The magical 1985 baseball season brought fruition to the sixties generation of players as well as young stars. Tom Seaver and Phil Niekro won their 300th game, Rod Carew slapped his 3000th hit, and Pete Rose surpassed Ty Cobb on the all-time hit list. On top of this, Detroit’s Darrell Evans became the oldest home run champ. Meanwhile, Dwight Gooden and John Tudor dueled for the NL Cy Young Award as their teams’ competed for the postseason. Don Mattingly channeled the ghost of Lou Gehrig and Bret Saberhagen led the Royals to their only World Championship. The Royals did it the hard way falling behind 3-1 in both the ALCS and World Series before winning it all.
Pete Rose passes Ty Cobb
Pete Rose admits Ty Cobb was a better overall hitter. However, Rose surpassed Cobb as baseball’s all-time hit leader in 1985. Rose finished his career with an amazing 4,256 hits. That equates to 20 seasons with 200 or more hits. Over his career, Rose won three batting titles, topped 200 hits on 10 occasions, led the league in hits seven times, and had a 44-game hit streak in 1978.
Tom Seaver wins 300th game
Tom Seaver might have been the best pitcher of his generation. He finished 16-11 for the White Sox in 1985 and won his 300th career game. He finished with 311 wins, 2.86 ERA, 3,640 strikeouts, three ERA titles, five strikeout titles, three Cy Young Awards, and the 1967 National League Rookie of the Year. “The Franchise” also led the 1969 Mets to the World Series championship.
Phil Niekro wins 300th game
While Seaver was a power pitcher, Phil Niekro utilized the knuckle ball. “Knucksie” made several attempts in 1985 before finally nailing it down with a shutout of the Toronto Blue Jays on the season’s final day. Niekro finished 1985 with a 16-12 record and his career with 318 wins, 3.35 ERA, 3,342 strikeouts, 1977 strikeout crown, and the 1967 ERA title.
Rod Carew collects 3,000th hit
Rod Carew won seven batting titles and finished his career with a .328 average. He led the league in hits three times and topped 200 hits four times. In his final campaign, California Angel Rod Carew slapped his 3,000th hit against his former team. He broke in with the Twins in 1967, won the Rookie of the Year and 1977 AL MVP. Carew finished with 3,053 hits.
Darrell Evans becomes oldest home run champion
Darrell Evans struggled with a .232 average and 16 home runs in 1984. In April 1985, Tiger owner Tom Monaghan ripped Evans in the press for under performing. Then, Evans took off and transformed his big free agent contract into a bargain. 38-year-old Evans became the oldest player to win a home run title when he blasted 40 round trippers. He finished his career with 414 home runs.
Don Mattingly wins MVP
Tony Kubek compared Don Mattingly to Lou Gehrig. Mattingly’s production amazed fans, broadcasters, and players. At the time, people were not batting .350 and knocking in 140 runs. In 1985, Mattingly won the AL MVP with a .324, 35, and 145 season. The Yankee led the league in RBI, total bases (370), and doubles (48). He also scored 107 runs, had 211 hits, posted a .939 OPS, and walked more than he struck out (56-41).
Dwight Gooden wins NL Cy Young
Dwight Gooden dominated the National League in 1985. It seemed like he walked to the mound with no-hit stuff almost every night. The 1984 Rookie of the Year won the Triple Crown with a 24-4 record, 1.53 ERA, and 268 strikeouts. He also led the league in complete games (16) and innings (276.2). On top of this, Gooden was merely 20 years old.
Joh Tudor posts 10 shutouts
Baseball may never have a pitcher throw 10 shutouts in a single season again. Naturally, Tudor led the National League in both shutouts and WHIP (0.938). Tudor finished 21-8 with a 1.93 ERA in 275 innings. Amazingly, Tudor started the season 1-7 before righting his ship. He went on to win three games in the postseason, but lost Game 7 of the World Series.
Royals win World Series and Bret Saberhagen wins Cy Young
Bret Saberhagen bested John Tudor in Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. Like Gooden, Saberhagen won the Cy Young in 1985 at age 20. He led the league in WHIP (1.058) and finished 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA. He went 2-0 in the 1985 postseason. Both wins came in the World Series against the Cardinals. Saberhagen’s Royals fell behind 3-1 in the ALCS and World Series, but came back to win both in dramatic fashion.