1990 Leaders & Numbers

Dogged by erratic performance through his first four years in the majors, maddened by an arbitration defeat and embarrassed that no team wanted to trade for him, Barry Bonds finally and absolutely came alive. Equally moody but more veteran, Rickey Henderson was never happier with the powerful A’s—and thus never better. One wondered how fans of the Cubs—surprised by Ryne Sandberg’s 30 homers in 1989—felt about his NL-high 40 in 1990. Thanks to a red-hot (.384) second half, 37-year-old George Brett became the only hitter to win batting titles in three different decades. Ron Gant, whose 1988 rookie star fell all the way down to Class-A ball in 1989, rebounded all the way back up, and then some. Yankee fans shook their heads yet again watching another former prospect (Doug Drabek) succeed elsewhere. Bobby Thigpen had the White Sox’ knack of keeping their leads short to thank for smashing the season saves record. As tough as Thigpen was, Dennis Eckersley was damn near perfect. Ramon Martinez’s terrific rookie showing came six years after he pitched for the Dominican Olympic team at 16. Sparky Anderson said every good pitcher has one great year—and so it was for Bob Welch, who flirted with 30 wins. Zane Smith, a combined 6-23 at Atlanta his previous two years, showed what he could do when paired with a winner at Pittsburgh. Ed Whitson, one of the few people to brawl with Billy Martin and win, effectively punched out opponents from the Padres’ mound.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1990
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Barry Bonds Pittsburgh 151 .301 519 104 156 32 3 33 114 78 15 3 52 13 8
2. Ryne Sandberg Chicago 155 .306 615 116 188 30 3 40 100 42 8 1 25 7 8
3. Ron Gant Atlanta 152 .303 575 107 174 34 3 32 84 50 0 1 33 16 8
4. Bobby Bonilla Pittsburgh 160 .280 625 112 175 39 7 32 120 36 9 1 4 3 11
5. Lenny Dykstra Philadelphia 149 .325 590 106 192 35 3 9 60 75 14 7 33 5 5
6. Kal Daniels Los Angeles 130 .296 450 81 133 23 1 27 94 67 1 3 4 3 9
7. Eddie Murray Los Angeles 155 .330 558 96 184 22 3 26 95 61 21 1 8 5 19
8. Darryl Strawberry New York 152 .277 542 92 150 18 1 37 108 55 15 4 15 8 5
9. Eric Davis Cincinnati 127 .260 453 84 118 26 2 24 86 54 6 2 21 3 7
10. David Justice Atlanta 127 .282 439 76 124 23 2 28 78 60 4 0 11 6 2
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1990
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Rickey Henderson Oakland 136 .325 489 119 159 33 3 28 61 95 2 4 65 10 13
2. Cecil Fielder Detroit 159 .277 573 104 159 25 1 51 132 79 11 5 0 1 15
3. Fred McGriff Toronto 153 .300 557 91 167 21 1 35 88 82 12 2 5 3 7
4. Kelly Gruber Toronto 150 .274 592 92 162 36 6 31 118 46 2 8 14 2 14
5. George Brett Kansas City 142 .329 544 82 179 45 7 14 87 42 14 0 9 2 18
6. Jose Canseco Oakland 131 .274 481 83 132 14 2 37 101 64 8 5 19 10 9
7. Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle 155 .300 597 91 179 28 7 22 80 51 12 2 16 11 12
8. Mark McGwire Oakland 156 .235 523 87 123 16 0 39 108 101 9 7 2 1 13
9. Wade Boggs Boston 155 .302 619 89 187 44 5 6 63 68 19 1 0 0 14
10. Julio Franco Texas 157 .296 582 96 172 27 1 11 69 79 3 2 31 10 12
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1990
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Doug Drabek Pittsburgh 2.76 22 6 .786 0 0 33 33 231.1 280 78 54 2 6 3 0 18 9 11
2. Ed Whitson San Diego 2.60 14 9 .609 0 0 32 32 228.2 297 66 39 8 2 1 0 12 7 16
3. Frank Viola New York 2.67 20 12 .625 0 0 35 35 249.2 312 74 58 2 11 2 0 26 15 17
4. Zane Smith Montreal-Pittsburgh 2.55 12 9 .571 0 0 33 31 215.1 280 61 46 4 2 3 0 27 4 34
5. Danny Darwin Houston 2.21 11 4 .733 2 2 48 17 162.2 200 40 27 4 0 4 2 17 6 8
6. Ramon Martinez Los Angeles 2.92 20 6 .769 0 0 33 33 234.1 309 76 62 5 3 4 3 22 13 11
7. Jose Rijo Cincinnati 2.70 14 8 .636 0 0 29 29 197 223 59 77 1 2 2 5 19 4 10
8. Greg Maddux Chicago 3.46 15 15 .500 0 0 35 35 237 323 91 61 10 3 4 3 13 4 27
9. Dwight Gooden New York 3.83 19 7 .731 0 0 34 34 232.2 306 99 67 3 6 7 3 60 16 12
10. Dennis Martinez Montreal 2.95 10 11 .476 0 0 32 32 226 281 74 40 9 1 6 1 19 9 13
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1990
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Roger Clemens Boston 1.93 21 6 .778 0 0 31 31 228.1 259 49 51 3 8 7 0 14 14 11
2. Dave Stewart Oakland 2.56 22 11 .667 0 0 36 36 267 319 76 82 1 8 5 0 13 6 23
3. Chuck Finley California 2.40 18 9 .667 0 0 32 32 236 303 63 78 3 9 2 0 15 18 22
4. Dave Stieb Toronto 2.93 18 6 .750 0 0 33 33 208.2 249 68 64 0 5 10 0 6 8 7
5. Dennis Eckersley Oakland 0.61 4 2 .667 48 2 63 0 73.1 58 5 3 1 0 0 0 1 2 3
6. Bobby Thigpen Chicago 1.83 4 6 .400 57 8 77 0 88.2 87 18 29 3 2 1 0 3 0 12
7. Bob Welch Oakland 2.95 27 6 .818 0 0 35 35 238 346 78 73 4 2 5 2 10 7 25
8. Kevin Appier Kansas City 2.76 12 8 .600 0 0 32 24 185.2 237 57 52 2 6 6 1 13 1 21
9. Erik Hanson Seattle 3.24 18 9 .667 0 0 33 33 236 293 85 62 6 10 2 1 18 8 17
10. Greg Hibbard Chicago 3.16 14 9 .609 0 0 33 33 211 281 74 53 2 2 6 1 11 8 25

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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1990 Awards


NL MVP
Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh

AL MVP
Rickey Henderson, Oakland


NL Cy Young Award
Doug Drabek, Pittsburgh

AL Cy Young Award
Bob Welch, Oakland


NL Rookie of the Year
David Justice, Atlanta

AL Rookie of the Year
Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland


NL Manager of the Year
Jim Leyland, Pittsburgh

AL Manager of the Year
Jeff Torborg, Chicago


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Greg Maddux, Chicago
C Benito Santiago, San Diego
1B Andres Galarraga, Montreal
2B Ryne Sandberg, Chicago
3B Tim Wallach, Montreal
SS Ozzie Smith, St. Louis
OF Andy Van Slyke, Pittsburgh
OF Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh
OF Tony Gwynn, San Diego


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Mike Boddicker, Boston
C Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland
1B Mark McGwire, Oakland
2B Harold Reynolds, Seattle
3B Kelly Gruber, Toronto
SS Ozzie Guillen, Chicago
OF Gary Pettis, Detroit
OF Ellis Burks, Boston
OF Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle