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West Division

Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The New York Yankees captured their ninth consecutive A.L. East title in 2006, finishing the regular season with a league-best record of 97-65 that left them 10 games ahead of the runner-up Toronto Blue Jays.  The Boston Red Sox finished third in the division, 11 games back.  

The Red Sox stood atop the division standings for much of the year, but they fell well out of contention after numerous injuries caused them to slump badly during the season's final two months.  Still, Boston received outstanding performances from several key players.  Jonathan Papelbon established himself as one of the game's best closers, finishing the campaign with 35 saves and an extraordinary 0.92 ERA.  Manny Ramirez hit 35 homers, drove in 102 runs, and batted .321.  David Ortiz earned a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by batting .287, scoring 115 runs, compiling a .636 slugging average, and leading the league with 54 home runs and 137 runs batted in.  

The Yankees also found themselves hit hard by injuries that would have devastated a lesser team.  Starting outfielders Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield both went down during the first six weeks of the season, and they were lost to the team for most of the year.  Nevertheless, the Yankees led the league with 930 runs scored, and they placed second in the circuit in both home runs (210) and batting average (.285).  Meanwhile, New York received a huge lift on the mound from second-year starter Chien-Ming Wang, who tied for the league lead with 19 victories.

Despite losing two of their top hitters, the Yankees’ greatest strength remained their potent offense.  Jason Giambi hit 37 homers and drove in 113 runs.  Jorge Posada homered 23 times and knocked in 93 runs.  Johnny Damon provided outstanding productivity out of the leadoff spot, hitting 24 homers, driving in 80 runs, scoring 115 others, and batting .285.  Alex Rodriguez hit 35 homers, led the team with 121 runs batted in, scored 113 times, and batted .290.  Robinson Cano knocked in 78 runs and finished third in the A.L. batting race with an average of .342.  Shortstop Derek Jeter had perhaps his finest all-around season, earning a close second-place finish in the league MVP voting by placing second in the batting race with a mark of .343, driving in 97 runs, scoring 118 others, collecting 214 hits, stealing 34 bases, and winning his third straight Gold Glove Award for his outstanding play in the field.  

While the Yankees won their ninth straight division crown, the Oakland Athletics replaced Anaheim at the top of the A.L. West standings after finishing second to the Angels in each of the previous two seasons.  The A’s concluded the campaign with a record of 93-69 that left them four games ahead of the runner-up Angels in the final standings.

Although the Angels failed to advance to the postseason for the first time in three years, they received another outstanding performance from Vladimir Guerrero.  The slugging right-fielder hit 33 home runs, drove in 116 runs, scored another 92, batted .329, and collected 200 hits.

The only member of the A’s who even approached the numbers Guerrero compiled for the Athletics was Frank Thomas.  After coming over from Chicago during the off-season, the veteran DH provided the A’s with a much-needed power bat in the middle of their lineup.  Thomas earned a top-five finish in the league MVP balloting by hitting 39 home runs and knocking in 114 runs.

Meanwhile, Oakland continued to boast one of the league’s top starting rotations, featuring four pitchers who posted double-digit win totals.  Barry Zito and Joe Blanton led the staff with 16 victories apiece, while Dan Haren and Esteban Loaiza added 14 and 11 wins, respectively.  Sophomore reliever Huston Street saved 37 games coming out of the bullpen.

Easily the most competitive and intriguing division in the American League over the course of the season, the A.L. Central featured three teams that surpassed 90 victories.  The Detroit Tigers spent most of the year in first place, compiling a record that left them 40 games over the .500-mark at one point in early August.  However, they slumped down the stretch, going just 19-31 over their final 50 games.  Meanwhile, after posting a record of only 25-33 as of June 7, the Minnesota Twins compiled the best record in baseball the remainder of the year, winning 71 of their final 104 games.  The Twins’ exceptional play during the latter stages of the season allowed them to sneak into first place when the Tigers lost their final five games.  The Twins captured their fourth division title in five years, concluding the campaign with a record of 96-66.  Despite blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead, Detroit advanced to the postseason as the American League’s wild-card representative, finishing just one game behind Minnesota with a record of 95-67.  The Chicago White Sox finished third in the division, six games off the pace, with a mark of 90-72.      

The defending champion White Sox slipped to third in the division due to their ineffective pitching.  In fact, Chicago's team ERA of 4.61 exceeded their previous year’s mark by exactly one run per-game.  However, the White Sox possessed one of the league's top offenses, leading the A.L. with 236 home runs and placing near the top of the league rankings with 868 runs scored and a team batting average of .280.  Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, and Jermaine Dye wielded the most potent bats in Chicago’s lineup.  Konerko hit 35 homers, knocked in 113 runs, and batted .313.  Thome homered 42 times, drove in 109 runs, scored 108 others, and batted .288.  Dye batted .315, scored 103 runs, and finished among the league leaders with 44 home runs and 120 runs batted in.  

In spite of their poor play over the season’s final two months, the Tigers were the division's most well-balanced team.  With a league-leading team ERA of 3.84, Detroit had arguably the A.L.'s best pitching staff.  The Tigers also had a solid offense that finished high in the league rankings with 203 home runs and 822 runs scored.  

Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers anchored Detroit’s starting rotation.  A.L. Rookie of the Year Verlander finished 17-9 with a 3.63 ERA, while Rogers posted a record of 17-8 with a 3.84 earned run average.  Hard-throwing Jeremy Bonderman gave the Tigers a third solid starter, winning 14 games and leading the staff with 202 strikeouts.  Closer Todd Jones saved 37 games, while set-up man Joel Zumaya finished 6-3, with a 1.94 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 83 innings of work.

Although the Tigers lacked a singular dynamic presence in the middle of their batting order, they featured one of the junior circuit’s deepest lineups.  Marcus Thames hit 26 home runs in only 348 at-bats.  Left-fielder Craig Monroe led the team with 28 home runs, knocked in 92 runs, and scored another 89.  Third baseman Brandon Inge went deep 27 times, drove in 83 runs, and scored 83 others.  Catcher Ivan Rodriguez batted .300 and helped stabilize Detroit's young pitching staff.  Right-fielder Magglio Ordonez hit 24 homers, knocked in 104 runs, and batted .298.  Shortstop Carlos Guillen hit 19 home runs, drove in 85 runs, and led the team with 100 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, and a .320 batting average.  

The division-winning Twins were also a well-balanced club, leading the league with a .287 team batting average and placing second in the circuit with a team ERA of 3.95.  Their staff featured the American League's best pitcher, one of its brightest young stars, and one of its premier closers.  Joe Nathan converted 36 of his 38 save opportunities, finished a perfect 7-0, compiled a brilliant 1.58 ERA, and struck out 95 batters in 68 innings of work, while allowing only 38 base hits.  Although an injury forced Francisco Liriano to miss virtually the entire second half of the season, the 22-year-old left-hander established himself as a future star, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and striking out 144 batters in 121 innings pitched.  Johan Santana earned his second Cy Young Award in three seasons by leading all A.L. starters in wins (19), earned run average (2.77), strikeouts (245), and innings pitched (234).  

The quartet of Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau paced Minnesota on offense.  Cuddyer hit 24 homers, drove in 109 runs, scored 102 others, and batted .284.  Hunter hit 31 home runs, knocked in 98 runs, scored another 86, and batted .278.  Mauer became the first catcher in American League history to win a batting title by topping the circuit with a mark of .347.  Morneau edged out Derek Jeter for A.L. MVP honors by hitting 34 home runs, knocking in 130 runs, scoring 97 others, and batting .321.

In spite of their outstanding team balance, the Twins fell victim to the Oakland A’s in the Division Series, losing to the Western Division champions in three straight games.  Meanwhile, the Tigers rebounded from their poor finish to defeat the Yankees in four games in the other Division Series matchup.  They then swept the A’s in four straight games in the ALCS, outscoring their overmatched opponents by a combined margin of 22-9.

Entering the World Series as heavy favorites against a St. Louis Cardinals team that won only 83 games during the regular season, the Tigers seemed to lose their edge following a one-week layoff, making critical defensive mistakes and failing to deliver at the plate.  Detroit batted just .199 as a team and committed eight errors in the field, in losing to St. Louis in five games.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• March 30 – Commissioner Bud Selig appointed Red Sox director and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell to head a probe into the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in the major leagues.  Although the investigation was initially limited to events since September 2002, when such drugs were banned in the major leagues, Mitchell was granted authority to expand its scope.

• April 18 - A sellout crowd of 42,191 watched the Chicago White Sox lose to the Detroit Tigers by a score of 16-0 in the first game played at the new Comiskey Park.

