May his next 150 be as fun and as memorable as the first 150 were.
It was if this moment was meant to be part of both time and reality all along and every day that Albert Pujols played and lived were all just unfolding until he got to this moment. When I heard that Pujols had homered three times in Arlington last night to give the Cardinals a 2 to 1 lead in the World Series I started to think about this player’s destiny and the Cardinals unlikely run and where this will place him in history. I also started thinking about all the unlikely events that took place in the Cardinals making this run and getting to this spot so that Pujols had the chance to do this in the first place.
He was already the greatest player of our generation and now again he has proven that he is one of the greatest of all time. He joins Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only men to homer three times in a Fall Classic game.
The performance says so much about this player. It was the Picasso that he’s been slaving over his entire life to paint. He re-instills my belief that all players have a destiny in their life to fulfill and they rightfully reach it be it good, bad, insignificant or legendary. Anyone who has watched The Great Pujols over the course of his transcendent career has to admit that of of course he found a way to etch this feat on his tombstone epitaph of what was already one of the most historic careers of all time.
This act also got me thinking that the Cardinals are going to do this. They’re going to win the World Series and this is going to be one of those years where I didn’t catch greatness or destiny as it was taking place. I turned my head and missed one of the most magical runs in recent history–a run that started when the summer was waning and the days were still longer.
Sometimes in sports it’s easy to miss something like this because we don’t believe in every player following a path he was meant to follow when he was created. I believe that this performance was coded into Pujols’ DNA and was meant to be one more glimpse into what is one of the most incredible careers we have witnessed across any sport.
We didn’t want to say anything because we weren’t too sure he was going to get it this year–but Jay Bruce hit home run #100 of his career just before the bar closed down for the year.
And we have a slight connection to this bomb. It came off Chris Capuano who went to Duke, and Capuano’s pitching coach at Duke was also the pitching coach of our college staff. We spent an entire 3 hour flight one time talking about Chris Capuano and picking the brain of our poor former coach.
100 home runs at age 24 is no small feat. He hit 72 off righties and 28 off lefties. 61 long balls were at Great American Ball Park. You know what’s funny? I remember the first one off Manny Acosta like it was yesterday. I remember all of them, in fact. I remember where I was for each one–whether I was listening on the radio or watching on television. It’s been an incredible run already and it’s been fun to watch.
It’s been a challenging season for young Bruce in some respects, but rewarding in others. This is one of those moments. He’s going to end on 100 home runs and near 100 RBI. Next year, we wait for him to put it all together and become the complete ballplayer we all have seen flashes of and know he’s capable of. For the most part, he’s came real close to delivering as the type of talent we thought he would. No Cincinnati Red aside from Frank Robinson or Adam Dunn ever hit more long ones at a younger age.
Here’s to the first 100, and here’s to 400 or 500 more in a Reds uniform. Salute!
Update: Reds won in 13 innings last night. Jay Bruce had 3 hits and needs about 2 hits today to finish at .260 for the year. Also don’t forget, Bruce hit the bomb at Citi Field which is the same place he broke his wrist back in 2009.
I got a text today asking me if I thought that Jim Thome was a Hall of Famer.
Are you kidding me? Of course he is. First ballot. He was a Hall of Famer 100 home runs ago. He’s dropped 600 bombs over the course of 20 years. His first homer came over 20 years ago, off Steve Farr at old Yankee Stadium.
His career has stretched across time. Across the first baseball work stoppage in 1994. Across the ’95 Indians. Across rebuilds, managers, and GM’s. Most importantly, he’s kept on homering throughout the steroid era and from one clean era of baseball (Early 90’s) into the next (the present).
The guy is an anomaly. I remember seeing him hit a couple of bombs in the summer of 2001 back at Jacobs Field. That was his team. He left Cleveland–and we’ve since learned that it was to appease the player’s union–he never wanted to leave. He meant it, unlike LeBron James. He wanted to be in Cleveland for life. They were going to build a statue of the guy. Hell, they still might.
Last night he found a way to give he Indians a gift from afar, going deep twice in a crucial game against the team who holds the lead in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers. The Twins won the game 9-6.
I don’t know if this is the last year that Jim Thome is a big leaguer. I would say it’s likely. But if it isn’t, how about one more ride in Cleveland to call it a career? I know that the town would welcome him back, and he could add to his budding legend with a few more blasts into the picnic area in center at Progressive Field.
Jim Thome has had a wonderful career. Last night was one of the last chapters, I’m just glad that I got to see this bunyan-esque figure play live a few times and say that I was a Jim Thome fan.
Derek Jeter got his 3,000th knock yesterday and he did it in grand fashion. It comes on a bomb, becoming only the second guy in baseball history to do exactly that (Wade Boggs was the other).
Of course, in typical Jeter fashion it happened in the Bronx. And he ended up with 5 hits on the day. [NY Post]
That’s what Ben Zobrist had to say yesterday after his 8 RBI ballgame via text message to our buddy Dave at Next Level Ballplayer. Oh, and then he took a 10 minute power nap, had a cup of coffee, played a game of spades in the clubhouse with teammates and went out and drove in 2 more runs and homered again in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
Here is the thing, you drive in 10 RBI in a day, and you’re going to make Diamond Hoggers every single time. We don’t care how we have to fit it in. Then you start texting a buddy of ours with a humble mentality about it and you’re a real lock for the site. Honestly, I went home and decided I’m trading for him in MLB the Show 11 in every single franchise. What a precious player Ben Zobrist is. And yes, I was lucky enough to have him in the lineup for one of my fantasy teams yesterday.
