Boston ended New York’s nine-year reign as A.L. East champions in 2007, finishing the regular season with a record of 96-66, just two games ahead of the runner-up Yankees, who advanced to the playoffs as the league’s wild-card representative. The Red Sox appeared to have the division well in-hand for most of the year, but the Yankees mounted a second-half surge that eventually brought them to within two games of first place.
The junior circuit’s most well-balanced team, the Red Sox finished first in the league with a team ERA of 3.87, and they also placed among the leaders with 867 runs scored. Boston’s deep pitching staff featured one of the league’s top starters and, also, one of its most dominant relievers. Josh Beckett finished 20-7, to lead all A.L. hurlers in victories. He also placed near the top of the league rankings with a 3.27 ERA and 194 strikeouts. Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka and veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield joined him in the starting rotation. Matsuzaka won 15 games and finished among the league leaders with 201 strikeouts. Wakefield finished second on the staff with 17 victories. Meanwhile, Jonathan Papelbon saved 37 games, compiled a 1.85 ERA, and struck out 84 batters in 58 innings of work, while allowing just 30 base hits.
On offense, second baseman Dustin Pedroia earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors by batting .317 and scoring 86 runs. Kevin Youkilis batted .288, drove in 83 runs, and scored 85 others. He also played errorless ball in his 135 games at first base. Although Manny Ramirez experienced something of an off-season, he still managed to bat .296 and drive in 88 runs. Designated hitter David Ortiz and third baseman Mike Lowell both earned top-five finishes in the A.L. MVP voting by compiling outstanding numbers. Ortiz finished among the league leaders with 35 home runs, 117 runs batted in, 116 runs scored, 52 doubles, and a .332 batting average. Lowell hit 21 home runs, knocked in 120 runs, and batted .324.
The Yankees might well have captured their 10th consecutive division title had they received a little more in the way of pitching. With Chien-Ming Wang (19 wins) and Andy Pettitte (15 wins) serving as the team’s only reliable starters, New York finished just eighth in the league with a 4.49 team ERA.
On the other hand, the Yankees featured the league’s most potent offense, topping the circuit with 968 runs scored, 201 home runs, and a .290 team batting average. Hideki Matsui hit 25 home runs, knocked in 103 runs, scored 100 others, and batted .285. Bobby Abreu batted .283, drove in 101 runs, and finished second in the league with 123 runs scored. Robinson Cano hit 19 home runs, knocked in 97 runs, and batted .306. Derek Jeter batted .322, scored 102 runs, and collected 206 hits. Jorge Posada hit 20 homers, drove in 90 runs, scored another 91, and finished fourth in the league with a .338 batting average. Alex Rodriguez had arguably his finest all-around season, earning A.L. MVP honors by leading the major leagues with 54 home runs, 156 runs batted in, 143 runs scored,
and a .645 slugging percentage. He also batted .314, stole 24 bases, and compiled a .422 on-base percentage.
Rodriguez’s magnificent performance helped obscure the fact that Magglio Ordonez also had a tremendous year for the Detroit Tigers, who finished second in the A.L. Central, eight games behind the division-winning Cleveland Indians. Ordonez hit 28 home runs, led the league with 54 doubles and a .363 batting average, and placed among the leaders with 139 runs batted in, 117 runs scored, and 216 hits. Detroit also received outstanding performances from second baseman Placido Polanco and centerfielder Curtis Granderson. In addition to batting .341 and scoring 105 runs, Polanco played flawless defense in the field, committing no errors in his 141 games at second base. Granderson became just the third player in major league history to compile as many as 20 home runs, doubles, triples, and stolen bases in the same season. He concluded the campaign with 23 homers, 23 triples, 38 doubles, 26 steals, a .302 batting average, and 122 runs scored.
However, the Indians, who won the A.L. Central with a record of 96-66, were the division’s most well-balanced team. They finished sixth in the league in runs scored (811), fifth in home runs (178), and third in team ERA (4.05). C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona anchored Cleveland’s starting rotation. Carmona finished among the league leaders with 19 wins and a 3.06 ERA. Sabathia earned A.L. Cy Young honors by going 19-7, with a 3.21 ERA, 209 strikeouts, and a league-leading 241 innings pitched.
Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, and Victor Martinez paced the Indians on offense. Leadoff hitter Sizemore hit 24 home runs, stole 33 bases, and scored 118 runs. Hafner hit 24 home runs and drove in 100 runs. Martinez led the club with 25 home runs, 114 runs batted in, and a .301 batting average.
After failing to advance to the postseason the previous year, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reclaimed the top spot in the A.L. West by posting a regular-season record of 94-68 that left them eight games ahead of the second-place Seattle Mariners. Although the Mariners failed to make the playoffs for the sixth straight time, they featured two of the division’s top performers in Ichiro Suzuki and J.J. Putz. Ichiro finished second in the league with a .351 batting average, topped the circuit with 238 base hits, and placed among the leaders with 111 runs scored and 37 stolen bases. Putz posted six victories and a 1.38 ERA, tied for second in the league with 40 saves, and allowed only 37 hits in 72 innings of work. He also struck out 82 batters while walking only 13.
The division-winning Angels had an outstanding closer of their own in bullpen ace Francisco Rodriguez. The 25-year-old right-hander saved 40 games, won five others, and compiled a 2.81 ERA. Rodriguez struck out 90 batters in 67 innings of work, and he allowed the opposition just 50 hits. Meanwhile, the Angels’ starting rotation included John Lackey, who finished 19-9 with a league-leading 3.01 ERA, and Kelvim Escobar, who went 18-7 with an earned run average of 3.40.
Although the Angels finished just 12th in the league with 123 home runs, they managed to place fourth in the rankings with 822 runs scored. Vladimir Guerrero once again served as the focal point of their offense, leading the club with 27 homers and placing among the league leaders with 125 runs batted in, 45 doubles, and a .324 batting average. He received a considerable amount of help from Garret Anderson and Chone Figgins. Despite missing almost two months of the season due to injury, Anderson knocked in 80 runs and batted .297. Figgins batted .330, scored 81 runs, and stole 41 bases.
The Angels made an early exit from the postseason, losing their first-round series to the Red Sox in three games, and being outscored in the process by a combined margin of 19-4. The Yankees put up more of a struggle in their Division Series matchup with the Indians, but they also were knocked out in the first round, losing to Cleveland in four games.
Boston subsequently emerged victorious in a hard-fought seven-game ALCS against Cleveland, coming back from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the pennant by taking the final three contests. The Red Sox overwhelmed the Indians in Games Five through Seven, outscoring them by a combined margin of 30-5.
The Red Sox continued their impressive run against the Colorado Rockies in the World Series, sweeping their National League counterparts in four straight games, to claim their second world championship in four years. Mike Lowell earned Series MVP honors by batting .400, driving in four runs, and scoring six others.
Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:
• The members of the BBWAA elected Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. to the Hall of Fame.
• April 2 - Bruce Froemming worked behind home plate for the opener between the Athletics and Mariners, tying Bill Klem's major league record of 37 seasons as an umpire.
• April 15 – To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first major league game, dozens of players wore his league-wide retired number 42.
• April 18 – Chicago’s Mark Buehrle pitched a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers.
• April 20 – Bruce Froemming umpired at first base in the Cleveland Indians-Tampa Bay Devil Rays game, passing Bill Klem to become, at 67 years and 204 days, the oldest umpire in major league history.
• June 12 – Detroit’s Justin Verlander hurled a 4–0 no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers at Comerica Park.
• June 20 – Sammy Sosa became the fifth major leaguer to hit 600 home runs when he connected against Jason Marquis in the Texas Rangers' 7–3 win over Sosa’s former team, the Chicago Cubs.
• June 28 - Frank Thomas became the 21st member of the 500-home run club when he delivered a first-inning homer off the Minnesota Twins' Carlos Silva at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
• July 10 – The American League defeated the National League 5–4 in the annual All-Star Game in San Francisco. Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki earned MVP honors by hitting the first-ever inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history.
• August 4 - Alex Rodriguez became the 22nd player to hit 500 career home runs during New York’s 16–8 victory over the Royals.
• August 10 – The Cleveland Indians paid tribute to Larry Doby – the first African-American to play in the American League – by having every Indians player wear Doby’s number 14.
• September 1 – In just his second major league start, Red Sox rookie Clay Buchholz pitched a 10–0 no-hitter over the Orioles at Fenway Park.
• September 3 – Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki tied Wade Boggs for the modern major league record by reaching the 200-hit mark for a seventh consecutive season.
• September 16 - Chicago’s Jim Thome became the 23rd member of the 500-home run club when he hit a walk-off homer off Dustin Moseley, to give the White Sox a 9-7 victory over the Angels.
• October 18 – Joe Torre resigned as manager of the New York Yankees after the team offered him just a one-year contract at a reduced base salary.
• October 28 - During Game Four of the World Series, Alex Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, announced that the player intended to exercise his option to void the remaining four years of his contract with the Yankees and become a free agent.
• October 30 – The Yankees replaced Joe Torre at the helm with Joe Girardi, signing the former catcher to a three-year deal as their new manager.
• November 6 - By a vote of 25–5, major league general managers endorsed the use of instant replay for the first time, with the condition that its scope be limited to determining where a potential home run ball left the park, or the possibility of fan interference on a home run.
• November 16 - Barry Bonds was indicted on charges of perjury and obstructing justice.
• November 16 - Alex Rodriguez re-signed with the New York Yankees.
• December 13 – Former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell released his long-awaited 409-page report, 20 months in the making at an estimated cost of $40 million, on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. The report named 89 current and former players. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Players Association Executive Director Donald Fehr replied with their own separate statements later in the day.
• Carlos Pena hit 46 home runs, knocked in 121 runs, and scored 99 times for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
- Josh Beckett won the ALCS MVP
- Jonathan Papelbon won the Babe Ruth Award
- C.C. Sabathia won the Cy Young
- Alex Rodriguez won the Hank Aaron Award
- Eric Wedge won the Mgr of the year
- Alex Rodriguez won the MVP
- J.J. Putz won the Rolaids Relief
- Dustin Pedroia won the Rookie of the Year
- C.C. Sabathia won the TSN Pitcher of the Year
More From Around the Web
On December 18, 1991, the Toronto Blue Jays sign free agent ...
On December 18, 1975, the Oakland A’s hire Chuck Tanner as ...
On December 18, 1974, Hall of Famer Harry Hooper dies at the ...
- 2007 ALCS, 2007 ALDS1, 2007 ALDS2, 2007 World Series, Alex Rodriguez, American League, Anaheim Angels, Andy Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, Boston Red Sox, Bruce Froemming, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Pena, Chien-Ming Wang, Chone Figgins, Clay Buchholz, Cleveland Indians, Curtis Granderson, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Fausto Carmona, Francisco Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, Garret Anderson, Grady Sizemore, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, J.J. Putz, Jim Thome, Joe Girardi, Joe Torre, John Lackey, Jonathan Papelbon, Jorge Posada, Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, Kelvim Escobar, Kevin Youkilis, Magglio Ordonez, Manny Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, Mike Lowell, New York Yankees, Placido Polanco, Robinson Cano, Sammy Sosa, Tim Wakefield, Travis Hafner, Victor Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero