Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some Early Season Milestones

One of the elements that makes baseball such a wonderful game is how closely it is tied to it's history. In baseball, like no other sport, whenever records are broken or milestones set, we the fans pay close attention.

I guess parts of the reason are-- we love it when past great players are back in the news and we love it when a certain player does something that has never been done or rarely done. Whatever the mystery, baseball, it's history and it's records, are in a class by themselves.

Here are some milestones that have made headlines so far in this young season:

  • Jamie Moyer, at 47 years, 170 days old, became the oldest player in major league history to throw a shutout. Moyer threw a 2-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He bumped Phil Niekro (46 years, 188 days old), who threw a 4-hit shutout for the Yankees in 1986, as the oldest player ever to do so.
  • Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro became the first player in the modern era (since 1900) to drive in 6 runs in his major league debut. Five players had previously had 5 RBIs in their debuts, the last being Ben Grieve in 1997. At 20, Castro also became the youngest shortstop ever in Cubs history.
  • Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in major league history. Braden's 4-0 perfecto came against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the first perfect game ever thrown against the team who currently held the major leagues best overall record.
  • New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira hit 3 home runs in one game against the Boston Red Sox. He became the 4th player ever to hit 3 HR in a game for 3 different teams. He joined Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Mize and Dave Kingman in that exclusive club. It was also the first time a Yankee player hit 3 HR in one game at Fenway Park since the great Lou Gehrig did it in 1927.
  • Last week the New York Mets won back-to-back-games on walk-off home runs against the San Francisco Giants. It marked the first time in major league history that a team gets back-to-back walk-off HR wins from two different catchers. First, Rod Barajas' walk-off beat the Giants, 6-4, and one day later, back-up catcher Henry Blanco beat the Giants, 5-4, with a walk-off HR of his own.

Anyway, lots of good stuff so far this season.

We've also seen a no-hitter (by Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez) and 2 one-hitters (by Cincinnati Reds righty Johnny Cueto and San Diego Padres righty Mat Latos. Cueto one-hit the Pirates and Latos one-hit the Giants.

Lato's 1-hit gem was extremely rare because he won the game 1-0 and he himself drove in the lone run. And to make it even more rare, the 1 hit the Giants were able to mustard, deflected off of him. Had he made the play, he would have thrown a perfect game.

And to think, all this, and only 20% of the season has been played. Hopefully we'll see many more milestones. But that's what makes baseball so great-- you never know....

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

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