Wearing The AL Title - The Oakland A's won their division by 13 games in 1988 and captured the American League pennant by sweeping the Red Sox in four games. Jose Canseco was the league's Most Valuable Player, hitting .307, scoring 120 runs with 124 RBIs. He became the first ever major league player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same year. Dennis Eckersley was the Fireman of the Year, collecting 45 saves, a 4-2 record, 2.35 ERA and held his opponents to a mere .198 batting average. Walt Weiss was a fielding genius at shortstop and was voted Rookie of the Year.
Worth Watching For In 1989
First baseman Mark McGwire was 2nd in the league in game winning RBIs, 20. McGwire along with Canseco blasted 74 homers (McGwire 32, Canseco 42). Right-hander Storm Davis started 33 games, went 16-7 and posted a 3.70 ERA. Davis fanned 127 batters in 201 innings. Team Veterans - Dave Stewart won 20 games for the second straight year. This past year, Stewart started 37 games, completed 14 and racked up numbers of 21-12, 3.23 ERA, 192 Ks in 275 innings. Center-fielder Dave Henderson hit .304, busted 24 HRs and scored 100 runs. All-Star catcher Terry Steinbach, 9 HRs, 51 RBIs and clutch-hitting Ron Hassey will be back again behind home plate to handle the pitching duties.
The Oakland A's had the best record in the majors last season, 104-58, and appear all set for 1989. The weakest link is at second base, but manager Tony LaRussa is counting on the speed of Lance Blankenship (21 Ds, 8 Ts, .265 BA, 40 steals at Tacoma last year) to battle with veteran Glenn Hubbard for 2nd base spot. baseballhistorian.com - manager's notebook
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