The 1980 Dodgers

Team History: 1951-1997
1980 Record:
92-71, finished second in N.L. Western Division
Tommy Lasorda
Steve Garvey, 1B; Davey Lopes, 2B; Jerry Reuss, P; Bill Russell, SS; Reggie Smith, OF; Bob Welch, P; Tommy Lasorda, Coach
Home Attendance:

Season Recap:

The Dodgers’ 1980 season was a season full of fine performances, break-throughs by young players, and a captivating season-ending weekend, only to result in the Dodgers falling a game short to the Houston Astros. Rebounding from a 79-win season in 1979, the Dodgers won 92 games doing it with their steadfast formula of pitching and hitting. The team ERA was 2nd in the National League (3.10), they were first in relief pitcher ERA (2.83), 1st in shutouts (19), 2nd in saves (42), and 2nd in most relief pitcher wins (29). Their offense was among the most potent in the National League. The Dodgers were first in home runs (148), 4th overall in hits. They hit well in the clutch by finishing third in batting average with men in scoring position and 2nd in batting with men in scoring position and two outs. They rallied late in games and were third in runs scored after the seventh inning. The pitching staff was led by the starters with Don Sutton winning 15 games and a league-leading ERA of 2.20.  Jerry Reuss led the team in wins with 18 and pitched a no-hitter over the San Francisco Giants in Candlestick Park on June 27.  Reuss just missed a perfect game when a first-inning throwing error allowed a man to reach base. For his 1980 performance, Reuss was named to the N.L. All-Star Team and was the winning pitcher. Bob Welch and Burt Hooton filled out the formidable Dodger starting staff with 14 wins each. The Dodger bullpen was led by Steve Howe in his rookie season and for his 17 saves was elected the 1980 N.L. Rookie of the Year.  Joe Beckwith, a 1977 draft choice, and Los Angeles native Babo Castillo pitched well in relief. The offense was triggered by first baseman Steve Garvey, left fielder Dusty Baker and right fielder Reggie Smith. Smith was on his way to a superb season with a .392 on-base average and a .500 slugging average until injuries sidelined him for the season in August. Garvey led the club in home runs with 29 and 106 RBI. Dusty Baker hit 29 home runs and drove in 97 runs in a productive role. Baseball’s longest running infield of Steve Garvey at first base, Davey Lopes at second base, Bill Russell at shortstop and Ron Cey at third base continued for another season, all products of the Dodger scouting and player development system. The season was a breakout for some younger Dodgers who would have a large part to play in the Dodgers’ success in the 1980s. The previously mentioned Howe made his major league debut, along with 1976 first round draft choice Mike Scioscia. Pedro Guerrero, acquired in a sleeper deal with the Cleveland Indians in 1975, started to emerge and showed the power to become one of the dominant RBI hitters in the N.L.  And oh yes, in September, a young left handed pitcher who dominated the Texas League in the second half of the season, Fernando Valenzuela, would make his major league debut and dazzle everyone with no earned runs in 17.2 innings down the stretch. April was a slow start when the club started 3-7, but finished the month with 10 consecutive wins. The pitching staff had an 11-game streak where they allowed three runs or less. The Dodgers made their move into first place on May 17, and understood they would be in a tight pennant race all season long.  From April 25 until the end of the season, the Dodgers never trailed by more than 3 ½ games from first place or were never ahead in first place by 3 ½ games or more. From August 31 until the final game of the season, the Dodgers and Astros were never more than two games in front or behind, and every one of the 162 games counted.

