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Series Wrapup

Story

Labor negotiations delayed the opening of the 1990 baseball season, as the failure to sign a new collective bargaining agreement prompted team owners to lock the players out of training camp.  The two parties didn’t resolve their dispute until late March, giving the players just two-and-a-half weeks to prepare for a delayed Opening Day, which arrived a week later than originally anticipated.

Once the season got underway, it soon became apparent that the Oakland Athletics were likely to experience few problems capturing their third consecutive A.L. West title.  Blessed with outstanding pitching and a powerful lineup, the A’s quickly established themselves as the class of the American League, finishing the campaign first in their division with a record of 103-59, nine games ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox.

With much of their power being supplied by the “Bash Brothers” combination of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, the A’s placed third in the junior circuit with 733 runs scored and 164 home runs.  Although McGwire batted only .235, he knocked in 108 runs, finished second in the league with 39 home runs, and led the loop with 110 walks.  Canseco batted .274, hit 37 homers, and drove in 101 runs.  Nevertheless, Rickey Henderson proved to be Oakland’s top offensive weapon, earning A.L. MVP honors by hitting 28 home runs, batting .325, and leading the league with 119 runs scored, 65 stolen bases, and a .439 on-base percentage.   

In spite of their outstanding offense, the A’s greatest strength lay in their pitching staff, which led the league with a team ERA of 3.18.  Bob Welch posted a record of 27-6, compiling in the process the most victories by any pitcher since Denny McLain won 31 games for the Detroit Tigers in 1968.  Welch also ended the campaign with an impressive 2.95 ERA, en route to earning A.L. Cy Young honors.  Yet, Welch may not have been the A’s best pitcher, since teammate Dave Stewart also had a superb year.  Stewart finished 22-11, with a 2.56 ERA and a league-leading 267 innings pitched, 11 complete games, and four shutouts.  Even though Chicago’s Bobby Thigpen established a new major league record by saving 57 games, Oakland also had baseball’s premier reliever in Dennis Eckersley.  Eckersley saved 42 games, won four others, compiled a miniscule 0.61 ERA, and struck out 73 batters in 73 innings of work, while allowing opposing batters only 41 hits.   

While the A’s coasted to the Western Division title, the Boston Red Sox had a far more difficult time separating themselves from the Toronto Blue Jays in the A.L. East.  Boston finished the regular season with a record of 88-74, just two games ahead of the second-place Blue Jays.  The Detroit Tigers came in third, nine games off the pace.

The Tigers likely would have made a three-team race out of it in the East had they had better pitching.  While the Tigers finished second in the league with 750 runs scored, they also posted a team ERA of 4.39 that placed them 14th in the league rankings.  Led by slugging first baseman
Cecil Fielder, who returned to American baseball after spending a year in Japan honing his offensive skills, Detroit topped the circuit with 172 home runs.  Fielder led the league with 51 homers and 132 runs batted in, becoming in the process just the 11th player in major league history to surpass 50 home runs in a season.  He also led the loop with 339 total bases and a .592 slugging average.  

The second-place Blue Jays also featured two of the circuit’s top sluggers in Fred McGriff and Kelly Gruber.  McGriff batted .300 and finished among the league leaders with 35 home runs.  Gruber had a career year, hitting 31 homers and finishing second in the A.L. with 118 runs batted in.  

However, the Red Sox were the division’s most well-balanced team, featuring both a solid lineup and one of the league’s best pitching staffs.  Wade Boggs, Ellis Burks, and Mike Greenwell paced the Red Sox on offense.  Boggs batted .302, scored 89 runs, and placed second in the league with 187 hits.  Burks hit 21 home runs, knocked in 89 runs, scored 89 others, and batted .296.  Greenwell batted .297 and finished fourth in the league with 181 hits.

Meanwhile, the tandem of Roger Clemens and Mike Boddicker anchored Boston’s pitching staff.  Boddicker won 17 games and compiled a 3.36 ERA.  Clemens had one of his finest seasons, going 21-6, with 209 strikeouts and a league-leading 1.93 ERA.

The Red Sox again proved to be no match for the A’s in the ALCS, putting up little resistance against their Western Division opponents for the second time in three years.  Oakland swept the Series in four games, posting victories of 9-1, 4-1, 4-1, and 3-1.  

The A’s appeared poised to capture their second consecutive world championship, entering the World Series as heavy favorites to defeat the Cincinnati Reds.  However, Cincinnati pulled off arguably baseball’s biggest upset since 1969, sweeping the A’s in four straight games and outscoring them in the process by a combined margin of 22-8.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• February 15 - A 32 day lockout began as Major League Baseball owners refused to open spring training camp without reaching a new Basic Agreement with the players.  The regular season was subsequently delayed one week due to the lock-out.

• April 20 - Pete Rose pleaded guilty to two charges of filing false income tax returns that failed to show income he received from selling autographs and memorabilia, and from horse racing winnings.

• June 11 - Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers pitched the sixth no-hitter of his career by defeating the Oakland Athletics in Oakland, 5-0.

• July 19 - Pete Rose was sentenced to five months in the medium security Prison Camp at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois and fined $50,000.

• July 31 - Nolan Ryan defeated the Milwaukee Brewers to earn his 300th career win.

• August 17 - Carlton Fisk established a new major league record by hitting his 329th homer as a catcher.

• August 25 – During a 14-4 Tiger victory over the Oakland Athletics, Cecil Fielder became just the third player to hit a home run over the left-field roof at Tiger Stadium.  He joined Harmon Killebrew (1962) and Frank Howard (1968) on an extremely exclusive list.

• August 31 - Ken Griffey and his son Ken Griffey, Jr. started for the Seattle Mariners in a game against the Kansas City Royals.  It marked the first time a father and son ever played in the same major league game.

• September 14 - Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr. hit back-to-back home runs in a 7-5 loss to the California Angels.

• December 5 - In a blockbuster deal, the Toronto Blue Jays sent Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter.

• Rickey Henderson stole his 893rd base, breaking Ty Cobb's American League record.

• George Brett led the American League with a .329 batting average and 45 doubles.  By topping the circuit in hitting, Brett became the first player in major league history to win batting titles in three different decades.

• Nolan Ryan struck out 232 batters, to lead his league in Ks for the 11th time.  

• Wade Boggs failed to reach 200 hits for the first time in eight seasons.

• Commissioner Fay Vincent ordered George Steinbrenner to give up his controlling interest of the Yankees because of his involvement with known gambler Howard Spira.

• On July 17, the Twins became the first major league team to make two triple plays in one game.

• Pitchers threw a record nine no-hitters during the season.

• California's Mark Langston and Mike Witt no-hit Seattle on April 11.

• Seattle's Randy Johnson threw a no-hitter against Detroit on June 2.

• Oakland's Dave Stewart tossed a no-hitter against Toronto on June 29.

• Toronto’s Dave Stieb threw a no-hitter against Cleveland on September 2.

• The American League won the All-Star Game 2-0 at Wrigley Field.

• The Hall of Fame inducted Jim Palmer and Joe Morgan.

• Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. (.290 average) earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2253 5410 669 1328 623 .213 234 22 132 94 52 2002 .338 .306 .657 131 41 72
BOS 2180 5516 699 1502 660 .233 298 31 106 53 52 2180 .383 .325 .739 174 44 48
CAL 2119 5570 690 1448 646 .241 237 27 147 69 43 2180 .349 .364 .714 142 45 58
CHA 2296 5402 682 1393 637 .213 251 44 106 140 90 2050 .332 .307 .673 112 47 75
CLE 2147 5485 732 1465 675 .243 266 41 110 107 52 2143 .329 .358 .687 122 61 54
DET 2278 5479 750 1418 714 .238 241 32 172 82 57 2239 .345 .361 .707 139 41 36
KCA 2195 5488 707 1465 660 .254 316 44 100 107 62 2169 .349 .371 .721 132 54 31
MIN 2274 5499 666 1458 625 .236 281 39 100 96 53 2117 .356 .338 .728 148 49 40
ML4 2234 5503 732 1408 680 .213 247 36 128 164 72 2111 .318 .335 .670 101 71 59
NYA 2325 5483 603 1322 561 .226 208 19 147 119 45 2009 .305 .346 .651 114 36 37
OAK 2267 5433 733 1379 693 .212 209 22 164 141 54 2124 .337 .305 .655 122 48 60
SEA 2221 5474 640 1419 610 .230 251 26 107 105 51 2043 .354 .323 .708 140 54 41
TEX 2438 5469 676 1416 641 .213 257 27 110 115 48 2057 .343 .308 .666 142 44 54
TOR 2158 5589 767 1479 729 .250 263 50 167 111 52 2343 .380 .357 .754 125 62 18

