 1 10 3 14
3. Pedro Guerrero Los Angeles 137 .320 487 99 156 22 2 33 87 69 14 6 12 4 13
4. Ryne Sandberg Chicago 153 .305 609 113 186 31 6 26 83 52 5 1 54 11 10
5. Tim Raines Montreal 150 .320 575 115 184 30 13 11 41 68 13 3 70 9 9
6. Tom Herr St. Louis 159 .302 596 97 180 38 3 8 110 75 5 2 31 3 6
7. Dave Parker Cincinnati 160 .312 635 88 198 42 4 34 125 28 24 3 5 13 26
8. Darryl Strawberry New York 111 .277 393 78 109 15 4 29 79 60 13 1 26 11 9
9. Mike Schmidt Philadelphia 158 .277 549 89 152 31 5 33 93 79 8 3 1 3 10
10. Jack Clark St. Louis 126 .281 442 71 124 26 3 22 87 69 14 2 1 4 10
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1985
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Rickey Henderson New York 143 .314 547 146 172 28 5 24 72 98 1 3 80 10 8
2. George Brett Kansas City 155 .335 550 108 184 38 5 30 112 72 31 3 9 1 12
3. Don Mattingly New York 159 .324 652 107 211 48 3 35 145 43 13 2 2 2 15
4. Eddie Murray Baltimore 156 .297 583 111 173 37 1 31 124 72 12 2 5 2 8
5. Kirk Gibson Detroit 154 .287 581 96 167 37 5 29 97 55 16 5 30 4 5
6. Wade Boggs Boston 161 .368 653 107 240 42 3 8 78 91 5 4 2 1 20
7. Jesse Barfield Toronto 155 .289 539 94 156 34 9 27 84 61 5 4 22 8 14
8. Darrell Evans Detroit 151 .248 505 81 125 17 0 40 94 73 12 1 0 4 5
9. Phil Bradley Seattle 159 .300 641 100 192 33 8 26 88 51 4 12 22 9 14
10. Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore 161 .282 642 116 181 32 5 26 110 66 1 1 2 3 32
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1985
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Dwight Gooden New York 1.53 24 4 .857 0 0 35 35 276.2 266 47 65 4 6 2 2 22 10 21
2. John Tudor St. Louis 1.93 21 8 .724 0 0 36 36 275 285 59 45 4 4 5 0 12 7 20
3. Orel Hershiser Los Angeles 2.03 19 3 .864 0 0 36 34 239.2 237 54 63 5 5 6 0 23 9 25
4. Fernando Valenzuela Los Angeles 2.45 17 10 .630 0 0 35 35 272.1 288 74 96 5 10 1 1 14 11 21
5. Bryn Smith Montreal 2.91 18 5 .783 0 0 32 32 222.1 274 72 38 3 1 1 1 19 5 21
6. Rick Reuschel Pittsburgh 2.27 14 8 .636 1 0 31 26 194 208 49 42 10 4 3 0 10 9 17
7. Joaquin Andujar St. Louis 3.40 21 12 .636 0 0 38 38 269.2 369 102 70 12 2 11 0 29 9 32
8. Dennis Eckersley Chicago 3.08 11 7 .611 0 0 25 25 169.1 223 58 15 4 0 3 3 13 8 7
9. Tom Browning Cincinnati 3.55 20 9 .690 0 0 38 38 261.1 379 103 65 8 2 3 0 16 8 18
10. Danny Cox St. Louis 2.88 18 9 .667 0 0 35 35 241 344 77 59 5 3 3 1 11 8 20
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1985
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Bret Saberhagen Kansas City 2.87 20 6 .769 0 0 32 32 253.1 313 75 37 1 1 1 3 12 8 13
2. Dave Stieb Toronto 2.48 14 13 .519 0 0 36 36 265 309 73 93 3 4 9 1 10 8 19
3. Ron Guidry New York 3.27 22 6 .786 0 0 34 33 259 384 94 39 3 3 0 1 7 10 30
4. Charlie Leibrandt Kansas City 2.69 17 9 .654 0 0 33 33 237.2 320 71 65 3 4 2 3 16 9 21
5. Bert Blyleven Cleveland-Minnesota 3.16 17 16 .515 0 0 37 37 293.2 390 103 74 1 4 9 1 34 14 21
6. Mike Moore Seattle 3.46 17 10 .630 0 0 35 34 247 336 95 68 2 10 4 3 6 8 19
7. Dan Quisenberry Kansas City 2.37 8 9 .471 37 12 84 0 129 191 34 11 5 0 1 0 8 2 15
8. Danny Jackson Kansas City 3.42 14 12 .538 0 0 32 32 208 289 79 74 2 4 6 2 6 8 26
9. Bob James Chicago 2.13 8 7 .533 32 9 69 0 110 121 26 19 4 3 2 2 9 2 9
10. Dan Petry Detroit 3.36 15 13 .536 0 0 34 34 238.2 303 89 72 9 6 3 0 21 13 24

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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1985 Awards


NL MVP
Willie McGee, St. Louis

AL MVP
Don Mattingly, New York


NL Cy Young Award
Dwight Gooden, New York

AL Cy Young Award
Bret Saberhagen, Kansas City


NL Rookie of the Year
Vince Coleman, St. Louis

AL Rookie of the Year
Ozzie Guillen, Chicago


NL Manager of the Year
Whitey Herzog, St. Louis

AL Manager of the Year
Bobby Cox, Toronto


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Rick Reuschel, Pittsburgh
C Tony Pena, Pittsburgh
1B Keith Hernandez, New York
2B Ryne Sandberg, Chicago
3B Tim Wallach, Montreal
SS Ozzie Smith, St. Louis
OF Andre Dawson, Montreal
OF Willie McGee, St. Louis
OF Dale Murphy, Atlanta


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Ron Guidry, New York
C Lance Parrish, Detroit
1B Don Mattingly, New York
2B Lou Whitaker, Detroit
3B George Brett, Kansas City
SS Alfredo Griffin, Toronto
OF Dwane Murphy, Oakland; Dwight Evans, Boston (tie)
OF Gary Pettis, California
OF Dave Winfield, New York