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American League MVPs by Year—1980s
Before talk of steroids and before the big home run chases and before the juiced baseball and all that in Major League Baseball, players can say they legitimately put up offensive numbers. That includes, or so we think, the decade of the 1980s. Here is a list of American League MVP Award winners of that decade:
1989-Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers
In a very tight race over Texas' Ruben Sierra, Baltimore's Cal Ripken Jr. and Toronto's George Bell, Milwaukee outfielder Robin Yount took home the AL MVP Award in 1989. That season, Yount hit .318 with 21 homers and 103 RBI. Yount also had 38 doubles, 9 triples, 19 stolen bases, 101 runs scored, and a slugging percentage of .511.
1988-Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics
Jose Canseco was one of the "bash brothers" along with Mark McGwire, and in 1988 he had a great season even by his own standards. That year, Canseco took home the AL MVP by batting a career high of .307 with 42 home runs and 124 RBI (also a career best). He also hit 34 doubles and stole 40 bases, becoming the first player in history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season.
1987-George Bell, Toronto Blue Jays
In a close vote over Detroit's Alan Trammell, Blue Jays' outfielder George Bell won the American League MVP in 1987. Bell hit .308 with 47 home runs and 134 runs batted in. He also added 32 doubles and posted a slugging percentage of .605.
1986-Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox
Boston flamethrower Roger Clemens had such a great season in 1986, that he took home both the AL Cy Young AND MVP Awards in helping lead his Red Sox to the World Series. Clemens went 24-4 that year with a 2.48 earned run average, and 238 strikeouts to just 67 walks in 254 innings of work. He also had 10 complete games and one shutout.
1985-Don Mattingly, New York Yankees
With 23 out of 28 first-place votes, Yankees' first baseman Don Mattingly took home the AL MVP Award in 1985 over Kansas City third baseman George Brett. Mattingly hit .324 with career highs in home runs (35) and RBI (145). He also hit 48 doubles and a posted a slugging percentage of .567.
1984-Willie Hernandez, Detroit Tigers
In helping to lead the Detroit Tigers to the World Series title in 1984, closer Willie Hernandez also won the Cy Young and MVP Awards in the American League. Hernandez went 9-3 with 32 saves, a 1.92 ERA and 112 strikeouts to 36 walks in 140 innings of work. And he pitched in almost half of his team's games (80).
1983-Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles
In a close vote over teammate Eddie Murray, Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. won the AL MVP Award in 1983. It would be his first of two, as he won it again in 1991. In that 1983 season, Ripken batted .318 with 27 homers and 102 RBI. He added 47 doubles, with an on-base average of .371 and slugging percentage of .517 in helping the Orioles win a championship.
1982-Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers
In 1982, Robin Yount won the first of his two American League MVP Awards and helped the Brewers reach the World Series. Yount batted a career high of .331 and added career bests in home runs (29) and RBI (114). He also had 46 doubles, 12 triples, 129 runs scored, 14 stolen bases and a slugging percentage of .578.
1981-Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers
Reliever Rollie Fingers might be best known for his curly mustache, but in 1981 he won the AL Cy Young Award and the AL MVP, the latter by a close margin over Oakland's Rickey Henderson. Fingers went 6-3 with a 1.04 ERA and 28 saves in a strike-shortened season in which he appeared in only 47 games.
1980-George Brett, Kansas City Royals
Over a fine career, Royals third baseman George Brett was in the running for the AL MVP Award several times. But the only time he won it was in 1980, when he helped lead the Royals to a World Series appearance against Philadelphia. Brett batted an astonishing .390 that season with 33 doubles, 9 triples, 24 home runs, 118 runs batted in, an on base average of .454, and a slugging percentage of .664.