Philadelphia Inquirer - December 2, 1980

Howe voted top Rookie; Smith third

 

By the Associated Press

 

NEW YORK – Lefthander Steve Howe, who became the long-sought stopper in the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen last season, was named National League Rookie of the Year yesterday by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

 

Howe received 12 first-place ballots from the 24-man BBWAA panel and totaled 80 points. It was the first time since the award began in 1947 that the panel has voted on a 5-3-1 basis.

 

Montreal pitcher Bill Gullickson finished second with 53 points including five first-place ballots, and outfielder Lonnie Smith of the world champion Phillies was third with 49 points and four first-place votes.

 

Cincinnati Reds infielder Ron Oester finished fourth with 16 points including one first-place vote and relief pitcher Dave Smith of the Houston Astros was fifth with 13 points and two firsts.

 

Others receiving votes were Phillies pitcher Bob Walk, pitcher Jeff Reardon of the New York Mets, pitcher Al Holland of the San Francisco Giants and outfielder Leon Durham of the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

Howe, signed off the campus of the University of Michigan, became the ninth Dodgers player to capture the rookie award since the BBWAA introduced it in 1947. Dodgers infielder Jackie Robinson won it that year.

 

The southpaw reliever was a surprise for the Dodgers. His only professional experience before 1980 was 15 games with San Antonio of the Texas League. But Howe won a job in spring training and went on to post a 7-9 record with 17 saves and a 2.65 earned-run average for Los Angeles.

 

Gullickson posted a 10-5 record and had 120 strikeouts in 140 innings for the Expos including an 18-strikeout game.

 

Smith batted .339 in 298 at-bats and stole 31 bases for the Phillies, filling in for the injured Greg Luzinski.