1980 in baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1980 throughout the world.
Major League Baseball
World Series: Philadelphia Phillies over Kansas City Royals (4–2); Mike Schmidt, MVP
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- January 9 – Al Kaline and Duke Snider are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Kaline is the 10th player to be elected in his first year of eligibility, while Snider is making his 11th appearance on the ballot.
- January 24 – The New York Mets are sold to a group headed by Nelson Doubleday, Jr. and Fred Wilpon for an estimated $21.1 million. It was, at the time, the highest amount ever paid for an American professional sports franchise.
- February 12 – The Board of the Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland City Council both reject an attempt to buy out the remainder of the Oakland Athletics' lease to the stadium. This blocks an attempt to sell the team and a possible move to Denver.
- March 8 – Rookie Joe Charboneau of the Cleveland Indians is attacked outside a Mexico City hotel. A fan seeking his autograph stabs him in the chest with a pen. Charboneau misses the start of the year, but goes on to bat .289, hitting 23 home runs, while driving in 87 RBI in 131 games. He will be elected American League Rookie of the Year.
- March 12 – Slugger Chuck Klein and former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Yawkey is the first club owner selected who never served as a player, manager or general manager.
- April 10 – Right Fielder Sixto Lezcano blasts a grand slam home run for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day in the bottom of the 9th Inning to win the game, making him the first player to accomplish this feat in two straight years. Lezcano also hit a grand slam two years prior on Opening Day.
- April 12 – Newly acquired Nolan Ryan makes his first National League start since 1971 for the Houston Astros and belts his first career home run, a three-run shot, in the fourth inning off Don Sutton of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ryan, however, only lasts six innings and the Dodgers win the game 6-5 in 17 innings at the Astrodome.
- May 3 – Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants hits what will be the last of his 521 career home runs, off Scott Sanderson of the Montreal Expos, in the fourth inning of the Giants' 3-2 victory over the Expos at Olympic Stadium. McCovey becomes the second player, after Ted Williams (who also retired with 521 career home runs), to hit a home run in four different decades.
- May 23 – Texas Rangers pitcher Ferguson Jenkins wins his 250th game against the Oakland Athletics. Jenkins pitched a complete game for the Rangers, striking out eight batters in the victory.
- May 29 – At San Diego Stadium, Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds breaks Yogi Berra's all-time record for home runs by a catcher. He hits two home runs off Randy Jones in the Reds' 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres; the first comes in the second inning and gives him 336 on his career and 306 as a catcher, breaking a tie he had shared with Berra.
- June 20 – California Angels shortstop Freddie Patek hits three home runs and collects seven RBIs in the Angels' 20–2 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
- June 27 – At Candlestick Park, Jerry Reuss of the Los Angeles Dodgers no-hits the San Francisco Giants 8-0. A Bill Russell error on Jack Clark's first-inning ground ball is the only baserunner Reuss allows.
- July 3 – Minnesota Twins outfielder Ken Landreaux ties an American League record in hitting three triples during a win over the Texas Rangers. Earlier this season, Landreaux set the Twins club record with a 31-game hitting streak, a record that still stands thirty-five years later.
- July 4
- July 6 – Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Steve Carlton becomes the major leagues' left-handed strikeout king, fanning seven Cardinals in an 8–3 Phillies win to bring his career total to 2,836. Mickey Lolich had held the record with 2,832.
- July 8 – At Dodger Stadium, the National League battles back to win its ninth consecutive All-Star Game over the American League, 4–2. Ken Griffey goes 2-for-3 with a solo home run to win the MVP honors.
- July 30 – Houston Astros pitcher J. R. Richard suffers a stroke during his first attempt to pitch since being hospitalized for tests weeks earlier. He would not play again.
- August 27 – The Philadelphia Phillies' Steve Carlton becomes the first National League pitcher to win twenty games this season, combining with Tug McGraw to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4–3. Carlton will win a National League-high 24 games, while pitching 304 innings, the last MLB pitcher to throw more than 300 innings in a season.
- September 10 – Bill Gullickson strikes out 18, the most by a major league rookie pitcher, as the Montréal Expos beat the Chicago Cubs 4–2.
- September 18 – Gary Ward hit for the cycle in a 9-8 Minnesota Twins loss to Milwaukee. He did it in only the 14th game of his career, which still stands as the major league record for fewest games played before first hitting for the cycle.
