Year In Review : 1997 American League

O ff the field...

Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales, and her male companion Dodi Fayed died in a fatal car accident near the River Seine in Paris France. As a fitting tribute at Diana's funeral Sir Elton John sang "Goodbye England's Rose," a reworking of the tune "Candle In the Wind" which he had written earlier about Marilyn Monroe.

Convicted domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to death for the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The former U.S. soldier and Gulf War veteran had turned anti-government in response to the controversial ATF raids at Waco Texas and Ruby Ridge.

Scottish scientists announced that they had successfully cloned the first mammal, a sheep named Dolly, igniting a global debate over the advancement of cell research and the moral dilemmas of creating "artificial" life.

I n the American League...

In Milwaukee, the Cleveland Indians connected for eight home runs against the Brewers, setting a franchise record, on the way to an 11-4 victory. Matt Williams homered three times, David Justice hit two and Sandy Alomar, Manny Ramirez and Chad Curtis added one apiece. The hometeam answered back with three of their own by Dave Nilsson, Jeromy Burnitz and John Jaha tying a Major League record for most round-trippers in a regulation game.

The Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Montreal Expos in an "all Canadian affair", as part of the new inter-league schedule, marking the first time since World War II that the U.S. National Anthem was not heard before a Major League ball game.

I n the National League...

Deion Sanders, of the Cincinnati Reds; was reprimanded by National League Vice President Katy Feeney for altering his uniform as a tribute to Jackie Robinson. Sanders wore his pants at knee length and trimmed the sleeves off of his jersey after seeing a photograph of the late Brooklyn Dodger on a Wheaties box. The following day his teammates mimicked his alterations circumventing the league official's decree by promoting team uniformity.

The Colorado Rockies' Andres Galarraga launched a 529-foot grand slam off of the Florida Marlins' Kevin Brown for what is considered to be one of the longest homeruns ever; second only to Mickey Mantle's 565-foot tape-measure blast.

The Florida Marlins became the first expansion team to win the World Series after only five years of existence. Although the victory was over the American League powerhouse Cleveland Indians, most fans did not grant the Marlins the respect they deserved citing the team's $89 million dollar payroll as the determining factor. The accusations eventually proved true as the financially strapped owners were forced to dismantle the majority of the franchise in the post-season expansion draft.

A round the league...

In the 50 th anniversary year of Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a special commemorative baseball was issued to every team for use in their opener. Throughout the season many tributes were held to honor Robinson who's number 42 was permanently retired by all Major League teams.

Curt Flood, the player whose lawsuit changed the business of baseball forever and resulted in free agency, died of cancer on January 20 th . Earlier in the year, Congressman John Conyers paid tribute to the former Red, Cardinal and Senator by using his number 21 on the proposed bill that was intended to remove baseball's antitrust exemption.

The novel concept of inter-league play proved a success as attendance for those games went up 35 percent with records set in Chicago, New York and Seattle. Cumulatively, the 84 American vs. National League match-ups attracted almost three million fans with the A.L. winning forty-eight games and the N.L. topping thirty-six.

Ila Borders became the first female pitcher in history to start a Minor League baseball game as the Duluth-Superior Dukes challenged the Sioux Falls Canaries in the Northern League. Borders was credited with two strikeouts while surrendering five hits, three runs and two walks in the 8-3 loss.

"You are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best, day in and day out, and that's all I've ever tried to do." - Cal Ripken, Jr.
1997 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Cleveland

120

Batting Average

Chicago

.347

Doubles

Boston

47

Hits

Boston

209

Home Runs

Seattle

56

On Base Percentage

Chicago

.461

RBI

Seattle

147

Runs

Seattle

125

Slugging Average

Seattle

.646

Stolen Bases

Detroit

74

Total Bases

Seattle

393

Triples

Boston

11

1997 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Toronto

9

ERA

Toronto

2.05

Games

Detroit

88

Saves

Baltimore

45

Shutouts

Toronto

3

Strikeouts

Toronto

292

Winning Percentage

Seattle

.833

Wins

Toronto

21

1997 American League

Team Standings

Baltimore Orioles

98 64 .605 0

$64,611,399

New York Yankees

96 66 .593 2

$73,389,577

Detroit Tigers

79 83 .488 19

$20,985,500

Boston Red Sox

78 84 .481 20

$40,611,351

Toronto Blue Jays

76 86 .469 22

$48,964,833

Cleveland Indians

86 75 .534 0

$58,865,056

Chicago White Sox

80 81 .497 6

$41,849,500

Milwaukee Brewers

79 83 .484 8

$26,564,840

Minnesota Twins

69 94 .420 18½

$32,197,500

Kansas City Royals

67 94 .416 19

$33,868,149

Seattle Mariners

90 72 .556 0

$46,298,970

Anaheim Angels

84 78 .519 6

$46,684,364

Texas Rangers

77 85 .475 13

$44,591,013

Oakland Athletics

65 97 .401 25

$12,879,889

1997 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

New York

676

Batting Average

Boston

.291

Doubles

Boston

373

Hits

Boston

1,684

Home Runs

Seattle

264

On Base Percentage

New York

.366

Runs

Seattle

925

Slugging Average

Seattle

.485

Stolen Bases

Detroit

161

Triples

Toronto

41

1997 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Toronto

19

ERA

New York

3.84

Fewest Hits Allowed

Baltimore

1,404

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

New York

144

Fewest Walks Allowed

Minnesota

495

Saves

Baltimore

59

Shutouts

Toronto

16

Strikeouts

Seattle

1,207



Did you know that on June 12, 1997 the first interleague game was played (in Texas) and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3?

On October 6, 1997, the Cleveland Indians overcame the odds and defeated the New York Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series where they defeated the Baltimore Orioles on October 15, 1997 & advanced to the World Series .

On November 5, 1997 Davey Johnson became the first manager in Major League history to win the Manager of the Year Award and resign on the same day.

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