Friday, April 15, 2011

This Week in 2001 (Week 2)

Here we go, continuing the hopefully-season-long Friday morning series I started last week, in which I take a look back ten years to what was happening in the week just past in the fascinating season of 2001. You can follow along on a daily basis on Twitter. Here's my favorite 2001 tweet from this week:

And here's a fuller breakdown of the week that was, April 9 through April 15, 2001:

Monday, April 9: Hall of Famer Willie Stargell, who hit 475 home runs with the Pirates and won co-NL MVP and World Series MVP awards in 1979, passes away at just 61 following a stroke. That same afternoon, believe it or not, the Pirates play their first game at the new PNC Park, amidst festivities including the unveiling of a giant statue of Stargell, and lose to the Reds 8-2.

Tuesday, April 10: it's a great duel between two pitchers who should probably be in the Hall of Fame, as Curt Schilling and Kevin Brown turn in two fantastic games as the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 2-0. Brown goes the full eight for LA and gives up just three hits, with no walks and eight strikeouts, but one of those hits is one of the very few home runs Brown ever gave up (to Luis Gonzalez, who will hit a few of those this season) and Schilling does him one better, permitting just two singles in his full nine innings and striking out ten with no walks. In a league where teams averaged nearly five runs a game, this game must feel like stepping back in time.

Wednesday, April 11: speaking of great pitching performances, Greg Maddux turns in one of his classics, permitting just one baserunner to reach (a Todd Zeile single) in seven innings, and taking just 74 pitches to get there. It's a tight game, so he gets pulled for pinch hitter Keith Lockhart, but then Mike Remlinger and John Rocker come on to sew up the one-hitter as the Braves beat the Mets 2-0. Elsewhere, the Giants get a rare run off supercloser Trevor Hoffman in the bottom of the ninth, without the benefit of a hit -- walk, sac bunt, wild pitch, sac fly -- to beat the Padres 2-1.

Thursday, April 12: Barry Bonds finally hits his second home run in his eighth game of the season. After hitting the first on opening day, he'd gone 2-for-26 with a double and just one walk (.077/.111/.115) in the six games in between. The Giants still lose to the Padres, 8-3, and he's still hitting just .125/.222/.344 on the year. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, shortstop Jose Hernandez hits two homers and collects a team-record-tying 7 RBI as the Brewers thump the Astros, 12-5.

Friday, April 13: 20 year old C.C. Sabathia, making his second career start and appearance, picks up his first win, but it's a bit of an ugly one. He lasts just five innings, permitting four earned runs on five hits and two walks, and picking up just two strikeouts, as Cleveland ekes out a 9-8 win over Detroit.

Saturday, April 14: of the fifteen games played on the full MLB schedule today, all but four are decided by just one-run, breaking the record of ten one-run games played on a single day back in 1967 (of course, there are many more games now than there were back then). Among them are two 1-0 games (the Reds over the Mets and the Tigers over Cleveland), two 2-1 games (the Mariners over the Angels and Phillies over Braves), and two 9-8 games (the Rangers over the A's and Rockies over Diamondbacks). 

Sunday, April 15: Todd Hollandsworth hits three home runs and knocks in seven of the Rockies' ten runs in their win over the Diamondbacks at Coors. Hollandsworth would play only 33 games for the Rockies in '01; this game features half of the home runs and over a third of the RBIs he'll collect this season. The Twins beat the White Sox 5-4 and the Mariners top the Angels 7-5; sitting at 9-2 and 9-3, respectively, the Twins and M's have the two best records in baseball.

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