The 2000s began where the 1990s left off. Offense remained off the charts because of steroids, smaller ballparks, and expansion. The use of performance enhancing drugs made a mockery of the record books. Baseball should strike the numbers. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees continued their dominance. Despite this, nine franchises won the World Series in ten seasons. Parity led to the end of longstanding championship droughts in Chicago, Boston, and Anaheim. Despite the cheating, baseball still provided some magical moments. Here are the top 10 moments of the 2000s:
Mike Piazza’s 911 home run (September 21, 2001):
Tom Glavine called it the easiest loss he ever experienced. On September 11, 2001, terrorists murdered 3000 people in New York. Ten days later, the Mets played the Braves with many first responders in attendance. New York trailed Atlanta until Mike Piazza hit a dramatic home run giving the Mets a 6-5 victory against their bitter rivals. The blast provided a catharsis for New Yorkers still suffering from 911.
The Flip (October 14, 2001):
Derek Jeter uncharacteristically moved out of position after Oakland’s Torrence Long doubled down the right field line in Game 3 of the ALDS. Jeremy Giambi ran toward home as Shane Spencer missed the cutoff man. Jeter emerged from nowhere to gather the ball and fling it toward home as his momentum carried him away from the play. Jeter nailed Giambi at the plate and the Yanks won the game. The play changed the series’ momentum and New York won the ALDS.
Gonzo’s Hit (November 4, 2001):
The Yankees and Diamondbacks battled through an exciting seven game World Series. Arizona won Games 1 and 2 behind Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. The Yanks rallied in dramatic fashion to win the next three games. Arizona crushed New York in Game 6 setting up a battle between Schilling and Roger Clemens in Game 7. Arizona led 1-0 after six. New York tied it in the seventh and took the lead in the eighth. The Diamondbacks rallied for two against Mariano Rivera in the ninth. The Dbacks scored the winning run on a pop fly single by Luis Gonzalez.
Ichiro sets hits record (October 1, 2004):
George Sisler held the single season hit record for 84 years. 257 hits seemed like too many hits for a modern player to accumulate. Undaunted, Ichiro Suzuki surpassed Sisler in 2004 when he got his 258th hit. He finished 2004 with 262 hits.
The Idiots (2004):
Boston trailed the New York Yankees three-games-to-none in the 2004 ALCS. No team has ever comeback from a 3-0 hole to win a series. The Sox won Games 4 and 5 in extra innings. David Ortiz provided the clutch hit in both games. In Game 6, Curt Schilling pitched a gritty seven innings with blood seeping through his sock to even the series. New York did not show up for Game 7 and Boston won their first pennant since 1986.
Pods (October 23, 2005):
The White Sox and Astros went 12 innings in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. The Sox won Game 1 making the second game pivotal for Houston. The Sox proved a team of destiny. Scott Podsednik hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the game and provide Chicago with a near stranglehold on the series. Pods had not homered in the regular season making his blast a shock. The Sox went on to sweep the Astros in a series decided by six runs.
Maggs wins the Pennant (October 14, 2006):
The Detroit Tigers struggled for nearly 20 years. Mismanagement doomed the team until 2006. The Tigers made the playoffs and dispatched the mighty Yankees in the ALDS. In the ALCS, they led 3-games-to-none going into Game 4. Oakland took a 3-0 lead with Dan Haren on the hill. Detroit chipped away to tie the game. In the ninth, with two on, Magglio Ordonez launched his second home run of the game to send Detroit to the World Series.
Biggio gets 3000th hit (June 28, 2007):
Craig Biggio became the 27th player to earn his 3000th hit. Derek Jeter is the only other player with a five-hit game when he reached the 3000th plateau. The Astros won the game in extra innings. Other players to reach 3000 hits in the decade include Cal Ripken, Rickey Henderson, and Rafael Palmeiro.
Randy Johnson wins 300 (June 4, 2009):
Randy Johnson became the 24th man to reach 300 wins with a 5-1 win over the Nationals. Johnson emerged as the most dominant pitcher of his generation and finished his 303 wins and 4875 strikeouts. Others to reach the 300-win mark in the 2000s include Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine.
Buerhle is perfect (June 23, 2009):
Mark Buerhle has thrown two no-hitters in his career. On June 23, 2009, Buerhle hurled a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. In his next start, he retired the first 18 batters setting a record for the consecutive perfect innings. Randy Johnson and Dallas Braden also tossed perfect games in the decade.