Top 20 Memories from the 2007 MLB Season

By now, you should know that I am huge fan of lists. Top five, top ten, top twenty, you name it, I am a fan. So when I saw an article by Mark Newman (one of my favourite MLB reporters, by the way) from MLB.com, I thought it would be a good idea to repost here. 

2007 – A Great Year for Baseball by Mark Newman

DENVER — When Red Sox owner John Henry received the World Series Trophy from Commissioner Bud Selig Sunday night, the first thing he said in the acceptance speech was, “2007 was a great year for baseball.”

Maybe the greatest ever.

Right up there with the summer of ’41, when Joltin’ Joe hit in 56 straight and Teddy Ballgame finished at .406. Right up there with ’69, when baseball expanded and the Amazin’ Mets somehow won it all. Right up there with any other great year that your parents or your grandparents may have told you about.

This was the year that the team with the best record dominated in a World Series sweep over a late-fall newcomer; when so many races went down to the wire; when two legends captured our hearts again in July; when no-hitters became common again; when one dazzling milestone after another came over us like a meteor shower.

You will surely have your own order, but here is one fan’s ranking of the greatest moments in “a great year for baseball.”

1. Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. It was a powerful statement by masses of fans about how they think the greatest game should be played. Remember how “Field of Dreams” ends, with the infinite string of highway motorists all heading to a baseball mecca? That was Cooperstown in July. Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn were inducted and attendance records were shattered. Maybe something like that will happen in 2013, if 300-game winners Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine all retire now — but probably not.

2. Red Sox sweep Rockies. Well, Todd Helton and Rockies fans made the most of it. The city of Denver experienced a first-time thrill, purple was in style, and now we’ll know to emphasize the word “mountains” whenever they play “God Bless America” again. However, it was as lopsided as a World Series can get. Boston had the best record in baseball, and the best team won in 2007. The Red Sox surpassed their rival Yankees as the presiding elite of Major League Baseball.

3. Two-for-one day. The highlight in a year of milestones was on June 28, a day unlike any other. That afternoon in Toronto’s game against Minnesota, Frank Thomas became the 21st player to reach 500 homers. That night, Houston’s Craig Biggio had an amazing five hits in an extra-inning victory over Colorado — and one of them made him the 27th player to reach 3,000 hits.

4. Reaching 500 in style. Sept. 16 was Jim Thome Bobblehead Day at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. In the most wonderful of circumstances, the White Sox slugger hit a walk-off shot in the ninth for his 500th career homer. There were three members of the 500 home run club in this year, but you couldn’t top this one.

5. Final weekend plus one. There was unprecedented competition for postseason berths heading into the final week of the regular season, and the last weekend was an unbelievable thrill ride that couldn’t even decide it all. No one will forget Jamey Carroll’s hit in the bottom of the 13th of a Monday tiebreaker against San Diego, and Matt Holliday being called safe at the plate to put Colorado into the postseason.

6. The Rockies’ run. That tiebreaker victory was part of a 22-game stretch in which Colorado won 21 games. It also included sweeps of Philadelphia in the National League Division Series and Arizona in the NL Championship Series. The subsequent long layoff no doubt had its effect, but no team ever had been hotter for longer at the end of a baseball year.

7. Glavine’s 300th win. As if there were any doubt that he already was Cooperstown-bound after spending most of his career playing meaningful October games, Glavine cemented his Hall status by joining the 300 win club on Aug. 5 with an 8-3 victory for the Mets at Chicago.

8. A new home run king. This might have been No. 1 under different circumstances, but it was definitely No. 1 for Giants fans. Barry Bonds homered off Mike Bacsik of the Nationals for No. 756, passing Hank Aaron on the all-time list. What speaks volumes the most is that the real treasured memory of that night was Aaron’s video message played over the giant scoreboard at AT&T Park, congratulating Bonds. As for the ball, it was auctioned to fashionista Marc Ecko and then, based on the wishes of millions of fans who voted online, scheduled to be branded with an asterisk and sent to the Hall of Fame.

9. A-Rod hits 500th. On Aug. 4, Alex Rodriguez highlighted a monster year by hitting his 500th career homer, a three-run shot off Kansas City’s Kyle Davies at Yankee Stadium. There was immediate speculation about A-Rod eventually passing whatever number Bonds finally posts as the record.

