Good day everyone!
Up on the blog today, we move on to 1979 in my on-going “Expanded League Leaders” thread, showcasing the top three players in each category on a league leader card, beginning with the top three hitters in the National League for 1978:
We begin with Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Dave Parker, who took home his second straight batting title with a .334 average, following his .338 number the year before.
Parker was in the prime of his career, also chipping in 30 home runs and 117 runs batted in with 23 stolen bases to take home the league MVP Award.
He would not disappoint in 1979 either, as he would hit .310 with 25 homers and 94 RBIs while collecting 193 hits and scoring 109 runs, helping the team to a World Championship with the fan favorite “We Are Family” club.
This is a Hall of Famer in my book! I will never waiver on this.
In second place with a .316 batting average, another guy who I feel is a Hall of Famer, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, who put in another “Garvey-esque” season with 202 hits, 89 runs scored, 21 homers and 113 runs batted in.
It was the fourth of his six 200-hit seasons, while also posting his third 20+ homer campaign, as well as third 100+ RBI campaign.
Analytics be damned, there is no way anyone can convince me this guy isn’t a Hall of Famer considering for the better part of a decade he was THE N.L. first baseman, which carries a lot of weight in my eyes.
Just behind Garvey with a .315 batting average in 1978, underrated Houston Astros star Jose Cruz, who put in another great under-the-radar year with 178 hits, 83 runs batted in and 79 runs scored.
A quiet yet steady hitter for over 10 years, Cruz gave the Astros an anchor in the middle of their line-up who could hit for average, show some “pop” in his bat, and drive in runs until the late-80’s.A great trio of batters here, two of which I believe should have their place in Cooperstown, while all three collected over 2000 hits over their careers.