1991 Leaders & Numbers

Frank Thomas, a big, lumbering presence who played football with Bo Jackson at Auburn University, exploded in his first full major league season. The Pirates’ Killer B’s—Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla—continued to sting opposing pitchers while buzzing to the media about their uncertain futures in Pittsburgh. After a long malaise, Cal Ripken Jr. suddenly spiked—winning the AL MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and, finally, his first Gold Glove at shortstop. Ruben Sierra and Rafael Palmeiro were two of three Rangers (Julio Franco being the other) to each bang out over 200 hits. Jose Canseco’s last great year at Oakland before assuming a more transient big league existence was all but overshadowed by tabloid accounts of a late-night visit to Madonna’s New York pad. Have arm, will travel: The Mike Morgan road show continued with a terrific year in Los Angeles, the sixth of 13 stops he would make in his big league career. Tom Glavine, good enough at hockey to have once been drafted by the NHL, took his fledgling pitching career off ice and caught fire with the first of three straight years winning 20 games. It was status quo for the Rocket: Roger Clemens continued to do anything but flame out in Boston. One-handed Jim Abbott was the most impressive of three Angel pitchers (Mark Langston and Chuck Finley being the others) who toyed with 20 wins. Nolan Ryan’s wildly popular autumn existence in the DFW zone included his seventh career no-hitter for the Rangers, the team he’d eventually end up owning.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1991
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Barry Bonds Pittsburgh 153 .292 510 95 149 28 5 25 116 82 25 4 43 13 8
2. Howard Johnson New York 156 .259 564 108 146 34 4 38 117 66 12 1 30 16 4
3. Ryne Sandberg Chicago 158 .291 585 104 170 32 2 26 100 83 4 2 22 8 9
4. Will Clark San Francisco 148 .301 565 84 170 32 7 29 116 39 12 2 4 2 5
5. Bobby Bonilla Pittsburgh 157 .302 577 102 174 44 6 18 100 82 8 2 2 4 14
6. Ron Gant Atlanta 154 .251 561 101 141 35 3 32 105 63 8 5 34 15 6
7. Barry Larkin Cincinnati 123 .302 464 88 140 27 4 20 69 54 1 3 24 6 7
8. Fred McGriff San Diego 153 .278 528 84 147 19 1 31 106 79 26 2 4 1 14
9. Terry Pendleton Atlanta 153 .319 586 94 187 34 8 22 86 35 8 1 10 2 16
10. Chris Sabo Cincinnati 153 .301 582 91 174 35 3 26 88 41 3 6 19 6 13
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1991
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Frank Thomas Chicago 158 .318 559 104 178 31 2 32 109 125 13 1 1 2 20
2. Jose Canseco Oakland 154 .266 572 115 152 32 1 44 122 71 7 9 26 6 16
3. Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore 162 .323 650 99 210 46 5 34 114 38 15 5 6 1 19
4. Paul Molitor Milwaukee 158 .325 665 133 216 32 13 17 75 61 16 6 19 8 11
5. Danny Tartabull Kansas City 132 .316 484 78 153 35 3 31 100 59 6 3 6 3 9
6. Ruben Sierra Texas 161 .307 661 110 203 44 5 25 116 49 7 0 16 4 17
7. Rafael Palmeiro Texas 159 .322 631 115 203 49 3 26 88 58 10 6 4 3 17
8. Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle 154 .327 548 76 179 42 1 22 100 50 21 1 18 6 10
9. Rickey Henderson Oakland 134 .268 470 105 126 17 1 18 57 91 7 7 58 18 7
10. Lou Whitaker Detroit 138 .279 470 94 131 26 2 23 78 84 6 2 4 2 3
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1991
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Mike Morgan Los Angeles 2.78 14 10 .583 1 0 34 33 236.1 267 73 51 10 6 3 0 24 7 23
2. Tom Glavine Atlanta 2.55 20 11 .645 0 0 34 34 246.2 299 70 63 6 10 2 2 18 10 19
3. Jose Rijo Cincinnati 2.51 15 6 .714 0 0 30 30 204.1 230 57 51 4 2 3 4 16 3 15
4. Dennis Martinez Montreal 2.39 14 11 .560 0 0 31 31 222 258 59 59 3 3 4 0 22 4 14
5. Lee Smith St. Louis 2.34 6 3 .667 47 6 67 0 73 99 19 8 5 1 0 0 9 2 3
6. Zane Smith Pittsburgh 3.20 16 10 .615 0 0 35 35 228 323 81 26 3 1 2 0 26 8 27
7. John Smiley Pittsburgh 3.08 20 8 .714 0 0 33 32 207.2 295 71 44 0 3 3 1 18 13 11
8. Tim Belcher Los Angeles 2.62 10 9 .526 0 0 33 33 209.1 251 61 72 3 7 2 0 17 10 15
9. Bruce Hurst San Diego 3.29 15 8 .652 0 0 31 31 221.2 284 81 56 3 5 3 1 11 6 14
10. Mitch Williams Philadelphia 2.34 12 5 .706 30 9 69 0 88.1 82 23 57 5 4 8 1 12 2 3
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1991
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 2.62 18 10 .643 0 0 35 35 271.1 326 79 53 12 6 5 0 23 16 18
2. Jim Abbott California 2.89 18 11 .621 0 0 34 34 243 305 78 67 6 1 5 4 12 14 22
3. Scott Erickson Minnesota 3.18 20 8 .714 0 0 32 32 204 277 72 68 3 4 6 0 4 10 22
4. Marl Langston California 3.00 19 8 .704 0 0 34 34 246.1 318 82 93 3 6 2 0 10 15 16
5. Bret Saberhagen Kansas City 3.07 13 8 .619 0 0 28 28 196.1 237 67 40 5 8 9 1 9 9 14
6. Bryan Harvey California 1.60 2 4 .333 46 6 67 0 78.2 76 14 14 3 2 1 2 12 0 3
7. Jimmy Key Toronto 3.05 16 12 .571 0 0 33 33 209.1 283 71 41 3 1 3 0 6 2 14
8. Bill Wegman Milwaukee 2.84 15 7 .682 0 0 28 28 193.1 259 61 40 0 6 7 0 10 7 17
9. Nolan Ryan Texas 2.91 12 6 .667 0 0 27 27 173 169 56 72 0 8 5 0 24 8 7
10. Jack McDowell Chicago 3.41 17 10 .630 0 0 35 35 253.2 323 96 80 2 10 4 1 22 10 11

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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1991 Awards


NL MVP
Terry Pendleton, Atlanta

AL MVP
Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore


NL Cy Young Award
Tom Glavine, Atlanta

AL Cy Young Award
Roger Clemens, Boston


NL Rookie of the Year
Jeff Bagwell, Houston

AL Rookie of the Year
Chuck Knoblauch, Minnesota


NL Manager of the Year
Bobby Cox, Atlanta

AL Manager of the Year
Tom Kelly, Minnesota


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Greg Maddux, Chicago
C Tom Pagnozzi, St. Louis
1B Will Clark, San Francisco
2B Ryne Sandberg, Chicago
3B Matt Williams, San Francisco
SS Ozzie Smith, St. Louis
OF Andy Van Slyke, Pittsburgh
OF Barry Bonds, Pittsburgh
OF Tony Gwynn, San Diego


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Mark Langston, California
C Tony Pena, Boston
1B Don Mattingly, New York
2B Roberto Alomar, Toronto
3B Robin Ventura, Chicago
SS Cal Ripken Jr., Baltimore
OF Kirby Puckett, Minnesota
OF Devon White, Toronto
OF Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle