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March 27, 2012

Ten American League Milestones to Watch For

With the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season just around the corner, it’s time to check out some upcoming milestones. And unlike years in the past where The Hall has broken down the leagues division by division…we’re going league-by-league.

Yesterday, we took a look at the milestones on the horizon in the National LeagueBut today…it’s all about the American League!

Last year, New York Yankees superstar Derek Jeter entered the season on the cusp of 3000 career hits. This year, we’re not as lucky. The most exciting hitting milestone involves Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle Mariners outfielder is 72 hits from 2500. Why is that cool? Should the perennial All-Star get those in his first 36 games…he would become the second fastest all-time to reach 2500 hits. Also on the docket for Ichiro…with another 200-hit season, he’ll have a record breaking 11 seasons with 200-plus base knocks.

On May 15, 2003, the Boston Red Sox faced the Texas Rangers in front of a packed house.  711 games later...they're still playing to a sold out stadium.  And while 2012 marks 100 years of the BoSox at Fenway Park, 712 consecutive sellouts is pretty darn impressive.  Heck, it bests the second longest streak by more than 250 games!

Chicks dig the longball, right? No? Maybe?!? Well, if that’s still true, they’re going to love following three American League sluggers as they approach 400 career home runs. Chasing down the milestone…Paul Kornerko (who enters 2012 with 396), David Ortiz (378) and Adam Dunn (365).

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has an outside chance of reaching 200 victories this season. Sure, he’s going to need to channel Justin Verlander and win 24 games, but with some run support…the big lefty could pull it off.

Derek Jeter already has 3000 career hits…now it’s time for the New York Yankees legend to move up the ladder. The shortstop enters the season with 3088 hits and should he duplicate last season’s output (162 hits), he’ll jump from 20th all-time to 13th…right between Eddie Murray (3255) and Nap Lajoie (3242)

No one is going to argue with you if you said that Adam Dunn’s first season with the Chicago White Sox was awful. Lost in his dismal .159 batting average were his 177 strikeouts in just 122 games. Entering 2012, the “Big Donkey” is 191 strikeouts away from becoming the fastest player to ever reach 2000 career whiffs. And before you think it isn’t possible…he’s K’d 191 or more times three other times in his career.

Should Octavio Dotel make the roster for the Detroit Tigers (and he will), he’ll be pitching for his record 13th team. The 38-year-old righty is currently tied with Mike Morgan, Matt Stairs and Ron Villone.

With Tony LaRussa out of the picture, Detroit Tigers skipper Jim Leyland enters 2012 as the wins leader among active managers with 1588. With 12 victories, he’ll not only reach 1600, but he will surpass Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda who sits 17th all-time with 1599 wins.

It's times like these that I am glad that Disney no longer has anything to do with the ownership of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Because if they did...we'd be subjected to them knocking the cobwebs off Shawn Bradley, dressing him up in a baseball uniform and throwing him on the silver screen Gheorghe Muresan-style to play 7’1” pitcher Loek Van Mil. Should the big righty get called up by the Halos...he'll enter the Majors, not only as the game's tallest player ever, but also the first seven-footer baseball has ever seen.

And speaking of the Angels…Bobby Abreu has a chance to make some history this season. The veteran is seven stolen bases shy of 400 for his career and 16 home runs away from 300. If he reaches those milestones, he’ll become just the third player (and the first not named Bonds) to hit 300 home runs and steal 400 bases.


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