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March 30, 2009

Milestone Preview: American League West

The Hall of Very Good is proud to announce what could be the start of great partnership. Dr. Aaron Perlut, Chairman of the Board of the American Mustache Institute will be on board from now until the foreseeable future to lend his expertise and commentary to all things mustache.

Perlut has been championing mustaches since the age of seven and is completing a certification in the acclaimed Nuclear Mustacheology program at the Richmond, Virginia-based ITT Technical College’s Medical Wing.
He's also been steadfast in building a life foundation focused on fighting for those like him...Mustached Americans who’s only care was to be treated and accepted as other non-mustached Americans.

Last July, Perlut and the American Mustache Institute gained national attention with their endorsement of the THEN wonderfully mustachioed Jason Giambi to be voted to the All-Star team.

It is no coincidence that after Giambi shaved off the ‘stache, he upset the Yankee Gods (including Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson and Goose Gossage among others), found himself unsigned for 2009 and banished to the AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST.

What jumps off the page first when looking at Angels this season is not that they have the longest team name in baseball…it’s the way that they just seem to continue to win.

At the forefront of that winning is manager Mike Scioscia. Scioscia has 803 wins in his nine seasons (an average of 89 per year) and could end this season with the highest winning percentage among active managers. Braves skipper Bobby Cox is sitting at .557…Scioscia is not far behind at .551.

All-World rightfielder Vladimir Guerrero is continuing his assault on immortality this season as well. “The Impaler” is only eight home runs from 400 (he should surpass that sometime before Mother’s Day) and if he gets 25 this season…he’ll have 25 or better in each of the last 12 years.

Also worth mentioning, Guerrero has yet to hit below .300 in a season. With a .323 career batting average, he is fourth behind Albert Pujols (.334), Ichiro (.331) and Todd Helton (.328) on the active list.

In a few more seasons, we’ll be talking about Vlad as a 500 homer, 3000 hit guy.

Making his way back to Oakland, and therefore making the Athletics relevant to the Milestone Tracker is the afore mentioned Jason Giambi.

This season, Giambi is hoping to regain his pre-Yankees (and steroid aided) form as he continues his march to and past 400 home runs. He’ll start this season with 396 dingers and will more than likely surpass 400 by mid-April.

It remains to be seen if “Giambino” will enter the season mustached or not. As Perlut would be quick to point out…Giambi hit 100 points higher WITH the lip sweater. So growing it back is obviously something to consider.

While they are not picked by many to compete, the Mariners will be exciting to watch if only to see Ken Griffey, Jr. and Ichiro cement their place in history.

It’s not likely that “Junior” will get to his fourteenth All-Star game or bring home his eleventh Gold Glove, but Griffey enters 2009 as the active leader in hits (2680), runs (1612), home runs (611), RBI (1772) assuming Frank Thomas is done…runs created (1934).

As far as true milestones, all Griffey has in his sites is surpassing Hall of Famers Frank Robinson (1812), Dave Winfield (1833), Ted Williams (1839) and Carl Yastrzemski (1844) to move into twelfth place all-time on the RBI leaderboard.

Last season, Ichiro became the youngest player to notch 3000 hits…1278 while playing in Japan and 1805 in Seattle. If Ichiro gets 200 hits and 100 runs this season, he’ll pass Willie Keeler and Lou Gehrig with having the most (nine) seasons with more than 200 hits and 100 runs.

As it is…he’s the only Major Leaguer to start his career with eight straight seasons of 200 hits, 100 runs and a batting average of .300 or more.

And if Ichiro at the plate isn’t enough to keep an eye on, he also started his career with eight straight Gold Gloves and All-Star appearances.

Josh Hamilton exploded onto the scene last year in a big way, but it is a couple of lower profile Rangers (Omar Vizquel and Andruw Jones) that are approaching milestones.

Vizquel is on top of the active list for games played (2680) and at bats (9745) and second (behind former teammate Griffey, Jr.) on the hits list. And it isn’t likely that he’ll be able to surpass him, but “Sheik Omar’s” 11 Gold Gloves puts him behind only Ozzie Smith’s 13 on the Gold Glove tally board.

Jones has gone from perennial MVP candidate to MIA in the last couple of years and it is not likely that the his latest change of scenery will help. As it is, he’s only 31 and sitting at 371 home runs and while it is not likely…getting to 400 home runs this season is not entirely out of the question.

Of course, he’ll have to improve on that abysmal three home run output from last season.

The National League West is next and should wrap things up. In the meantime, feel free to check out Milestone Previews of the American League East, American League Central, National League East and National League Central.

BallHype: hype it up!

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