A season for the ages

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When we all look back on the 2007 season history will show that it was quite simply the last great season for individual milestones in the history of baseball. When will we ever see a 31-year old all-time home run record broken like the night Barry Bonds did it? Will his final number really stand for another 30-plus years?

This same season has seen Alex Rodriguez — the guy who may one day break Bonds’ record — become the fastest player in the history of the sport to hit 500 home runs.

Biggio150
Meanwhile, we witnessed another guy who switched positions hit a milestone that all but assured he will be enshrined in Cooperstown. Craig Biggio started his career behind the plate for the Astros, who moved him to second to protect him from injury. Several Gold Gloves and many hit-by-pitches later, we watched as he collected the 3,000th hit of his Hall of Fame career.

Frank Thomas a.k.a. "The Big Hurt," a nickname he was given during his football days while playing tight end for the Auburn Tigers, not only changed positions, but also sports. I played against Frank and marveled how this 6’6" former tight end could be so patient at the plate. He would pick out a pitch and then put a "big hurt" on the baseball. He, too, hit his 500th career homer this year.

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Then there’s Tom Glavine. Who would have thought in the early years of his career the words "Cooperstown" and "300 wins" would describe Glavine’s career accomplishments? After all, We are talking about a former hockey player who in one season in Atlanta finished that year with a 7-17 record. He reinvented himself, using his great athletic ability and a mental toughness he learned from hockey. He focused on the positives, not the negatives, learned how to pitch on the corners with pinpoint control and to contribute at the plate. By beating the Cubs on a Sunday night in Chicago earlier this year for his 300th career win, Tom Glavine might have become the last pitcher that we ever see reach that number.

We saw Sammy Sosa
become just the fifth player in history to reach 600 homers, and Ken Griffey Jr.
is just nine away himself. Jim Thome needs seven homers to make it three players
to reach 500 this season, and Manny Ramirez needs 11.

Finally, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken drew a record 70,000 people to Cooperstown for their induction.

Will we ever see such greatness again in one season. Baseball is on a terrific roll, and I decided long ago I’m going to enjoy the game I love. I’m going to let everybody else worry about things I can’t control, like who’s on what drug and who’s dating whom. Besides, unless they tell us, will we ever really know?

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