Year In Review : 2004 American League

O ff the field...

The Olympics returned to their birthplace (Athens, Greece) amidst a stream of controversies involving the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs. Despite the resulting suspensions and stripped titles, many experts believed the 2004 Games would be remembered for the improvement in drug testing which allowed honest athletes to prevail. One Greek newspaper summed up the media's bemusement at the number of cheaters discovered with a cartoon depicting a young boy, with a gold medal round his neck, being surrounded by microphones saying: "I am only a volunteer, but everyone else has tested positive."

During the summer of 2004, North America, Central America and the Caribbean experienced one of the deadliest hurricane seasons ever recorded. During the months of August and September alone, four major storms (Jeanne, Ivan, Frances, Charley) pounded the southeastern part of the globe killing well over 2,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands more homeless. As a result, a record setting number of tornadoes (173 in August, 247 in September) were also spawned as the left over tropical depressions moved inland and up the eastern coast. The total cost in damage from winds and flooding was estimated to run well into the multi-billions and was spread from the island of Haiti to upstate New York.

2004 also marked one of the most widely anticipated presidential elections in recent history. Republican President George W. Bush, son of former President Bush, made a run for a second term after being elected in the hotly contested 2000 campaign. At that time he was mid-way through his second term as governor of Texas, a position he assumed in 1994. Prior to running for governor he spent several years in the oil business and as the managing general partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. His opponent, Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry was a decorated Vietnam War veteran who returned from the conflict to become one of the most outspoken opponents of the war. After entering politics in 1982, when he was elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, he ran for U.S. Senate on a campaign that refused contributions from political action committees. He was reelected in 1986, 1990, 1996 and 2002.

I n the American League...

Baltimore Oriole Miguel Tejada won the 2004 Home Run Derby after edging the Houston Astros' Lance Berkman with five homers in the final round. The All-Star shortstop set two MLB records in the process by hitting a total of twenty-seven round-trippers for the night and fifteen in the second round. Amazingly, Tejada's final five blasts came after five outs, half of the requisite total.

Seattle Mariners sensation Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler's 1920 single season hitting record during an 8-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. With fans still cheering, Suzuki ran to the first-base seats and shook hands with Sisler's 81-year-old daughter and other members of the Hall of Famer's family. After Suzuki's record breaking 258 th hit, he scored his 100 th run of the season when the Mariners batted around in the third, taking a 6-2 lead on six hits.

The Cleveland Indians scalped the New York Yankees with a record-setting 22-0 massacre on August 31 st . With the defeat, the Bombers lost their fifth consecutive game in the Bronx for the first time since May of 2003. The twenty-two runs allowed were the most ever given up by the Yankees in their home ballpark and the most runs allowed since 1928, when the Indians won a 24-6 decision (one of two eighteen-run defeats in New York history). The loss also tied the largest margin of defeat in a shutout since 1900, equaling the mark set in 1975 by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 22-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

I n the National League...

San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds continued his relentless assault on the major league record books in 2004. His season highlights included: (September 17 th ) Hit his 700th career homer, off San Diego's Jake Peavy. (September 11 th ) Broke his own record for walks in a season and became the first player to earn two-hundred free passes in one campaign. (August 29 th ) Recorded his sixty-eighth career multi-homer game, passing Mark McGwire for second all-time. (August 13 th ) Singled in his 1,813 th run, passing Frank Robinson for fourteenth on the all-time RBI list. (July 10 th ) Broke his own record for intentional walks in a season with the first of three in the game. (July 8 th ) Passed Eddie Murray (5,397) for eighth place on the all-time total bases list. (July 4 th ) Received two walks from the Athletics to tie and break Rickey Henderson's all-time walks record. (June 13 th ) Hit his 500 th homer as a Giant. (June 12 th ) Homered off the 400 th different pitcher of his career, Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez. (May 28 th ) Hit his tenth career walk-off homer, a two-run shot off Colorado's Tim Harikkala. (April 29 th ) Hit his 668 th career homer, giving him and his late father Bobby a combined one-thousand home runs. (April 17 th ) Scored his 2,063 rd run, putting him alone in seventh place all-time, with a solo homer off Los Angeles' Darren Dreifort. (April 13 th ) Hit his 661 st career homer, off Milwaukee's Ben Ford, to assume sole possession of third place on the all-time list. (April 12 th ) Hit his 660 th career homer, off Milwaukee's Matt Kinney, to tie godfather Willie Mays for third on the all-time list.

