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This article is about the 1998 Major League Baseball season only. For information on all of baseball, see 1998 in baseball.

The 1998 Major League Baseball season ended with the New York Yankees defeating the San Diego Padres in Game 4 of the World Series.

The 1998 season was also marked by an expansion to 30 teams (16 in the NL, 14 in the AL), with two new teams–the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the American League–added to the MLB. To keep the leagues with even numbers of teams while allowing both leagues to have a new team, the Milwaukee Brewers were moved from the American League Central Division to the National League Central Division. The Detroit Tigers were shifted from the American League East to the American League Central, while the Devil Rays were added to the American League East. The Diamondbacks were added to the National League West, making the NL have more teams than the AL for the first time.

The biggest story of the season was the historic chase of the single-season home run record held at the time by Roger Maris. Initially, the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and Ken Griffey, Jr. of the Seattle Mariners started the season on a pace to both break Maris' record. In June, the chase was joined by the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who broke the decades-old record of Rudy York for most home runs in a calendar month with 20 that month. Eventually, Griffey fell off the record pace, but still ended with 56 homers. Both McGwire and Sosa broke the record in September, with McGwire ultimately finishing with 70 homers to Sosa's 66. McGwire's record would last only three years, with Barry Bonds hitting 73 in 2001. The 1998 season was also the first in MLB history with four players hitting 50 or more homers, with Greg Vaughn of the San Diego Padres hitting 50. In a postscript to the record chase, both McGwire and Sosa have since been widely accused of having used performance-enhancing drugs during that period, and McGwire would admit in 2010 that he had used steroids during the record-setting season.[1]

Contents

Major league baseball final standings

AL East W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 114 48 .704    --
Boston Red Sox   92 70 .568 22.0
Toronto Blue Jays   88 74 .543 26.0
Baltimore Orioles   79 83 .488 35.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays   63 99 .389 51.0
AL Central W L Pct. GB
Cleveland Indians 89 73 .549 --
Chicago White Sox 80 82 .494 9.0
Kansas City Royals 72 89 .447 16.5
Minnesota Twins 70 92 .432 19.0
Detroit Tigers 65 97 .401 24.0
AL West W L Pct. GB
Texas Rangers 88 74 .543 --
Anaheim Angels 85 77 .525 3
Seattle Mariners 76 85 .472 11½
Oakland Athletics 74 88 .457 14
NL East W L Pct. GB
Atlanta Braves 106 56 .654 --
New York Mets 88 74 .543 18
Philadelphia Phillies 75 87 .463 31
Montreal Expos 65 97 .401 41
Florida Marlins 54 108 .333 52
Central Division W L GB Pct.
Houston Astros 102 60 .630 --
Chicago Cubs 90 73 .552 12.5
St. Louis Cardinals 83 79 .512 19.0
Cincinnati Reds 77 85 .475 25.0
Milwaukee Brewers 74 88 .457 28.0
Pittsburgh Pirates 69 93 .426 33.0
NL West W L GB Pct.
San Diego Padres 98 64 -- .605
San Francisco Giants 89 74 9.5 .546
Los Angeles Dodgers 83 79 15.0 .512
Colorado Rockies 77 85 21.0 .475
Arizona Diamondbacks 65 97 33.0 .401

 

  • The asterisk denotes the club that won the wild card for its respective league. The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants in a 1-game playoff to determine the NL wild card.

Playoffs

  Division Series
NBC/FOX/ESPN
League Championship Series
NBC/FOX
World Series
FOX
                           
  East  New York Yankees 3  
West  Texas Rangers 0  
  East  New York Yankees 4  
American League
  Cent.  Cleveland Indians 2  
Cent.  Cleveland Indians 3
  WC  Boston Red Sox 1  
    AL  New York Yankees 4
  NL  San Diego Padres 0
  East  Atlanta Braves 3  
WC  Chicago Cubs 0  
  East  Atlanta Braves 2
National League
  West  San Diego Padres 4  
Cent.  Houston Astros 1
  West  San Diego Padres 3  

Awards and honors

MLB statistical leaders

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Bernie Williams NYY .339 Larry Walker COL .363
HR Ken Griffey, Jr. SEA 56 Mark McGwire STL 70
RBI Juan González TEX 157 Sammy Sosa CHC 158
Wins Roger Clemens1 TOR
David Cone NYY
Rick Helling TEX
20 Tom Glavine ATL 20
ERA Roger Clemens1 TOR 2.65 Greg Maddux ATL 2.22
SO Roger Clemens1 TOR 271 Curt Schilling PHI 300
SV Tom Gordon BOS 46 Trevor Hoffman SDP 53
SB Rickey Henderson OAK 66 Tony Womack PIT 58

1 American League Triple Crown Pitching Winner

Events

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January-March

  • January 5 – Don Sutton, a 324-game winner, is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his fifth try. Sutton, who missed election by nine votes in 1990, is named on 81.6% of the ballots.

April-June

  • April 2 – By hitting a home run in Colorado's 6–4 win over Arizona at Bank One Ballpark, Rockies outfielder Ellis Burks sets a major league record by having homered in 33 different stadiums.
  • April 5 – The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first game in franchise history 3–2, over the San Francisco Giants. Andy Benes gets the win for the 1–5 D'backs.
  • April 10 – The Los Angeles Dodgers' Mike Piazza becomes the fifth NL player in history to hit grand slams in consecutive games by homering in a 7–2 win over the Houston Astros. Piazza also homered with the bags full, while driving in six runs, in last night's 7–2 win over Arizona. He'll hit another on April 24 to tie the major-league record for slams in a month.
  • April 13 – The Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey, Jr. slugs two home runs in a 6–5 loss to the Cleveland Indians. In doing so, he becomes the second–youngest player in big league history to reach 300 homers for his career, at 28 years and 143 days. Jimmie Foxx, at 27 years 328 days, was younger.
  • May 6 – In one of the finest pitching efforts ever, Chicago Cubs rookie right-hander Kerry Wood fans 20 Houston Astros in a 2–0, one-hit victory to tie the major league mark for strikeouts in a 9-inning game. The 20-year-old ties the record held by Roger Clemens, who performed the feat twice. The only Houston baserunners come from an infield single to Ricky Gutiérrez in the 3rd inning and a hit batter. Wood also becomes the second pitcher in baseball history to record a single-game strikeout total equal to his age (in 1936, 17-year-old Bob Feller struck out 17 batters). Wood strikes out the first five batters of the game, and seven in a row between the 7th and 9th innings, tying Jamie Moyer's Cubs record for most consecutive strikeouts.
  • May 11 – In a 4-2 win over Arizona, Kerry Wood strikes out 13 Diamondbacks in seven innings. By doing so, Wood sets a major league record with 33 strikeouts over two consecutive games.
  • May 13 – The Atlanta Braves set an NL record by homering in their 25th straight game, a 10–2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This ties the major league mark held by the 1941 Yankees and the 1994 Tigers. The streak will be stopped by the Cardinals the next day.
  • May 19 – The Cardinals' Mark McGwire hits three home runs in a game for the second time this season, leading St. Louis to a 10–8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He is only the 12th player in history to have a pair of 3–HR games in the same season. McGwire drives in six of the Cardinal runs as he reaches the 20 home run mark faster than other player in history.
  • May 20 – The Triple-A Indianapolis Indians perform a feat possibly never before duplicated in professional baseball. In the fifth inning of a game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Indianapolis players hit for a "Homer Cycle". Pete Rose, Jr. opens the inning with a solo home run, Jason Williams connects for a 3–run shot, Glenn Murray slugs a grand slam, and Guillermo Garcia finishes the scoring with a 2–run blast. The Indians win the game 11–4.
  • May 25 – Cleveland's David Bell becomes the third player in major league history to play against a team managed by his father. Bell's two–run double brings home the go–ahead run in the Indians 7–4 win over Buddy Bell's Detroit Tigers. Bump Wills and Moisés Alou are the only other players to appear in games against their fathers (Maury Wills and Felipe Alou).
  • May 28 – With Arizona leading the Giants, 8–6, in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded, manager Buck Showalter orders reliever Gregg Olson to intentionally walk Barry Bonds to bring home the Giants' 7th run. It is only the 4th bases–loaded intentional walk in major league history, and the first since Bill "Swish" Nicholson on July 23, 1944.

