1981 Season

World Series Champion

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers defeat the Yankees (4-2)
World Series MVP: Cey, Guerrero, Yeager (LAD)

Playoffs

NLCS: Dodgers defeat the Expos 3-2
NLDS: Expos defeat the Phillies 3-2
NLDS: Dodgers defeat the Astros 3-2
ALCS: Yankees defeat the Athletics 3-0
ALDS: Yankees defeat the Brewers 3-2
ALDS: Athletics defeat the Royals 3-0

Overview

This my friends was a weird season. Thanks to a mid-season players strike, most teams played somewhere around 110 games, knocking off around 1/3 of the whole campaign. Rather than just lop 50 games off the season and call it a day, the owners decided to get creative. In a bid to make up lost revenue and test an expanded playoff model, the season was split in two and the winner of the first half in each league would play the winner of the second half. The fallout? Both of the overall best teams in the National League, the Cardinals and Reds, didn’t make the playoffs as they finished second in each half of the season. If I lived in Cincinnati or St. Louis, I would have been pissed.

Highlights

1. January 15th: Bob Gibson is elected to the Hall of Fame.
2. February 12th: Oh no! The Red Sox mailed out Carlton Fisk’s contract late, letting him become a free agent.
3. April 18th: Tom Seaver tosses his 3,000th strikeout.
4. April 29th: Steve Carlton throws his 3,000th strikeout.
5. May 25th: Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 3,000th game, only the fourth player to do so.
6. June 10th: Pete Rose hits safely for the 3,630th time, tying Stan Musial for the National League record.
7. June 12th: The player union declares a strike which will last until August 10th, cancelling over 35% of the season.
8. August 9th: The National League wins the All-Star Game 5–4. Gary Carter is selected the MVP.
9. October 19th: Blue Monday is declared in Montreal as Rick Monday hits a home run in the 9th inning to lead the Dodgers to victory.

No-Hitters

May 10th: Charlie Lea, Expos 4 – Giants 0
May 15th: Len Barker (Perfect Game), Indians 3 – Blue Jays 0
September 26th, Nolan Ryan, Astros 5 – Dodgers 0

National League: First Half

EAST W L W-L% GB
Philadelphia Phillies 34 21 .618
St. Louis Cardinals 30 20 .600 2.5
Montreal Expos 30 25 .545 4.0
Pittsburgh Pirates 25 23 .521 5.5
New York Mets 17 34 .333 15.0
Chicago Cubs 15 37 .288 17.5
WEST W L W-L% GB
Los Angeles Dodgers 36 21 .632
Cincinnati Reds 35 21 .625 0.5
Houston Astros 28 29 .491 8.0
Atlanta Braves 25 29 .463 9.5
San Francisco Giants 27 32 .458 10.0
San Diego Padres 23 33 .411 12.5

National League: Second Half

EAST W L W-L% GB
Montreal Expos 30 23 .566
St. Louis Cardinals 29 23 .558 0.5
Philadelphia Phillies 25 27 .481 4.5
New York Mets 24 28 .462 5.5
Chicago Cubs 23 28 .451 6.0
Pittsburgh Pirates 21 33 .389 9.5
WEST W L W-L% GB
Houston Astros 33 20 .623
Cincinnati Reds 31 21 .596 1.5
San Francisco Giants 29 23 .558 3.5
Los Angeles Dodgers 27 26 .509 6.0
Atlanta Braves 25 27 .481 7.5
San Diego Padres 18 36 .333 15.5

NL Leaders

WAR: Mike Schmidt (PHI), 7.7
Most Valuable Player: Mike Schmidt (PHI)
Cy Young Award: Fernando Valenzuela (LAD)
Rookie of the Year: Fernando Valenzuela (LAD)
Batting Title: Bill Madlock (PIT), .341
Home Runs: Mike Schmidt (PHI), 31
RBIs: Mike Schmidt (PHI), 91
Wins: Tom Seaver (CIN), 14
ERA: Nolan Ryan (HOU), 1.69
Strikeouts: Fernando Valenzuela (LAD), 180

American League: First Half

EAST W L W-L% GB
New York Yankees 34 22 .607
Baltimore Orioles 31 23 .574 2.0
Milwaukee Brewers 31 25 .568 3.0
Detroit Tigers 31 26 .544 3.5
Boston Red Sox 30 26 .536 4.0
Cleveland Indians 26 24 .520 5.0
Toronto Blue Jays 16 42 .276 19.0
WEST W L W-L% GB
Oakland Athletics 37 23 .617
Texas Rangers 33 22 .600 1.5
Chicago White Sox 31 22 .585 2.5
California Angels 31 29 .517 6.0
Kansas City Royals 20 30 .400 12.0
Seattle Mariners 21 36 .368 14.5
Minnesota Twins 17 39 .304 18.0

American League: Second Half

EAST W L W-L% GB
Milwaukee Brewers 31 22 .585
Boston Red Sox 29 23 .558 1.5
Detroit Tigers 29 23 .558 1.5
Baltimore Orioles 28 23 .549 2.0
Cleveland Indians 26 27 .491 5.0
New York Yankees 25 26 .490 5.0
Toronto Blue Jays 21 27 .438 7.5
WEST W L W-L% GB
Kansas City Royals 30 23 .566
Oakland Athletics 27 22 .551 2.0
Texas Rangers 24 26 .480 5.5
Minnesota Twins 24 29 .453 6.0
Seattle Mariners 23 29 .442 6.5
Chicago White Sox 23 30 .434 7.0
California Angels 20 30 .400 8.5

AL Leaders

WAR: Dwight Evans (BOS), 6.7
Most Valuable Player:
Rollie Fingers (MIL)
Cy Young Award: Rollie Fingers (MIL)
Rookie of the Year: Dave Righetti (NYY)
Batting Title: Carney Lansford (BOS), .336
Home Runs: Four tied, 22
RBIs: Eddie Murray (BAL), 78
Wins: Four tied, 14
ERA: Sammy Stewart (BAL), 2.32
Strikeouts: Len Barker (CLE), 127