10. Mark Buerhle’s no-hitter. On April 18, the lefty celebrated the 16th no-hitter in White Sox history. It came at home against a good-hitting Texas lineup. Afterward, he was wearing a Virginia Tech hat, in memory of the tragic shootings that had taken place on that campus earlier in the week.

11. Justin Verlander’s no-hitter. If you watched this one, you may remember that you were never more certain that a no-hitter was going to be finished off. The Tigers’ pitcher was unbelievable on June 12, with 100-mph stuff, crazy curves and a wicked changeup. Milwaukee had no chance in that 4-0 loss, which marked the first no-no ever at Comerica Park, and the first by a Tigers pitcher since Jack Morris in 1984. If only Tigers fans could have been given their wish of that first World Series title since 1984.

12. Clay Buchholz’s no-hitter. In just his second Major League start, the right-hander dominated Baltimore on Sept. 1 to record Boston’s 17th no-hitter. Somewhere in this fabulous year of Red Sox memories, that one will stand out.

13. Trevor Hoffman’s 500th save. On June 6, the Padres’ longtime closer froze Russell Martin with a low-and-away fastball. Hoffman had just started his own “club.” Who can ever forget Padres teammates carrying him on their shoulders across the field? “I’m honored to put this uniform on and perform in front of y’all,” he told the crowd at PETCO Park.

14. Ichiro Suzuki’s inside-the-park homer. The net effect was an American League victory that secured an important home-field advantage for a Red Sox team that would sweep the World Series. But what you remember most about that All-Star Game at AT&T Park was Ichiro becoming the first player in the event’s history to hit an inside-the-park homer. It was also the week that Vlad Guerrero of the Angels won the State Farm Home Run Derby.

15. Opening Day. New Royals pitcher Gil Meche beat Boston’s Curt Schilling on April 2 in Kansas City, and at that time of year, you just never know how things will wind up. That’s what makes Opening Day so much fun. Catch up on your rest, and another of these will be here before you know it.

16. Sammy Sosa’s 600th. It was the year that Slammin’ Sammy staged a comeback with his original Texas club, and on June 20 he was playing an Interleague game against his former Cubs team. Sosa took Jason Marquis deep for his 600th career long ball, becoming only the fifth player to reach that level. Others are Bonds (762), Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660).

17. Biggio says goodbye. In the same year that he got to 3,000 hits, Biggio announced his retirement. It was quite a scene in the final week of the season as Houston fans cheered for each of his last at-bats, and Biggio’s year was capped off by receiving the Roberto Clemente Award during the World Series.

18. Rocket wins 350th. On July 2, Clemens became the first pitcher since legendary Warren Spahn to record his 350th victory. It happened as a Yankee, following that high-profile return to the Bronx Bombers during the first half. It also was probably Clemens’ best outing of the year: eight innings of two-hit ball against Minnesota.

19. Spreading the wealth. Just seeing the gradual distribution of excitement among MLB fan bases has been a continuous highlight for the game. Look at Milwaukee, where Prince Fielder banged 50 homers and the Brewers made a serious run before the Cubs clinched the NL Central. Look at Cleveland, where those “It’s Tribe Time Now!” T-shirts took over a city and the Indians were ever so close to a World Series. Look at Arizona, where you just know that those young D-backs will be back.

20. You. There were 79,502,524 fans at Major League games in 2007, marking the fourth consecutive year that the overall attendance record was broken. Average club attendance was 2,651,000. July brought two of the three biggest days in MLB attendance history, including the largest on July 28, when 717,478 showed up for 17 games.

It was a great year, all right. Maybe the greatest ever. And the best thing of all is this: It will be back next spring to tease you again.

Advertisements

~ by mlb2007playoffs on November 1, 2007.

3 Responses to “Top 20 Memories from the 2007 MLB Season”

  1. thanks for the kind comments. enjoy the offseason and let’s see if 2008 can possibly top that.

    mark newman
    http://www.mlb.com
    http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

  2. Thanks, Mark! Looking forward to 2008 already!

  3. […] Baseball in 2007 – Year in Review Tom Singer, for MLB.com, has written an excellent article touching on memorable moments from the 2007 MLB season. Read the entire article, presented below. For more about the year in review, read this post. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: