The 2011 MLB season was one of the most exciting ever; there were important milestones set, spectacular playoff races, great games, and all sorts of big news.
Of the many headlines for the year, these are my top five:
5. Ozzie Guillen Released
Former Chicago White Sox manager was well-known for his flamboyant, polarizing personality. Although some people loved him, he wore out his welcome in Chicago during his eighth season as manager, when he was released on Sept. 26. But Guillen quickly landed on his feet, and is now the manager of the Marlins.
4. Jim Thome’s 600th Home Run
Jim Thome is one of the few modern-day sluggers who has never been associated with performance-enhancing drugs, and he’s widely regarded as on of baseball’s nicest guys. So when he hit his 600th homer on Aug. 15 while playing for the Minnesota Twins, I couldn’t have been happier for him. This achievement made him only the eighth player to reach the 600 home run club.
3. Dodgers Go Broke
The 2011 season was an embarrassing year for the storied Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, as Major League Baseball seized the team from owner Frank McCourt on April 20. League commissioner Bud Selig cited “deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers” for the action. By June, an increasingly maligned McCourt filed for bankruptcy. The situation looks like it finally reached a conclusion on Nov. 1, when McCourt agreed to sell the team.
2. Rays Slip Past Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox looked playoff bound on Sept. 4, as they had a very comfortable nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL wild card spot. But then Boston went on a huge skid, losing 18 of its final 24 games. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was catching up fast, though it took a dramatic extra-innings victory in the last game of the season for the team to secure a playoff spot. Unfortunately, for the Rays, they ran out of gas and were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
1. St. Louis Wins World Series
The St. Louis Cardinals had to come back from a 3-2 game deficit to capture the 2011 World Series title. In the process, they also had to earn a thrilling come-from-behind victory in Game 6. This was the Cardinal’s 11th World Series win, and proved to be star player Albert Pujols’ last game playing for the team.
Floyd Saunders is a native of Minnesota and a lifelong Minnesota Twins fan, and a fan of all things baseball.