2003 Season News

New York Yankees ace Roger Clemens joined one of the most exclusive clubs in sports after becoming the twenty-first pitcher in Major League history to win three-hundred games. After announcing his intentions to retire at the end of the 2003 season, Clemens went on to complete his quest for three-hundred by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-2, in front of a sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium. In doing so "The Rocket" became the first pitcher since Nolan Ryan in 1990 to reach three-hundred wins, tying Hall-of-Famers Early Wynn and Lefty Grove for nineteenth place on the all-time victory list. Later he joined another "pitching fraternity" after striking out the four-thousandth batter of his career. Only Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136) had more strikeouts than Clemens (to date), who had ten on the night. Ironically, Carlton had also won his three-hundredth against the Cardinals in 1983.

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne set a new Major League record after converting fifty-five saves to top Boston's Tom Gordon, who had previously converted fifty-four in a row from April 19, 1998, to June 5, 1999. Practically "un-hittable" throughout the season, Gagne had increased the velocity on his fastball from ninety-two miles-per-hour to ninety-seven and complemented it with a hard eighty-seven mile-per-hour changeup that dropped much like a split-finger pitch. His forty-first consecutive win gave him the longest saves streak to start a season in Major League history and he also became the first relief pitcher in history to tally one-hundred more strikeouts (137) than hits allowed (37).

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler collapsed at the team's spring training complex in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on February 16th and died the next day. Following an autopsy, it was determined that the twenty-three year-old had suffered a "heart attack-like event" after taking a dietary supplement containing ephedra. His widow later filed a $600 million lawsuit against the manufacturers while bringing national attention to the dangers of using potentially harmful weight loss aids. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, called the product Xenadrine RFA-1 a "poisonous cocktail" unsafe for human consumption.

After years of less-than-stellar ratings, record audiences finally tuned in to the Major League Baseball postseason, making it the most-watched playoffs ever on cable. Fans also flocked to the ballparks setting a new attendance mark with over 1,858,979 tickets sold. Many attributed this renewed interest to the playoff's storybook backdrop that featured two of baseball's most beloved underdogs, the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. Both teams had surprised the experts by making the post season and each continued to shock their opponents by battling back in their respective leagues time and time again. After surviving the Divisional round, generations of long-suffering fans from both ball clubs reveled in the possibility that the curse of both "The Bambino" and "The Goat" was finally coming to an end. The baseball god's apparently had other plans and both teams fell just five heartbreaking outs short of making it to the Series.
2003 American League East
Team Record GB
New York Yankees 101-61 -
Boston Red Sox 95-67 6.0
Toronto Blue Jays 86-76 15.0
Baltimore Orioles 71-91 30.0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 63-99 38.0
2003 American League Central
Team Record GB
Minnesota Twins 90-72 -
Chicago White Sox 86-76 4.0
Kansas City Royals 83-79 7.0
Cleveland Indians 68-94 22.0
Detroit Tigers 43-119 47.0
2003 American League West
Team Record GB
Oakland Athletics 96-66 -
Seattle Mariners 93-69 3.0
Anaheim Angels 77-85 19.0
Texas Rangers 71-91 25.0
2003 National League East
Team Record GB
Atlanta Braves 101-61 -
Florida Marlins 91-71 10.0
Philadelphia Phillies 86-76 15.0
Montreal Expos 83-79 18.0
New York Mets 66-95 34.5
2003 National League Central
Team Record GB
Chicago Cubs 88-74 -
Houston Astros 87-75 1.0
St. Louis Cardinals 85-77 3.0
Pittsburgh Pirates 75-87 13.0
Cincinnati Reds 69-93 19.0
Milwaukee Brewers 68-94 20.0
2003 National League West
Team Record GB
San Francisco Giants 100-61 -
Los Angeles Dodgers 85-77 15.5
Arizona Diamondbacks 84-78 16.5
Colorado Rockies 74-88 26.5
San Diego Padres 64-98 36.5
American League Teams Stats
Team W L PCT RS RS/G RA RA/G HR HRA AVG OBP SLG ERA BBA SOA FPCT DP
New York Yankees 101 61 0.623 877 5.41 716 4.42 230 145 0.271 0.350 0.453 4.02 375 1119 0.981 126
Oakland Athletics 96 66 0.593 768 4.74 643 3.97 176 140 0.254 0.323 0.417 3.63 499 1018 0.983 145
Boston Red Sox 95 67 0.586 961 5.93 809 4.99 238 153 0.289 0.358 0.491 4.48 488 1141 0.982 130
Seattle Mariners 93 69 0.574 795 4.91 637 3.93 139 173 0.271 0.341 0.410 3.76 466 1001 0.989 159
Minnesota Twins 90 72 0.556 801 4.94 758 4.68 155 187 0.277 0.337 0.431 4.41 402 997 0.985 114
Chicago White Sox 86 76 0.531 791 4.88 715 4.41 220 162 0.263 0.327 0.446 4.17 518 1056 0.984 154
Toronto Blue Jays 86 76 0.531 894 5.52 826 5.10 190 184 0.279 0.343 0.455 4.69 485 984 0.981 161
Kansas City Royals 83 79 0.512 836 5.16 867 5.35 162 190 0.274 0.331 0.427 5.06 566 865 0.982 143
Anaheim Angels 77 85 0.475 736 4.54 743 4.59 150 190 0.268 0.327 0.413 4.28 486 980 0.982 138
Baltimore Orioles 71 91 0.438 743 4.59 820 5.06 152 198 0.268 0.319 0.405 4.76 526 981 0.983 164
Texas Rangers 71 91 0.438 826 5.10 969 5.98 239 208 0.266 0.324 0.454 5.67 603 1009 0.985 168
Cleveland Indians 68 94 0.420 699 4.31 778 4.80 158 179 0.254 0.311 0.401 4.21 501 943 0.980 178
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 63 99 0.389 715 4.41 852 5.26 137 196 0.265 0.316 0.404 4.93 639 877 0.983 158
Detroit Tigers 43 119 0.265 591 3.65 928 5.73 153 195 0.240 0.297 0.375 5.30 557 764 0.978 194
National League Teams Stats
Team W L PCT RS RS/G RA RA/G HR HRA AVG OBP SLG ERA BBA SOA FPCT DP
Atlanta Braves 101 61 0.623 907 5.60 740 4.57 235 147 0.284 0.346 0.475 4.10 555 992 0.981 166
San Francisco Giants 100 61 0.621 755 4.69 638 3.96 180 136 0.264 0.336 0.425 3.73 546 1006 0.987 163
Florida Marlins 91 71 0.562 751 4.64 692 4.27 157 128 0.266 .329 0.421 4.04 530 1132 0.987 162
Chicago Cubs 88 74 0.543 724 4.47 683 4.22 172 143 0.259 0.320 0.416 3.83 617 1404 0.983 157
Houston Astros 87 75 0.537 805 4.97 677 4.18 191 161 0.263 0.329 0.431 3.86 565 1139 0.985 149
Philadelphia Phillies 86 76 0.531 791 4.88 697 4.30 166 142 0.261 0.339 0.419 4.04 536 1060 0.984 146
St. Louis Cardinals 85 77 0.525 876 5.41 796 4.91 196 210 0.279 0.345 0.454 4.60 508 969 0.987 138
Los Angeles Dodgers 85 77 0.525 574 3.54 556 3.43 124 127 0.243 0.296 0.368 3.16 526 1289 0.981 164
Arizona Diamondbacks 84 78 0.519 717 4.43 685 4.23 152 150 0.263 0.327 0.417 3.84 526 1291 0.983 132
Montreal Expos 83 79 0.512 711 4.39 716 4.42 144 181 0.258 0.323 0.401 4.01 463 1028 0.983 152
Pittsburgh Pirates 75 87 0.463 753 4.65 801 4.94 163 178 0.267 0.331 0.420 4.64 502 926 0.980 159
Colorado Rockies 74 88 0.457 853 5.27 892 5.51 198 200 0.267 0.341 0.445 5.20 552 866 0.981 165
Cincinnati Reds 69 93 0.426 694 4.28 886 5.47 182 209 0.245 0.310 0.395 5.09 590 932 0.977 152
Milwaukee Brewers 68 94 0.420 714 4.41 873 5.39 196 219 0.256 0.323 0.419 5.02 575 1034 0.981 142
New York Mets 66 95 0.410 642 3.99 754 4.68 124 168 0.247 0.310 0.374 4.48 576 907 0.980 158
San Diego Padres 64 98 0.395 678 4.19 831 5.13 128 208 0.261 0.329 0.388 4.87 611 1091 0.983 141