1988 Leaders & Numbers

Jose Canseco achieved the superstardom many had expected of him and became the prototype for the well-built, well-conditioned (and chemically enhanced) slugger of the 1990s. Matching Canseco’s cockiness if not his Adonis-like structure, Will “The Thrill” Clark burned NL pitching with one of the sweetest swings since Stan Musial. Wade Boggs became the first modern major leaguer to reach 200 hits in six straight years—all while being dogged in the press by his vindictive ex-mistress. Andy Van Slyke showed improved muscle with the Pirates after being brainwashed with the single-and-steal philosophy at St. Louis. Dave Winfield picked it up after three years of modest numbers—and before back surgery KO’d his entire 1989 season. After receiving little support the year before, Orel Hershiser took matters into his own hands and made sure that opposing pitchers got no support. Had it not been for Hershiser’s sensational finish, the Cy Young Award most certainly would have been Danny Jackson’s. The Twins had the market cornered on league-leading pitching, from the known (wins leader Frank Viola) to the unknown (ERA leader and brief wonder Allan Anderson). Rick Reuschel, the anti-Canseco with his dour, couch-potato posture, seemed to only get tougher on hitters as he neared 40. Other starters had been converted to closers before, but no one did it as brilliantly as Dennis Eckersley. The Mets didn’t need more pitching, but they got it anyway from David Cone, who inspired New Yorkers to come to Shea Stadium wearing coneheads.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1988
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Will Clark San Francisco 162 .282 575 102 162 31 6 29 109 73 27 4 9 1 9
2. Darryl Strawberry New York 153 .269 543 101 146 27 2 39 101 64 21 3 29 14 6
3. Andy Van Slyke Pittsburgh 154 .288 587 101 169 23 15 25 100 55 2 1 30 9 8
4. Andres Galarraga Montreal 157 .302 609 99 184 42 8 29 92 30 9 10 13 4 12
5. Kirk Gibson Los Angeles 150 .290 542 106 157 28 1 25 76 59 14 7 31 4 8
6. Eric Davis Cincinnati 135 .273 472 81 129 18 3 26 93 55 10 3 35 3 11
7. Kevin McReynolds New York 147 .288 552 82 159 30 2 27 99 35 3 4 21 0 6
8. Bobby Bonilla Pittsburgh 159 .274 584 87 160 32 7 24 100 66 19 4 3 5 4
9. Kal Daniels Cincinnati 140 .291 495 95 144 29 1 18 64 77 10 3 27 6 11
10. Brett Butler San Francisco 157 .287 568 109 163 27 9 6 43 93 4 4 43 20 2
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1988
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Jose Canseco Oakland 158 .307 610 120 187 34 0 42 124 68 10 10 40 16 15
2. Mike Greenwell Boston 158 .325 590 86 192 39 8 22 119 69 18 9 16 8 11
3. Kirby Puckett Minnesota 158 .356 657 109 234 42 5 24 121 19 4 2 6 7 17
4. Rickey Henderson New York 140 .305 554 118 169 30 2 6 50 81 1 3 93 13 6
5. Dave Winfield New York 149 .322 559 96 180 37 2 25 107 59 10 2 9 4 19
6. Wade Boggs Boston 155 .366 584 128 214 45 6 5 58 107 18 3 2 3 23
7. Dave Henderson Oakland 146 .304 507 100 154 38 1 24 94 46 1 4 2 4 14
8. George Brett Kansas City 157 .306 589 90 180 42 3 24 103 67 15 3 14 3 15
9. Fred McGriff Toronto 154 .282 536 100 151 35 4 34 82 76 3 4 6 1 15
10. Paul Molitor Milwaukee 154 .312 609 115 190 34 6 13 60 63 8 2 41 10 10
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1988
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Orel Hershiser Los Angeles 2.26 23 8 .742 1 0 35 34 267 302 67 63 10 6 4 5 13 10 18
2. Danny Jackson Cincinnati 2.73 23 8 .742 0 0 35 35 260.2 294 79 65 6 5 2 2 11 9 24
3. David Cone New York 2.22 20 3 .870 0 0 35 28 231.1 245 57 73 7 10 4 10 29 12 11
4. Rick Reuschel San Francisco 3.12 19 11 .633 0 0 36 36 245 325 85 34 8 4 6 0 5 4 25
5. John Tudor St. Louis-Los Angeles 2.32 10 8 .556 0 0 30 30 197.2 264 51 34 7 0 1 3 10 10 23
6. John Franco Cincinnati 1.57 6 6 .500 39 3 70 0 86 73 15 24 3 1 0 2 1 5 8
7. Tim Belcher Los Angeles 2.91 12 6 .667 4 1 36 27 179.2 195 58 44 7 4 2 0 12 11 9
8. Jose Rijo Cincinnati 2.39 13 8 .619 0 2 49 19 162 172 43 56 7 1 3 4 16 9 10
9. Greg Maddux Chicago 3.18 18 8 .692 0 0 34 34 249 309 88 65 16 3 9 6 20 5 22
10. Tom Browning Cincinnati 3.41 18 5 .783 0 0 36 36 251 364 95 61 3 2 7 4 11 10 17
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1988
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Frank Viola Minnesota 2.64 24 7 .774 0 0 35 35 255.1 343 75 52 2 5 3 1 7 8 20
2. Mark Gubicza Kansas City 2.70 20 8 .714 0 0 35 35 269.2 324 81 80 3 12 6 4 23 7 24
3. Ted Higuera Milwaukee 2.45 16 9 .640 0 0 31 31 227.1 244 62 55 4 0 6 6 9 8 12
4. Roger Clemens Boston 2.93 18 12 .600 0 0 35 35 264 316 86 58 4 4 6 7 20 9 7
5. Allan Anderson Minnesota 2.45 16 9 .640 0 0 30 30 202.1 280 55 36 1 1 7 4 12 9 25
6. Greg Swindell Cleveland 3.20 18 14 .563 0 0 33 33 242 337 86 42 3 5 1 0 14 8 12
7. Dave Stewart Oakland 3.23 21 12 .636 0 0 37 37 275.2 342 99 105 5 14 3 16 15 8 16
8. Dave Stieb Toronto 3.04 16 8 .667 0 0 32 31 207.1 236 70 79 0 4 13 5 20 14 14
9. Dennis Eckersley Oakland 2.35 4 2 .667 45 8 60 0 72.2 71 19 9 2 0 1 2 3 1 3
10. Jeff Robinson Detroit 2.98 13 6 .684 0 0 24 23 172 204 57 67 5 8 3 1 5 6 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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1988 Awards


NL MVP
Kirk Gibson, Los Angeles

AL MVP
Jose Canseco, Oakland


NL Cy Young Award
Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles

AL Cy Young Award
Frank Viola, Minnesota


NL Rookie of the Year
Chris Sabo, Cincinnati

AL Rookie of the Year
Walt Weiss, Oakland


NL Manager of the Year
Tom Lasorda, Los Angeles

AL Manager of the Year
Tony La Russa, Oakland


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Orel Hershiser, Los Angeles
C Benito Santiago, San Diego
1B Keith Hernandez, New York
2B Ryne Sandberg, Chicago
3B Tim Wallach, Montreal
SS Ozzie Smith, St. Louis
OF Andy Van Slyke, Pittsburgh
OF Eric Davis, Cincinnati
OF Andre Dawson, Chicago


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Mark Langston, Seattle
C Bob Boone, California
1B Don Mattingly, New York
2B Harold Reynolds, Seattle
3B Gary Gaetti, Minnesota
SS Tony Fernandez, Toronto
OF Gary Pettis, Detroit
OF Devon White, California
OF Kirby Puckett, Minnesota