The 2011 MLB season was filled with great moments and some bad ones, but as always the game has a way of reminding us just how much fun it is.
The unmentionable actions of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens hit new heights with indictments and perjury charges. If that wasn't enough of a black eye, the Los Angeles Dodgers were a team in disarray facing bankruptcy, and an owner going through a nasty divorce.
Lucky for us, calmer heads prevailed and Frank McCourt sold the team at auction. Currently, the MLB is looking for its next owner.
Then there was Derek Jeter, the face of the New York Yankees. Jeter, who has been criticized in recent years for his downturn in performance, brought back the memories of old when he went five-for-five with a home run to collect his 3,000th hit on a memorable day in July that will not soon be forgotten.
Just like last year, the pitcher was showcasing his dominance in 2011 with no less than three no-hitters being produced. Two were thrown within a span of a week (Liriano, Verlander).
With pitching again becoming a focal point in this generation’s version of the game, Justin Verlander proved all the naysayers wrong by winning the Cy Young and the AL MVP awards in the same season, a feat that shall go down in MLB history.
Jim Thome joins a club that not many have access to; 600 Home Run Club. As consistent as they come, Thome’s career has spanned two decades and five teams, and still after all this time, when he lays the head of the bat on the ball people take notice. This has happened more than 600 times and each one is as magnificent as the last.
The last day of season was arguably the greatest single day in baseball history. We had three games being played all with playoff implications. The Tampa Bay Rays battled back with the help of two Evan Longoria home runs to erase a 7-0 deficit in extra innings against the New York Yankees.
In the NL, the Atlanta Braves, in the midst of their own epic demise, dropped a 4-3 extra-inning decision to the Philadelphia Phillies, handing the St. Louis Cardinals an improbable Wild Card berth taking them all the way to the World Series.
These are great feats and accomplishments, but all come in second compared to what David Freese did. His postseason heroics helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to one of the most improbable World Series victories in recent memory.
Freese, who throughout his career battled injuries, gave us perhaps two of the greatest World Series moments we have ever seen. The Texas Rangers who were one strike away from glory twice, got burned by Freese not once but twice. The first, a game-tying triple in the bottom of the ninth and then a walk-off blast in the bottom of the eleventh.
Freese, who was drafted in the ninth round of the 2006 draft, had never more than 333 at-bats in any of his three MLB seasons. But there is no such thing as a guarantee in baseball. Freese, who may never reach that type of stardom ever again, is for now the toast of the baseball town and has etched himself in forever in baseball lore.
Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective