’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Forgotten Stars Of The 1980s’
I had such a good time, and judging by the reader reaction so did you, working on and writing my ‘Top Ten List’ from last week that I wanted to extend the same subject into the 1980’s.
So, that is this week’s theme – ‘Top Ten Forgotten Stars Of The 1980s’.
Again, like last week, you will not find any Hall of Fame players, although there are several that I think deserve more credit in the overall scheme of things.
You will also not find players that still get a lot of attention in the sport and hobby – Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Cecil Fielder, Eric Davis, etc.
What you will find is a list of players that I really enjoyed watching during their primes.
Are you ready? Let’s do this!!!
Honorable Mention – Andy VanSlyke, Ruben Sierra, Todd Worrell, Chili Davis, Pedro Guerrero, Willie Wilson, John Franco, and Gary Gaetti.
10 – George Bell. You can call him George or Jorge or ‘Liberty’, but you better add ‘slugger’ too. One of the decades best home run hitters, Bell was an offensive machine. The producer of home runs, RBI, and high batting average led Bell to receive 3 All-Star selections, 3 Silver Slugger Awards and the 1987 AL MVP.
9 – Lance Parrish. Parrish was the core of the Detroit Tigers for most of the early-to-mid 1980’s. His skill both at the plate and behind it helped make him a perennial All-Star selection. Parrish is also a 6-time Silver Slugger winner and has 3 Gold Gloves.
8 – Mike Greenwell. While there may have been other ‘big’ names in Boston that got national attention, if you ask any Red Sox fan from that era, they will tell you that Mike Greenwell was a key contributor to the team’s success. Greenwell played 12 years for the Sox and retired with a .303 batting average, which included 7 seasons above the .300 mark. Greenwell was a 2-time All-Star and runner-up for the MVP award in 1988.
7 – Kent Hrbek. The anchor of the Twins’ offense and defense, Hrbek played 14 solid seasons with the Twins. A 2-time World Series champion, he hit 293 home runs during his career while driving in 1,086. Hrbek was the runner up for the ROY in 1982 and MVP in 1984.
6 – Rick Sutcliffe. An old-school pitcher that was probably a decade or two late to the game, Sutcliffe embodied the ‘mean’ approach that made several pitchers legends in the 1960s. Used as both a starter and reliever during his playing days, Sutcliffe retired with a 171-139 record. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1979 and won the 1984 Cy Young Award with his 20-6 record, 9 complete games, and 213 strikeouts.
5 – Harold Baines. A 22-season veteran, Baines racked up some very impressive stats during his playing days. A lifetime .289 hitter, Baines collected 2,866 hits. He also had a knack for power and run production – 48 doubles, 384 home runs, 1,299 runs scored, and 1,628 RBI. Baines was a 6-time All-Star.
4 – Willie McGee. Talk about a perfect for a team.. Willie McGee brought the Cardinals instant offense as a rookie in 1982. In fact, the 23-year old played a large role in the Cardinals World Series win that season. In 1985 McGee was unreal – .353 batting average, 216 hits, 56 stolen bases, 114 runs scored, 86 RBI, a batting title, All-Star selection, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and MVP!! In total, McGee was a 4-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove winner, and one of the most popular Cardinals in team history.
3 – Tim Raines. Quite possibly the second best lead-off hitter of the last fifty years, there was nothing Tim Raines could not do on a baseball diamond. He stole 808 bases during his career, scored 1,571 runs, and has a lifetime batting average of .294. Raines was a 7-time All-Star and has 5 finishes in the Top 12 for the MVP.
2 – Lee Smith. Smith ranks in 3rd place on the all-time saves list, and he will not give up that spot any time soon. He ranks ahead of every Hall of Famer to ever be tagged as a ‘closer’. Smith played in 18 big league seasons, accumulating 478 saves along the way. Smith reached the post-season only twice, which translates to his role being even more important as we was closing games for teams that were not very competitive.
1 – Jack Morris. Morris pitched in the majors for 18 seasons. He won more game than any other pitcher in the 1980s, totalling 254 wins for his career. He has 3 20-win seasons under his belt and an impressive 7 finishes in the Top 9 for the Cy Young award. Morris competed in 3 World Series match-ups, winning all three – for three different teams. He won the 1991 World Series MVP, and finished his post-season career with a 4-2 record.
And there it is. I’m a bit exhausted, but that was a lot of fun too!!!
Do you think that I missed anyone? Are my rankings appropriate? Let me hear it!!!
And for the record – on this list, numbers 3,2,and 1 all deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Just my opinion…
Thanks for reading.