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October 4, 2010

The Season That Was...April

So there you have it...another season is in the books.

Prior to this year's campaign, The Hall broke down the Top Ten Milestones to Watch for in 2010 and, thankfully, there were more twists and turns than one could ever have expected.

2010 will go down as the "year of the pitcher", but the phrase became so cliche that umpire Jim Joyce seemingly took it upon himself to put it to rest. There were some stunning debuts by some much heralded rookies, a number of familiar faces decided to call it quits and Manny Ramirez moved to the Southside of Chicago.

All in all...a great season. Here's what April had to offer.

Opening Day in Atlanta saw Braves rookie Jason Heyward became the third youngest player to hit a home run in his first ever big league at bat. Four others (Luke Hughes, Starlin Castro, Daniel Nava and J.P. Arencibia) went deep in their first ever at bat this season, but given the hype surrounding one did it with as much fanfare.

Almost as impressive as what Heyward did (it's actually more rare), Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mike Leake became the first player since 2000 to leapfrog the Minors. In six and two-thirds innings of work, the young righty gave up only one run on four hits good for a 1.35 ERA. He also added two hits to become the first Reds pitcher to produce two hits in his debut since Benny Frey on Sept. 18, 1929.

Ubaldo Jimenez became the first Colorado Rockie hurler to throw a no-hitter on April 17. Sure, two have been thrown against Colorado since they debuted in 1993...but this was the first by one of their own.

Before you ask, the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays were, at the time of Jimenez's no-no to have not no-hit their opponent. And of the 264 that had been thrown, this was also the first by a hurler with a name starting with the letter "U".

On April 18, former National League Cy Young Eric Gagne called it quits.

The former Los Angeles Dodgers closer was the center of the baseball universe from 2002 to 2004 when he set a Major League record of 84 straight saves. In 2003, he finished the season a perfect 55 for 55 and became the first reliever in eleven years to take home the Cy Young Award. In addition, his 2-3 record that year made him the only pitcher to win the award while having a losing season.

By the time the middle of June 2005 rolled around, Gagne's short stint as a superstar was all but done. Arm injuries and subsequent Tommy John surgery did the righty in.

Some other statistical milestones of note...Manny Ramirez got hit number 2500, Johnny Damon knocked in his 1000th run and scored number 1500, Ivan Rodriguez notched his 550th double and Roy Hallday won his 150th game.

What would be on the horizon for May...more no-hitters perhaps? Maybe everyone's favorite octogenarian Jamie Moyer might make some news. It's impossible to speculate!

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