So here we are, folks…the All-Star break. What have we learned?
The Yankees, with their league-best 56-32 record are dominating their opponents. Home runs are making headlines night after night and big league umpires need, according to many fans…better glasses.
Now while you’re bound to come across plenty of first half re-caps, here are ten milestones (or stories) that The Hall of Very Good has found of particular interest.
Jason Heyward Hits Home Run in Major League Debut
With one swing of the bat, Atlanta Braves super rookie did something only 104 players had done prior to Opening Day 2010…ht a home run in his first at bat. Within weeks, three more players joined him…most notably was what Boston rookie Daniel Nava pulled off.
Mike Leake Skips Minors…Debuts in Reds Rotation
While most of the baseball world was applauding the debut of Jason Heyward and counting down the moments until Stephen Strasburg took the hill for the first time…Cincinnati starter Mike Leake was busy not playing in the Minors and taking his act to the pros, winning his first five starts in the process.
No-Hitters, Perfect and Notso Perfect Games
If one more person calls 2010 the “Year of the Pitcher” I’m going to vomit. So here we are…living in the Year of the Pitcher! Never before have we seen two perfect games (Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay), two no-hitters (Ubaldo Jimenez and Edwin Jackson) and whatever you call what Armando Galarraga pulled off…all before the All-Star break! I’m almost afraid to see what the second half of the season has in store for us.
Matt Stairs…Professional Hitter
My fascination with Matt Stairs started in his first season in the Minors…1989. More than 20 years and a Major League best 20 pinch hit home runs later…Stairs is still swinging for the fences. Matter of fact, he’s done so for more teams (11) than anyone else out there today.
Fifth on the all-time home run list with 630 career bombs, "The Kid" was regarded as one of the game's premier players throughout the 1990s, nabbing ten straight Gold Gloves while playing with Seattle and being elected to start eleven straight All-Star Games. Quietly, he called it quits June 2 and made the 2016 Hall of Fame induction an easy day to schedule.
Stephen Strasburg Makes His Historic Debut
What can be written about Stephen Strasburg that hasn’t been written before? How about the fact that dude sold more jerseys (78,000) in June than any Washington National has in their history? Oh…a big thanks to those who have found The Hall while Googling “Stephen Strasburg shoe size”.
Home Run Milestones Aplenty!
Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano and Scott Rolen all reached the 300 home run plateau for their careers. Not to be outdone, Andruw Jones hit his 400th. The next big home run milestone on the docket? Alex Rodriguez is a mere three longballs from 600.
Jamie Moyer Becomes Home Run King
And speaking of home runs…did you hear the one about Jamie Moyer becoming the all-time leader in home runs by a pitcher. Last month, Moyer served up home run number 506 and later this month…he’ll get his AARP card. You know…because he’s old. ZING!
Jon Adkins Sets Save Record
Sure, it’s not a Major League milestone…but it IS a milestone. Good friend of The Hall, closer Jon Adkins became the all-time saves leader for the Cincinnati Red Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats back in June. Unfortunately, Adkins won’t be able to add to his career total…the Reds released the pitcher on the eve of the Major League All-Star break Sunday night.
Goodbye, Old Friends
In a season full of memorable debuts…we’ve also seen our fair share of departures. In May, the baseball world lost both Ernie Harwell and Jose Lima. And right before the All-Star break, longtime Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed. But in what will be regarded as one of the top sports/news stories of the year…Yankees owner George Steinbrenner succumbed to a heart attack early Tuesday morning.
To put a cap on the first half of the baseball season, Gar Ryness, better known as Batting Stance Guy was at the All-Star Game in Anaheim Tuesday night and ran into “reputable reporter” Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
Here’s their round up of the 2010 season so far.