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 518 76 85 1435 776 537 6141 1445 161 97.020 649 698 10 3 43 34 10
BOS 485 88 74 1442 997 519 6174 1439 92 95.930 596 664 15 4 44 63 6
CAL 431 80 82 1453 944 544 6223 1482 106 75.790 616 706 21 5 42 50 6
CHA 529 94 68 1449 914 548 6073 1313 106 65.180 582 633 17 6 68 35 11
CLE 463 77 85 1429 860 518 6184 1491 163 100.570 677 737 12 3 47 50 8
DET 462 79 83 1429 856 661 6230 1401 154 106.350 697 754 15 4 45 76 7
KCA 473 75 86 1420 1006 560 6193 1449 116 138.640 621 709 18 5 33 59 5
MIN 472 74 88 1435 872 489 6140 1509 134 81.140 660 729 13 4 43 55 5
ML4 502 74 88 1444 771 469 6284 1558 121 228.010 660 760 23 7 42 47 7
NYA 504 67 95 1446 909 618 6227 1430 144 84.320 679 749 15 3 41 83 6
OAK 465 103 59 1455 831 494 6020 1287 123 43.990 514 570 18 7 64 50 7
SEA 474 77 85 1442 1064 606 6165 1319 120 112.910 597 680 21 4 41 69 12
TEX 464 83 79 1446 997 623 6181 1343 113 90.890 615 696 25 5 36 61 6
TOR 479 86 76 1454 892 445 6092 1434 143 79.390 620 661 6 2 48 43 5

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2754 7376 5587 1676 113 .981 17221 103 44 1.00 5
BOS 2670 7271 5361 1770 140 .966 17301 127 58 0 7
CAL 2649 7441 5360 1912 169 .966 17447 91 69 0 15
CHA 2827 7390 5490 1740 160 .980 17390 89 60 1.00 13
CLE 2671 7257 5438 1679 140 .966 17125 97 53 0 14
DET 2852 7368 5398 1815 155 .958 17161 136 59 0 15
KCA 2737 7075 5313 1621 141 .977 17050 115 28 0 13
MIN 2859 7328 5469 1742 117 .966 17227 109 65 0 11
ML4 2811 7505 5557 1771 177 .958 17338 111 45 0 11
NYA 2782 7407 5432 1827 148 .968 17334 106 83 2.00 27
OAK 2811 7380 5621 1652 107 .981 17470 73 44 2.00 14
SEA 2714 7190 5295 1748 147 .956 17317 120 56 0 18
TEX 2889 7283 5371 1755 157 .975 17340 131 52 0 35
TOR 2633 7323 5471 1747 105 .981 17448 95 67 1.00 14

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 103 59 2900217 1 831
Chicago White Sox 94 68 2002357 2 914
Texas Rangers 83 79 2057911 3 997
California Angels 80 82 2555688 4 944
Seattle Mariners 77 85 1509727 5 1064
Kansas City Royals 75 86 2244956 6 1006
Minnesota Twins 74 88 1751584 7 872

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Boston Red Sox 88 74 2528986 1 997
Toronto Blue Jays 86 76 3885284 2 892
Detroit Tigers 79 83 1495785 3 856
Cleveland Indians 77 85 1225240 4 860
Baltimore Orioles 76 85 2415189 5 776
Milwaukee Brewers 74 88 1752900 6 771
New York Yankees 67 95 2006436 7 909

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Tagged:
1990 ALCS, 1990 World Series, American League, Bob Welch, Bobby Thigpen, Boston Red Sox, Carlton Fisk, Carney Lansford, Cecil Fielder, Dave Henderson, Dave Stewart, Dave Stieb, Dennis Eckersley, Ellis Burks, Fay Vincent, Fred McGriff, George Brett, George Steinbrenner, Joe Carter, Jose Canseco, Kelly Gruber, Kirby Puckett, Mark Langston, Mark McGwire, Mike Boddicker, Mike Greenwell, Nolan Ryan, Oakland Athletics, Pete Rose, Randy Johnson, Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Roger Clemens, Sandy Alomar, Tony Fernandez, Wade Boggs

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