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MLB Batting Leaders By Year—1980s

Updated on May 6, 2008

Kirby Puckett

Wade Boggs

Tony Gwynn


For most of the 1980's, guys named Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn dominated the major leagues in batting, with one or the other leading the entire league in batting average six of the ten seasons during the decade. Here is a complete list of those leaders from the ‘80's:

1989-Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins (.339)

Minnesota's Kirby Puckett was always a steady player, but 1989 was the only season in which Puckett led the majors in batting, with a .339 average. That year, Puckett also hit 9 home runs with 85 RBI, 215 hits, 45 doubles, 11 stolen bases and a .465 slugging percentage. Sadly, Puckett passed away at the age of 45 in 2006.

1988-Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox (.366)

Wade Boggs played professionally for 21 seasons, and had a .328 career batting average. He also led the majors in batting several times, including four times in the ‘80's. In 1988, Boggs led the league with a .366 average, 5 home runs, 58 runs batted in, 214 hits, 45 doubles, 6 triples, 128 runs, 125 walks, and a career best .476 on-base average.

1987-Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres (.370)

Tony Gwynn played for 20 seasons, all with San Diego, and had a lifetime batting average of .338. Gwynn and Boggs were two of the greatest hitters of the modern era. In 1987, Gwynn led the majors with a .370 average. That season, Gwynn also hit 7 homers, with 54 RBI, 218 hits, 119 runs, 36 doubles, 13 triples, 56 stolen bases, 82 walks, a .447 on base average and .511 slugging percentage.

1986-Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox (.357)

In 1986, Wade Boggs helped the Red Sox reach the World Series, and led the majors in hitting with a .357 average. Boggs hit 8 home runs with 71 RBI, 207 hits, 107 runs, 47 doubles, 105 walks, and a .453 on base percentage.

1985-Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox (.368)

In 1985, Wade Boggs not only led the major leagues in batting, he also had a career high .368 average. That season, Boggs hit 8 homers with 78 RBI, 240 hits (also a career best), 107 runs, 42 doubles, 96 walks, and a .450 on base average.

1984-Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres (.351)

In 1984, the San Diego Padres went to the World Series for the first time ever, and one of the reasons was a young Tony Gwynn, who led the majors with a .351 batting average. Gwynn also hit 5 homers that season, with 71 RBI, 213 hits, 21 doubles, 10 triples, 33 stolen bases, and a .410 on base percentage. Gwynn finished third in the NL MVP voting that year.

1983-Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox (.361)

1983 was Wade Boggs' first full season in the majors, and he made it count by leading the league in batting. That season, Boggs hit .361 with 5 home runs, 74 runs batted in, 210 hits, 100 runs, 44 doubles, 7 triples, 92 walks and .44 on base percentage.

1982-Willie Wilson, Kansas City Royals (.332)

Willie Wilson was a speedy player and great hitter, who played for 19 seasons, mostly with the Royals. In 1982, Wilson led the majors with a .332 batting average. That season, Wilson had 194 hits with 19 doubles, 15 triples, 3 homers, 46 RBI, 37 stolen bases, a .365 on-base average and a .431 slugging percentage.

1981-Bill Madlock, Pittsburgh Pirates (.341)

Bill Madlock was a journeyman player who had a .305 lifetime batting average over 15 seasons. In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Madlock led the major leagues with a .341 average. He had 6 homers, 45 RBI, 23 doubles, 18 stolen bases, a .413 on base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage.

1980-George Brett, Kansas City Royals (.390)

George Brett was a lifetime .305 hitter over 21 seasons, all with Kansas City. But in 1980, when Brett led the Royals to the AL pennant, he had a career year. That season, Brett hit a whopping .390 with 24 homers, 118 runs batted in, 33 doubles, 9 triples, 15 stolen bases, a .454 on-base average and career best .664 slugging percentage on his way to taking home the AL MVP Award.


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