The 1988 Major League Baseball season ended with the underdog Los Angeles Dodgers shocking the Oakland Athletics, who had won 104 games during the regular season, in the World Series. The most memorable moment of the series came in Game 1, when injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit walk-off home run off Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley to win the game for Los Angeles. The Dodgers went on to win the Series in five games.
|1988 MLB season|
|League||Major League Baseball|
|Duration||April 4 – October 20, 1988|
|Top draft pick||Andy Benes|
|Picked by||San Diego Padres|
|Season MVP||NL: Kirk Gibson (LA)|
AL: José Canseco (OAK)
|AL champions||Oakland Athletics|
|AL runners-up||Boston Red Sox|
|NL champions||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|NL runners-up||New York Mets|
|Champions||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Finals MVP||Orel Hershiser (LA)|
One of the American League's best players in 1988 was Athletics outfielder José Canseco, who became the first player in history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season, unanimously garnering league MVP honors. The A's surrounded him with a stellar supporting cast, led by fellow slugger Mark McGwire (with whom Canseco formed the famed "Bash Brothers" duo). Aided by strong pitching from Dave Stewart and Bob Welch and the lights-out Eckersley securing 45 saves, Oakland ran away with the American League West and swept the Boston Red Sox of Boggs, Rice, and Clemens in the playoffs before falling to the Dodgers in the World Series.
Speaking of the Dodgers, nobody expected them to even contend for the National League West title in 1988, let alone win the World Championship. However, the intensity and clutch hitting
of Gibson (named the NL MVP at season's end) and the solid pitching of Orel Hershiser (who won a league-leading 23 games) spearheaded L.A. to a division championship by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to his 23 victories, Hershiser led the National League with 267 innings pitched and 8 shutouts, and also set a record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings (formerly held by Dodger great Don Drysdale). These accomplishments, combined with his 2.26 ERA, earned him the National League Cy Young Award. However, it was in the post-season that Hershiser really distinguished himself – he started Games 1 and 3 of the NLCS against the tough New York Mets, saved Game 4 in relief, and threw a complete game shutout in Game 7. He hurled another complete game shutout in Game 2 of the World Series and again went the distance in the clinching Game 5. Hershiser was named MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series, capping off arguably one of the greatest seasons a starting pitcher has ever had.
|Statistic||American League||National League|
|AVG||Wade Boggs BOS||.366||Tony Gwynn SD||.313|
|HR||José Canseco OAK||42||Darryl Strawberry NYM||39|
|RBI||José Canseco OAK||124||Will Clark SF||109|
|Wins||Frank Viola MIN||24||Orel Hershiser LA
Danny Jackson CIN
|ERA||Allan Anderson MIN
Teddy Higuera MIL
|2.45||Joe Magrane STL||2.18|
|SO||Roger Clemens BOS||291||Nolan Ryan HOU||228|
|SV||Dennis Eckersley OAK||45||John Franco CIN||39|
|SB||Rickey Henderson NYY||93||Vince Coleman STL||81|
|League Championship Series ABC||World Series NBC|
|Baltimore Orioles||Cal Ripken, Sr., Frank Robinson|
|Boston Red Sox||John McNamara, Joe Morgan|
|California Angels||Cookie Rojas, Moose Stubing|
|Chicago White Sox||Jim Fregosi|
|Cleveland Indians||Doc Edwards|
|Detroit Tigers||Sparky Anderson|
|Kansas City Royals||John Wathan|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Tom Trebelhorn|
|Minnesota Twins||Tom Kelly|
|New York Yankees||Billy Martin, Lou Piniella|
|Oakland Athletics||Tony La Russa||Won American League Pennant|
|Seattle Mariners||Dick Williams, Jim Snyder|
|Texas Rangers||Bobby Valentine|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Jimy Williams|
|Atlanta Braves||Chuck Tanner, Russ Nixon|
|Chicago Cubs||Don Zimmer|
|Cincinnati Reds||Pete Rose, Tommy Helms|
|Houston Astros||Hal Lanier|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda||Won World Series|
|Montreal Expos||Buck Rodgers|
|New York Mets||Davey Johnson|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Lee Elia, John Vukovich|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Jim Leyland|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Whitey Herzog|
|San Diego Padres||Larry Bowa, Jack McKeon|
|San Francisco Giants||Roger Craig|
|Network||Day of week||Announcers|
|ABC||Monday nights||Al Michaels, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver, Gary Bender, Joe Morgan, Reggie Jackson|
|NBC||Saturday afternoons||Vin Scully, Joe Garagiola, Bob Costas, Tony Kubek|
The 1988 American League Championship Series was a best-of-seven series that pitted the East Division champion Boston Red Sox against the West Division champion Oakland Athletics. It was the second meeting between the two in ALCS play. The Athletics swept the Series four games to none and would go on to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 World Series.1988 Atlanta Braves season
The 1988 Atlanta Braves season was the 118th in franchise history and their 23rd in Atlanta.1988 California Angels season
The California Angels 1988 season involved the Angels finishing 4th in the American League West with a record of 75 wins and 87 losses.1988 Chicago Cubs season
The 1988 Chicago Cubs season was the 117th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 113th in the National League and the 73rd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League East with a record of 77–85, 24 games behind the New York Mets.
