My Baseball Appreciation List

by : Aron Wallad

I am listing some of the achievements in baseball that I have a deep appreciation for.
This list will continue to grow as I think about this great game.

Hank Aaron - Hitting 715 Home Runs - Okay 755 Home Runs
What must it have been like to chase a legend? Babe Ruth's record of 714 lifetime homers was a record I never thought would be passed. I read and heard on television what it was like when Hank approached Babe's magic number of 714 lifetime round trippers. Hank received hate mail. Some of the letters were threats to kill him. Imagine getting a letter describing how you would be shot while you stood in the outfield. The FBI was called in to investigate some of the letters Hank received. Through it all Hank Aaron continued his climb and finally surpass the Bambino. An amazing accomplishment given the circumstances. His detractors were actively trying to annoy,threaten and distract Hank. Just for being a great player and being black. Just for playing, and excelling at the game he loved to play.

Barry Bonds Hitting 73 Home Runs in 2001
At the age of 36 Barry Bonds put on a hitting display that captured America's attention. People that were not tuned to baseball, started to glance at this display of power. Yeah, I know it has been said that he took steroids. While I am not condoning the use of steroids - I am appreciative of the year he had. Balls were flying all over and out of the field. McCovey Cove, a boat basin just beyond the right field stands, had boat people docked and poised to catch the next Bonds home run. Fans were suing each other for a home run hit into the bleachers. This was an amazing display of power. There seemed to be a frenzy associated with Barry's climb to immortality.

Denny McLain winning 30 Games In 1968 In 1934 Dizzy Dean won 30 games for the St Louis Cardinals. He was the last man to win 30 before Denny McLain. Since Denny McLain won his 30; no one has accomplished that number. Over the last 71 baseball seasons (from 1934 to 2005) Denny McLain
has been the only pitcher to win 30 games in a season. Many pitchers won 30 prior to Dizzy's great 1934 season, like Walter Johnson, Smoky Joe Wood, and Christy Mathewson to name a few. Grover Cleveland Alexander won 30 or more, three years in a row. Denny Mclain sure had one heck of a year in 1968.

Yankees Winning Five World Championships from 1949 to 1953
Excellence personified. - Putting it all into perspective of what a great run of World Championships that was. There were few teams have put together long championship runs, in any sport. Winning twice in a row is quite an accomplishment. Winning three times in a row has only happened twice in baseball history from 1900 to present day. The Oakland A's did it from 1972 to 1974.
With Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers leading the team. And the New York Yankees from 1998 to 2000 with Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera also had a three peat. The Yanks won four in a row from 1936 to 1939 with Lou Gehrig Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey and Lefty Gomez.The Yankees hit the all time streak with their teams from 1949 to 1953. Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford anchored those teams. Beating Brooklyn in '49,'52, '53 Philadelphia in '50 and the Giants in '51.

Winning two years in a row is pretty tough. Three years very tough. Four and five year runs are next to impossible. It is a test of endurance, a will to win and focusing on what needs to be done.

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