The Firsts of the Year
Lots of different “firsts” happened this year. No-hitters were thrown, home runs were hit, and milestones were made. I could only choose a few of the many historic moments of 2014 for my list. If you have any recommendations or events I missed, please comment on this post or tweet me @MattsBats. Here we go!
First Player to play in both the College and MLB World Series in the same year!
This was a special one. Brandon Finnegan, drafted by the Kansas City Royals, 17th overall, out of Texas Christian University, played in the 2014 College World Series before getting drafted. After the Vanderbilt Commodores won the series, Finnegan quickly rose through the Royals system until he was called up to the majors on September 1. Of course, the Royals had an amazing run through the Postseason, and during the World Series Game 3, Finnegan made his World Series debut and became the first baseball player ever to make both the the College and MLB World Series in the same year. Check out the video below of his debut in the majors against the Yankees.
First game where both the pitcher and catcher hit grand slams!
Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants made history on July 13. During the 2014 season, Bumgarner and Posey may have been the best battery in baseball. Posey is a great defender behind the plate and also is known as a talented hitter. The same with Bumgarner, who won the World Series MVP with his amazing pitching performances and took home a 2014 Silver Slugger Award for hitting 4 home runs during the season. So the duo decided to end the first half of the season– the last game before the All-Star Game– with a bang. The Giants pitcher and catcher each hit grand salamis in the same game, sparking a second half winning streak that eventually took SF to the World Series.
Jorge Soler and Javier Baez of the Cubs and Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals started their careers by each hitting a home run in their major league debuts. For Baez, it was a game winner in Chicago. Taveras’ homer came on his second at-bat in his 1st game. Sadly, Taveras would only go on to hit two more home runs in his career…and his life. The superstar prospect died in a car accident during the World Series.
First Major League Home Run for Ben Revere of the Phillies!
Ben Revere, an outfielder acquired by the Phils a few years back, went through years and years of major league at bats without ever hitting a home run. After 1,465 at bats, he got his first on May 27. Playing the Rockies and Boone Logan, Revere hit a meek pop fly that barely cleared Philadelphia’s tiny right field fence. What is even more priceless is that in the dugout, Revere got the silent treatment. That is always fun to watch.
First Combined No-Hitter in Phillies History!
On September 1, the Phillies helped the Nationals in a big way. With the Nats out in L.A. to play the Dodgers battling for the best record in the National League, the Phillies went down to the Big Peach to play the Braves. For six strong, Philadelphia’s starter Cole Hamels went no-no. Next, Jake Diekman threw a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles was up next, and he struck out the side. Jonathan Papelbon got a flyout and a groundout, and then he got Phil Gosselin to line out to Darin Ruf and the Phillies made history. This was the first time in their long, long history that the Phillies pitchers (starter and relievers) combined to throw a no-hitter.
First MLB Hit After Thousands Of Minor League Games!
Congratulations to Guilder Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers. After 13 years in the minor leagues, he was called up to the majors for the first time in September and made his major league debut on September 9. Rodriguez played a total of 1,095 games in the minors, making him the person who had played the most games in the minor leagues before being called up to the majors. With with his parents watching in the front row, Rodriguez singled and got his first MLB hit in his major league debut. Even more special, later in the game he hit a go-ahead RBI that gave the Rangers the win. Rodriguez got a well-deserved Gatorade shower.
First No-Hitter in Washington Nationals history!
The first no-hitter in Nationals franchise history, thrown by Jordan Zimmermann, happened on the last day of the 2014 season. On September 28, the Nationals played the Marlins and Henderson Alvarez, who coincidentally threw his first no hitter one year earlier against the Detroit Tigers on the last day of the 2013 season. In the 9th inning, with Zimmermann with his first career no-hitter on the line, Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a deep fly ball, inches from a homer, into the glove of rookie center fielder Michael A. Taylor. Two outs. On the final out, Christian Yelich hit a laser out to left field that Zimmermann later said he thought was a sure double. Instead, rookie outfielder Steven Souza, Jr made an unbelievable acrobatic catch to end the game and give Zimmermann and the Nationals their first no-hitter.
Happy New Year!
2014 was an exciting year for me, as you can see in the picture above. I visited Marlins Park, PNC Park, Wrigley Field, Petco Park and Citizens Bank Park. I interviewed a bunch of players, like Stephen Strasburg, Nick Swisher, Wilson Ramos and Ross Detwiler. I reviewed Derek Jeter’s first two books and had my review published on his Facebook page. I also went to the Nationals vs. Giants NLDS Game 1 at Nationals Park and was interviewed on live TV. There were many more cool things.
I can’t wait for a great 2015 year and many more historic firsts. The return of baseball is inching closer. Pitchers and catchers report in only 42 more days, and there are only 96 days until Opening Day!