Many know that Hank Aaron was the first player to tie and break Babe Ruth’s all time home run record. However most don’t know that the historic tying home run came on Opening Day. On April 4th, 1974 the Hank Arron and Atlanta Braves played the Reds in Cincinnati, Oh. It was in that game that Aaron hit his 714th career home run. The historic home run came in Hank Aaron’s first at bat of the 1974 season. Jack Billingham was the pitcher that gave up the home run.
Hank Aaron being congratulated after home run 714. (Getty Images)
There was no better place for this incredible moment to happen in Cincinnati. The city is home to the first ever professional baseball team, the Reds. Everyday until 1990 the Reds had thrown the first pitch in every baseball season. Opening Day is even an official holiday in the city, complete with a parade.
That great Opening day moment almost never happened. Prior to the season opener the Braves management was worried that Aaron would not only tie but break the record in Cincinnati. They were so concerned that he was going to sit out the first series of the season until the team returned to Atlanta. The Braves were forced to play Aaron in at least two games of the three game series.
Hank Aaron would not hit another home run until April 8th, 1974 in Atlanta. That home run would be his 715th and broke Ruth’s all time record. Aaron retired after the 1976 season with the Brewers. When his career was over Aaron had 755 career home runs.
Posted in MLB, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1974, 1990, 2007, 4th, 714, 715, 755, all time, April, atlanta, babe ruth, baseball, braves, cincinnati reds, first at bat, first proffesional team, forced, hank aaron, home run, home runs, jack billingham, leader, managemant, opening day, parade, record, season, sit out, to play
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted in MLB, sports
Tagged 2012, american league, birth, braves, brewers, can win, central, champions, classic, east, fall, giants, long, make it, MLB, national league, nationals, october, orioles, phillies, play, playoff, playoffs, rays, reds, season, september, west, what teams, white sox, who is in, who is left, who will, wild card, world series, yankees
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.
Posted in MLB, sports
Tagged 1969, 1994, 1995, 2012, 6, american league, apart, atlanta, bad, braves, bud selig, buzz, cardinals, champion, chase, chmpions, commisioner, controversy, diluted, division, divisions, don't change, game, games, generate, go back, history, hunt, just enough, league champions, loss, MLB, money, money hungry, national league, new, old system, opinion, opportunity, per, players, playoff, playoffs, post season, race, record, season, september, shortened, st louis, strike, sudden death, system, television, too many teams, wild card, win, winner, world series, worthy
It has been an interesting season for the Miami Marlins so far. This team had a very new feel to it going into the season. A new name came first, no longer are they the Florida Marlins they are to be know now as the Miami Marlins. The new retractable roof stadium located in downtown Miami known as Marlins Park. The new manager Ozzie Guillen, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off season. Also new were big time free agents in Short Stop Jose Reyes, Starter Mark Buehrle and Closer Heath Bell. The team had not acquired free agents of this caliber since the 1997 season. But the newest thing for the Marlins was hope of contending in the N.L. East and winning their first ever division title.
The Marlins new home, Marlins Park
The Marlins finished April with just 8 wins and 14 loses. Many of those loses were to N.L. East foes the Phillies, Nationals and Mets. The Fish ended April at the bottom of the division. Not much seemed to go right for the Fish in April. Manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended by the team for a few games due to some ridiculous comments about Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The team also was not preforming well on the field. Their production on the offensive side of the ball was horrendous. Stars such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez not playing very well consistently. Their young power hitter Giancarlo Stanton had no power to speak of. The guy that was supposed to be saving games for the team Heath Bell was blowing leads and games left and right. The team was in need of a restart when April ended.
They got their fresh start in May and boy did they take advantage of it. The Marlins went on a road trip where they swept the Giants, Padres and took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros. The fielding got better, the pitching was awesome and the bats came alive in May. Giancarlo Stanton had an incredible month of May where he hit 12 home runs and had 30 RBI’s. Stanton even had a walk off grand slam in a home game against the Mets. Pitcher Ricky Nolasco got his 5th win of the season. Carlos Zambrano the loose cannon from the Chicago Cubs has pitched well and not lost his mind yet. The Marlins also played a lot better against division rivals. They took 2 out of 3 games against the Phillies, split a 2 game series with the Braves. The Marlins finished the final series of May by sweeping the 1st place Nationals in a 3 game series. The Fish had a record of 21 wins and just 8 losses for the month of May.
Marlins power hitter Giancarlo Stanton
(photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Marlins begin the month of June with a 29-22 record. It took the Marlins 2 month to make it to first place but they did it. They hold a tie with the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East. June is not going to be an easy month schedule wise. They will play 5 games total against the Phillies and 3 games against the Braves. The biggest challenge could be when they play a total of 6 games against their inter state rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are also tied for 1st place in their division and have played really well as a team this year. So that series could be a tough one for the Fish. The Marlins are hoping to finish June the way they are coming into it, very hot.
The rest of the season is going to be the real test of course. The Marlins were looking bad in April but impressed in May. The Fish play in the toughest division in baseball but have held their own so far. I believe the Fish have a very good chance of taking their first division title. This is a really good ball club that is finally playing as a team and are clicking on all cylinders. The prospects look very good for the rest of the summer but we will know for sure what this team is made of by September.
Posted in MLB
Tagged baseball, bat, braves, division, east, Florida, giancarlo stanton, glove, Hanley Ramirez, heath bell, home run, marlins, marlins park, mets, Miami, MLB, national league, nationals, Ozzie Guillen, philles, record, schedule, tickets, title, world series