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The 2007 Season: A Milestone Year On Many Levels

The 2007 season will be remembered, for good or ill, as the year Barry Bonds passed Henry Aaron on the all-time home run list. How it is ultimately remembered will, no doubt, depend on the outcome of all the various federal investigations into the distribution of steroids and human growth hormone, as well as the BALCO investigation in San Francisco. But this season gave us so much more than Bonds and BALCO. In terms of important statistical achievement, even without Bonds' 756th, this would be remembered as the Year of the Milestone. It furnished, possibly, the last 300-game winner (Tom Glavine). It furnished Sammy Sosa's mini-resurgence and Roger Clemens' latest (and last?) un-retirement.
It reminded us that it ain't over 'til it's over, especially when the Mets are involved. And it reminded us that the more things change (Brewers, Rockies, Diamondbacks in contention), the more they stay the same (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Texas, Pittsburgh finishing last). BEST MILESTONE MOMENT: So many milestones were achieved this season that it was inevitable that they'd occasionally take place concurrently. That didn't make it any less emotional when two future Hall of Famers shared the 'SportsCenter' spotlight on June 28. That day, Astros 2B Craig Biggio collected his 3,000th hit in Houston and Toronto DH Frank Thomas hit his 500th home run at Minnesota. MOST ANTICLIMACTIC MOMENT: Bonds moved past Aaron with home run No 756 at 11:51 EDT on Aug. 7 in the fifth inning against the Nationals in San Francisco. East Coast newspapers scrambled to remake their front pages because ... well, we're honestly not exactly sure why. Most fans on this side of the country yawned one last time before turning off Letterman and heading to bed. MOST SURPRISING TEAM: The Rockies' lineup always had potency, with Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins and Todd Helton. This year, the pitching came around, especially the bullpen, and a late push made them the team to watch in the NL in 2008. MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM: Like the Blue Jays in the AL, the Dodgers were hampered all year by injuries. Unlike the Blue Jays in the AL East, the Dodgers still should have had enough depth and talent to compete in the NL West. BEST COMEBACK (pre-September): The Yankees were tied for last place with the Rays on May 29, 14 1/2 games behind the Red Sox. New York turned it all around and actually challenged for the division title before settling for the wildcard. Honorable mention to the Cubs, who once trailed the Brewers by 8 1/2 but bounced back to win the NL Central. BEST COMEBACK (September): The Phillies made it a race in the NL East by winning their final seven games against the Mets in August and September. On Sept. 12, they trailed by seven games. Sunday, they clinched their first division title since 1993. BEST BARGAIN: 1B Carlos Pena made the Devil Rays out of spring training thanks to Greg Norton's late-March knee injury. Pena then shattered team records for home runs and RBIs - and did it making $800,000. BIGGEST BUST: The Dodgers paid free-agent RHP Jason Schmidt $15.7 million for six starts before he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. He went 1-4 in those starts. NL MVP: Holliday, Colorado. Honorable mention: Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia. NL CY YOUNG: Jake Peavy, San Diego. Honorable mention: Brandon Webb, Arizona. NL ROOKIE: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee. Honorable mention: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado. NL MANAGER: Lou Piniella, Chicago Cubs. Honorable mention: Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia. AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees. Honorable mention: Magglio Ordonez, Detroit. AL CY YOUNG: Josh Beckett, Boston. Honorable mention: C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland. AL ROOKIE: Dustin Pedroia, Boston. Honorable mention: Delmon Young, Tampa Bay. AL MANAGER: Joe Torre, New York Yankees. Honorable mention: Eric Wedge, Cleveland.
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