As the All-Star break is just a few days away it’s time to look back and reflect on the first-half of the season in baseball.
For starters, Alex Rodriguez is on par for 60 HR’s and 160 RBI’s. That’s nothing short of astonishing. Whether or not he holds that pace, and as egotistical as he may be, I enjoy seeing baseball players chase records, so we’ll see what happens.
In light of Rodriguez’s achievement I think it’s time we all take a minute and reflect on the wonder that is Hack Wilson. Hack Who? What, you mean you’ve never heard of Hack Wilson? I’m not surprised. His single season 190 RBI record has held for over 75 years. In the late 90’s Manny Ramirez had 160 plus and that still put him at the lower half of the Top 20 for the all-time single season record. Prior to Ramirez’s achievement nobody had touched that record since the late 1930’s. That man was Hank Greenberg. Wait, what, you mean you’ve never heard of him either? Point is, everybody can talk about baseball’s home run record being the most hallowed of all time, but in all this talk the unheralded achievement of Hack Wilson is something that more people should honor.
In other baseball news, Justin Verlander pitched the second no-hitter of the season a few days ago. Its pretty shocking that both no hitters so far this year have come out of the AL Central, a division and league which is known more for its power hitting than power pitching. In other American League pitching news C.C Sabathia of the Indians and Josh Beckett of the Red Sox are on pace for 20 plus wins.
The Chicago White Sox, a team that won the World Series a year and a half ago is now preparing themselves for a pre-trade deadline fire sale. This comes on the heels of a sweep by their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, this past weekend. Of those people in the fire sale, Mark Buehrle is almost certain to be dealt, as is Jermaine Dye, Jose Contreras and a few others. The only ones that may stay are Paul Konerko and Jim Thome, because of their inflated contracts. Heck, even the General Manager Ken Williams was told he deserved to be fired earlier this year.
All-world outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is apparently quite ready to leave Seattle after many years of mediocrity. Though he’s not grabbing headlines like he used to, he’s as speedy, effective and reliable as ever and if I was building a franchise, I’d be glad to have him on my squad. He may be in his 30’s but he still looks like he’s in his 20’s and plays like it, too.
The Atlanta Braves are imploding. Despite the Mets tumble through most of June, the Braves lost Chipper Jones and now have him calling out John Smoltz from the sidelines. Though that feud is apparently behind them it has not cured Andruw Jones who has become absolutely ineffective this season.
In Baltimore, Sam Perlozzo got the axe, but he’s just another in a long list of managers who have tried to right the ship at Camden Yards. Lee Mazzilli, Mike Hargrove, Davey Johnson are just a few that have come and gone in Baltimore without little results. Baltimore has been cursed by Jeffrey Maier and has been stuck behind the titanic Red Sox and the Yankees year after year. It is too unfair.
Sammy Sosa is riding out a terrible season with the Texas Rangers by slugging his way to the record books. He now remains 14 shy of 600. Steroids or not, those are pretty awesome numbers.
Of course there are other stories. It’s such a long season, how can there not be? Enjoy the second half of the year. Go Mets.