The opening day of the baseball season has been filled with historic moments and happenings. Moments like Hank Aaron tying Babe Ruth’s home run record and Ted Williams hitting .449 in all of his opening day game appearances. One of these milestones happened in 1940 and has yet to be repeated on the day that starts the long baseball season, a no hitter.
On April 16, 1940 at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Hall Of Fame pitcher Bob Feller made the history books when he threw his first no hitter. Completing a no hitter as a pitcher is incredible enough but there is another element that makes this feat even more incredible, this is the only occurrence of a no hitter on Opening Day. On that day Feller pitched his Cleveland Indians to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The eventual game winning run was scored by the Indians in the 4th inning when Jeff Heath scored on a Rollie Hemsley hit. The losing pitcher that day was Eddie Smith.
Bob Feller would have two more no hitters in his career before he retired in 1956. Those came in the 1946 and 1951 seasons against the Yankees and Tigers. Bob Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1962. Feller amassed 266 wins and 162 loses and threw 2,581 strikeouts. An interensting note to his career is that he also threw 12 one hit games on top of his three no hitters.
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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.
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.
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Tagged 1st round, 2012 season, american league, andrew mccutchen, barry bonds, baseball, batting champion, cardinals, central division. 2005 draft, Florida, fort meade, home runs, july, loosers, major leagues, MLB, mvp, n.l., national league, pirates, pittsburgh, playoffs, rbis, record, reds, runs, schedule, stolen bases, super star, walk off win, will he win mvp, wins, world series