Year In Review : 2008 American League

O ff the field...

The chairman and richest man in the world, Bill Gates, officially retired as the chairman of Microsoft Corporation on June 27 to concentrate on philanthropy.

During most of August countries from around the world took part in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games held in Beijing, China. More than 10,000 athletes competed in 302 events covering 28 different sports and most memorable for all who watched were the records: 43 new world records and 132 Olympic records were set.

I n the American League...

The end of Yankee Stadium, it almost does not seem possible to imagine baseball without the House That Ruth Built, but 2008 marked the final season in what can arguably be considered the single most historic stadium in all the sporting world.

The 2007 Tampa Bay Devil Rays finished four games shy of a 100-loss season and in last place of the East. This year was truly their Cinderella story as they changed their name to the Tampa Bay Rays then took a payroll that was $160+ million dollars less than the New York Yankees to a first place finish in the East are in the post season every current major league franchise has now been to the playoffs at least once.

Six months of baseball wasn't enough in the Central to determine who would receive the final playoff spot. The White Sox defeated the Indians, 5-1, on the final scheduled day of the regular season while the Twins beat the Royals, 6-0, to keep the Twins a half-game ahead of Chicago in the American League Central. That half-game made it necessary for Chicago to make up a September 13th rainout against Detroit. The White Sox won the makeup game forcing a tiebreaker game which they also won to truly earn a sport in the postseason.

I n the National League...

Shea Stadium opened for business on April 17, 1964. More than forty former players and managers were on hand to watch the New York Mets close out their regular season in what would become the final game in Shea Stadium history — for the second successive year, they were eliminated by the Florida Marlins. For the record, the last out of the last game at Shea was recorded at 5:05 p.m. ET.

Washington D.C. officially welcomed the game back home by christening Nationals Park in 2008. A few hours after the President of the United States delivered the first pitch, Ryan Zimmerman sent everyone home happy with the season's first walk-off home run.

The Rays made it to the postseason on virtually no payroll (29th overall), could the Marlins (30th overall) setup a possible "Alligator Alley" Series? The Fish stayed in the race for one-hundred fifty-seven games and finished one Jorge Cantu home run away from having four infielders with thirty-plus round trippers.

A round the League...

Cubs versus White Sox in Chicago. Angels versus Dodgers in Los Angeles. No New York team for first time in postseason history since 1993! The Devil Rays, oops, who are now called the Rays, with a payroll which if doubled would not break the top ten beating out both the Red Sox & Yankees. The 2008 regular season was truly one for the books or should we say Baseball Almanac...

Josh Hamilton put on a home run slugging display that was simply beyond phenomenal during the 2008 Home Run Derby. MLB.com columnist Mychael Urban said the balls hit by Hamilton, "bordered on ridiculous" and we could not agree more.

The trade deadline used to be a thing of excitement; would your team get a big slugger, another ace, a dominant bullpen pitcher, a solid fielder, or some other piece of their postseason puzzle. The past few years have been a let down for most teams as big names did not seem to change, 2008 was different as these stars changed to new constellations: Ken Griffey, Jr., Rich Harden, Manny Ramirez, CC Sabathia & Mark Teixeira.

"Baseball never promises you a happy ending. In fact, it braces you for failure more than success, so that you fully appreciate the latter. There are 30 teams, and seven of those have advanced to the postseason; the Twins or White Sox loom as the eighth and last. Baseball dooms you to two failures in every three at-bats on average, if you're lucky. And so it goes for ballparks: No Major League stadium ever has gone out a world champ, and thus there will be no last hurrah at either New York yard." - Sportswriter Mark Newman on MLB.com (09/29/2008, It's a wonderful world in baseball)

2008 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Oakland

111

Batting Average

Minnesota

.330

Doubles

Boston

54

Hits

Boston

213

Seattle

Home Runs

Detroit

37

On Base Percentage

Texas

.436

RBI

Texas

130

Runs

Boston

118

Slugging Average

New York

.573

Stolen Bases

Boston

50

Total Bases

Texas

331

Triples

Detroit

13

2008 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Toronto

9

ERA

Cleveland

2.54

Games

Minnesota

76

Los Angeles

Saves

Los Angeles

62

Shutouts

Tampa Bay

2

Toronto

Cleveland

Boston

Toronto

Cleveland

Tampa Bay

Minnesota

Strikeouts

Toronto

231

Winning Percentage

Cleveland

.880

Wins

Cleveland

22

2008 American League

Team Standings

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

97 65 0 .599

--

$43,820,598

Boston Red Sox

95 67 0 .586

2

$133,440,037

New York Yankees

89 73 0 .549

8

$209,081,579

Toronto Blue Jays

86 76 0 .531

11

$98,641,957

Baltimore Orioles

68 93 0 .422

28½

$67,196,248

Chicago White Sox

89 74 0 .546 --

$121,152,667

Minnesota Twins

88 75 0 .540

1

$62,182,767

Cleveland Indians

81 81 0 .500

$78,970,067

Kansas City Royals

75 87 0 .463

13½

$58,245,500

Detroit Tigers

74 88 0 .457

14½

$138,685,197

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

100 62 0 .617 --

$119,216,333

Texas Rangers

79 83 0 .488 21

$68,239,551

Oakland Athletics

75 86 0 .466

24½

$47,967,126

Seattle Mariners

61 101 0 .377 39

$117,993,982

2008 American League Final Standings



The Rays were the only modern franchise to not appear in the postseason so once the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays made the playoffs it meant every team in American League / Major League history had now made it to the playoffs at least once.

Did you know Francisco Rodriguez was first pitcher in Major League history to break the sixty-save plateau during a season and did so on his way to an all-time single season record for saves with sixty two?

A few notable American League feats in 2008 included: Jon Lester tossing a no hitter , Manny Ramirez joining the 500 Home Runs Club , Asdrubal Cabrera turning an unassisted triple play , and Ichiro Suzuki's eighth consecutive record settin g two-hundred hit season.

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac2h
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