The 1980 MLB season was defined by different types of excellence in each league. The National League provided raw drama and its finest, from the conclusion of the division races to the NLCS. The American League produced two outstanding teams and a superlative individual performance…
*The NL East & NL West races not only went to the final weekend of the season, but both ended with head-to-head battles. The Philadelphia Phillies and Montreal Expos in the East, with the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West. The Phillies won an extra inning game to clinch, and the Astros survived a one-game playoff.
*The defending champion Pittsburgh Pirates made a good run at a repeat. They opened the stretch drive in first place, narrowly atop a packed NL East. But the Pirates faded, gave way to the Phils and Expos, and set the tone for a rough decade ahead in the Steel City. The Reds, the other National League playoff team from a year ago, also stayed in the race to the final week before settling for third place.
*The Phillies and Astros staged the greatest League Championship Series ever played. It went the full five games. The last four were extra-inning affairs and the decisive fifth game had three lead changes in the final three innings alone. Philadelphia ultimately survived.
*The AL East had the two best regular season teams. The New York Yankees won 103 games to return to the top of their division, but the Baltimore Orioles made sure it wasn’t easy. The Orioles won 100 games. This race’s best moments were in August, and the Yankees were able to at least keep the Birds at arm’s length down the stretch.
*George Brett, the great third baseman of the Kansas City Royals, made a run at batting .400. He ended up a little bit short, at .390, but it was good enough to win the MVP award and get his team its fourth ALCS appearance in the last five years.
*Each previous time in the ALCS the Royals had been eliminated by the Yankees. The fourth time was the charm for Kansas City as they won the pennant with the decisive blow appropriately coming for Brett.
*The first all-artificial turf World Series took place between Philadelphia and Kansas City. It was a good series, but one where the Phillies kept coming up with the biggest hits at the biggest moments and with their six-game triumph brought home the franchise’s first title in 65 years.
The articles below tell the stories of the nine most important teams, and the game-by-game narratives of the three October postseason series…
READ MORE ABOUT THE 1980 MONTREAL EXPOS
READ MORE ABOUT THE 1980 PITTSBURGH PIRATES
READ MORE ABOUT THE 1980 LOS ANGELES DODGERS
READ MORE ABOUT THE 1980 CINCINNATI REDS
READ MORE ABOUT THE 1980 BALTIMORE ORIOLES