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Top 10 Hitters of the 1980s: Who were baseball Greatest Hitters?

Publish Date: 05/10/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Today, we will look at the top hitters of the 1980s, one of baseball’s greatest decades and this list of all-time greats will show you why that decade was so special. You will find great singles hitters and great power hitters; the guys at the top of this list were both.


The top of this list will be all-around great hitters; to get in the top three, you have to be able to do it all. Records, Stats and awards are vital criteria for this list. making your team better and being great in the clutch it’s also heavily weighted. If you like this list check out our best starting pitchers of the 1980s!

10) Paul Molitor

The Milwaukee Brewers’ infielder Paul Molitor had a tremendous run in the nineties. But his achievements in the eighties are not to be forgotten. He reached a high of.300 five more times in that period. He could hit extra bases and home runs and was often a threat to steal from opposing pitchers. In 1982, “Molly” scored 136 runs and 114 in 1987 and was the AL’s top-scoring player.

  • 7 Time All-Star
  • World Series Champion
  • World Series MVP
  • 4 Time Silver Slugger Award
Video: Remembering Paul Molitor's incredible 39 game hit streak

Remembering Paul Molitor’s incredible 39 game hit streak

9) Eddie Murray

Murray was the first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 1980s. Murray was a great switch hitter and was able to hit home runs from both sides of the plate. The American League had never seen such a hitter since Mickey Mantle.

In five of his ten years of playing, he averaged more than.300. All but one year (1986), he had hit over 20 home runs. During this time, Murray was named All-Star six more times.

  • 8 Time All-Star
  • World Series Champion 1983
  • AL Rookie of the Year
  • 3 Time Gold Glove Winner
  • 3 Time Silver Slugger award
  • AL Home Run leader 1981
  • AL RBI Leader 1981
Video: Eddie Murray Highlights

Eddie Murray Highlights

8) Rickey Henderson

In baseball history, extraordinary leadoff men have been rare. Rickey Henderson was one such rare man. The speedy Henderson was a skilled left fielder who played for the Oakland Athletics as well as the New York Yankees. He hit over.300 four times in the 1980s.

Henderson’s ability to get hits and draw walks meant he had an on-base rate.400 six times during the decade. His legs were strong, and he was able to lead in stolen bases in the American League nine times out of ten. He could also use his strong legs to generate power with his bat. Henderson hit 28 and 24 home runs in 1985, respectively.

  • 10 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time World Series Champion
  • AL MVP
  • 3 Time Silver Slugger
  • 12 Time Stolen Base Leader
Video: Rickey Henderson Highlights

Rickey Henderson Highlights

7) Wade Boggs

Wade Boggs, a left-handed third baseman for Boston Red Sox during the 1980s. He was a dominant player in the American League for ten years, a more slap-hitting Ted Williams. Boggs won five batting championships during that decade. He was the AL’s leader in on-base percentage six more times.

Although Boggs wasn’t a great home run hitter in his eight years of playing during the 1980s, he managed to hit an incredible 314 doubles. Boggs was an AL All-Star between 1985 and 1989. In the 1980s, he won five Silver Slugger Awards.

  • 12 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time Gold Glove Award
  • 8 Time Silver Slugger
  • World Series Champion
  • 5 Time AL Batting Champion
Video: Boggs gets 200 hits in sixth straight year

Boggs gets 200 hits in sixth straight year

6) Dale Murphy

He was All-Star-worthy by 1982. He evolved into the Braves’ prime player, combining power (36 homers), patience (93/3) and speed (23 steals) For the next three seasons, he maintained that level of power, winning MVP honors in 1982-83. He was also the youngest player to win back-to-back honors.

All this while gaining prime national exposure, as the Braves were broadcast live on WTBS, a popular basic cable channel. In 1987, he hit a career high 44 homers. However, he was soon followed by subpar years, with batting averages in the 220s at the decade’s end. This signaled his inevitable decline. Murphy still commanded the 1980s, with seven All-Star Game appearances and five 100-RBI seasons.

  • 7 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time NL MVP
  • 5 Time Gold Glove Award
  • 4 Time Silver Slugger Award
  • Roberto Clemente Award
  • 2 Time NL Home Run Leader
  • 2 Time RBI Leader
Video: New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves (7-15-1988)

New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves (7-15-1988) “Dale Murphy Is The Hero “

5) Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly did not play his first full season until 1984. He won the AL batting championship that year. Mattingly was known as “Donnie Baseball”; he was a powerful threat. He won the MVP award in 1985 and hit. 324 with 35 home runs and 145 RBIs. Even more remarkable was that he led the AL in doubles that season.

Donnie Baseball came a little too soon with the Yankees, as the 80s version of the Yankees was not a great team. Mattingly gave Yankees fans something to cheer about in the mid-80s and into the 90s.

