When the calendar page turned to September...baseball had already seen five no-hitters (two of them perfect games), Ken Griffey Jr. call it quits and Manny Ramirez end up in Chicago.
What could the last month of the season have in store for its fans?
Early on, Chicago White Sox infielder Omar Vizquel became the leader in games played among foreign born players. More than Hall of Famers Tony Perez (2777) and Luis Aparicio (2601). More than octogenarian Julio Franco (2527). And now...more than the previous record holder Palmeiro.
And for the curious out there, Vizquel is 17th on the all-time list.
With a two-run double off Atlanta's Tommy Hanson in the sixth-inning on September 11, St. Louis Cardinals stud Albert Pujols notched his tenth straight season of 30 or more home runs and 100 RBI to start a career. He eclipsed the old mark of five in a row when he accomplished the feat in 2005.
His ten straight 100 RBI seasons to start his career is second only to Al Simmons who did it in 11. Pujols is now one of only three players (Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx are the others) to have ten straight 30/100 seasons. Four other players have had at ten straight seasons of 100 RBI or more. Rodriguez, Foxx and Lou Gehrig did it in 13 straight seasons, whereas Simmons did it in 12.
Washington Nationals firstbaseman Adam Dunn reached 350 home runs for his career on September 5. A few days later, fellow first baseman Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies became the quickest player to reach 250 home runs for his career.
And how quick did he do it? 855 games. The previous record of 871 was accopmplished by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner.
Also hitting long balls was Bobby Abreu who recorded his ninth 20/20 season (20 home runs...20 stolen bases) with a homer on September 19. This is the third most in history. Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds hold the record by having ten 20/20 seasons each.
In a span of 24 hours (starting September 22), three milestones were reached...San Diego Padres infielder Miguel Tejada reached 300 home runs for his career, Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista became just the 42nd player to reach 50 home runs in a season (he had previously tied George Bell's former franchise high of 47 home runs) and hit machine Ichiro Suzuki reached 200 hits for a record ten straight seasons.
To illustrate how spectacular the Seattle Mariners outfielder's feat is, consider this...baseball's hit king Pete Rose is the only other guy to notch ten season with 200 or more hits. His accomplishment, however, was spread over 24 seasons. Ichiro has done it in ten.
Lastly, from the "do people REALLY keep track of these things" department, San Diego Padres hurler Mat Latos set a record with his 15th straight start with five or more innings pitched and two or fewer runs allowed when he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 7. Latos broke the record of 14 straight starts held by Greg Maddux (who did it in 1993-94) and Mike Scott (1986).
Also in September, all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman became the first closer to 600 saves, Johnny Damon legged out his 100th career triple, Roy Oswalt won his 150th game and Alex Rodriguez reached 100 RBI for a record 14th season.
And with the regular season in the books...we turn our attention to the playoffs where I am sure there won't be any no-hitters or dramatic home runs.
Truth be told, I am writing this two days after Roy Halladay made history and just minutes after Rick Ankiel went yard.
To catch up on the rest of the season...feel free to go crazy!
The Season That Was...April
The Season That Was...May
The Season That Was...June
The Season That Was...July
The Season That Was...August