October 12, 2010

The Ten Best Stories of the 2010 Season

Alright, alright, I know I just blasted Bleacher Report, but c'mon...how many lame, typo-laden slideshows are necessary on a daily basis?

Which brings me to this.

Prior to the season, The Hall broke down which milestones to watch for in 2010.

Well, no-hitters and perfect games aside...here are The Ten Best Stories of the 2010 Season.

Super Rookie Jason Heyward Homers in First At Bat
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 Heyward...no one did it with as much fanfare.

Reds Rookie Mike Leake Skips Minors
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.

Alex Rodriguez is Wicked Good
On August 4th, "A-Rod" joined Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. as the one of the only players to slug 600 or more home runs for their career...and he did it exactly three years to the day after he slugged number 500.

Rodriguez also became the youngest player to hit 600, at 35 years and eight days old...a year and 188 days younger than "The Bambino" was when he swatted 600. "A-Rod" was also the fourth quickest to the mark in terms of at-bats, hitting number 600 in his 8,689th at-bat. Ruth did it in 6,921.

Less than a week later, Rodriguez made history again when he stole his 300th base. Only Barry (762-514) and Bobby Bonds (332-461), Willie Mays (660-338), Andre Dawson (438-314), Reggie Sanders (305-304) and Steve Finley (304-320) have achieved 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases.

Also Good…Albert Pujols
On August 25, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols extended his own streak by becoming the only player in Major League history to begin his career with ten straight seasons of 30 or more home runs. A few nights later, he became the youngest National Leaguer to reach 400 for his career.

And 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.

Bobby Abreu Can Hit…and Run
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.

Jamie Moyer is Your New Home Run King
On June 22, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer gave up his record tying 505th home run. In his next start, the lefty surrendered number 506 when Vernon Wells jerked one out of the park.

Earlier in the season, Moyer became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a complete game shutout on May 7. Baseball's elder statesman was 47 years, 170 days when he beat the Atlanta Braves at (Senior) Citizens Bank Park. Zing!

Meet Matt Stairs…Professional Hitter
On July 7, Matt Stairs went yard against Matt Capps for the 20th time as a pinch hitter. This milestone by Stairs earned him a tie with Cliff Johnson atop the all-time home run list among pinch hitters.  This was Stairs' second homer as a member of his 12th team...the San Diego Padres. His first one of the season (which was hit in May) meant that the Canadien had gone deep for a record eleven different teams...a feat matched only by Todd Zeile.

On August 21, Stairs set a record with his 21st career pinch hit homer

“Big Papi” Has Wheels!
The next night, Boston Red Sox (one the Stairs’ dozen former teams) DH David Ortiz legged out his annual triple. And if you're keeping score, Ortiz is one of only three Major Leaguers to have at least one triple a year since 2000.

Omar Vizquel Has Played a Long, Long Time
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.

Junior Calls it Quits
On June 2, Ken Griffey Jr. retired. He left the game with a .284 career batting average, 630 home runs and 1836 RBI. He was named the American League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and finished in the top five in voting four other years.

So there you have it...the 2010 regular season is officially in the books!  What did I miss...what were your favorite memories from the 2010 baseball season?  Let me hear it!

For a month-by-month breakdown of 2010 Major League milestones...click the links below!
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
The Season That Was...September (October)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ever hear of a record breaker named Ichiro?

Jesus Melendez said...

Yup...sure did. Talked about him a few times throughout the season.

Here's an example!
http://www.hallofverygood.com/2010/09/24-hours3-milestones.html