• June 6 – U.S. federal officials raided the home of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Jason Grimsley looking for evidence that he was a distributor of human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs.  They found he had received a package.  A day later, Grimsley quit the Diamondbacks, and it was announced he gave authorities the names of people he knew that took steroids and HGH.

• August 13 – Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner hit his sixth grand slam of the season, tying Don Mattingly for the major league season record.

• October 11 – Days after his Yankees were eliminated from the postseason, pitcher Cory Lidle was killed when the plane he piloted crashed into a Manhattan apartment building.

• Detroit’s Kenny Rogers tossed 23 consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason.

• Boston’s Curt Schilling reached the 3,000 plateau in career strikeouts.

• Toronto closer B.J. Ryan saved 38 games, compiled a 1.37 ERA, and allowed just 42 hits in 72 innings of work.

• Blue Jays teammate Vernon Wells hit 32 home runs, knocked in 106 runs, scored 91 others, and batted .303.

• Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus hit 38 homers, drove in 104 runs, and scored 105 others.

• Cleveland’s Travis Hafner hit 42 home runs, knocked in 117 runs, batted .308, led the league with a .659 slugging average, and placed second in the circuit with a .439 on-base percentage.

• Indians teammate Grady Sizemore hit 28 homers, drove in 76 runs, batted .290, and led the A.L. with 134 runs scored and 53 doubles.  

• Rangers shortstop Michael Young batted .314, knocked in 103 runs, and finished second in the league with 217 hits.

• Texas teammate Mark Teixeira hit 33 homers and drove home 110 runs.

• Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett died on March 6 at age 45.

• On July 1, Baltimore's Miguel Tejada became the seventh player in major league history to play in 1,000 consecutive games.

• With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Michael Young slammed a two-run triple that gave the American League its ninth straight All-Star Game victory.

• Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels led the American League with 47 saves.

• Randy Johnson registered his 4,500th career strikeout - the third most in major league history.

• New York’s Mike Mussina became the first pitcher in American League history to win 10 or more games for 15 straight seasons.

• Yankees closer Mariano Rivera recorded his 400th career save.

• Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki batted .322, scored 110 runs, stole 45 bases in 47 attempts, and led the American League with 224 hits.

• The Baseball Hall of Fame's Special Committee on the Negro Leagues selected 17 former Negro League players for induction.

• The members of the BBWAA elected pitcher Bruce Sutter to the Hall of Fame.

• In November, the Red Sox paid $51.1 million for the rights to negotiate with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.  They subsequently signed him to a multiyear, $51 million contract.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2295 5610 768 1556 727 .254 288 20 164 121 32 2376 .406 .348 .810 145 41 40
BOS 2346 5619 820 1510 777 .213 327 16 192 51 23 2445 .366 .320 .758 136 56 22
CHA 2286 5657 868 1586 839 .249 291 20 236 93 48 2625 .381 .386 .820 118 57 44
CLE 2135 5619 870 1576 839 .272 351 27 196 55 23 2569 .348 .419 .768 127 43 30
DET 2214 5642 822 1548 785 .194 294 40 203 60 40 2531 .305 .317 .678 120 36 45
KCA 2272 5589 757 1515 718 .220 335 37 124 65 34 2296 .373 .336 .759 131 48 52
LAA 2264 5609 766 1539 737 .208 309 29 159 148 57 2383 .342 .311 .718 126 53 31
MIN 2226 5602 801 1608 754 .205 275 34 143 101 42 2380 .381 .286 .754 163 55 31
NYA 2430 5651 930 1608 902 .198 327 21 210 139 35 2607 .382 .313 .768 139 49 34
OAK 2197 5500 771 1429 735 .189 266 22 175 61 20 2264 .373 .290 .740 170 56 25
SEA 2259 5670 756 1540 703 .220 266 42 172 106 37 2406 .351 .320 .722 118 38 38
TBA 2247 5474 689 1395 650 .192 267 33 190 134 52 2298 .331 .298 .704 101 43 35
TEX 2227 5659 835 1571 799 .224 357 23 183 53 24 2523 .352 .340 .747 148 50 18
TOR 2329 5596 809 1591 778 .212 348 27 199 65 33 2590 .345 .334 .753 166 52 16

