Friday, August 29, 2014

Kansas City Royals' George Brett Collects Career Hit 1,500

On August 29, 1982, Hall of Famer and Kansas City Royals great George Brett gets career hit 1,500.
Over his 21 major league seasons, Brett, a lifetime .305 hitter, would go on to collect 3,154 hits, consisting of 665 doubles, 137 triples and 317 home runs. He also had 1,596 RBIs, 1,583 runs scored, 1096 walks and 201 stolen bases.
Three times Brett led the league in hits, with his highest single season total coming in 1976 with 215.
Brett is also one of only four players to hit for a .300 batting average, have 300 or more home runs and have over 3,000 hits in a career. The others include three more Hall of Famers, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Stan Musial.
Brett finished his career with 13 All-Star appearances, with 13 consecutive appearances from 1976-1988. He was a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner in 1980, 1985 and 1988. He was a three time American League Batting Champion in 1976, 1980 and 1990. He was a Gold Glove winner in 1985 and that same year he won the World Series with the Royals. On the way to winning the World Series, Brett was named the ALCS MVP.
In 1980 Brett won his only MVP Award, as well the Hutch Award, which is given annually to an active Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire" of Fred Hutchinson, by persevering through adversity.
In 1986 Brett won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is given annually to a Major League Baseball (MLB) player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off it.
The Kansas City Royals retired his no. 5 jersey in 1994 and in 1999 he was inducted into Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 98.2 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he appeared. It was the fourth highest percentage of the vote given to a player ever just behind Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan, and Tom Seaver.
In 2013 Brett joined the Royals in a different capacity as a hitting coach.

St. Louis Cardinals' Lou Brock Sets MLB Career Stolen Base Record

On August 29, 1977, Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals great Lou Brock eclipses Ty Cobb's 49-year-old career stolen base record of 892 steals. Brock’s record-breaking performance came as he achieved career stolen base 893 in the loss to the Padres, 4-3.
Brock would go on to steal 938 bases, leaving him as the stolen base leader until Rickey Henderson broke the feat. Currently Brock is still second on the list, more than 300 stolen bases above Juan Pierre who is third on the list with 614.
Brock’s 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals saw him play in six All-Star games, including four consecutive appearances from 1971-1975. He was a two-time World Series Champion in 1964 and 1967, both with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Brock won several awards during his career, including the 1967 Babe Ruth Award, given to the player with the best performance in the postseason. The award, created by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) in honor of Babe Ruth, was first awarded in 1949 to the MVP of the World Series, one year after Ruth's death.
The award continued to be awarded exclusively for performances in the World Series until 2007, when the New York chapter of the BBWAA changed the award to cover the entire postseason. Though it precedes the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, which was not created until 1955, the Babe Ruth Award is considered less prestigious, as it is not sanctioned by MLB and is awarded several weeks after the World Series.
Brock also won the 1975 Robert Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media. It is named for Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente. Originally known as the Commissioner's Award, it has been presented by the MLB since 1971. In 1973, the award was renamed after Clemente following his death in a plane crash while delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.
He also won the 1977 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is given annually to a Major League Baseball (MLB) player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig, both on the field and off it.
In 1979 Brock won two awards, the National League Comeback Player of the Year award given to the player who has the best season after an injury or dismal season. That same season Brock won the Hutch Award, which is given annually to an active Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire" of Fred Hutchinson, by persevering through adversity.

Brock finished his career with a .293 batting average, with 3,023 hits, consisting of 486 doubles, 141 triples and 149 home runs. Brock also had 1,610 runs scores, 900 RBIs, and 706 walks in his career to go along with the 938 stolen bases. Eight times Brock led the league in steals with his highest single season total coming in 1974 with 118.
Although never an MVP, Brock was in the MVP conversation 10 times, with his highest finishing rank of second in 1974.
The St. Louis Cardinals retired his no. 20 jersey in 1979, and in 1985 Brock was elected into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame with 79.75 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he appeared.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Los Angeles Dodgers' Eric Gagne Sets MLB Consecutive Save Record

On Aug. 28, 2003, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne sets a record with his 44th consecutive save of the 2003 season and his 52nd in a row dating back to the 2002 season.
Gagne would end the 2003 season with 55 saves in 67 appearances, both league leading earning him the NL Cy Young Award.
Gagne's streak would continue into the midst of the 2004 season and eventually earn 84 consecutive saves. Which is still more consecutive saves than that of any other closer in MLB history.
Gagne would finish his 10-year career with 187 saves, almost half of those were earned during his streak which last over three consecutive seasons.
Over the course of his career Gagne racked up 33 wins and 26 losses, with a 3.47 ERA over 643.2 innings in 402 games. He compiled an amazing 718 strikeouts compared to just 226 walks and only 13 intentional walks.

Gagne last played in 2008 for the Milwaukee Brewers where he sported a 5.44 ERA in 50 games with 10 saves.
Check out the video below of Gagne's record setting 84th consecutive save:

Chicago Cubs' Ryne Sandberg Sets MLB Record

On Aug. 28, 1990, Ryan Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs hit his 30th home of the season to help the Cubs beat the Houston Astros at the Astrodome.

It was the second year in a row the future Hall of Famer hit at least 30 home runs, becoming the first Major League second baseman to do that. Sandberg wasn't done in 1990 either. He ended up with 40 home runs. He hit an even 30 in 1989.

Ryne Sandberg played 16 years in the major leagues, his first with the Philadelphia Phillies, but as a result of a classic ill-advised trade on the part of Philadelphia, was sent to the Cubs in year two and played the next 15 seasons on the North side of Chicago.

Sandberg was a career. 285 hitter, appeared in 10 All-Star games, was National League Most Valuable Player in 1984, and elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.
Since Sandberg retired second base has still been a position with limited power but a few players after him have completed the feat.
Jeff Kent hit 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons.
Alfonso Soriano hit 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons.
Chase Utley also hit 30 home runs in three consecutive seasons.
Dan Uggla is the current record holder with five consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tiger Woods Wins U.S. Golf Amateur Championship

On August 27, 1995, the ninety-fifth U.S. Golf Amateur Championship is won by Tiger Woods.

Woods turned professional in 1996, and by April 1997 he had already won his first major, the 1997 Masters in a record-breaking performance.

He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997. Through the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf, spending 264 weeks from August 1999 to September 2004 and 281 weeks from June 2005 to October 2010 as world number one. From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted infidelity.

Several different women, through many worldwide media sources, revealed his multiple infidelities. This was followed by a loss of form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.

He snapped a career-long winless streak of 107 weeks when he captured the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. As of August 26, 2013, Woods, is still ranked the No. 1 golfer in the world.

Woods has broken numerous golf records. He has been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any other golfer. He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record ten times, the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in nine different seasons.

He has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18), and 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead.

He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour, he currently has 106 wins.

Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times. Woods has won 17 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.

In 1996 Woods was named the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. 11 times Woods has been named the PGA Player of the Year including five straight selections from 1999-2003. He was the PGA Tour Player of the Year 11 times, including five straight selections from 1999-2003.

Woods has led the PGA Tour in money winning 10 times including four straight years from 1999-2002. He won the Vardon Trophy nine times, including five consecutive years from 1999-2003. He has won the Byron Nelson Award nine times, including five consecutive years from 1999-2003.

Woods has also won the FedEx Cup twice in 2007 and 2009.

Check out the video below that features some highlights of Woods during his 1995 U.S. Amateur Golf Championship win:

Oakland Athletics' Rickey Henderson Breaks MLB Single Season Stolen Base Record

On August 27, 1982, Oakland Athletics outfielder and Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson steals base 119 of the season, breaking Lou Brock's single season mark of 118 stolen bases. 
Henderson would go on to steal 130 bases that season, setting the all time mark for the most stolen bases in a single season in the MLB. The record still stands to this day.

Henderson was a left fielder who played in Major League Baseball for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with his original team, the Oakland Athletics. 

Nicknamed "The Man of Steal", he is widely regarded as the sport's greatest leadoff hitter and base runner, holding the record for most career leadoff home runs with 81, and winning three Silver Slugger awards in 1981, 1985 and 1990. 

His 1,406 career steals are almost double the previous record of 938 by Lou Brock, and more than 700 above the current active leader in stolen bases, Juan Pierre, who has 614 as of Aug. 26, 2014.

