It’s November 15th, only one week away from the start of Thanksgiving break (trust me, this teacher is counting down the days). If you did not know, I am a history teacher, which means I am a history lover. One of the things I have wanted to start doing with this blog is a “this week in baseball history” section where we, the fans, could reflect on the history of this great game. I feel that there is no better time to start than the off-season, when players begin signing big free agent contracts and when the awards are being passed out. How I will do this is list one or two historical moments from that week in history and hit on a few baseball birthdays as well. With that, here is “This Week in Baseball History” for the third week of November:
November 12th: The Kid is your MVP
On November 12, 1997, Ken Griffey, Jr. becomes the ninth unanimous pick for American League Most Valuable Player. Griffey hit .304 for Seattle, led the American League with 56 homers, and finished first in the majors with 147 RBI.
November 13th: For the first time in history, two players share the Most Valuable Player Award. The National League co-winners are Willie Stargell, the spiritual leader of the Pirates, who batted .281 with 32 home runs, and Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez, who led the National League in runs (116), doubles (48), and batting (.344). We will never see anything like this ever again!
November 14th: Happy Birthday, Curt!
Happy birthday to 3 time World Series Champion winner and 2001 World Series Co-MVP Curt Schilling! Curt pitched for 5 teams during his career, has over 200 wins and is a member of the 3,000 strikeout club. Curt turned 50 this week.
November 15th: Bret Saberhagen becomes the fourth pitcher ever to win the American League Cy Young Award twice, getting 27 of a possible 28 first-place votes for his 23-6, 2.16 ERA season.
November 16th: Happy Birthday, Doc!
On this date in 1964, Mets Hall of Famer Dwight “Doc” Gooden was born. Gooden spent 16 seasons playing for 5 teams during a dominant stint that resulted in him winning Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young Award, and three World Series rings. Doc will turn 53 this week!
November 17th: Making the Move to Baltimore
On this date in 1953, the St. Louis Browns officially become the Baltimore Baseball Club Inc. The Baltimore franchise board officially changes its name to the Orioles. The organization kept the black and orange colors of the New York Giants, which San Francisco wears to this day. They would play their games at Memorial Stadium to start the 1954 season.
November 18th: The Retirement of a Great
On this date in 1966, Dodgers great Sandy Koufax announced his retirement. Sandy’s arm was giving out, and he decided to end his marvelous career. Over his 12 year career, Koufax pitched a perfect game, four no-hitters, and was a 3 time Cy Young Award winner and a 4 time champion. His number 32 would be retired by the Dodgers and he would become the youngest player to ever be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tune in next week as we give you more baseball history tidbits from the third week of November!