After enjoying a brief, seventy-eight day retirement, Roger Clemens returned to pitch with friend and former teammate Andy Pettitte on their hometown Houston Astros. For more than a year, "The Rocket" had insisted that 2003 would be his final season, but all bets were off after the Yankees lost the World Series and Pettitte left New York. Remarkably, the forty year-old, six-time Cy Young winner, returned better than ever becoming a NL Cy Young candidate en route to the National League Championship Series.

Randy Johnson, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, turned his back on the clock on his amazing career after pitching a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves on May 18 th . In doing so, the forty year-old became the first ace to toss a perfect game since David Cone of the New York Yankees accomplished the feat in 1999. He also became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to do so, followed by Cy Young who had reached perfection at the age of 37 in 1904. Johnson's masterpiece came in a 2-0 win at Turner Field that took only two hours and thirteen minutes to complete. Afraid to "jinx" the outcome, neither the scoreboard nor public address system noted the history in the making and only displayed Johnson's picture and stats after the final pitch had been made.

A round the league...

America's "National Pastime" returned to the capital for the first time in thirty-three years after Major League Baseball approved the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington DC. Ironically, the announcement came one day before the anniversary of the original Washington Senators' final game (before moving to Texas) in 1971. The relocation of the Expos was subject to certain contingencies, including a vote by team owners in November and passage of legislation by Washington's City Council to build a ballpark on the Anacostia River waterfront.

One day after the death of former baseball star Ken Caminiti (an admitted steroid user) U.S. lawmakers passed legislation allowing tighter government regulation of steroid precursors. In doing so, the Anabolic Steroid Control Act added androstenedione, norandrosterone and similar testosterone-production enhancing substances to a list of anabolic steroids regarded as controlled substances. Caminiti, who had played in the major leagues for fifteen years, died of an apparent heart attack at age forty-one. He had admitted to using steroids during his Most Valuable Player season in 1996, when he hit .326 with forty home runs and one-hundred thirty runs batted in for the San Diego Padres.

"(Carlos) Beltran is what scouts call a 'five-tool player,' with good fielding skills, a good throwing arm, ability to hit for average, power, and steal bases." - BrainyEncyclopedia (website)
2004 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Oakland

95

Batting Average

Seattle

.372

Doubles

Baltimore

50

Hits

Seattle

262

Home Runs

Boston

43

On Base Percentage

Baltimore

.419

RBI

Baltimore

150

Runs

Anaheim

124

Slugging Average

Boston

.613

Stolen Bases

Tampa Bay

59

Total Bases

Anaheim

366

Triples

Tampa Bay

19

2004 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Oakland

5

Baltimore

Cleveland

ERA

Minnesota

2.61

Games

New York

86

Saves

New York

53

Shutouts

Detroit

2

Oakland

Baltimore

Strikeouts

Minnesota

265

Winning Percentage

Boston

.778

Wins

Boston

21

2004 American League

Team Standings

New York Yankees

101 61 0 .623

--

$182,835,513

Boston Red Sox

98 64 0 .605

3

$125,208,542

Baltimore Orioles

78 84 0 .481

23

$51,212,653

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

70 91 0 .435

$29,506,667

Toronto Blue Jays

67 94 0 .416

33½

$50,017,000

Minnesota Twins

92 70 0 .568 -- $53,585,000

Chicago White Sox

83 79 0 .512

9

$76,212,500

Cleveland Indians

80 82 0 .494

12

$34,569,300

Detroit Tigers

72 90 0 .444

20

$46,353,554

Kansas City Royals

58 104 0 .358

34

$47,609,000

Anaheim Angels

92 70 0 .568 -- $101,084,667

Oakland Athletics

91 71 0 .562 1 $59,825,167

Texas Rangers

89 73 0 .549 3 $54,825,973

Seattle Mariners

63 99 0 .389 29 $81,543,833

2004 American League Final Standings

align="center">2004 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Anaheim

162

5,675

836

1,603

272

37

162

783

2,435

450

942

143

46

.341

.429

.282

Baltimore

162

5,736

842

1,614

319

18

169

803

2,476

528

949

101

41

.345

.432

.281

Boston

162

5,720

949

1,613

373

25

222

912

2,702

659

1,189

68

30

.360

.472

.282

Chicago

162

5,534

865

1,481

284

19

242

823

2,529

499

1,030

78

51

.333

.457

.268

Cleveland

162

5,676

858

1,565

345

29

184

820

2,520

606

1,009

94

55

.351

.444

.276

Detroit

162

5,623

827

1,531

284

54

201

800

2,526

518

1,144

86

50

.337

.449

.272

Kansas City

162

5,538

720

1,432

261

29

150

675

2,201

461

1,057

67

48

.322

.397

.259

Minnesota

162

5,623

780

1,494

310

24

191

735

2,425

513

982

116

46

.332

.431

.266

New York

162

5,527

897

1,483

281

20

242

863

2,530

670

982

84

33

.353

.458

.268

Oakland

162

5,728

793

1,545

336

15

189

752

2,478

608

1,061

47

22

.343

.433

.270

Seattle

162

5,722

698

1,544

276

20

136

658

2,268

492

1,058

110

42

.331

.396

.270

Tampa Bay

161

5,483

714

1,416

278

46

145

685

2,221

469

944

132

42

.320

.405

.258

Texas

162

5,615

860

1,492

323

34

227

825

2,564

500

1,099

69

36

.329

.457

.266

Toronto

161

5,531

719

1,438

290

34

145

680

2,231

513

1,083

58

31

.328

.403

.260

2004 American League Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

align="center">2004 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Anaheim

92

70

4.28

2

11

50

1454.1

1,476

734

692

170

44

502

1,164

Baltimore

78

84

4.70

8

10

27

1455.1

1,488

830

760

159

62

687

1,090

Boston

98

64

4.18

4

12

36

1451.1

1,430

768

674

159

92

447

1,132

Chicago

83

79

4.91

8

8

34

1432.1

1,505

831

782

224

48

527

1,013

Cleveland

80

82

4.81

8

8

32

1466.2

1,553

857

784

201

62

579

1,115

Detroit

72

90

4.93

7

9

35

1439.2

1,542

844

788

190

54

530

995

Kansas City

58

104

5.15

6

3

25

1420.1

1,638

905

813

208

56

518

887

Minnesota

92

70

4.03

4

9

48

1476.0

1,523

715

661

167

54

431

1,123

New York

101

61

4.69

1

5

59

1443.2

1,532

808

752

182

60

445

1,058

Oakland

91

71

4.17

10

8

35

1471.1

1,466

742

682

164

68

544

1,034

Seattle

63

99

4.76

7

7

28

1459.1

1,498

823

772

212

72

575

1,036

Tampa Bay

70

91

4.81

3

5

35

1417.0

1,459

842

757

192

93

580

923

Texas

89

73

4.53

5

9

52

1439.2

1,536

794

724

182

81

547

979

Toronto

67

94

4.91

6

11

37

1421.0

1,505

823

775

181

58

608

956

2004 American League Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard



What do the 2003 Chicago White Sox & 1961 New York Yankees have in common? They both once held the team specific record for home runs in a season records broken by the 2004 Chicago White Sox and 2004 New York Yankees .

After yet another tough loss to the New York Yankees , this time in late September, Boston Red Sox ace and future Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez (9-10 lifetime against the Yanks through 2004) said to the press, "I can't find a way to beat them at this point. What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy," prompting a Yankee Stadium chant & clothing line:

Who's Your Daddy T-Shirt (Photo by Kathy Willens/AP)

Who's Your Daddy T-Shirt Seen in Game 2 of the 2004 ALCS
(Photo by Kathy Willens/AP)

Nine former American League players have hit at least thirty home runs and stolen thirty bases during the same junior circuit season. Carlos Beltran started the season playing for the 2004 Kansas City Royals where he hit fifteen home runs and stole fourteen bases. On Thursday, June 24, 2004, Beltrán switched leagues and began playing for the 2004 Houston Astros where he added an additional twenty-three homers and twenty-eight steals becoming the first player in Major League history to join the 30 / 30 Club with stats combined from both an American and National team.

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