MLB Home Run Leaders By Year—1980s
If you, like me, grew up in the ‘70's and ‘80's as a baseball fan, you'll recognize some names on this list instantly-Jose Canseco, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson. Those are a few of the major league home run leaders of the 1980s, and here is that complete list:
1989-Kevin Mitchell, San Francisco Giants (47)
As a Mets fan, I saw Kevin Mitchell come up as a rookie, and I always knew he had the potential for a huge season. That season came in 1989 while helping lead the Giants to the National League pennant, when Mitchell led the majors with 47 home runs. He also batted .291 with 125 RBI, 100 runs, 34 doubles, 6 triples, and a .635 slugging percentage on his way to winning the NL MVP Award.
1988-Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics (42)
Unfortunately, Jose Canseco is now remembered more for being a steroid user and tattletale for others that used performance enhancers. But when he played, the dude was pretty special. In 1988, Canseco led the majors with 42 home runs, while also stealing 40 bases. In addition, he hit .307 with 34 doubles, 120 runs, 124 RBI, and .569 slugging percentage. Canseco helped the A's win the AL pennant that year and also took home the AL MVP Award.
1987-Andre Dawson, Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire, Oakland Athletics (49)
In 1987, Andre Dawson's first season as a Cub, he really made it count by tying Oakland's Mark McGwire for the major league lead in homers with 49. Dawson won the NL MVP, hitting .287 with the 49 home runs, 137 runs batted in, 24 doubles, 11 stolen bases, and a .568 slugging percentage. He also added a Gold Glove in the outfield. McGwire, meanwhile, was just beginning his legendary status. He won the AL Rookie of the Year by batting .289 with 49 homers, 118 RBI, 28 doubles, and a .618 slugging percentage.
1986-Jesse Barfield, Toronto Blue Jays (40)
Jesse Barfield had a nice 12-year career with the Blue Jays and Yankees, but nothing came close to Barfield's 1986 season. That year, he led the majors with 40 home runs, and batted .289 with 108 RBI, 35 doubles, 107 runs, .368 on base average and .559 slugging percentage.
1985-Darrell Evans, Detroit Tigers (40)
With 414 home runs over 21 seasons, Darrell Evans was a very reliable and steady power hitter. In 1985 while with Detroit, Evans led the majors with 40 home runs. He also batted .248 with 94 runs batted in, and a .519 slugging percentage.
1984-Tony Armas, Boston Red Sox (43)
Journeyman outfielder Tony Armas was a very good player who had a career year with Boston in 1984. That season, Armas hit 43 home runs to lead the majors. He also batted .268 with a career best 123 RBI, 29 doubles, 107 runs and a .531 slugging percentage.
1983-Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies (40)
Mike Schmidt ranks very high on the all-time home run list with 548 for his career. Schmidt led the majors for the third time in four years in 1983, with 40 homers. That season, Schmidt also batted .255 with 109 RBI, 104 runs, .399 on base average and .524 slugging percentage. He also won his eighth straight Gold Glove Award at third base.
1982-Reggie Jackson, California Angels and Gorman Thomas, Milwaukee Brewers (39)
They weren't career-best numbers, but Reggie Jackson's 39 homers in 1982 were enough for a share of the major league lead with Milwaukee's Gorman Thomas. Jackson also batted .275 with 101 runs batted in, 92 runs and .532 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Thomas helped the Brewers reach the World Series by clubbing 39 home runs, and batted .245 with 112 RBI, 29 doubles, 96 runs, and a .506 slugging percentage.
1981-Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies (31)
In the strike-shortened 1981 season, Mike Schmidt only played in 102 games. But Schmidt still led the majors with 31 home runs, and hit .316 with 91 RBI, 19 doubles, 78 runs, 12 stolen bases and .644 slugging percentage on his way to winning his second straight NL MVP Award.
1980-Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies (48)
In 1980, Mike Schmidt helped the Phillies win their only World Series title, clubbing a major league best 48 home runs on his way to winning the NL MVP Award. Schmidt's 48 dingers were a career high, and he also hit .286 with 121 RBI, 25 doubles, 104 runs, 8 triples, 12 stolen bases, and a .624 slugging percentage.