1998 Major League Baseball season

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This article is about the 1998 Major League Baseball season only. For information on all of baseball, see 1998 in baseball.
1998 MLB season
League Major League Baseball
Sport Baseball
Duration March 31, 1998 – October 21, 1998
Regular Season
Season MVP AL: Juan Gonzalez (TEX)
NL: Sammy Sosa (CHC)
League Postseason
AL champions New York Yankees
  AL runners-up Cleveland Indians
NL champions San Diego Padres
  NL runners-up Atlanta Braves
World Series
Champions New York Yankees
  Runners-up San Diego Padres
World Series MVP Scott Brosius (NYY)
MLB seasons

The 1998 Major League Baseball season ended with the New York Yankees defeating the San Diego Padres in Game 4 of the World Series.

The 1998 season was also marked by an expansion to 30 teams (16 in the NL, 14 in the AL), with two new teams–the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League–added to the MLB. To keep the leagues with even numbers of teams[1] while allowing both leagues to have a new team, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the American League Central Division to the National League Central Division. The Detroit Tigers were shifted from the American League East to the American League Central, while the Devil Rays were added to the American League East. The Diamondbacks were added to the National League West, making the NL have more teams than the AL for the first time .

The biggest story of the season was the historic chase of the single-season home run record held at the time by Roger Maris. Initially, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners started the season on a pace to both break Maris' record. In June, the chase was joined by the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who broke the decades-old record of Rudy York for most home runs in a calendar month with 20 that month. Eventually, Griffey fell off the record pace, but still ended with 56 homers. Both McGwire and Sosa broke the record in September, with McGwire ultimately finishing with 70 homers to Sosa's 66. McGwire's record would last only three years, with Barry Bonds hitting 73 in 2001. The 1998 season was also the first in MLB history with four players hitting 50 or more homers, with Greg Vaughn of the San Diego Padres hitting 50. In a postscript to the record chase, both McGwire and Sosa have since been widely accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs during that period, and McGwire would admit in 2010 that he had used steroids during the record-setting season.[2]

The defending World Series champions Florida Marlins finished last in the NL East Division at 54-108, making it the first, and only, time that a team went from winning the World Series one year to finishing with 100 or more losses and last in their division the following year.

Major league baseball final standings[edit]

AL East W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 114 48 .704    --
Boston Red Sox   92 70 .568 22.0
Toronto Blue Jays   88 74 .543 26.0
Baltimore Orioles   79 83 .488 35.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays   63 99 .389 51.0
AL Central W L Pct. GB
Cleveland Indians 89 73 .549 --
Chicago White Sox 80 82 .494 9.0
Kansas City Royals 72 89 .447 16.5
Minnesota Twins 70 92 .432 19.0
Detroit Tigers 65 97 .401 24.0
AL West W L Pct. GB
Texas Rangers 88 74 .543 --
Anaheim Angels 85 77 .525 3
Seattle Mariners 76 85 .472 11½
Oakland Athletics 74 88 .457 14
NL East W L Pct. GB
Atlanta Braves 106 56 .654 --
New York Mets 88 74 .543 18
Philadelphia Phillies 75 87 .463 31
Montreal Expos 65 97 .401 41
Florida Marlins 54 108 .333 52
NL Central W L GB Pct.
Houston Astros 102 60 .630 --
Chicago Cubs 90 73 .552 12.5
St. Louis Cardinals 83 79 .512 19.0
Cincinnati Reds 77 85 .475 25.0
Milwaukee Brewers 74 88 .457 28.0
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 93 .426 33.0
NL West W L GB Pct.
San Diego Padres 98 64 -- .605
San Francisco Giants 89 74 9.5 .546
Los Angeles Dodgers 83 79 15.0 .512
Colorado Rockies 77 85 21.0 .475
Arizona Diamondbacks 65 97 33.0 .401
  • The asterisk denotes the club that won the wild card for its respective league. The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants in a tiebreaker game to determine the NL wild card.

