MLB Opening Day: Looking back at 100 years of baseball history

To get a sense of the historic arc Major League Baseball has taken over just the past 100 years, hop on our time machine and review some of its key news and developments at 10-year intervals, beginning in 1912.


Sports Illustrated
Then-Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds on the cover of the May 4, 1992 issue of 'Sports Illustrated.'

Top hitter: Edgar Martinez (Seattle Mariners), .343

Top slugger: Juan Gonzalez (Texas Rangers), 43 HRs

Top pitcher: Jack Morris (Minnesota Twins) and Kevin Brown (Texas Rangers), 21 wins

NL MVP: Barry Bonds (Pittsburgh Pirates), OF

AL MVP: Dennis Eckersley (Oakland A’s), P

World Series: Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Atlanta Braves, 4-2.

Baltimore opened its trendsetting new stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which has led to a whole new generation of ballparks that fuse modern amenities with retro-style architecture. The popularity of this new/old approach spelled the end of characterless multipurpose stadiums.

Boston pitchers Roger Clemens and Matt Young set a major-league record by giving up only two hits in a doubleheader in Cleveland on April 12.  Clemens got the win in the first game, but Young was saddled with a loss in the nightcap despite also pitching a one-hitter. He ran into problems in the 2-1 defeat by giving up seven walks.

While playing for the New York Mets, Eddie Murray surpassed Mickey Mantle as the switch-hitter with the most-ever RBIs.  Many of his 1,917 career RBIs came from hitting home runs, which he did somewhat quietly during 21 years. Steady Eddie never had more than 33 home runs in a season.

Descendants of Daniel Boone became the first family to produce three generations of major leaguers as Bret Boone joins the Seattle Mariners as a second baseman. Before him, Ray Boone, his grandfather, was an infielder, and his dad, Ray, a catcher. Subsequently, three other families – the Bells, the Hairstons, and the Colemans – have joined this exclusive club.

Fay Vincent was sacked as Major League Baseball’s commissioner and replaced on an interim basis by Bud Selig, the former president and owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. After six years as acting commissioner, the owners finally named Selig to the role permanently in 1998.  In January of this year, the 30 club owners unanimously voted to extend Selig’s contract two years, with an annual salary of more than $22 million. By serving until 2016, he could surpass Kenesaw Landis as the game’s longest-serving boss.

An agreement in principle to sell the Giants to a group in Tampa, Fla., and move the team to St. Petersburg was vetoed by other team owners. Peter Magowan, an executive with the California-based Safeway supermarket chain, led a different group of investors who kept the franchise in San Francisco. Within a year, the club improved its record from 72-90 to 103-59, and by 2000 it had a new ballpark with a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay. AT&T Park became the first privately financed major-league baseball stadium built since Dodger Stadium in the early 1960s.

9 of 10

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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