Year In Review : 1997 National 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.

"The groan is audible. It can also be heard." - Harry Caray
1997 National League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

San Francisco

145

Batting Average

San Diego

.372

Doubles

Montreal

54

Hits

San Diego

220

Home Runs

Colorado

49

On Base Percentage

Colorado

.455

RBI

Colorado

140

Runs

Houston

146

Slugging Average

Colorado

.720

Stolen Bases

Pittsburgh

60

Total Bases

Colorado

409

Triples

St. Louis

14

1997 National League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Montreal

13

ERA

Montreal

1.90

Games

San Francisco

89

Saves

Cincinnati

42

Shutouts

Montreal

5

Strikeouts

Philadelphia

319

Winning Percentage

Atlanta

.826

Wins

Atlanta

20

1997 National League

Team Standings

Atlanta Braves

101 61 .623 0

$53,111,000

Florida Marlins

92 70 .568 9

$52,465,000

New York Mets

88 74 .543 13

$34,985,330

Montreal Expos

78 84 .481 23

$18,010,500

Philadelphia Phillies

68 94 .420 33

$31,102,439

Houston Astros

84 78 .519 0

$34,932,500

Pittsburgh Pirates

79 83 .488 5

$15,124,166

Cincinnati Reds

76 86 .469 8

$38,206,000

St. Louis Cardinals

73 89 .451 11

$50,224,167

Chicago Cubs

68 94 .420 16

$30,791,000

San Francisco Giants

90 72 .556 0

$43,067,378

Los Angeles Dodgers

88 74 .543 2

$48,472,321

Colorado Rockies

83 79 .512 7

$46,093,301

San Diego Padres

76 86 .469 21

$32,765,172

1997 National League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Florida

686

Batting Average

Colorado

.288

Doubles

Montreal

339

Hits

Colorado

1,611

Home Runs

Colorado

239

On Base Percentage

Colorado

.359

Runs

Colorado

923

Slugging Average

Colorado

.478

Stolen Bases

Cincinnatti

190

Triples

Pittsburgh

52

1997 National League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Montreal

27

ERA

Atlanta

3.18

Fewest Hits Allowed

Atlanta

1,319

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Atlanta

111

Fewest Walks Allowed

Atlanta

450

Saves

New York

49

Shutouts

Atlanta

17

Strikeouts

Los Angeles

1,232



On June 10, 1997 , Kevin Brown , from the Florida Marlins, no-hit the Giants 9-0 and missed a perfect game by one hit batter.

On September 16, 1997, Curt Schilling struck out batter number three-hundred and became only the thirteenth player in history with more than three-hundred strikeouts in a season.

On October 14, 1997, the Florida Marlins defeated the Atlanta Braves and became the first expansion team to advance to the World Series in only five seasons.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac28m
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@expos_exposed You nailed it! The name stuck with him, and clearly inspired him to record the song later in his life.
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