Postseason[edit]

  Division Series
NBC/Fox/ESPN
League Championship Series
NBC/Fox
World Series
Fox
                           
  East  New York Yankees 3  
West  Texas Rangers 0  
  East  New York Yankees 4  
American League
  Cent.  Cleveland Indians 2  
Cent.  Cleveland Indians 3
  WC  Boston Red Sox 1  
    AL  New York Yankees 4
  NL  San Diego Padres 0
  East  Atlanta Braves 3  
WC  Chicago Cubs 0  
  East  Atlanta Braves 2
National League
  West  San Diego Padres 4  
Cent.  Houston Astros 1
  West  San Diego Padres 3  

Awards and honors[edit]

MLB statistical leaders[edit]

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Bernie Williams NYY .339 Larry Walker COL .363
HR Ken Griffey, Jr. SEA 56 Mark McGwire STL 70
RBI Juan González TEX 157 Sammy Sosa CHC 158
Wins Roger Clemens1 TOR
David Cone NYY
Rick Helling TEX
20 Tom Glavine ATL 20
ERA Roger Clemens1 TOR 2.65 Greg Maddux ATL 2.22
SO Roger Clemens1 TOR 271 Curt Schilling PHI 300
SV Tom Gordon BOS 46 Trevor Hoffman SDP 53
SB Rickey Henderson OAK 66 Tony Womack PIT 58

1 American League Triple Crown pitching winner

Managers[edit]

American League[edit]

Team Manager Notes
Anaheim Angels Terry Collins
Baltimore Orioles Ray Miller
Boston Red Sox Jimy Williams
Chicago White Sox Jerry Manuel
Cleveland Indians Mike Hargrove
Detroit Tigers Buddy Bell, Larry Parrish Bell (52–85, .380), Parrish (13–12, .520)
Kansas City Royals Tony Muser
Minnesota Twins Tom Kelly
New York Yankees Joe Torre Won the World Series
Oakland Athletics Art Howe
Seattle Mariners Lou Piniella
Tampa Bay Devil Rays Larry Rothschild Expansion team
Texas Rangers Johnny Oates
Toronto Blue Jays Tim Johnson

National League[edit]

Team Manager Notes
Arizona Diamondbacks Buck Showalter Expansion team
Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox
Chicago Cubs Jim Riggleman
Cincinnati Reds Jack McKeon
Colorado Rockies Don Baylor
Florida Marlins Jim Leyland
Houston Astros Larry Dierker
Los Angeles Dodgers Bill Russell, Glenn Hoffman Russell (36–38, .486), Hoffman (47–41, .534)
Milwaukee Brewers Phil Garner
Montreal Expos Felipe Alou
New York Mets Bobby Valentine
Philadelphia Phillies Terry Francona
Pittsburgh Pirates Gene Lamont
St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa
San Diego Padres Bruce Bochy Won National League pennant
San Francisco Giants Dusty Baker

Events[edit]

January–March[edit]

April–June[edit]

