Major League Baseball: The Top 10 Moments Of 2010
With the Holiday Season on the Horizon, the end of 2010 drawing near and the year-end MLB awards handed out, there is no better time to look back at the season that was.
Before long the gifts will be opened, the snow will melt away from the ground and all the trades and free agent signings will be complete, which will signify the start of Spring Training.
Before we get there, take a moment to check out the top 10 moments of the 2010 season. As with any countdown, your favorite moment of the season might be omitted or deserve a higher spot on the list, so feel free to voice your opinion in the form of comments.
May you each have an enjoyable Holiday Season and may this countdown satisfy that appetite for MLB Baseball until Spring Training begins.
10. Jamie Moyer Becomes Oldest Pitcher to Throw a Complete Game Shutout
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Who says baseball is a young man's game? There is something to be said for a 47 year old man who can still shutout a team that makes the playoffs.
That is exactly what grizzled veteran Jamie Moyer did at the beginning of the 2010 season.
At 47 years and 170 days old, he became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete game shutout as his Phillies knocked off the Atlanta Braves on May 7th. Ironically his performance broke the record of former Brave Phil Niekro.
9. Alex Rodriguez Hits Homerun Number 600
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Love him or hate him, Alex Rodriguez has positioned himself as one of the best hitters in baseball history.
On August 4th, he provided further evidence to that fact by belting his 600th home-run off the Toronto Blue Jays. The blast made Rodriguez the youngest player in MLB history to reach this milestone.
Yankees fans just wish he would have hit a few more against the Rangers in October.
8. Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner Reach Closing Milestones
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When you think of the term "closer," a few names instantly leap to mind. Near the top of that list are the two men in the title of this slide.
In the 2010 season, both men reached milestones as Hoffman earned his 600th save (most ever) in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on September 7th, while Wagner notched his 400th on June 25th by striking out the side in a victory over the Detroit Tigers.
7. Ichiro Becomes 1st Player Ever With 10 Straight 200 Hit Seasons
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Just as the term "closer" brings to mind the names Hoffman, Wagner and Rivera, the term "200 hit season" is synonymous with the name Ichiro Suzuki.
Arguably the best player ever from Japan or to dawn a Seattle Mariners uniform, Ichiro became the first player ever to record 10 straight 200 hit seasons with a fifth-inning single against the Blue Jays on September 23rd.
His 10 straight 200 hit performances tie him with all time hits leader Pete Rose for most all time, and he will be looking to extend his streak and take sole possession of the record in 2011.
6. Albert Pujols, 1st Player Ever with 10 Straight 30 HR Seasons to Start Career
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The slideshow began by saying that Alex Rodriguez was one of the greatest hitters of all time, and before all is said and done, Albert Pujols might stake his claim to such distinction.
In the 2010 season, Pujols did what no other player had ever done by starting his career with 10 straight 30 HR seasons. The record setting bomb came on August 15th in the 1st inning against Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster.
Pujols would go on to hit his 400th career home-run 11 days later and finish second in the NL MVP voting.
5. Jay Bruce Belts Walk-Off Homerun to Clinch Postseason Berth for Reds
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In what many would consider an improbable season for the Cincinnati Reds, Jay Bruce emphatically propelled them into the post-season with a walk-off home-run.
The shot came on September 28th in the bottom of the 9th inning in a 2-2 game against the Houston Astros. The walk-off HR to clinch a playoff berth was only the fifth of it's kind and puts Jay Bruce in the same company as Bobby Thompson ('51 Giants), Hank Aaron ('57 Braves), Alfonso Soriano ('99 Yankees), and Steve Finley ('04 Dodgers).
4. Perfection and No-Hitters Take Center Stage in the Year of the Pitcher
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A season dominated by the pitcher began with Ubaldo Jimenez's domination of the Atlanta Braves on April 17th en route to a no-hitter and culminated with Roy Halladay's no-hitter of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1st game of the 2010 postseason.
In between Dallas Braden threw the 19th Perfect Game in MLB History (May 9th on Mother's Day made all the more special since he lost his mother to breast cancer when he was in high school); Roy Halladay threw the 20th Perfect Game in MLB History 20 days later on May 29th against the Florida Marlins; Edwin Jackson no hit the Rays on June 25th; and Matt Garza no-hit the Tigers on July 26th.
The 2010 MLB Season will be remembered for many things, but at the top of the list will be pitching dominance, no hitters, perfection and near perfection.
3. Armando Galarraga's Perfect Game That Wasn't
Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce
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Speaking of near perfection, no baseball fan can forget the agony felt the night they saw history ripped away from Armando Galarraga.
Four days after Roy Halladay's Perfect Game against the Marlins, little known Armando Galarraga towed the rubber for the Detroit Tigers against the Cleveland Indians on June the 2nd. Galarraga retired the first 26 batters in order before coaxing a ground ball out of Jason Donald to first baseman Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera fielded the ball cleanly and flipped to Galarraga to make history and seal the 21st Perfect Game in Major League History.
Unfortunately, Jim Joyce missed the call, ruling Donald safe and ending Galarraga's perfect game.
What followed after the play was an official owning up to the fact that he blew the call (don't see that very much) and Armando Galarraga showing more class than any young athlete ever has in such a tough situation.
Unfortunately for Galarraga, his performance will not be remembered as the 21st Perfect Game in Major League History, but it did earn him the No. 3 spot on this countdown (not a bad consolation prize).
2. The End of Bobby Cox's Storied Managerial Career
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Few things bring about more emotion than the end of an era. The 2010 season marked just that for Bobby Cox and the Atlanta Braves.
In his final season as manager, Cox lead his team to the playoffs again, earned his 2500th win (September 25th against the Washington Nationals) and finished fourth in the NL Manager of the Year voting. His 2500th win made him only the fourth Manager in history to garner that many victories, joining the likes of Tony Larussa, John McGraw and Connie Mack.
Bobby Cox's legacy is one that many will remember for years to come, and he will forever be remembered as being the embodiment of a "player's manager."
1. San Francisco Giants Win It All
The San Francisco Giants winning the 2010 World Series garners the top spot on this list, because it says so much about the game of baseball.
It proves (contrary to popular belief) that anyone can win a championship and that the team with the most superstars doesn't always win. It proves that a bunch of rookies, rag tag veterans and players other teams did not want can come together and forge a bond so strong that it could lead them to the pinnacle of success on baseball's grandest stage.
It also further shows that in baseball more than any other sport, any team truly can win on any given day or night!
The Giants win also further strengthens the notion that "Pitching and Defense wins Championships," and that is just what it did in the 2010 season for the San Francisco Giants.
Hope you enjoyed this countdown of the top 10 moments from the 2010 MLB Season. Please share your comments of what other moments should have been included, which things should have been higher on the list, as well as what you predict to happen in 2011.
Honerable Mention: Strasburg Mania Takes Center Stage
It would be a glaring omission if I left off one of the most highly anticipated debuts of a player in MLB History. No player sparked more buzz and hype than that of San Diego State standout and Washington Nationals' signee Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg did not disappoint in his first outing on June 8th against the Pittsburgh Pirates as he worked 7 innings while earning the win and striking out 11 with 0 walks. The performance was one of the most dominant for any pitcher in their MLB debut. Unfortunately for Strasburg and the Nationals his season would end with Tommy John Surgery which will sideline him for the 2011 season.