Next Classic Baseball Release: 1980

1980 is Strat-O-Matic’s Next Classic Season Release

What a Season That Was, And Will Be Again – For You


By Glenn Guzzo

The last of the original National League teams to win a World Series was Philadelphia. The first American League expansion team to reach a World Series was Kansas City. After Ted Williams’ .406 batting average in 1941, George Brett was the first to finish a season at even .390. All of this happened in 1980, a season filled with drama and durable baseball memories.

You will be able to re-live it all when Strat-O-Matic makes 1980 its next classic-season release in early 2019, complete with expanded rosters and super-advanced features. The board-game cards and Windows rosters will be released at the same time as the 2018 season.

By 1926, six of the original National League teams had won the World Series. But not the Phillies. By then, seven NL teams had won at least two World Series games. But not the Phillies. By 1955, when Brooklyn finally got the best of the Yankees in the Fall Classic, seven NL teams had won a World Series. But not the Phillies.

They did it this time with Cy Young winner Steve Carlton, who led the NL with 24 wins, 286 strikeouts (next best: Nolan Ryan, 200) and was second (to Don Sutton’s 2.20) with a 2.34 ERA. They did it with MVP Mike Schmidt, who led the NL with 48 home runs, 121 runs batted in and a .624 slugging average. They did it with charismatic closer Tug McGraw (1.47 ERA in 92 innings) and superior defense (catcher Bob Boone, second baseman Manny Trillo, third baseman Schmidt and centerfielder Gary Maddox are all defensive 1s). They did it with leadership young and old (rookie Manager Dallas Green and first baseman Pete Rose, who led the NL with 42 doubles) and by the timely rookie performance of pitcher Marty Bystrom (5-0, 1.50) that made it possible for the Phillies to clinch the NL East on the next to last day of the season.

Then they did it again in the six-game World Series, when McGraw struck out the final man to make a winner of Carlton (who won two Series games) and a Series MVP of Schmidt.

To get to the Series, the Phillies had to overcome Houston in a five-game NL Championship Series that some consider the most exciting ever. Four of those games went extra innings, including the final two Phillies’ come-from behind wins.

The Astros, bidding to reach its first Series in the 19-year history of the franchise, had to overcome much, too. Pitching ace J.R. Richard, off to a 10-4 start with a 1.90 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 114 innings, suffered a career-ending stroke. Then, after losing their final three scheduled games in Los Angeles, the Astros finally beat the Dodgers in a one-game playoff to reach the NLCS.

Ahead two games to one against Philly, Houston held a two-run lead in the eighth inning of Game Four and a three-run lead in the eighth inning of Game Five before losing both – a melancholy finish for a team that had gone so far on starting pitching (Richard, Joe Niekro, who won 20, Ryan, who fanned 200 and Vern Ruhle, who was 12-4, 2.37), plus the deep bullpen of Dave Smith (7-5, 1.93, 10 saves), Joe Sambito (8-4, 2.19, 17 saves and Frank LaCorte (8-5, 2.82, 11 saves).

The NL had speed to burn. Though Cesar Cedeno stole 48 bags (while hitting .306) Jose Cruz stole 36 (while hitting .302 with 91 RBIs) and four other Astros topped 20 thefts, Houston’s 194 stolen bases ranked only fourth in the NL, where Montreal’s Ron Leflore had 97 steals and Pittsburgh’s Omar Moreno had 96. Cincinnati’s Dave Collins swiped 79 and last-place San Diego had three men who topped 50 (Gene Richards, 61; Ozzie Smith, 57, and Jerry Mumphrey, 52).

In their third attempt, the Royals finally overcame the Yankees in the ALCS, sweeping their nemesis. The mighty Brett still was hitting .400 on Sept. 19 before he lost 15 points of average during an eight-game losing streak. Still, the Royals won the AL West by 14 games and Brett “settled” for a .390 batting average, .454 on-base average, .664 slugging percentage (1118 OPS), 118 RBIs and 135 runs created – all league bests – and, of course, the AL MVP award.

Brett had help. Outfielder Willie Wilson hit .326 and stole 79 bases, while leading the AL with 230 hits, 133 runs scored and 15 triples. Wilson and second basemen Frank White are defensive 1s. Designated hitter Hal McRae hit .297 with 39 doubles. First baseman Willie Mays Aikens hit 20 home runs and drove home 98. Pitcher Dennis Leonard won 20 games and Larry Gura won 18. Closer Dan Quisenberry led the AL with 33 saves, while winning 12 himself.

Many other stars shined brightly in 1980:

  • Rickey Henderson led the AL with 100 stolen bases for Oakland, while teammate Tony Armas blasted 35 home runs and drove home 109.
  • Cecil Cooper led the AL with 122 RBIs, was second with a .352 batting average and hit 25 home runs. Teammate Ben Oglivie tied New York’s Reggie Jackson for the AL lead with 41 homers. Milwaukee’s Gorman Thomas was next with 38 HR.
  • Miguel Dilone hit .341 with 61 SB, ranking third in the AL in both categories for Cleveland.
  • Al Oliver hit .319 with 117 RBIs for Texas.
  • Eddie Murray hit .300-32-116 for Baltimore.
  • Steve Stone won a Majors-best 25 games and the AL Cy Young award.
  • Mike Norris was second-best in the AL with 20 wins, a 2.53 ERA and 180 strikeouts.
  • Reggie Jackson hit a career-best .300 with 41 HR and 111 RBIs. Teammates Tommy John (22 wins), Rudy May (15-5 with AL-best 2.46 ERA) and closer Goose Gossage 6-2, 2.27, 103 Ks in 99 IP and tied with Quisenberry for the AL lead with 33 saves) all were brilliant on the mound.
  • Baltimore, which finished only three games behind the Yankees in the AL East, had the big years from Stone and Murray, but also from 20-game winner Scott McGregor,  outfielders Ken Singleton (.304-24-104) and Al Bumbry (.318 with 44 SB)
  • Montreal, which fell only one game short of Philly in the NL East, had Leflore’s speed (teammate Rodney Scott stole 63 with an NL-best 13 triples), catcher Gary Carter’s power (29 HR, 101 RBIs) and center fielder Andre Dawson’s all-around brilliance (.308-17-87, 41 doubles, 34 SB and a cf-1(-2) defensively). Steve Rogers (16-11, 2.98), Scott Sanderson (16-11, 3.11) and Bill Gullickson (10-5, 3.00) shined as starting pitchers.
  • The Dodgers, also one game short of a division title, had power from Steve Garvey (.304-26-106), Dusty Baker (.294-29-97) and Ron Cey (28 HR) and deep starting pitching from Sutton (13-5, 2.20), Jerry Reuss (18-6, 2.51), Bob Welch (14-9, 3.28) and Burt Hooton (14-8, 3.65).
  • Jim Bibby was 19-6 for Pittsburgh.
  • Bruce Sutter pitched for the last-place Cubs and still led the NL with 28 saves. Teammate Bill Buckner led the NL by hitting .324 and was second with 41 doubles.
  • Keith Hernandez (second at .321, first with 111 runs scored, first with a .408 on-base average, second with 902 OPS, fourth with 39 doubles) led four St. Louis players who hit above .300. Garry Templeton hit .319 with 31 SB. Ted Simmons hit .303 and was fourth in the NL with a 880 OPS. George Hendrick hit .302, was second with 109 RBIs and was top-10 in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS.
  • Bob Horner (35) and Dale Murphy (33) ranked 2-3 in NL home runs.

22 Replies to “Next Classic Baseball Release: 1980”

  1. Greg Smith says:

    So excited to purchase this great season, if not for the stroke suffered by J.R. Richard I feel the Astros would have won it all..

  2. Ed Hauryski says:

    Can’t wait till this season is released! As a Expos fan it will sure be fun to watch them win the east over the Philadelphia!

  3. Eric says:

    YES! I’ve been waiting 37 years for this (had my 13-year-old self known that there would be such a thing as Super Advanced back in the summer of ’81)!

