After 16 seasons and 400-plus home runs, it’s hardly a surprise when Nelson Cruz gets hot and carries a team on his broad back like few sluggers can — even at age 40, when the Minnesota Twins DH enjoyed another MVP-worthy year in this pandemic-shortened 2020 season. But on this day in béisbol, Oct. 15, 2011, Cruz outdid himself, wrapping up a ridiculous, record-breaking ALCS series in which he led the Texas Rangers to their second World Series berth in two years. Cruz, then the Rangers’ rightfielder, “only” went 2-for-4 with a two-run bomb and a double in the Rangers’
The 2022 season was the worst of Miguel Cabrera’s otherwise stellar career, but the Detroit Tigers slugger wasn’t about to let injuries and age force him to call it a day. Cabrera, 39, was limited to 112 games, during which the career .308 hitter and 500 home run club member only had 5 dingers and a .254 average. But the Venezuela native vowed to return in 2023 for the last year of his contract, hopeful that a return to health will equate to a solid year at the plate as he caps off a Cooperstown-bound career. Yet this past season,
Kiké Hernandez’s clutch, game-tying pinch-hit homer late in Game 7 of the NLCS on Sunday night that helped send the Dodgers to the World Series against the Rays shouldn’t have surprised anybody. L.A.’s valuable utilityman has a knack for stepping it up in the postseason, and on this day in béisbol, Oct. 19, 2017, Hernandez pulled off some October magic with a home-run hat trick that sent the Dodgers to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1988. Batting sixth and playing left in Game 5 of the NLCS, the San Juan, Puerto Rico-born Hernandez led off the top
On a Red Sox championship team that won 108 games in 2018 and boasted the likes of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts in the lineup, it was easy to overlook a youngster like Rafael Devers, who was only in his second season and not even 21 years old when he became the regular third baseman. Devers showed flashes of power in ’18 with 21 home runs in just 121 games — a harbinger of his 2019 season, when he blossomed into a star with 32 HR, 115 RBI, 201 hits and a .311 average, and led the majors
Over the past few seasons, the Houston Astros have become the team everyone loves to hate thanks in large part to their on-field arrogance — and a little help from an elaborate cheating system. But love ’em or loathe ’em, they do manage to win every year, with four straight ALCS appearances since 2016 and a championship in 2017. Much of the credit goes to a homegrown core of young stars that include second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, outfielder George Springer and third baseman Alex Bregman, all of whom always seem to turn it up a notch in
Albert Pujols’ Hall of Fame-worthy career may not have ended in fairy-tale fashion, but the 42-year-old slugger did get to enjoy a dream final season. While his return to the Cardinals in 2022 ended with St. Louis losing the NL Wild Card series to the Phillies, Pujols had a remarkable resurgence in the last half of the season to cap his brilliant 22-year career — highlighted by his becoming only the fourth member of the 700 home run club. The Dominican-born superstar known as “The Machine” cemented his legacy as one of the greatest hitters ever when he bashed Nos.
To watch Juan Soto do his thing on a baseball field in October is to witness a rising superstar having the time of his life on the post-season stage. And then you realize: This guy wasn’t even old enough to drink the victory champagne in the clubhouse after each of the three clinching wins that finally brought the Washington Nationals to the World Series. Yes, the new face of the Nats turned only 21 on Oct. 25, 2019, smack in the middle of a dramatic World Series against the Astros. And he has plenty to celebrate besides becoming an official
By Robert Dominguez At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, Andres Galarraga was an imposing figure on the diamond known as “The Big Cat” for his unexpected quickness and agility at first base. But as good as he was with the glove, the Big Cat also swung a big bat. He was a lifetime .288 hitter over 19 seasons, smashing 399 homers and averaging 102 RBI a year. A five-time All-Star, Galarraga played for six teams, including eight seasons with the Montreal Expos before signing with the expansion Colorado Rockies as a free agent in 1993, when he won his only batting