July-September

  • June 10 – Colorado's Dante Bichette becomes the first Rockies player ever to hit for the cycle in the team's 9–8, 10–inning victory over the Rangers.
  • June 30 – The Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa hits his 33rd home run of the season in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sosa's 20th home run in the month of June is a new MLB record for most home runs in one month.
  • July 26 – Trevor Hoffman's bid to set a major league record with 42 straight saves ended when the San Diego closer gives up a home run to Moisés Alou on his first delivery in the ninth inning, tying the game. The Padres defeat Houston 5-4 in the 10th, but Hoffman blows his chance at history.
  • August 25 – The Toronto Blue Jays' Roger Clemens strikes out 18 in a 3–0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He becomes the first pitcher ever to record three games of 18 or more strikeouts. Clemens allows only three hits and does not walk a batter.
  • September 6 – Atlanta's Andruw Jones hits his 50th career home run in a 4–0 win over the New York Mets. He becomes the 3rd–youngest player in history to reach that level; only Mel Ott and Tony Conigliaro did so at a younger age.
  • September 8 - Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris' 37-year-old home run record, lining historic No. 62 just over the wall in left field with two outs in the fourth inning. McGwire's solo shot off the Chicago Cubs' Steve Trachsel—among the shortest he would hit all year—sets off a wild celebration at Busch Stadium. The Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who hit his 58th home run earlier in the game, is on the field to congratulate McGwire, creating an iconic image of the 1998 home run race. In the sixth inning of the same game, the Cardinals' J.D. Drew makes his major league debut pinch-hitting for pitcher Kent Mercker.
  • September 11 – The Florida Marlins lose to the Atlanta Braves 8–2, becoming the first World Series champion in history to lose 100 games the next season.
  • September 15 – Ken Griffey, Jr. hits homer #52 and drives in the 1,000th run of his career in the Mariners' 12–7 win over the Minnesota Twins. He becomes the fourth–youngest player in history to reach the milestone, after Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig. A day later, Griffey would collect his 20th stolen base of the season to become just the third player in major league history to record at least 50 homers and 20 steals in the same season; Willie Mays and Brady Anderson are the others.
  • September 20 – Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles takes himself out of the lineup prior to the game with the New York Yankees to end his major league record consecutive game streak at 2,632. The Orioles lose the historic game by a score of 5–4. Ryan Minor, Ripken's replacement at third base, gets one hit in four at bats.
  • September 25 – Just hours after Sammy Sosa hits his league-leading 66th home run, pulling ahead of Mark McGwire for the first time all season, McGwire hits his 66th in a game against the Montreal Expos.
  • September 27 – In the St. Louis Cardinals' final game of the season, Mark McGwire hits two home runs against the Montreal Expos for the second straight night, establishing a new MLB record with 70 home runs in a season. Sammy Sosa fails to hit a home run in the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros, leaving him at 66 homers. However, the Cubs' loss forces a one-game playoff with the San Francisco Giants for the National League wild card, giving Sosa one final chance to reach McGwire.
  • September 27 – In the San Diego Padres' final regular season game, left fielder Greg Vaughn hits his 50th home run of the season, a career high and a San Diego Padres record for home runs in a season. This marks the first time in major league history that four players – Vaughn (50), Griffey (56), Sosa (66) and McGwire (70) – hit at least 50 home runs in the same season. Also during this game, Trevor Hoffman records his 53rd save of the season, tying the National League record set by the Cubs' Randy Myers in 1993.
  • September 27 – The New York Yankees win their seventh-straight game, defeating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-3. The Yankees finish the season with an American League record 114 wins.
  • September 28 – In a one-game playoff, the Chicago Cubs defeat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 to secure the final playoff spot in the National League. For the third game in a row, the Cubs' Sammy Sosa gets two hits, but no home runs, leaving him at 66 home runs for the season, four fewer than Mark McGwire, who pulled ahead of Sosa with five home runs in his final three games.

October-December

  • Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves wins his second National League Cy Young Award in an extremely close vote over two San Diego Padres pitchers: Trevor Hoffman and Kevin Brown. Glavine, who receives 11 first-place votes to Hoffman's 13 (Brown receives the remaining 8), becomes the first National League pitcher since the league instituted its four-vote system in 1970 to win the award despite receiving fewer first-place votes than another player. Glavine tallied 99 points (Hoffman - 88, Brown - 76), with 5 points being awarded for each first place vote, 3 for each second-place vote, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth. Another oddity is the fact that Hoffman, Brown, and Rod Beck (who did not receive a single point in the Cy Young Award voting) finished higher than Glavine in the MVP voting, despite Glavine's Braves finishing with the best record in the National League.[2]
  • December 12 – The Dodgers set the salary bar higher by signing free agent Kevin Brown to a 7-year, $105 million contract, the largest in the majors.

Deaths

January-April

May-August

September-December

References

  1. ^ "McGwire apologizes to La Russa, Selig". ESPN.com. 2010-01-11. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4816607. Retrieved 2010-01-11.  
  2. ^ [1]

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