Henderson is the all-time stolen base leader for the Oakland A’s and previously held the New York Yankees' franchise record from 1988-2011. That is now owned by Mr. November, Derek Jeter, who has 348 stolen bases in pinstripes. Henderson had 326.

But he was more than just a speed demon around the bases. Henderson holds the major league records for runs scored and unintentional walks. Henderson is also the only player in American League history to steal 100 bases in a season, having done so three times. 
A 12-time stolen base champion, Henderson led the league in runs scored five times and was among the league's top ten base stealers in 21 different seasons.

Henderson was named the AL's Most Valuable Player in 1990, and he was the leadoff hitter for two World Series champions: the 1989 Oakland A's and the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays. 

At the time of his last major league game in 2003, the ten-time American League All-Star ranked among the sport's top 100 all-time home run hitters and was its all-time leader in base on balls. 

His 25-year career elevated Henderson to the top ten in several other categories, including career at bats, games, and outfield putouts and total chances. 

His high on-base percentage, power hitting, and stolen base and run totals made him one of the most dynamic players of his era.

He was further known for his unquenchable passion for playing baseball and a buoyant, eccentric and quotable personality that both perplexed and entertained fans. 

Once asked if he thought Henderson was a future Hall of Famer, statistician Bill James replied, "If you could split him in two, you'd have two Hall of Famers.

In 2009, he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot appearance with 94.8 percent of the vote.

The Oakland Athletics also retired Henderson’s no. 24 jersey in 2009.

Check out the video below of Henderson breaking Lou Brock's career stolen base record: 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Oakland Athletics' Mark McGwire Hits First Major League Home Run

On August 25, 1986, Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark McGwire hits his first of 583 Major League home runs.

In 1987, McGwire aka “Big Mac” broke the single-season home run record for rookies, with 49. Throughout his career Mark McGwire hit 49 or more home runs five times en route to hitting 583 career home runs. Four times McGwire led the league in home runs. For his career, McGwire averaged a home run once every 10.61 at bats, the best at bats per home run ratio in baseball history (Babe Ruth is second at 11.76).

1n 1998 McGwire aka Big Mac and Sammy Sosa both encountered on a record-breaking home run season. McGwire and Sosa would both end up breaking Babe Ruth’s single season home run record of 61 home runs, as Sosa went on to hit 66 home runs and McGwire 70.

McGwire’s 70 home run season was a Major League record until 2002 when Barry Bonds broke the feat when he hit 72 home runs. McGwire is still one of only two players to hit 70 or more home runs in a season. The other, Bonds.

McGwire finished his career with a .263 career batting average, 1,626 hits, and 1,167 runs, 1,414 RBIs to go along with his 583 home runs. His career on base percentage was .394, his career slugging percentage was .588 and his on base plus slugging was .982.

McGwire was the 1987 American League Rookie of the Year, and was a 12-time All-Star including six-straight appearances twice, from 1987-1992 and from 1995-2000. He was a two-time World Series Champion, once as a player with the Oakland Athletics in 1989 and once as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. He won a Golden Glove at first base with the A’s in 1990 and won three Silver Slugger awards, two with the A’s in 1992 and 1996 and one with the Cardinals in 1998. McGwire also won the 1992 Home Run Derby and was given the Lou Gehrig Award in 1999.

Also in 1999 McGwire was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

McGwire played for Team USA in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984 helping Team USA earn a Silver medal. McGwire also helped the United States in international play during the Pan American Games and Intercontinental Cup in 1983 helping the USA earn a Bronze and Silver medals respectively.

In 1999, The Sporting News released a list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. The list had been compiled during the 1998 season and included statistics through the 1997 season. McGwire was ranked at Number 91.

In 2005, The Sporting News published an update of their list and McGwire had been moved up to Number 84.

However, in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 balloting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, McGwire failed to attain election receiving 128 of the 545 cast (23.5 percent of the vote) in 2007, 128 of 543 (23.6) in 2008, 118 of 539 (21.9) in 2009, 128 of 539 (23.7) in 2010, 115 of 581 (19.8) in 2011, 112 of 573 (19.5) in 2012, 96 of 569 (16.9) in 2013 and 63 of 571 (11.0) in 2014.

Currently McGwire is the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, after being the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2010-2012.