July 8, 1980 was a signature event for Dodger Stadium as the team hosted the 1980 All-Star Game. The National League won, 4-2, and Jerry Reuss was the winning pitcher. Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Reggie Smith were all elected as N.L. starters.  For the N.L., it was the 9th straight All-Star Game victory and was the 18th win in the last 19 All-Star Games. The All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium is also notable for being the debut of the Dodgers’ Diamond Vision, a full-color video board that was the first in Major League Baseball. The marketing concept and use of Diamond Vision by the Dodgers has in many ways changed how fans view games in sports stadium and to some extent, has changed the nature of individual sports. As the pennant race heated up, a young 19-year-old left hand pitcher who had been off to a mediocre start with the San Antonio club of the Texas League, was making his presence known. Fernando Valenzuela, taught to throw the screwball by future teammate Bobby Castillo, had mastered the pitch and had his way with Texas League hitters.  In Valenzuela’s last 62 innings in the AA league, he was 7-0 and allowed just six earned runs for an 0.87 ERA. He did not allow an earned run his last 35 innings with San Antonio. Delighted by his improvement, Valenzuela was promoted to the Dodgers after the Texas League playoffs. He made his major league debut September 15, 1980 in a 9-0 blowout loss to the Atlanta Braves. He may have been only 19, but he was pitching as well as anybody in the bullpen. Manager Tom Lasorda began using Valenzuela in key spots down the stretch in the 1980 pennant race and Valenzuela responded.  He did not allow an earned run in 17.2 innings and the Dodgers knew what they had found a rare gem in the young screwballer. The Houston Astros gave no ground to the Dodgers and continued to play well. They had worked themselves into a three-game lead with the final three games of the season  to be played at Dodger Stadium. Dodger fans, completely behind their club no matter how dire the circumstances, provided the inspiration for the three-game weekend became legendary in Los Angeles sports. The Dodgers had to win each game against an excellent Astro club to force a playoff on Monday.  On Friday, they trailed 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Ron Cey singled home the tying run with two outs.  In the bottom of the 10th inning, Joe Ferguson homered for a 3-2 win and the Dodgers remained alive. On Saturday, it was Jerry Reuss and Steve Garvey who supplied the necessary ingredients. Reuss pitched a complete game 2-1 win over Houston and Garvey homered off the Astros’ Nolan Ryan in the fourth inning for the tie-breaking run and Reuss made it stand up. On Sunday, the 162nd game of the regular season, everything was on the line for the third consecutive day. In a nationally televised game, the Astros led early, 3-0.  By the eighth inning, the Dodgers had moved to just a run behind, thanks to a RBI pinch-hit single by Manny Mota, who had been activated for the September race. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ron Cey, after fouling a pitch off his foot, then hit a 3-2 pitch in the left-center field bleachers to give the Dodgers the lead for the first time in the game, 4-3. The heroics on the field were not done yet. Jay Johnstone made a fine running catch, falling into the stands in right field to grab the first out. The Astros had the tying run on third base and a go-ahead run on first base with two outs in the inning when Lasorda made a daring move. He brought in Don Sutton, who had pitched seven innings on Friday night to get the final hitter. On the first pitch, Sutton induced a ground out and the season after 162 games was tied between the Astros and the Dodgers. They would play a one-game playoff the next day. Unfortunately, the clock struck midnight for the Dodgers and it was the Astros who won the game, 7-1 and took the N.L. Western Division title.  However, despite the discouraging loss, Dodger President Peter O’Malley thanked Dodger fans in a full-page newspaper ad and expressed the team’s appreciation for their support.  His letter concluded with “We look forward to sharing the excitement of the 1981 season with you.”  And 1981 would be an incredibly exciting season, a World Championship season.

Below are the Dodger Front Office department heads and personnel who worked for Peter O’Malley.

Board of Directors
Peter O’Malley, President; Harry M. Bardt, Treasurer; Roland Seidler, Jr., Secretary; Terry O’Malley Seidler
Peter O’Malley
Vice President, Player Personnel:
Al Campanis
Vice President, Public Relations and Promotions:
Fred Claire
Vice President, Minor League Operations:
William P. Schweppe
Vice President, Marketing:
Merritt Willey
Special Consultant:
Walter Alston
Controller and Assistant Treasurer:
Ken Hasemann
Assistant Secretary:
Irene Tanji
Director, Advertising, Novelties and Souvenirs:
Danny Goodman
Director, 1980 All-Star Game:
Willie Sanchez
Director, Community Relations:
Don Newcombe
Community Relations:
Roy Campanella
Director, Dodger Network:
Dave Van de Walker
Director, Dodgertown:
Charlie Blaney
Director, Publicity:
Steve Brener
Director, Scouting:
Ben Wade
Director, Speakers Bureau:
Bill Shumard
Director, Stadium Club and Transportation:
Bob Schenz
Director, Stadium Operations:
Bob Smith
Director, Ticket Department:
Walter Nash
Director, Ticket Marketing:
Barry Stockhamer
Executive Pilot, Dodger 720-B Fan Jet:
Capt. Lewis G. Carlisle
Traveling Secretary:
Billy DeLury
Michael Strange
Administrative Assistant:
Ike Ikuhara
Team Doctors:
Dr. Frank W. Jobe; Dr. Robert M. Woods