1999 Baseball Season Headlines
Chipper Jones Powers Way to MVP
A beefed-up Chipper Jones garnered National League MVP honors in 1999. After hitting the weights with a vengeance, and learning to take lefties deep, he powered a career-high 45 home runs. He also walked 126 times, stole 25 bases, and ripped a league-high .417 in clutch situations. His September heroics carried the Braves to the division title.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez Earns Top American League Prize
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez of the Rangers won the 1999 American League MVP Award, beating out Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez in a controversial vote. Rodriguez helped Texas win its third straight American League West title with a .332 average, 35 homers, 113 RBI, and 25 steals. He started his eighth straight All-Star Game and recorded the majors' highest caught-stealing percentage (54.2) of the decade.
Fans Mourn Death of Joe DiMaggio
When legend Joe DiMaggio passed away on March 8, 1999, a nation mourned. The Yankee Stadium flag was immediately lowered to half-mast, while everyone from former teammates to President Bill Clinton paid tribute. During his fabled 13-year career, the "Yankee Clipper" captured three MVP trophies and won legions of fans with his stylish play. He became somewhat of a recluse after his retirement.
Tom "Flash" Gordon Saves 54 Games in a Row
Red Sox closer Tom "Flash" Gordon, who led the American League with 46 saves in 1998, pitched in only 21 games in 1999. Before going down with an elbow injury, however, he recorded his 54th save in 54 opportunities, setting a major league record. The achievement didn't receive much fanfare nationwide, but to fellow relievers it was the equivalent of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Gordon had been a starter for much of his career.
Fernando Tatis Jacks Two Slams in an Inning
Cardinals third sacker Fernando Tatis clubs his second grand slam of the third inning on April 23, 1999, at Los Angeles. Tatis, who ended the 1999 campaign with 34 homers and 107 RBI, is the only player ever to hit two grannies in the same inning. His eight RBI in the frame also set a record. Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park was in the game long enough to serve up both slams.
Mark McGwire Belts 65 More
After launching 70 home runs in 1998, Mark McGwire swatted 65 more in '99 -- the second most in major league history. Incredibly, he belted his 500th homer a year after slamming his 400th. He also broke Lou Gehrig's major league record for home runs by a first baseman. At season's end, he and Gehrig were the only first sackers named to the MLB's All-Century Team.
Manny Ramirez Plates 165
Powering the ball to all fields, Manny Ramirez drove in 165 runs in 1999 -- the most in the majors in 61 years. Incredibly, he did it in only 147 games. The Cleveland right fielder cracked .333 with 44 home runs-and blasted .386 with runners in scoring position. Top-of-the-order men Kenny Lofton and Roberto Alomar, who were often on base, scored a combined 248 runs in 279 games.
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