BASEBALL; Best in the big leagues during '70s

Major league baseball recently put together a report card on its top performers of the last decade. The valedictorian in the hitting department was Rod Carew, whose .343 average won hands down over Bill Madlock's .320 clip. Baltimore's Jim Palmer was the winningest pitcher, but not by much, his 186 victories being just two more than Gaylord Perry notched.

In Willie Stargell and Johnny Bench, the National League had the game's premier power hitters. The winner of home run titles in 1971 and 1973, Stargell airmailed 296 balls into the bleachers, edging out Reggie Jackson (292) and Bench (290). Bench, however, owned a considerable margin over former Cincinnati teammate Tony Perez in runs batted in (1,013 to 954).

Pete Rose, the most consistent hitter on Cincinnati's powerhouse teams, led the majors in hits, runs, games, and at-bats. The Reds, incidentally, were the decade's best club, with 953 victories, followed by the Orioles (944), Pirates ( 916), and Dodgers (910).

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