Major League baseball is coming to its yearly close, as we move from the regular season to playoffs this upcoming week. We were able to see the first “normal” full season since the pandemic. Although there was a one week delay, as a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the league and the Major League Baseball Player Association (MLBPA) had to be made, a deal was reached on a 5-year CBA with some new rule changes coming in the 2023 season. But, we’ll talk about that when this season is over. Now, as we make it to the postseason, it is time to reflect on this exciting season that was filled with new player milestones, and franchise and league records.
Let’s start with the individual milestones, the players who join major clubs as they make their way through their baseball careers. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers became a part of two exclusive clubs with one hit; he joined thirty-two other players with 3,000 career hits, while also becoming the seventh player to record 3,000 hits with 500 home runs over his time in baseball. From the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols had his 700th career home run on September 23rd; he is the 4th player in MLB history to achieve this mark. Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers was the sixth player to hit for the cycle (meaning he hit a single, double, triple and home run all in the same game) in three games of a season. But he became the first player to do this all against the same team, in his case the Cincinnati Reds. Aaron Judge was on a must-watch list toward the end of the season, as he contested the American League record for most home runs during a single season, which he beat. The new record is 62 home runs.
Moving to the other side of the plate, the pitchers who made it big this year. Starting with Reid Detmers of the Los Angeles Angels, who threw his first career no-hitter; the rookie is now twelfth in Angels history to throw a no-hitter. New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom set a new major league record of most strikeouts by a pitcher through 200 career starts at 1,523. Another pitcher that broke a team record was Garrett Cole of the New York Yankees. Cole surpasses Ron Guidry’s single season strikeout record with his own, now with 257 strikeouts. A duo of the St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright broke a huge record this season. These two players now hold the record for most career starts as a battery; the two have been teammates for 18 seasons and have recorded 325 starts together.
Some general accomplishments that were made for individual franchises or the league this year include that the league saw the first woman in history to coach on-field during a regular season game. Alyssa Nakken, who is also the first full-time female coach in MLB history, coached first-base for the San Francisco Giants after Antoan Richardson was ejected after engaging in an argument. The Seattle Mariners made it to the postseason this year after a 21-year drought with a walk off home run by Cal Raleigh, and the New York Yankees set the record for the most home runs in the month of June, surpassing the last by 2, with 58.
This season was full of upsets and surprises by all teams. As with every season, veteran players will continue to get closer to their career milestones. But only a few times a season, if any, do we see whole league records be beaten by phenomenal baseball players. And just like this past season, we hope that the game will only continue to get better and reach new heights.