Tag Archives: american league

Babe Ruth’s 500th Home Run

On August 11, 1929 New York Yankee Babe Ruth was the first ever player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs.  The game took place in Cleveland, OH at League Park VI.  The pitcher that gave up this historic home run was Willis Hudlin of the Cleveland Indians.  Ruth went 2-4 with 2 runs and 1 RBI.  The Yankees would end up losing the game by a score of 6-5.

Babe Ruth ended his career with 714 home runs when he retired in 1935.  His record would stand until Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run in 1974.  Aaron (755) and the current career home run leader Barry Bonds (762) are the only players to surpass Ruth’s record.

In the history of baseball only twenty-five men have hit 500 or more home runs in their career.  Fifteen of those players are in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  The last player to reach this milestone was Gary Sheffield on April 17, 2009.

Ron Blomberg Was The First DH 40 Years Ago Today

Ron Blomberg (Getty Images)

Ron Blomberg (Getty Images)

He may not be a household name but he has become a great trivia fact.  On April 6th, 1973 New York Yankee Ron Blomberg became the first Designated Hitter (DH) in baseball history.  This first came in game against the rival Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.  Blomberg was walked in his first home plate appearance against pitcher Luis Tiant.  Blomberg finished the season with a .321 batting average in 301 plate appearances.  His career ended with the Whit Sox after the 1978 season.

To this day the DH remains exclusive to the American League.  The DH position has caused mush controversy and excitement over the years.  Many have debated through the years that the DH position hurts the game.  Most feel that in the game of baseball the pitcher should be in the hitting lineup.   The DH has been criticized for taking away from baseball’s tradition.  40 years later I think it is safe to say that it has become apart of the tradition, at least in the American League.

The MLB Playoffs Are Quickly Approaching

The long baseball season is nearing its end.  The summer is coming to an end and the Fall season is about to start.  With it will come the Major League Baseball Playoffs.  The first games of the playoffs start next weekend.  So let’s take a look at what teams are approaching the playoffs in this final week of the season.

The American League

The interesting note of the week is that no A.L. teams have clinched a playoff spot yet.  It has been a tight race for all of the divisional spots and especially for the two Wild Card spots.

East

In the East there is great competition between the division leading New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees only lead that division by one game with the Rays in third place by only 5 games.

Central

The Central division has seen the Chicago White Sox fall quite a bit in the past week.  The White Sox are trailing the Detroit Tigers in the division by one game.  The third place team in the division is held by the Kansas City Royals who are fourteen games behind and have no hope for the playoffs.

West

The Western division has just as tight of a race as the Eastern division.  The Texas Rangers hold the top position with a record of 92-65.  The Oakland A’s have been surging ahead in the final month of the season and are only three games behind the Rangers.  In third place five games behind the Rangers are the Anaheim Angels. The Angels got off to a bad start at the beginning of the season but were able to turn their season around in the summer months.

Wild Card

Only six games separate the top five teams in the Wild Card race.  The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland A’s are in the top spots.  The Angels are two games back.  The Rays are three games back, while the White Sox are six games back and will likely only be able to enter the playoffs with winning the Central division.

The National League

The almost half of the playoff spots in the N.L. have been claimed.  All but one of the divisions have champions already, which takes some of the excitement away.

East

This is the only division where a champion has not yet been crowned.  With the third place team the Phillies seventeen games back, its between only the Braves and the Nationals for the crown.  The Nationals have shocked the baseball world with an incredible season and they currently hold the top spot.  The braves are trailing by four games and still have a chance at winning the division.  Both the Nationals and Braves have clinched playoff spots.  The only question is which one will be the division champion and which one will be in the wild card position.

Central

The Cincinnati Reds won the division this past week.  They appear to be a team that could contend for the World Series Title in October.

West

The San Fransisco Giants won the division championship just a few days ago.  This team has been a great team built for the playoffs for a few years now.  The Giants won the World Series in 2010 and are looking to win their second in three years.

Wild Card

With the Braves having clinched a playoff birth there is only one wild card spot remaining.  The St Louis Cardinals hold the remaining spot at the moment.  The Dodgers and the Brewers are the only two teams that still have a chance for the remaining wild card.  The Dodgers are three games back while the Brewers are five back.  The Dodgers have been turning downward as September rolls along.  The Brewers have to win their remaining five games to have a chance.  The Cardinals will likely hold their position and go into a wild card playoff game with the Braves.

 

 

 

Two Wild Card Teams, Too Many!

This past off season Major League baseball did something they had not done since 1994. It changed it’s playoff structure by adding a new element.

Prior to 1995 there were just four teams involved in the post season. There was an Eastern and Western Champion in Both leagues who would play each other for the League Championship. Those two winners would go into the World Series and face off against the opposing leagues Champion. This had been the case since 1969.

The new system was enacted in 1994 but due to the strike shortened season it debuted in 1995.  The system worked with each league having three divisions.  Each division winner would go to the playoffs and the team with the best record that did not win a division would also go to the post season.  There have been five wild card teams that have won a World Series since MLB instituted the wild card.

In November the commissioner of MLB, Bud Selig announced that their would be a second wild card team for each league.  The two wild card teams would play each other in a one game playoff.  The winner will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs and face one of the divisional champions.  All that was added was basically one more game to each leagues playoff.  We will see the first wild card playoff game in less than two weeks from now.

The new system obviously adds something to the final month of the season.  More teams will be in the hunt for the post season with the additional wild card.  Those teams games will also be more exciting down the stretch when MLB can be boring at times.  It will also create a new buzz in the playoffs.  However there is a draw back.

The two wild card teams might actually be pretty far apart records wise.  The second wild card team will be given an opportunity for the playoffs they may not deserve. As of right now you have two teams at the top of the National League wild card race.  The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals.  The braves lead the Cardinals by 6 games.  If the playoffs were to start today the Cardinals would get a one game playoff opportunity with the Braves they should not have.

This new system seems nice right now but over time it will dilute the MLB post season.  One wild card team per league is just enough.  If you have too many non playoff worthy teams getting a shot in the playoffs it will spell disaster for MLB.  This is just another scheme by Selig to make more money off of the last month of the season and add more money to the post season television deals.  MLB should go back to the four team per league system before the post season become watered down.  As the old adage goes if it is not broke don’t fix it.

Andrew McCutchen, Best Bet For N.L. MVP

The Pirates have been changing the perception of their team this year.  After years of dwelling in the cellar of the National Leagues Central Division they seem to have turned things around.  The team currently holds a record of 51 wins and 40 loses and are tied for first in the division with the Cincinnati Reds.  Both teams hold a 5 game advantage over the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.  Superb pitching has a lot to do with their success but beyond the pitching is the incredible play of Andrew McCutchen.

The Pirates Andrew McCutchen is having an MVP caliber season heading into August.
(Getty Images)

McCutchen is having a great year and has shown himself to be the team leader.  He has the best batting average in both leagues batting .369 after 87 games played.  He also has 22 home runs, 65 RBI’s, 65 runs and 14 stolen bases.  Producing many walk off game winners and with the lowly Pirates not looking so low combined with his stats shows that he is in the running and possibly the lead to win the National League MVP trophy this year.

McCutchen was drafted by the Pirate in the 1st round of the 2005 draft with the 11th overall pick.  He is in prime position to turn this franchise around for good and be recognized as one of the best baseball players around.  He has added excitement to a team that had nothing to get excited about since Barry Bonds left after the 1992 season.  He has had a few good seasons already but none as dominant as he has been this season.  The fact that the Pirates are in 1st place in late July is amazing in its own right.  The city of Pittsburgh could be transferred from a football city into to a baseball city in just a matter of a couple more years.

The Pirates have a lot to prove still.  Can they make the playoffs for the first time since the early 90’s?  Can they advance in the playoffs?  Can they continue to be a good team year in and year out?  All of those questions ride on the play of McCutchen.  If McCutchen continues this run he will be the N.L. batting champion and should be the N.L. MVP.  Recognition of that level would be incredible for the Pirates franchise.   So if you have not been following this player or this team its time to open your eyes and believe what you are seeing,  its true the Pirates are for real and they have one of baseballs best rising stars.

Bryce Harper Headed to The All Star Game

The rookie phenom that is 19 year old Bryce Harper will continue his whirl wind season by going to the All Star Game.  Harper was not originally slated to attend the game which takes place this week in Kansas City.  Harper will be taking the spot of injured Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.  Harper will be the 3rd youngest player to play in the MLB All Star Game.  While Harper will be playing off of the bench the eyes of all of the fans will be on him for sure.

Harper has had a solid start to his MLB career since his debut in April.  He is an excellent outfielder fielder with a rocket arm.  His offensive play has been very good for his experience level.  Harper has a batting average of .283, hit 8 home runs and had 25 RBI’s and scored 43 runs in just 62 games for the 1st place Washington Nationals.

Harper going deep at Fenway Park earlier this season.
(Getty Images)

Harper came in with a lot of hype and has been living up to it.  He has displayed a maturity on and off the field, the later many thought he would be able to do.  He has shown a lot of personality and has a charisma that a lot of players don’t have.  He has created great moments already in his young career, like when he hit a home run in the historic Fenway Park during his first game on that field.  He is in the right spot now to really display his skills in front of a national audience.  Harper is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year in the National League.

Harper will probably get at least 1 at bat and play 2 innings or so.  Many players have created unforgettable moments in All Star Games.  I have a feeling Bryce Harper will have a chance to make one of those moments.  When he gets he will more than likely take advantage of it.  If Harper continues to play the way he has been and develop into the player that he has been billed to be than this is just the beginning.