1988 Major League Baseball season

This article is about the 1988 Major League Baseball season only. For information on all of baseball, see 1988 in baseball.
1988 MLB season
League Major League Baseball
Sport Baseball
Duration April 4, 1988 – October 20, 1988
Regular season
Season MVP NL: Kirk Gibson (LA)
AL: José Canseco (OAK)
League postseason
AL champions Oakland Athletics
  AL runners-up Boston Red Sox
NL champions Los Angeles Dodgers
  NL runners-up New York Mets
World Series
Champions Los Angeles Dodgers
Finals MVP Orel Hershiser (LA)

The 1988 Major League Baseball season ended with the underdog Los Angeles Dodgers shocking the Oakland Athletics, who had won 104 games during the regular season, in the World Series. The most memorable moment of the series came in Game 1, when injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit walk-off home run off Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley to win the game for Los Angeles. The Dodgers went on to win the Series in five games.


A ticket from the game where Goose Gossage earned his 300th career save on August 6, 1988.

One of the American League's best players in 1988 was Athletics outfielder José Canseco, who became the first player in history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season, unanimously garnering league MVP honors. The A's surrounded him with a stellar supporting cast, led by fellow slugger Mark McGwire (with whom Canseco formed the famed "Bash Brothers" duo). Aided by strong pitching from Dave Stewart and Bob Welch and the lights-out Eckersley securing 45 saves, Oakland ran away with the American League West and swept the Boston Red Sox of Boggs, Rice, and Clemens in the playoffs before falling to the Dodgers in the World Series.

Speaking of the Dodgers, nobody expected them to even contend for the National League West title in 1988, let alone win the World Championship. However, the intensity and clutch hitting of Gibson (named the NL MVP at season's end) and the solid pitching of Orel Hershiser (who won a league-leading 23 games) spearheaded L.A. to a division championship by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to his 23 victories, Hershiser led the National League with 267 innings pitched and 8 shutouts, and also set a record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings (formerly held by Dodger great Don Drysdale). These accomplishments, combined with his 2.26 ERA, earned him the National League Cy Young Award. However, it was in the post-season that Hershiser really distinguished himself – he started Games 1 and 3 of the NLCS against the tough New York Mets, saved Game 4 in relief, and threw a complete game shutout in Game 7. He hurled another complete game shutout in Game 2 of the World Series and again went the distance in the clinching Game 5. Hershiser was named MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series, capping off arguably one of the greatest seasons a starting pitcher has ever had.

Awards and honors

MLB statistical leaders

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Wade Boggs BOS .366 Tony Gwynn SD .313
HR José Canseco OAK 42 Darryl Strawberry NYM 39
RBI José Canseco OAK 124 Will Clark SF 109
Wins Frank Viola MIN 24 Orel Hershiser LA
Danny Jackson CIN
ERA Allan Anderson MIN
Teddy Higuera MIL
2.45 Joe Magrane STL 2.18
SO Roger Clemens BOS 291 Nolan Ryan HOU 228
SV Dennis Eckersley OAK 45 John Franco CIN 39
SB Rickey Henderson NYY 93 Vince Coleman STL 81

Major league baseball final standings

American League

AL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
Boston Red Sox 89 73 0.549 53–28 36–45
Detroit Tigers 88 74 0.543 1 50–31 38–43
Milwaukee Brewers 87 75 0.537 2 47–34 40–41
Toronto Blue Jays 87 75 0.537 2 45–36 42–39
New York Yankees 85 76 0.528 46–34 39–42
Cleveland Indians 78 84 0.481 11 44–37 34–47
Baltimore Orioles 54 107 0.335 34½ 34–46 20–61
AL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Oakland Athletics 104 58 0.642 54–27 50–31
Minnesota Twins 91 71 0.562 13 47–34 44–37
Kansas City Royals 84 77 0.522 19½ 44–36 40–41
California Angels 75 87 0.463 29 35–46 40–41
Chicago White Sox 71 90 0.441 32½ 40–41 31–49
Texas Rangers 70 91 0.435 33½ 38–43 32–48
Seattle Mariners 68 93 0.422 35½ 37–44 31–49

National League

NL East W L Pct. GB Home Road
New York Mets 100 60 0.625 56–24 44–36
Pittsburgh Pirates 85 75 0.531 15 43–38 42–37
Montreal Expos 81 81 0.500 20 43–38 38–43
Chicago Cubs 77 85 0.475 24 39–42 38–43
St. Louis Cardinals 76 86 0.469 25 41–40 35–46
Philadelphia Phillies 65 96 0.404 35½ 38–42 27–54
NL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Los Angeles Dodgers 94 67 0.584 45–36 49–31
Cincinnati Reds 87 74 0.540 7 45–35 42–39
San Diego Padres 83 78 0.516 11 47–34 36–44
San Francisco Giants 83 79 0.512 11½ 45–36 38–43
Houston Astros 82 80 0.506 12½ 44–37 38–43
Atlanta Braves 54 106 0.338 39½ 28–51 26–55


Major League Baseball

  League Championship Series ABC World Series NBC
East  Boston 0  
West  Oakland 4  
    AL  Oakland 1
  NL  Los Angeles 4
East  New York Mets 3
West  Los Angeles 4  


American League

Team Manager Notes
Baltimore Orioles Cal Ripken, Sr., Frank Robinson
Boston Red Sox John McNamara, Joe Morgan
California Angels Cookie Rojas, Moose Stubing
Chicago White Sox Jim Fregosi
Cleveland Indians Doc Edwards
Detroit Tigers Sparky Anderson
Kansas City Royals John Wathan
Milwaukee Brewers Tom Trebelhorn
Minnesota Twins Tom Kelly
New York Yankees Billy Martin, Lou Piniella
Oakland Athletics Tony La Russa Won American League Pennant
Seattle Mariners Dick Williams, Jim Snyder
Texas Rangers Bobby Valentine
Toronto Blue Jays Jimy Williams

National League

Team Manager Notes
Atlanta Braves Chuck Tanner, Russ Nixon
Chicago Cubs Don Zimmer
Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose, Tommy Helms
Houston Astros Hal Lanier
Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda Won World Series
Montreal Expos Buck Rodgers
New York Mets Davey Johnson
Philadelphia Phillies Lee Elia, John Vukovich
Pittsburgh Pirates Jim Leyland
St. Louis Cardinals Whitey Herzog
San Diego Padres Larry Bowa, Jack McKeon
San Francisco Giants Roger Craig





  1. Mackin, Bob (2004). The Unofficial Guide to Baseball's Most Unusual Records. Canada: Greystone Books. p. 240. ISBN 9781553650386..
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