The first game under lights at Wrigley Field was on August 8 (8/8/88), against the Philadelphia Phillies. With the Cubs leading 3–1, in the middle of the 4th inning, a powerful thunderstorm rolled in. The game was suspended, and finally called at 10:25PM.
Since the rules of Major League Baseball state that a game is not official unless 5 innings are completed, the first official night game in the history of Wrigley Field was played on August 9, when the Cubs defeated the New York Mets 6 to 4.1988 Chicago White Sox season
The 1988 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 89th season. They finished with a record 71-90, good enough for 5th place in the American League West, 32.5 games behind of the 1st place Oakland Athletics.1988 Detroit Tigers season
The Detroit Tigers' 1988 season was a season in American baseball. The Tigers, fresh off of losing the American League pennant to Minnesota Twins, were attempting to repeat as American League East champions after winning the division on the final day of the previous season. The Tigers hit five grand slams, the most in MLB in 1988.1988 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1988 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West.1988 Kansas City Royals season
The 1988 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League West with a record of 84 wins and 77 losses.1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 59th playing of the "Midsummer Classic" between Major League Baseball's American League (AL) and National League All-Star teams. The All-Star Game was held on July 12, 1988, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home of the NL's Cincinnati Reds.
The game resulted in the AL defeating the NL 2-1. Terry Steinbach, a catcher for the AL's Oakland Athletics, won the All-Star game's most valuable player award. Steinbach was credited with both of the AL's two runs in the game. Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins was the winning pitcher.1988 Milwaukee Brewers season
The 1988 Milwaukee Brewers season involved the Brewers finishing 3rd in the American League East with a record of 87 wins and 75 losses.1988 Montreal Expos season
The 1988 Montreal Expos season was the 20th season in franchise history.1988 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1988 season was the 27th regular season for the Mets. They went 100–60 and finished first in the NL East. They were managed by Davey Johnson. They played home games at Shea Stadium.1988 San Diego Padres season
The 1988 San Diego Padres season was the 20th season in franchise history. Tony Gwynn set a National League record by having the lowest batting average (.313) to win a batting title.1988 San Francisco Giants season
The 1988 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 106th season in Major League Baseball, their 31st season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 29th at Candlestick Park. The team finished in fourth place in the National League West with an 83-79 record, 11½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.1988 Seattle Mariners season
The Seattle Mariners 1988 season was their 12th since the franchise creation, and ended the season finishing 7th in the American League West with a record of 68–93 (.422).1988 St. Louis Cardinals season
The 1988 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 107th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 97th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 76-86 during the season and finished 5th in the National League East division.1988 Texas Rangers season
The Texas Rangers 1988 season involved the Rangers finishing 6th in the American League west with a record of 70 wins and 91 losses.Tom Browning's perfect game
On September 16, 1988, Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds pitched the 12th perfect game in Major League Baseball history, blanking the Los Angeles Dodgers 1–0 at Riverfront Stadium. Browning threw 72 of his 100 pitches for strikes and did not run the count to three balls on a single Dodger hitter. He recorded seven strikeouts, the last of which was to the game's final batter, pinch-hitter Tracy Woodson. A two-hour, 27 minute rain delay forced the game to start at approximately 10 PM local time. The rain delay lasted longer than the game itself, played in a brisk one hour, 51 minutes.
The game's lone run came in the sixth inning. Batting against Tim Belcher, himself working on a no-hitter, Barry Larkin doubled and advanced to third on Chris Sabo's infield single; an error by Jeff Hamilton on the play enabled Larkin to score.
Browning, who became the first left-handed pitcher to pitch a perfect game since Sandy Koufax in 1965 (see Sandy Koufax's perfect game), had had another no-hitter broken up earlier in the season, against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium on June 6. A Tony Gwynn single with one out in the ninth foiled this bid and would be the only hit Browning allowed in defeating the Padres 12–0.
The Dodgers would go on to win the World Series—the only time, to date, that a team has won a World Series after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season. (Only one other team has since earned a postseason berth after having a perfect game pitched against it during the season: the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays, who were on the losing end of Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9, went on to win the American League East title.) Kirk Gibson, whose walk-off home run in Game 1 of that Series helped the Dodgers defeat the Oakland Athletics 4 games to 1, was ejected by home plate umpire Jim Quick after striking out in the seventh inning of the perfect game.
The perfect game was the first of a record three Paul O'Neill would play in as a member of the winning team. As a New York Yankee, he would be on the winning end of David Wells' and David Cone's in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
On July 4 of the following season, Browning narrowly missed becoming the first pitcher to throw two perfect games. Against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium, his Reds leading 2–0, he retired the first 24 batters he faced before Dickie Thon broke up the bid with a leadoff double. After striking out Steve Lake, Browning gave up a single to Steve Jeltz to score Thon. John Franco then relieved Browning and got Len Dykstra to hit into a game-ending double play.
1988 MLB season by team