Entering this season, The Hall laid out Ten Milestones to Watch For. Simply stated, some were reached…some weren’t.
Among those that made headlines, a few were monumental (Randy Johnson 300th victory)…others were obscure personal achievements (Omar Vizquel beoming the all-time hits leader among Venezuelan born players). And unless you spent the last few years living like Ted Williams' frozen, battered head...you knew that the Yankees opened up a new homer friendly ballpark.
All in all…a good season.
Let’s dive in, appropriately enough, with April.
Of all the home runs achievements that occurred during 2009, none were more improbable than White Sox teammates Paul Konerko and Jermaine Dye both reaching the 300 home run plateau against the Tigers on April 13.
In the same game.
It was fitting that the pair reached the historic milestone in Detroit given Dye has hit the most home runs (16) by a visiting player at Comerica Park. Konerko is tied for fourth with former Sox teammate Jim Thome at 13.
Two night later, Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki slapped a single against the Angels and surpassed Isao Harimoto and became the all-time leader among Japanese baseball players.
And with that hit, questions were raised…is Ichiro the all-time Japanese hit leader or the all-time hit leader among Japanese born MLB?
Suffice it to say…the guy knows how to swing a bat.
And remember right before the season where it looked like Gary Sheffield’s career looked to be done?
Well, he all but guaranteed his Hall of Fame candidacy (in my mind) when the Mets picked him up off the scrap heap, signed him and, on April 17, he became the 25th member of the 500 home run club.
His first hit in the Majors was a home run for the Milwaukee Brewers, so it was fitting that number 500 was against them. Unpredictably, Sheffield achieved the milestone as a pinch hitter…the first ever to do so.
With April in the books, everyone’s eyes turned to May. Baseball's favorite octogenarian Jamie Moyer was on the cusp of 250 career victories and a revitalized Jason Giambi was looking to nail down home run number 400.