See below for more headlines from the 2000 baseball season, including Randy Johnson winning his second straight Cy Young Award and Kaz Sasaki from Japan being named American League Rookie of the Year at age 32.
Jason Giambi Cops MVP Award
Jason Giambi of the A’s won the American League’s MVP trophy with a spectacular season that included 43 homers, 137 RBI, and a .333 average. He led the majors in on-base percentage (.474), not to mention grand slams (six). As Oakland struggled to hold on to first place down the stretch, Giambi homered five times in his last seven games, securing the West Division crown. Jason’s brother, Jeremy, also played for the A’s.
Todd Helton: .372, 42 Homers
Colorado first baseman Todd Helton posted incredible numbers in 2000, including a .372 average, 59 doubles, 42 home runs, 147 RBI, 138 runs, and 103 walks. While the thin air of Denver surely contributed to his totals, Helton did bat .353 with 15 homers on the road. He captured the National League’s Hank Aaron Award, given to the league’s premier slugger.
Randy Johnson Whiffs 347
Arizona’s Randy Johnson won his second straight Cy Young Award in 2000 after leading the majors in strikeouts (347) for the third consecutive year. The fire-balling southpaw so dominated lefties that managers routinely stacked their lineups with eight or nine right-handed hitters. Johnson opened the season 14-2 and finished 19-7.
Andres Galarraga Returns from Cancer
Atlanta Braves first baseman Andres Galarraga, who missed the entire 1999 season after undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his lower back, assumed his position on the field for the Braves in 2000. The courageous “Big Cat” cracked .302 with 28 four-baggers and 100 RBI at age 39. He also earned a spot on the National League All-Star team.
Kaz Sasaki, 32, Named ROTY
The Mariners have always had an eye out for international talent, and in 2000 they benefited from the performance of sinkerballing closer Kaz Sasaki. The Japanese-born right-hander made his major league debut with a club-record 37 saves, including 15 in a row at one point. It was enough to earn him the American League Rookie of the Year Award -- even though he was 32 years old.
Alex Rodriguez Swats 41 Big Flys
At age 25, Alex Rodriguez again had one of the best offensive seasons ever for a shortstop. A-Rod ripped .316 with 34 doubles, 41 homers, 132 RBI, 100 walks, and even 15 steals. He scored 134 runs and played superb defense. Following the season, he inked a ten-year contract with the Rangers for $252 million -- a sum that stunned the nation.
2000 Mets Knock Off Cardinals
Mets pitcher Mike Hampton tossed seven scoreless frames in the Mets’ 6-2 victory over St. Louis. In game five, he pitched a three-hit shutout to clinch the series. The Cards sorely missed Mark McGwire, who could only pinch hit due to injury and went 0-for-2 in the series.
Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens Clash in Subway Series
The biggest flap of the 2000 World Series came during game two at Yankee Stadium. In the first inning, Roger Clemens induced a grounder from Mets catcher Mike Piazza, breaking his bat. When a piece of the bat flew toward the mound, an angry Clemens tossed it in Piazza’s direction, setting off a bench-clearing incident. The two had history: Earlier in the season, Clemens drilled Piazza in the head with a pitch.
Luis Sojo’s Hit Clinches 2000 World Series
In game five of the World Series, Luis Sojo came to bat in the ninth inning with the score 2-2. Facing tired Mets starter Al Leiter, Sojo ripped his 142nd pitch for a single to plate the go-ahead run. The Yankees won 4-2 after reliever Mariano Rivera slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth. Derek Jeter called the Mets the toughest opponent in the Yankees’ four recent World Series triumphs.
The next page highlights key events and details from the 2000 baseball season.