  • April 1 – The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays win their first game in franchise history, beating the Tigers 11–8. Fred McGriff has four RBI on three hits.
  • April 2 – By hitting a home run in Colorado's 6–4 win over Arizona at Bank One Ballpark, Rockies outfielder Ellis Burks sets a major league record by having homered in 33 different stadiums.
  • April 5 – The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first game in franchise history 3–2, over the San Francisco Giants. Andy Benes gets the win for the 1–5 D'backs.
  • April 10 – The Los Angeles Dodgers' Mike Piazza becomes the fifth NL player in history to hit grand slams in consecutive games by homering in a 7–2 win over the Houston Astros. Piazza also homered with the bags full, while driving in six runs, in last night's 7–2 win over Arizona. He'll hit another on April 24 to tie the major-league record for slams in a month.
  • April 13 – The Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey, Jr. slugs two home runs in a 6–5 loss to the Cleveland Indians. In doing so, he becomes the second–youngest player in big league history to reach 300 homers for his career, at 28 years and 143 days. Jimmie Foxx, at 27 years 328 days, was younger.
  • May 3 – The Seattle Mariners' Dan Wilson becomes just the seventh catcher in major league history to hit an inside-the-park grand slam, as Seattle defeats Detroit 10–6. It's a first for the Mariners and the first in the AL since Mike Greenwell did it on September 1, 1990.
  • May 6 – In one of the finest pitching efforts ever, Chicago Cubs rookie right-hander Kerry Wood fans 20 Houston Astros in a 2–0, one-hit victory to tie the major league mark for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The 20-year-old ties the record held by Roger Clemens, who performed the feat twice. The only Houston baserunners come from an infield single to Ricky Gutiérrez in the 3rd inning and a hit batter. Wood also becomes the second pitcher in baseball history to record a single-game strikeout total equal to his age (in 1936, 17-year-old Bob Feller struck out 17 batters). Wood strikes out the first five batters of the game, and seven in a row between the 7th and 9th innings, tying Jamie Moyer's Cubs record for most consecutive strikeouts.
  • May 11 – In a 4–2 win over Arizona, Kerry Wood strikes out 13 Diamondbacks in seven innings. By doing so, Wood sets a major league record with 33 strikeouts over two consecutive games.
  • May 13 – The Atlanta Braves set an NL record by homering in their 25th straight game, a 10–2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This ties the major league mark held by the 1941 Yankees and the 1994 Tigers. The streak will be stopped by the Cardinals the next day.
  • May 15 – In one of the biggest trades in recent years, the Dodgers send All-Star catcher Mike Piazza and third baseman Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins in exchange for outfielders Gary Sheffield and Jim Eisenreich, catcher Charles Johnson, third baseman Bobby Bonilla, and pitcher Manuel Barrios. On May 22, the Mets will acquire Piazza from the Marlins in exchange for outfielder Preston Wilson, pitcher Ed Yarnall and a minor league player.
  • May 17 – Yankees pitcher David Wells hurls the 15th perfect game in modern major league history with a 4–0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Wells fans 11 batters in his masterpiece. Bernie Williams strokes three hits for New York, including a home run.
  • May 18 – The Oakland Athletics' Mike Blowers hits for the cycle and drives home four runs in the A's 14–0 win over the White Sox. Blowers become only the second player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
  • May 19 – The Cardinals' Mark McGwire hits three home runs in a game for the second time this season, leading St. Louis to a 10–8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He is only the 12th player in history to have a pair of 3–HR games in the same season. McGwire drives in six of the Cardinal runs as he reaches the 20 home run mark faster than other player in history.
  • May 25 – Cleveland's David Bell becomes the third player in major league history to play against a team managed by his father. Bell's two–run double brings home the go–ahead run in the Indians 7–4 win over Buddy Bell's Detroit Tigers. Bump Wills and Moisés Alou are the only other players to appear in games against their fathers (Maury Wills and Felipe Alou).
  • May 28 – With Arizona leading the Giants, 8–6, in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded, manager Buck Showalter orders reliever Gregg Olson to intentionally walk Barry Bonds to bring home the Giants' 7th run. It is only the fourth bases–loaded intentional walk in major league history, and the first since Bill "Swish" Nicholson on July 23, 1944.
  • June 6 – Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan has his uniform number 8 retired by the Cincinnati Reds in a ceremony at Cinergy Field.

July–September[edit]

October–December[edit]

  • October 3 - The Chicago Cubs are defeated by the Atlanta Braves in the National League Divisional Series.
  • October 21 – The New York Yankees win the World Series, sweeping the San Diego Padres in four straight games. Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius is named the Series MVP. The Yankees end the season with a major league record 125 combined regular season and postseason wins.
  • Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves wins his second National League Cy Young Award in an extremely close vote over two San Diego Padres pitchers: Trevor Hoffman and Kevin Brown. Glavine, who receives 11 first-place votes to Hoffman's 13 (Brown receives the remaining 8), becomes the first National League pitcher since the league instituted its four-vote system in 1970 to win the award despite receiving fewer first-place votes than another player. Glavine tallied 99 points (Hoffman – 88, Brown – 76), with 5 points being awarded for each first place vote, 3 for each second-place vote, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth. Another oddity is the fact that Hoffman, Brown, and Rod Beck (who did not receive a single point in the Cy Young Award voting) finished higher than Glavine in the MVP voting, despite Glavine's Braves finishing with the best record in the National League.[4]
  • November 9 – It is revealed that Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive, ultimately fatal neurological condition better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
  • November 30 – The Arizona Diamondbacks sign free agent Randy Johnson to a four-year contract worth approximately $50 million.[5]
  • December 12 – The Dodgers set the salary bar higher by signing free agent Kevin Brown to a seven-year, $105 million contract, the largest in the majors.

References[edit]

  1. ^ With an odd number of teams (15), only seven games would be able to be scheduled in each league on any given day during the intra-league portion of the regular season. Thus, one team in each league would have had to be idle on any given day. This would have made it difficult for scheduling, in terms of travel days and the need to end the regular season before October. See Major League Baseball#League organization. If each league had wished to remain at fifteen teams, the schedule would have had to include one inter-league game during each day of intra-league play. Instead, with each league now having an even number of teams, interleague games occur only in certain parts of the regular season.
  2. ^ "McGwire apologizes to La Russa, Selig". ESPN.com. January 11, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Riggleman reflects on Kerry Wood's 1998 season". suntimes.com. June 18, 2006. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1998.shtml#NLmvp
  5. ^ [1]