- September 20 – George Brett goes 0-for-4 dropping his batting average below .400. It will not climb above .400 again, and he finishes the season with a .390 batting average, the closest any player had come to a .400 batting average since Ted Williams in 1941. Only Tony Gwynn will come closer than that before the 20th century ends.
- September 24 – The Atlanta Braves reach the 1,000,000 mark in attendance. It marks the first time that every National League team has drawn at least 1,000,000 fans for a season.
- October 4 – In a 17–1 rout of the Minnesota Twins, Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals becomes the first major league player ever to be credited with 700 at-bats in a single season, and ends the year with 705 at bats. He also sets the AL record for singles in a season with 184, eclipsing the mark Sam Rice set in 1925. Wilson also becomes only the second player in major league history to collect 100 hits from each side of the plate, matching the feat accomplished by Garry Templeton in 1979.
- October 4 – Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt hits a 2-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to give the Phillies a 6–4 win over the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium, clinching the National League East title. The home run is Schmidt's 48th of the season, breaking Eddie Mathews' single-season record for third basemen set in 1953.
- October 5 – On October 3, the Los Angeles Dodgers had been down three games to the Houston Astros to tie for the National League West Division title. Needing a sweep of the Astros, the Dodgers complete just such a sweep today; each of the wins by a single run. They will play a one-game playoff tomorrow.
- October 6 – After suffering through the three game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers the last three days, Joe Niekro wins his twentieth game of the season to earn a win for the Houston Astros, 7–1, in a one-game playoff. It is the Astros' first Division Title.
- October 9 – The Kansas City Royals win Game 2 of the 1980 ALCS 3-2, but the game is remembered for the top of the eighth inning. With Willie Randolph on first with two outs, Bob Watson lines a double to left. Yankee third base coach Mike Ferraro waves Randolph home, and the Royals gun him down at the plate. With a national television audience looking on, Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is shown in the stands on ABC game cameras shouting Ferraro's name at general manager Gene Michael. Steinbrenner ordered Yankee manager Dick Howser to fire Ferraro on the spot right after the game, but Howser refused.
- October 10 – In Game 3 of the 1980 ALCS, and with the New York Yankees leading 2–1, Kansas City Royals' George Brett delivered a three-run home run off Yankees' reliever Rich Gossage, and with it total revenge for the Royals, who won the pennant after being second best to the Yankees in the ALCS in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Kansas City won the pennant in, of all places, Yankee Stadium. After the game, Dick Howser resigns as Yankee manager over the events in Game 2 involving Mike Ferraro as described above.
- October 12 – The Philadelphia Phillies capture their first pennant since 1950 with a 10-inning, 8–7 win over the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, in the fifth and final game of the NL Championship Series. Each of the last four games was decided in extra innings. The Phillies, down by three runs to Nolan Ryan in the 8th inning, rally and go ahead on Garry Maddox's double in the 10th inning.
- October 21 – The Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, the first WS Championship in their 98-year history, by beating the Kansas City Royals, 4–1, in Game Six. Steve Carlton earns the win, though the most memorable moment may be Tug McGraw on the mound jumping for joy as he earns the save after loading the bases with no outs. Another equally memorable moment comes with one out in the bottom of the ninth when Frank White's pop-up is bobbled by Bob Boone, only to be tipped into the glove of Pete Rose. Philadelphia's Mike Schmidt is named MVP, hitting .381 with two home runs and seven RBI, while KC's Willie Wilson is the "goat", striking out a WS-record 12 times, including the final out of the Series with the bases loaded, and hitting only .154. Of the original 16 Major League franchises from 1901, the Phillies are the last to win their first World Series.
- November 3 – An era ends for the Oakland Athletics as the sale of the team is finalized. The flamboyant Charlie O. Finley sells the team to Walter A. Haas, ending his relationship with the team.
- November 4 – Sadaharu Oh announces his retirement as a player from Japanese baseball. His 868 documented career home runs remain an unapproached world record among professional baseball players.
- November 12:
- November 25 – Gene Michael becomes the 25th manager in New York Yankees history, replacing a fired Dick Howser, who led the team to the American League East title with a 103–59 mark.
- November 26 – Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt, who hit .286 with career highs of 48 home runs and 121 RBI, is a unanimous choice as National League Most Valuable Player.
- December 1 – Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Steve Howe wins the National League Rookie of the Year Award, edging Montréal Expos starting pitcher Bill Gullickson and outfielder Lonnie Smith of the Philadelphia Phillies. Howe posted a 7–9 record with a 2.65 ERA and 17 saves.
- December 9 – The Chicago Cubs send relief pitcher Bruce Sutter to their arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, in exchange for first baseman Leon Durham. Sutter will go on to save many more games for the Cardinals, while Durham's critical error in Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS will doom the Cubs.
- December 12 The St. Louis Cardinals trade future Hall of Fame closer Rollie Fingers, All star catcher Ted Simmons and pitcher Pete Vuckovich to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitchers Dave LaPoint & Lary Sorensen and outfielders David Green & Sixto Lezcano.
- January 10 – Hughie Critz, 79, second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants who led NL in fielding four times and double plays three times.
- January 21 – Gene Rye, 73, outfielder for the 1931 Boston Red Sox.
- February 1 – Fred Walters, 67, catcher for the 1945 Boston Red Sox, and one of many players who only appeared in the majors during World War II.
- February 2 – Jack Rothrock, 74, center fielder for four different teams from 1925 to 1937, who led the victorious St. Louis Cardinals with six RBI in the 1934 World Series.
- March 1 – Emmett Ashford, 65, the major leagues' first black umpire, who worked in the American League from 1966 to 1970 and in the 1970 World Series.
- March 1 – Johnny Watwood, 74, center fielder who played from 1929 to 1939 for the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies.
- April 7 – Buck Canel, 74, Spanish-language broadcaster of 42 World Series, as well as many years of New York Yankees games.
- April 21 – Ray Dobens, 73, pitcher for the 1929 Boston Red Sox.
- April 21 – Joe Page, 62, All-Star relief pitcher for the New York Yankees who set single-season record with 27 saves in 1949, led AL in saves and appearances twice each.
- April 28 – Bob Porterfield, 56, All-Star pitcher who was named The Sporting News AL Pitcher of the Year in 1953 after a 22–10 season with the Senators.
- June 1 – Rube Marquard, 93, Hall of Fame pitcher who retired with 201 wins and the NL record for career strikeouts by a left-hander (1593); had 19 consecutive wins for the Giants in 1912 for a modern major league record.
- June 3 – Fred Lieb, 92, sportswriter who covered every World Series from 1911 to 1958.
- June 9 – Odell Hale, 71, infielder for the Cleveland Indians in the 1930s, who hit .300 three times and collected two 100-RBI seasons.
- July 4 – Jack Martin, 93, shortstop who played from 1912 to 1914 for the New York Highlanders, Boston Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.
- July 23 – Wally Snell, 91, catcher for the 1913 Boston Red Sox, who later went on to a distinguished career as a college botany professor and athletic coach at Brown University for four decades.
- July 30 – Joe Lucey, 83, infielder/pitcher for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox between 1920 and 1925.
- August 4 – Lefty Jamerson, 80, pitcher for the 1924 Boston Red Sox.
- August 27 – John Wilson, 77, pitched briefly for the Red Sox from 1927 to 1928.
- September 18 – Fredda Acker, 54, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, who was named Mrs. America in 1947.
- September 24 – Ernie Shore, 89, pitcher who relieved Babe Ruth with a man on first in a 1917 game and proceeded to retire the runner and all 26 remaining batters.
- October 1 – Pat Veltman, 74, utility player best known for his 1928 season, where his only hit was a triple.
- November 29 – Bill Dunlap, 71, outfielder for the Boston Braves from 1929 to 1930.
- December 4 – Georgette Vincent, 52. who pitched for two All-American Girls Professional Baseball League champion teams spanning 1951–1952.
- December 5 – Don Padgett, 69, backup catcher/outfielder who hit .288 in 699 games with the Cardinals, Dodgers, Braves and Phillies from 1937 to 1948.
- December 14 – Elston Howard, 51, nine-time All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees who was that team's first black player and the AL's 1963 MVP; later a coach.
- December 31 – Bob Shawkey, 90, pitcher who had four 20-win seasons for the Yankees, later was coach at Dartmouth.