What a day for Ben Zobrist. Diamond Hoggers salutes you–and you’re going to make us look like geniuses when you win comeback player of the year in the AL!
Only significant because the media wants you to believe 3,000 is coming: “Robinson Cano smacked a ground-rule double in the eighth inning yesterday afternoon for his 1,000th career hit, which is a pretty remarkable total for a second baseman in the middle of his age-27 season.” [Hardball Talk]
It’s official now. Derek Jeter has 2,722 career hits in a Yankee uniform, and has surpassed Lou Gehrig as the all-time Yankees hit leader. The Yankees fan base reacted with the appreciation of tradition and history that they would expectedly do.
We have been waiting on this moment for a long time. And it’s got to get some mention. Adam Dunn slugged his 300th home run of his career yesterday on the 4th of July.
We have always seen Dunn as a guy who is going to end up with 500 and 600 home runs, and with him being only 29 years of age; it is looking more and more like a probably possibility. In this day in age, hitting 300 clean home runs says a hell of a lot about a power hitter.
But it’s bittersweet. We saw a high percentage of Adam Dunn’s homers when he was making his stake in this league as a young player. We thought he’d chase down these types of milestones with the Cincinnati Reds. Things didn’t work out that way. It’s hard to see him do this in another city, but that is the way sports go. We still keep an eye on him in the box scores and admire his Ruthian blasts from afar on the nightly highlight shows.
So Adam, congratulations. We miss you buddy. Here’s to 300 more–we know you have it in you.
Randy Johnson goes for win number 300 this evening against the Washington Nationals, and we’re just going to go ahead and assume that he gets the win tonight and accomplishes history. What a night it would be to be present at the ballpark in Washington.
Tim Kurkjian wrote great article which is currently on the front of ESPN.com’s MLB page about facing the Big Unit and what hitters are saying that have stepped in the box in front of this imposing figure.
Former infielder Jeff Huson might have put it best when talking about the intimidation factor:
“What was the worst thing that Michael Jordan could do to you?” Huson said. “He can go dunk on you. He could embarrass you. What’s the worst thing Randy Johnson can do to you? He can kill you.”
There’s so many dominating starts we remember in terms of Randy Johnson. We remember when he struck out an entire lineup of Cincinnati Reds (who lined up a thin squad that night in Arizona to begin with. We remember a 20 K performance against the Chicago White Sox in the old Kingdome in Seattle. We remember the Opening Day start which was the first ever game at Jacob’s Field. We’ve never gotten to see Johnson throw live, which we regret. To see this in his heyday would have really been something to talk about right now. The guy is a legend who has defied the usual aging process of the typical ballplayer, let alone pitcher. His place in the game is immortalized forever. He is the greatest power pitcher of our era.
Re-living the Randy Johnson Experience. [ESPN]
Diamond Hoggers has reached 100,000 hits. And while we don’t want to rest on the laurels of our accomplishments, we’d like to thank every reader who has ever made their way to the site. We hope at the very least we’ve created a place where you can know you’re going to get baseball information with an appreciation of the game’s history, present, and a little humor mixed in. Thank you for your continued support of Diamond Hoggers. We can guaruntee we’ll hold ourselves to the same standards for as long as the internet exists and we’re fit to type on a keyboard.
Griffey has been good to me at times, and good to members of my family. I’ve heard all the reports about the guy. Bottom line, and he will not be without some controversy; but he has been the greatest power hitter of our lifetime if you’re 30 and under–and he isn’t a bad guy all the time. Not McGwire and not Sosa, or anyone else up or down the career home run ladder. We all know about ‘if it weren’t for injuries’ in regards to Griffey. That said it’s still been great watching Griffey through his prime and up to this moment in which we think it will be his final major culmination as a player (we do not think he can get to 700).
We’ve watched Manny Ramirez since we were young; and followed his career closely. As a right handed outfielder, we emulated him as a hitter. We studied him. We were a big fan of his before he blew up into this superstar and future Hall of Famer. We remember when he ‘struggled’ and hit .328 with only 88 RBI and 26 home runs in 1997 while leading the Indians to the World Series.
We were heartbroken when he left Cleveland, but we continued to smile upon Manny because; afterall, he’s a great hitter. If you enjoy the game of baseball then there is no way you don’t enjoy watching this guy hit.
He’s the picture perfect semblance of balance in the batters box. Ramirez makes adjustments to pitchers as well as anyone in the game. Into his thirties he’s been able to remain extremely consistent and has became the best right handed hitter of our time.
Ramirez is proof that you can last a long time in this league, as a non-DH as long as you can swing the bat. We still remember when he homered his final at bat as an Indian; we knew it was over but that was Manny giving the Cleveland fans one more glance of greatness.
Ramirez is fun, which is what makes this milestone so great. He might be the most colorful and animated of all the 500-home run club members. We’re just shocked that in all those years of driving in runners and hitting long balls, Ramirez has never managed to win an MVP. That is kind of a travesty.
Manny Ramirez’s career home run log [Baseball Reference]