  4. James Cassidy says:

    1980 nice! Let me know when its there

  5. Bert says:

    It’s about time the 1980 season got respect

  6. Craig Corey says:

    Can’t wait!! Texas Rangers with Fergie Jenkins and Gaylord Perry. Granted in the twilight of their careers but Jenkins went 12-12 with 12 complete games. Al Oliver,Richie Zisk, Jim Sunberg. Gotta love it!!

  7. Todd M Smith says:

    Wow ! Can’t wait for this one. The last classic season I got was 1975. The 1980 set will be my next one.

  8. Marc Wass says:

    Exciting season with 2 AAA base stealers!

  9. Butch Haber says:

    This 1980 Re Released Season Will Have The Corrected Pitching Cards Without The Original “4” Column Fiasco, Right? Also 1979, With All That Hitting, Should Be Next!!

  10. rico1949 says:

    Looking forward to this release. It was an entertaining season. I still hope for 1975 or 1979 someday.

  11. Colts19 says:

    Love this – One could argue that the period of 1920-80 was the classic time period for baseball at its best. the live ball era began around 1920; the lost years of 1981 and 1994 disrupted the flow of the game and the heavy steroid use may have begun as early as 1987…. I love the game today – the ballparks, the emphasis on the fan experience, the metrics. But the 1920-80 was special – I hope Strat fills in all the holes there (at least all the post WWII holes in super advanced before any of the subsequent or previous years. Also, Glenn, the Mets were the first expansion team to reach the World Series – I’m surprised some NY fans haven’t pointed that out

  12. Chris Kroh says:

    Glad to see more of the 1980s released. I plan on adding some teams from 1980 to a tournament I am playing with the 1980s Diamond Gems

  13. Randy says:

    So excited for this! 1980 was the year I started playing Strat – those speedy Expos were incredible. What is the release date?

  14. Frank Albidone says:

    Of all the full seasons and individual teams I have purchased in 43+ years, I looked and do not own a single team from 1980, so I will be purchasing this set as well as 2018 with my Red Sox producing one of the best teams of all time.

  15. Jeffery Anderson says:

    I had this set, but got married in 1982 and gave it away to a buddy in the dorm at McConnell Air Force Base believing I was done with Strat-o-Matic baseball forever……….came crawling back to it 1990 and was kicking myself for ever parting ways with that outstanding season. I have played complete vintage seasons for 1920, 1951, 1959 and 1977 from your vintage classics and can’t wait for this set.

  16. Albidone says:

    Got a $50 gift card from my GF for Christmas which I will put towards 1980 or 2018, or both!

  17. Bob Haas says:

    Can’t wait till ’80 released, what a great season, and yes, I agree if JR was available Phil’s may have not gotten past Houston! Is their a release Date?

  18. Archie Graham says:

    Have the original set with extras, will continue to use it rather than this set, SOM needs to do seasons that have never been released rather than keeping to re-do seasons. There is so much baseball history being missed due to this. How about 1908, 19, 31, ????

  19. Eric Frampton says:

    Pumped o see if I can get 6 more hits for Brett in the season.
    Take my money now.

  20. Cory says:

    Can’t wait to play the 1980 season.
    Just wrapped up the 1982 season.

  21. Marty Toder says:

    The worm turned in 1980 for both the Royals and Phillies. The royals, who lost to the Yankees in ’76, ’77,&78, finally beat the yankees in ’80 with george brett’s dinger off of hall of famer goose gossage in the 8th to seal the deal for the royals. The phillies, like the royals, lost in ’76 to the reds. lost in ’77&’78 to the dodgers in the n.l. championship series finally prevailing over the astros in ’80 to make it to the world series!

  22. keith_cal says:

    This was the Strat-O season that I bought as I kid. Man, so many awesome memories playing this game. My brothers and I were just chatting about this tonight so I went to the attic to look at it again. With no sports right now due to Covid-19, I am tempted to break out Strat-O once more and relive some great childhood memories.

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