  • 6 Time All-Star
  • AL MVP 1985
  • 9 Time Gold Glove Award
  • 3 Time Silver Slugger Award
  • AL Batting Champion 1983

4) Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn was a great pure hitter. Although he wasn’t athletic-looking, he was a great hitter. Gwynn, a five-tool player, took slap hitting up a notch.

Gwynn, a left-handed hitter, won four batting titles in the 1980s and four more in the 1990s. The only year he was below 300 was one of his call-ups (1982) when he hit 289.

As a pure hitter, he might be the best on this list, but lack of power knocks him down a few spots. Tony Gwynn is one of the best right fielders in baseball history!

  • 15 Time All-Star
  • 5 Gold Glove Awards
  • 7 Time Silver Slugger Award
  • Roberto Clemente Award
  • 8 Time NL Batting Champion

3) Mike Schmidt

Schmidt was baseball’s most feared sledgehammer in the 1980s, winning NL MVPs each of the decade’s first two seasons. Schmidt and the Phillies had a great 1980 season. He set career records with 48 home runs, 121 RBIs and then triumphed over postseason doubts by going 8-21 with a pair of jacks and seven RBIs to help secure the franchise’s first ever world title. Schmidt’s game was elevated even more in 1981 when he hit over.300.

If not for the strike by the players, his totals might have reached 50 homers or 140 RBIs. As Schmidt reached his 30s, this burst in near-superhuman performance slowed down. However, he remained a formidable threat. He led the NL with home runs three times more, won two additional RBI crowns and was awarded his third MVP in 1986 at the age of 37.

  • 12 Time All-Star
  • World Series Champion 1980
  • 3 Time MVP
  • World Series MVP
  • 10-Time Gold Glove Award
  • 6 Time Silver Slugger Award
  • 8 Time NL Home Run Leader
  • 4 Time NL RBI Leader
Video: Mike Schmidt career highlights

Mike Schmidt career highlights

2) Robin Yount

Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers shortstop/outfielder, had a similar batting style to Brett’s. However, it was from the right side of plate. In the 1980s, Robin Yount, a fellow Hall of Famer, hit over.300 six times out of ten. Although he wasn’t a great home run hitter the ball flew off his bat many times and found outfield gaps. He was the league’s leader in doubles in 1982 and 1980, and the AL’s top scorer in triples in 1983 & 1988. He hit 29 homers in 1982 with 114 RBI and had a.331 average.

In the 1980s, Yount was named an All-Star three more times. He won twice the AL MVP award (1982 and 1989), once as a shortstop and the second as a center fielder.

  • 3 Time All-Star
  • 2 Time MVP
  • Gold Glove Award 1982
  • 3 Time Silver Slugger Award
Video: Yount's two homers lift Brewers to AL East

Yount’s two homers lift Brewers to AL East

1) George Brett

George Brett, third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, flirted with.400 in 1980 and won the AL batting title with a.390 average. He also hit 24 home runs and had 118 RBI. He also posted a league-leading slugging percentage, at.664. You can be sure that Brett rates as one of the best baseball players of the 1980s!

Brett was an All-Star for nine of the ten years. The Royals won the World Series in 1985 and Brett was awarded a Gold Glove. He also won three batting titles during the 1980s and three Silver Slugger Awards. Brett was a first baseman and third baseman in the 1980s, positions from which teams need some power. Although he wasn’t a great home run hitter from 1980 to 1989, he still gave the Royals an average of 19.3 homers.

  • 13 Time All-Star
  • World Series Champion 1985
  • AL MVP 1980
  • ALCS MVP 1985
  • Gold Glove Award 1985
  • 3 Time Silver Slugger
  • 2 Time AL Batting Champion
Video: George Brett Baseball Career Highlights

George Brett Baseball Career Highlights

Honorable Mentions

Dwight Evans

Evans was more known for his rocket throwing skills than his hitting in the 1970s. However, Evans won the 1981 home run title with Eddie Murray and Tony Armas. He smashed 22 runs in a strike-shortened campaign. Evans’ performance improved as he reached (and passed) his 30s. Evans hit over 30 home runs three times. He also scored more than 100 runs four times and drove in over 100 runs four times.

This includes three straight seasons that closed the decade. Evans’ keen eye for pitching made him an even bigger problem for his opponents. He drew over 100 walks three times. Only Rickey Henderson had more walks in the 1980s. It’s a shame that he is only well-known to loyal Red Sox fans.

Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez hit over .300 six times in the eighties. He was a patient hitter and had an on-base rate of over.400 five times. During this time, ‘Mex’ was a four-time All-Star player and won two Silver Slugger Awards. He and his fellow New York Mets won both the 1986 World Series.

Jim Rice

Jim Rice was a powerful-hitting outfielder with the Boston Red Sox during the eighties. He hit an average of 21 homers a year during the decade and was.300 for most of his career. He was a major run producer for the BoSox. He racked up over 100 RBIs from 1983 to 1986. He was awarded two Silver Slugger Awards and was a five-time All-Star in the 1980s.

Rice was also involved in one of the worst pennant race collapses in baseball history.

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