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 634 70 92 1419 1016 613 6327 1579 216 181.500 844 899 5 1 35 59 4
BOS 616 86 76 1443 1070 509 6292 1570 181 160.160 773 825 3 1 46 52 3
CHA 560 90 72 1449 1012 433 6232 1534 200 82.450 743 794 5 2 46 51 1
CLE 539 78 84 1424 948 429 6190 1583 166 105.620 701 782 13 6 24 46 2
DET 552 95 67 1448 1003 489 6145 1420 160 75.690 620 675 3 1 46 44 2
KCA 635 62 100 1429 904 637 6434 1648 213 253.790 899 971 3 2 35 85 9
LAA 542 89 73 1452 1164 471 6149 1410 158 101.410 652 732 5 3 50 85 3
MIN 583 96 66 1439 1164 356 6066 1490 182 71.960 632 683 1 0 40 40 3
NYA 651 97 65 1442 1019 496 6215 1463 170 136.150 710 767 5 1 43 46 7
OAK 606 93 69 1452 1003 529 6279 1525 162 98.040 680 727 5 2 54 43 4
SEA 591 78 84 1447 1067 560 6294 1500 183 175.560 739 792 6 2 47 47 6
TBA 606 61 101 1421 979 606 6374 1600 180 156.900 784 856 3 2 33 70 8
TEX 651 80 82 1430 972 496 6237 1558 162 130.910 733 784 3 1 42 34 4
TOR 644 87 75 1427 1076 504 6151 1447 185 99.950 694 754 6 1 42 53 13

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2865 7159 5402 1637 120 .956 17027 80 50 1.00 15
BOS 2921 7097 5335 1689 73 .981 17297 108 23 0 24
CHA 2840 7217 5441 1666 110 .976 17388 116 34 1.00 13
CLE 2608 7193 5365 1695 133 .954 17076 128 34 0 7
DET 2763 7244 5326 1798 120 .979 17376 49 35 1.00 6
KCA 2768 7256 5451 1687 118 .965 17117 58 30 0 10
LAA 2777 7194 5475 1572 147 .974 17433 77 40 0 8
MIN 2733 7127 5349 1677 101 .967 17269 54 31 0 5
NYA 2988 7150 5418 1616 116 .973 17322 92 47 0 17
OAK 2725 7201 5455 1645 101 .957 17424 88 41 0 10
SEA 2747 7163 5401 1662 100 .963 17360 72 38 0 16
TBA 2787 7159 5399 1623 137 .966 17042 108 46 1.00 8
TEX 2753 7210 5308 1791 111 .966 17174 67 40 0 11
TOR 2864 7099 5246 1746 107 .962 17137 130 32 0 15

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 93 69 1976625 1 1003
Los Angeles Angels 89 73 3406790 2 1164
Texas Rangers 80 82 2388757 3 972
Seattle Mariners 78 84 2481165 4 1067

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
Minnesota Twins 96 66 2285018 1 1164
Detroit Tigers 95 67 2595937 2 1003
Chicago White Sox 90 72 2957414 3 1012
Cleveland Indians 78 84 1997995 4 948
Kansas City Royals 62 100 1372638 5 904

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Yankees 97 65 4248067 1 1019
Toronto Blue Jays 87 75 2302212 2 1076
Boston Red Sox 86 76 2930588 3 1070
Baltimore Orioles 70 92 2153139 4 1016
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 61 101 1368950 5 979

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Tagged:
2006 World Series, Alex Rodriguez, B.J. Ryan, Barry Zito, Bob Wickman, Brandon Inge, Bud Selig, Carl Crawford, Carlos Guillen, Chien-Ming Wang, Cory Lidle, Craig Monroe, Curt Schilling, Danny Haren, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Detroit Tigers, Esteban Loaiza, Francisco Liriano, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, Gary Sheffield, George Mitchell, Grady Sizemore, Hideki Matsui, Huston Street, Ichiro Suzuki, Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Bonderman, Jermaine Dye, Jim Leyland, Jim Thome, Joe Blanton, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Joel Zumaya, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, Jonathan Papelbon, Jorge Posada, Justin Morneau, Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Kirby Puckett, Magglio Ordonez, Manny Ramirez, Marcus Thames, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Michael Cuddyer, Michael Young, Mike Mussina, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Paul Konerko, Robinson Cano, Todd Jones, Torii Hunter, Travis Hafner, Troy Glaus, Vernon Wells, Vladimir Guerrero

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