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Records come and they go
Keeping track of these numbers no easy task
Latest: Tuesday August 22, 2000 12:31 PM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
It's hard, sometimes, to keep track of all the records in baseball. Which is, we're guessing, why they make those big, thick record books in the first place.
But that's historic stuff. We're talking now records. Hip, happening records. In the live-ball and big-swinging era, where a record is set every day, those books are about as useful as a bogey to Tiger Woods.
So, in our never-ending quest to keep our users on top of the ever-changing world of baseball, here are some records -- or, at least, some amazing performances that are close to records -- that every baseball fan should be aware of.
Like ... Todd Helton, you know, is hitting nearly .400. It won't be a record, but no one has done that in nearly 60 years. With a couple hits Monday night, he became the first player in 20 years to reach .400 this late in the season. He's also hitting .436 at home in Coors Field. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said he's the best hitter he's seen since George Brett. Florida center fielder Preston Wilson has struck out 157 times. That's not a record -- yet. But he's on pace for 205 K's, which would break Bobby Bonds' mark of 189 set in 1970. That is a record. You can look that one up. In a record book. Anaheim's Darin Erstad has 189 hits this season. He leads baseball in that category. Earlier this season, he was on pace to challenge George Sisler's 80-year-old record of 257 hits in a season. Erstad probably won't get that record now. But 240 hits, or slightly more, is within his grasp.
Arizona lefty Randy Johnson continues to fan batters at an amazing rate. He has 278 in 199 1/3 innings, on a pace for 360. He's struck out at least 10 batters in 19 of his 27 starts. It's another awesome season for the Big Unit. But ... no record likely. That belongs to Nolan Ryan, who struck out 383 in 1973. Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa is leading the majors in home runs this season with 43. That puts him on pace for 55 home runs which, as we know, isn't even close to a record. But it's not bad.
There are more records waiting to be set out there. To get a bead on those, though, you'll have to wait for the book.
On to The Week at a Glance, which asks: Will the Red Sox and Mets never go away?
The answer: Let's hope not, or we'll be reduced to wild-card watching in September.
| Sinking Mariners |
"See. They wish they had me now, don't they? I swear, I get no respect. All I wanted to do is play ball, and people bad talk me and tell me 'I forced them to trade me.' They say Seattle is better off without me. Well, take that, everybody who hates me." -- Love, Junior
| Sizzling Helton |
Man, the fact that Colorado's Todd Helton is hitting .400 this close to September is shocking enough. But now, people are really starting to believe he can do it. And you know what? He just might.
| And now pinch hitting ... |
Mark McGwire? St. Louis manager Tony La Russa wants to get his big man in the game any way he can. The big man wants to play for real, not pinch hit, even if his knee objects. A controversy? A little disagreement? Or two guys wanting, basically, the same thing?
| Those Diamondbacks |
Once given up for dead -- oh, c'mon, you thought they were goners -- Arizona has made a run at the first-place Giants and, as of early Tuesday, is only 1 1/2 games away. Buck for President!
| Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets, Aug. 25-27 |
Now that they've climbed back into this thing they once owned, the Diamondbacks face a huge test in the Mets, who are playing pretty well themselves. The New Yorkers are 7-3 in their last 10.
| New York Yankees at Oakland Athletics, Aug. 25-27 |
Oakland owns the wild-card lead, but not by much. The A's have had their troubles against the Yanks this season. The New Yorkers are hitting .297 against them, and Oakland's ERA is 7.38 vs. the Yankees. Oakland can't afford that in this set.
| Eloy, Arizona . Boys playing in the Little League Softball World Series, meant for girls. Winning. Celebrating. Something's unfair here. Yeah, this is the Baseball WAAG. But until we get a Softball WAAG, this thumb will have to do. |
| Florida catchers . Did you know these guys are the only ones in their position in the major leagues this season not to have a home run? It's a fact. You have to admit, that's worth a big fat south-pointing thumberoo. |
| Juan Gonzalez . Now all the sudden he likes Detroit. Now, all the sudden, he may stay. If they move the fences. And pay him a lot of money. And keep winning. And if no one else gives him a better offer. |
| The Wild Card Race . It's wild, and a race, and even if these teams aren't all great -- and, let's be straight, they're not all great -- you have to admit, you're watching it. |
| Hero -- Sammy Sosa: |
It's easy to root for Sammy, especially when he's bombing homers (six last week) and smiling, not pouting.
| Bum -- Ray Lankford: |
St. Louis' left fielder struggled through an 0-for-13 week. Not much good you can say about that.
| Hero -- Frank Thomas: |
Remember 1999, when he wasn't very good? He had a baseball-high 13 RBIs last week. Hurt that.
| Bum -- Bernie Williams: |
The Yankees' center fielder went 1-for-20 (.050). Did Mickey ever do that?
| Hero -- Todd Helton: |
Well, you can't say enough about him. A .484 week, 12 RBIs, a baseball-best seven doubles. He's hitting for average, too, we hear.
| Bum -- Joe Randa: |
K.C.'s third baseman was 2-for-22 (.091) last week, which is not going to help the Royals in their bid to keep ahead of Minnesota.
| Hero -- Travis Fryman: |
A .545 week (12-for-22) with two homers and nine RBIs for the Cleveland third baseman helped keep the Tribe close.
| The Blue Jays hit their 200th homer of the year on Aug. 18 -- the second-earliest date ever. |
| Brian Giles is the first Pirate player to have back-to-back 30-home run seasons since Willie Stargell in 1972 and '73. . |
| The Mariners have allowed at least nine runs in the last seven losses, tying a 99-year-old major league record set by the New York Giants on Sept. 3-6, 1901. |
| Sammy Sosa is on pace for 55 home runs and 196 hits. Only three players have had more than 50 homers and 200 hits in one season -- Babe Ruth in 1921, Hack Wilson in 1930 and Jimmie Foxx in 1932. |
| Tampa Bay's Miguel Cairo leads the majors with a .419 batting average with runners in scoring position (26-for-62). |
| Our tribute to the banal banter of baseball |
"He's intelligent and that sets him apart."
-- Florida manager John Boles on San Francisco pitcher Mark Gardner.
Statistics are through Sunday's games unless otherwise noted.
CNNSI.com baseball producer Lonny Krasnow contributed to this report.
The Baseball Week at a Glance appears every Tuesday.
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