McGwire had a Hall of Fame career based on his stats and accomplishments, but because of his trouble with performance enhancing drugs (PED) his call to the hall might come in to questioning.

Check out the video below that has McGwire's first Major League home run:

New York Mets' Dwight Gooden Gets 20th Victory

On Aug. 25, 1985, the New York Mets defeat the San Diego Padres 9-3, making Mets starting pitcher Dwight Gooden the youngest pitcher to ever win 20 games in a season. At 20 years and nine months old, the second-year Met was a full month younger than Bob Feller, who won 24 games for the Cleveland Indians in 1939. The win was also his fourteenth in a row.

Gooden finished the season with a 24-4 record, a 1.53 ERA, 16 complete games, and 268 strikeouts in 276-and-two-thirds innings -- all of which led the National League. He won the Cy Young Award that year, just one season after winning the Rookie of the Year Award, and joined Herb Score as the only pitchers to strikeout 200 batters in their first two seasons. He was already being touted as one of the greatest pitchers of all time and was a sure-fire Hall of Famer just on talent alone.


Sadly, Gooden never lived up to his expectations. 1985 was the final year he won 20 games, although he did follow that up with six solid seasons. After that, his career became a bona fide trainwreck, as he struggled to overcome addictions to both alcohol and cocaine. He retired with a record of 194-112, and as one of the biggest what-ifs in baseball history.
Check out the video below of Gooden earning his 20th win:

Major League Baseball Suspends Pete Rose For Life

On August 24, 1989, former Major League Baseball player and manager Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for gambling on the sport.

Rose had a long and storied career, which saw stints playing and coaching on the Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Rose would total 4,256 hits in his career with 3,215 singles.

Rose finished his career with a .303 batting average, 4,256 hits, 746 doubles, 135 triples, 160 home runs, 1,314 RBIs, 2,165 runs scored, 198 stolen bases and 1,566 walks.

Rose has 67 more hits than Ty Cobb who is the second ranked player on the list, and nearly 500 more hits than Hank Aaron who is ranked third all-time. Rose would also earn 17 more Major League records during his career, th

e most notable behind the hits record is most career games played, 3,562, which is 254 more than Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox who played in 3,308 games between 1961 and 1983. 

Over the course of his career Rose played every single game of the season eight times, and five times led the league in games played. Rose led the league in batting average three times, with his highest single season average being .348 in 1969. He led the league in hits seven times with his highest single season hit total 230, coming in 1973. He also led the league in runs scored four times. His highest single season total of runs scored came in 1976 with 130 runs scored.

Rose would win the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in 1973 and was in the top 10 in MVP voting 10 times over his career. 1973 also was a season Rose was the National League batting champion. Rose was a three time World Series Champion in 1975, 1976 with the Reds and 1980 with the Phillies.

Rose won the Rookie of the Year award in 1963, was a Gold Glove winner twice, and a Silver Slugger once.

Rose would be selected to 17 All-Star games in his 24-season career. The most famous occurrence of Rose in an All-Star game came in 1970, when Rose smashed into then Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse on a play at the plate. Rose would give Fosse a separated shoulder with the incident, but scored the winning run in the process.

Rose even though the all-time hit leader in MLB, and owner of over 17 Major League records has not been elected into Cooperstown the baseball Hall of Fame because of gambling on baseball.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Philadelphia Phillies' Eric Bruntlett Turns Unassisted Triple Play

On Aug. 23, 2009, tensions rose on Sunday as it looked like the Phillies would take their second game in a row going into the ninth inning. 

That’s when things got interesting.

With the Mets at bat, down 9-6, no outs and Angel Pagan on third base, Luis Castillo grounded a ball to second, but Eric Bruntlett couldn’t handle it and Castillo would beat out a late throw. Daniel Murphy stepped to the plate next and it was deja vu all over again. A grounder to Bruntlett which he once again could not handle. The tying run was now on base and a nightmare was unfolding right in front of the Phillies' fanbase eyes, but it didn’t seem as though he could do anything about it.

Then it happened.

A line drive off the bat of Jeff Francoeur which was headed to Bruntlett at second base.  

With the runners going, he made the catch for one out, touched second for another, and tagged Murphy who was caught in a hit-and-run. One man, three outs. It was only the 15th unassisted triple play in Major League history.

Check out the video below of Bruntlett's unassisted triple play: