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Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

The New York Mets came extremely close to ending Atlanta’s five-year reign as N.L. East champions in 2000, concluding the regular season with a record of 94-68 that left them just one game behind the Braves in the final division standings.  However, New York advanced to the postseason tournament as the senior circuit’s wild-card entry.

Although the Braves edged out the Mets for the division title, they began to show clear signs of vulnerability, winning eight fewer games than they won the year before and displaying a lack of depth in their starting rotation for the first time in years.  Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux both pitched well, posting 21 and 19 victories, respectively.  But Kevin Millwood, who won 18 games and compiled a 2.68 ERA one year earlier, finished just 10-13 with a 4.66 ERA.  An arm injury also sidelined John Smoltz for the entire year.  

Fortunately for the Braves, Andres Galarraga and Javy Lopez returned to the team’s starting lineup full-time.  Galarraga, who sat out the entire 1999 campaign recovering from cancer, hit 28 homers, drove in 100 runs, and batted .302.  Lopez, who missed extensive playing time the previous year with injuries, homered 24 times and knocked in 89 runs.  N.L. Rookie of the Year Rafael Furcal added speed to the top of the batting order, stealing 40 bases, while also batting .295 and scoring 87 runs.  Andruw and Chipper Jones both had big years as well.  Andruw hit 36 homers, drove in 104 runs, scored 122 others, and batted .303.  Chipper went deep 36 times, scored 118 runs, and led the club with 111 runs batted in and a .311 batting average.  

Improved pitching helped the Mets close the gap on Atlanta considerably.  New York’s starting rotation included five hurlers who posted double-digit win-totals, with Al Leiter and Mike Hampton serving as co-aces of the staff.  Leiter finished 16-8, with a 3.20 ERA and a team-leading 200 strikeouts.  Hampton went 15-10 with an ERA of 3.14.  Meanwhile, Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza led the Mets on offense.  Alfonzo hit 25 homers, drove in 94 runs, scored 109 others, and batted .324.  Piazza also batted .324, and he led the club with 38 home runs and 113 runs batted in.

Even though the Montreal Expos finished fourth in the N.L. East, 28 games behind the first-place Braves, they featured the division’s top offensive player in Vladimir Guerrero.  The right-fielder scored 101 runs and placed among the league leaders with 44 home runs, 123 runs batted in, and a .345 batting average.  

While the Braves spent the entire year battling the Mets for supremacy in the East, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants had much easier times in their respective divisions.  St. Louis ended Houston’s three-year reign as N.L. Central champs, finishing the campaign with a record of 95-67, 10 games ahead of the second-place Cincinnati Reds.  The Milwaukee Brewers finished a distant third in the division, 22 games back, while the Astros slipped to fourth, 23 games off the pace.  

Poor pitching prevented Houston from contending for the division title once again, with the Astros finishing last in the league with an inordinately high 5.42 team ERA.  Meanwhile, Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo led a Houston offensive attack that placed second in the senior circuit with 938 runs scored.  Bagwell batted .310, finished near the top of the league rankings with 47 home runs and 132 runs batted in, and led the N.L. with 152 runs scored.  Hidalgo hit 44 homers, knocked in 122 runs, scored 118 others, and batted .314.

Although the Cubs finished last in the division, 30 games behind first-place St. Louis, their lineup featured arguably the league’s top slugger in Sammy Sosa.  The right-fielder joined Mark McGwire as the only players in baseball history to reach the 50-homer plateau three straight years by leading the league with 50 home runs.  He also knocked in 138 runs, scored 106 others, and batted .320.

The Cardinals combined solid pitching with one of the league’s best offenses to capture their first division title in four years.  Darryl Kile anchored the St. Louis pitching staff, placing second in the league with 20 victories.  On offense, Mark McGwire hit 32 home runs and drove in 73 runs, in just 89 games and 236 official at-bats.  Shortstop Edgar Renteria scored 94 runs, batted .278, and stole 21 bases.  Centerfielder Jim Edmonds earned a top-five finish in the league MVP voting by hitting 42 home runs, knocking in 108 runs, scoring 129 others, and batting .295.

The top two vote-getters in the MVP balloting played for the San Francisco Giants, who finished first in the N.L. West with a record of 97-65.  The Los Angeles Dodgers placed second in the division, 11 games back, while the Arizona Diamondbacks finished third, 12 games off the pace.  

Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds served as San Francisco’s offensive catalysts the entire year, enabling the Giants to win their first Western Division crown in three years.  Kent earned N.L. MVP honors by hitting 33 home runs, knocking in 125 runs, scoring 114 others, and batting .334.  Bonds finished right behind his teammate in the voting, having hit 49 homers, driven in 106 runs, scored 129 others, and batted .306 over the course of the regular season.  

Yet, neither Kemp nor Bonds posted the most impressive offensive numbers of anyone in the division.  Todd Helton had a huge year for the Colorado Rockies, who finished fourth in the West, 15 games behind the first-place Giants.  The Colorado first baseman hit 42 home runs, scored 138 times, and led the league with 147 runs batted in, a .372 batting average, 216 hits, 59 doubles, a .463 on-base percentage, and a .698 slugging average.   

Also having big years were Gary Sheffield of the Dodgers and Luis Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks.  Sheffield hit 43 homers, drove in 109 runs, scored 105 others, and batted .325.  Gonzalez went deep 31 times, knocked in 114 runs, crossed the plate himself 106 times, and batted .311.  

Arizona also had the league’s best pitcher in Randy Johnson.  The Big Unit captured his second straight Cy Young Award by going 19-7, with a 2.64 ERA and a league-leading 347 strikeouts, eight complete games, and three shutouts.

Facing favored San Francisco in the opening round of the playoffs, the Mets sent the Giants home early by defeating them in four games.  After the Giants won Game One by a score of 5-1, the Mets turned the series around by taking the next two contests in extra innings.  Bobby Jones then pitched New York into the NLCS by hurling a one-hit masterpiece during a 4-0 Game Four victory.  

The St. Louis Cardinals provided an even bigger upset when they swept the Braves in the other Division Series matchup.  Shockingly, the Cardinals outscored Atlanta by a combined margin of 24-10 over the course of the three games, posting a .275 team batting average against Atlanta’s vaunted pitching staff, while limiting the Braves’ lineup to an average of just .189.

The Mets then handled the Cardinals rather easily in the NLCS, needing only five games to dispose of them.  Mike Hampton earned NLCS MVP honors by posting two of New York’s four victories, while allowing St. Louis only nine hits over 16 scoreless innings.

Although the Mets subsequently fell to the Yankees in New York’s first Subway Series since 1956, they handed their American League counterparts their first loss in World Series play in 14 tries when they defeated them in Game Three.  The Yankees captured their third straight world championship by defeating the Mets in five games, but the National Leaguers made the Fall Classic an extremely competitive one, remaining in each contest down to the final out.   

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• January 31 – Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Braves reliever John Rocker from baseball until May 1 for his uncomplimentary comments in a national magazine regarding homosexuals, immigrants, and New Yorkers.  

• March 29 - The Chicago Cubs opened the major league season in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, by defeating the New York Mets 5-3, in the first big league game ever played outside of North America.

• April 11 - The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6–5, in the first game played at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco.

• May 18 - Mark McGwire’s three home runs during a 7-2 St. Louis victory over the Philadelphia Phillies gave him 539 for his career, moving him past Mickey Mantle into eighth place on the all-time list.

• September 10 – Arizona’s Randy Johnson became the 12th pitcher to reach the 3,000-strikeout plateau when he struck out 14 batters in seven innings during a 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Florida Marlins.

• September 28 - In the final game ever played at Milwaukee's County Stadium, the Brewers dropped an 8-1 decision to the Cincinnati Reds.

• October 1 - The Chicago Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-9, in the last game played at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium.

• Todd Helton became the first National League player ever to collect 200 hits, 40 homers, 100 walks, 100 runs scored, 100 RBIs, and 100 extra-base hits in the same season.

• Florida second baseman Luis Castillo batted .334 and led the National League with 62 stolen bases.  

• Kevin Brown of the Dodgers led the National League with a 2.58 ERA.

• Chan Ho Park of the Dodgers compiled a 3.27 ERA and placed among the league leaders with 18 wins and 217 strikeouts.
 

Seasons of the National League

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Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ARI 2225 5527 792 1466 756 .247 282 44 179 97 44 2373 .349 .361 .732 114 58 61
ATL 2260 5489 810 1490 758 .184 274 26 179 148 56 2353 .325 .300 .686 127 45 87
CHN 2335 5577 764 1426 722 .201 272 23 183 93 37 2293 .343 .302 .700 114 45 89
CIN 2341 5635 825 1545 794 .188 302 36 200 100 38 2519 .334 .318 .688 137 58 56
COL 2328 5660 968 1664 905 .256 320 53 161 131 61 2573 .374 .375 .789 126 75 75
FLO 2347 5509 731 1441 691 .207 274 29 160 168 55 2253 .321 .303 .651 100 51 42
HOU 2308 5570 938 1547 900 .178 289 36 249 114 52 2655 .353 .269 .745 154 61 57
LAN 2227 5481 798 1408 756 .202 265 28 211 95 42 2362 .340 .318 .706 129 46 66
MIL 2300 5563 740 1366 708 .179 297 25 177 72 44 2244 .350 .272 .680 126 49 61
MON 2398 5535 738 1475 705 .190 310 35 178 58 48 2389 .377 .277 .727 111 34 78
NYN 2424 5486 807 1445 761 .213 282 20 198 66 46 2361 .385 .344 .787 122 51 70
PHI 2266 5511 708 1386 668 .189 304 40 144 102 30 2202 .312 .282 .619 115 37 70
PIT 2292 5643 793 1506 749 .204 320 31 168 86 40 2392 .298 .296 .636 133 37 59
SDN 2363 5560 752 1413 714 .202 279 37 157 131 53 2237 .326 .296 .668 123 43 39
SFN 2301 5519 925 1535 889 .253 304 44 226 79 39 2605 .378 .406 .814 131 66 73
SLN 2293 5478 887 1481 841 .249 259 25 235 87 51 2495 .412 .392 .878 117 53 79

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ARI 552 85 77 1444 1220 500 6158 1441 190 95.580 700 754 16 4 38 30 10
ATL 538 95 67 1441 1093 484 6165 1428 165 122.670 649 714 13 6 53 23 6
CHN 583 65 97 1457 1143 658 6451 1505 231 170.380 850 904 10 1 39 46 4
CIN 550 85 77 1455 1015 659 6362 1446 190 125.390 700 765 8 1 42 96 5
COL 641 82 80 1431 1001 588 6340 1568 221 237.320 840 897 7 1 33 40 5
FLO 590 79 82 1429 1051 650 6307 1477 169 86.430 729 797 5 3 48 49 10
HOU 572 72 90 1438 1064 598 6455 1596 234 137.280 865 944 8 1 30 55 3
LAN 533 86 76 1446 1154 600 6249 1379 176 132.970 659 729 9 3 36 60 6
MIL 596 73 89 1467 967 728 6497 1501 174 153.440 755 826 2 1 29 60 6
MON 614 67 95 1424 1011 579 6340 1575 181 226.710 814 902 4 2 39 54 7
NYN 573 94 68 1452 1164 574 6276 1398 164 140.550 671 738 8 2 49 34 7
PHI 576 65 97 1435 1123 640 6314 1458 201 157.040 766 830 8 3 34 54 3
PIT 628 69 93 1448 1070 711 6514 1554 163 177.460 796 888 5 2 27 67 6
SDN 605 76 86 1463 1071 649 6414 1443 191 169.900 733 815 5 0 46 66 7
SFN 546 97 65 1443 1076 623 6270 1452 151 84.680 676 747 9 4 47 43 4
SLN 548 95 67 1434 1100 606 6200 1403 196 124.580 701 771 10 4 37 49 9

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ARI 2598 7076 5387 1570 119 .970 17324 102 56 0 4
ATL 2597 7270 5364 1762 144 .980 17286 99 33 0 9
CHN 2721 7149 5430 1596 123 .979 17460 94 54 0 6
CIN 2798 7296 5477 1682 137 .975 17474 81 33 0 12
COL 2716 7181 5307 1765 109 .944 17160 102 34 0 15
FLO 2689 7226 5328 1753 145 .970 17157 104 55 0 12
HOU 2731 7138 5395 1585 158 .930 17252 111 32 0 6
LAN 2616 7192 5290 1745 157 .970 17341 106 52 1.00 15
MIL 2605 7415 5491 1786 138 .955 17597 86 58 1.00 12
MON 2861 7262 5352 1750 160 .944 17099 123 38 0 19
NYN 2929 7101 5353 1607 141 .973 17403 133 46 0 8
PHI 2579 7070 5425 1525 120 .976 17259 77 44 0 4
PIT 2702 7301 5286 1861 154 .977 17389 101 42 0 12
SDN 2760 7299 5434 1709 156 .973 17518 106 50 0 13
SFN 2833 7230 5440 1678 112 .968 17327 97 48 0 15
SLN 2767 7049 5362 1550 137 .981 17204 70 66 3.00 8

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
San Francisco Giants 97 65 3318800 1 1076
Los Angeles Dodgers 86 76 2880242 2 1154
Arizona Diamondbacks 85 77 2942251 3 1220
Colorado Rockies 82 80 3295129 4 1001
San Diego Padres 76 86 2352443 5 1071

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 95 67 3336493 1 1100
Cincinnati Reds 85 77 2577371 2 1015
Milwaukee Brewers 73 89 1573621 3 967
Houston Astros 72 90 3056139 4 1064
Pittsburg Pirates 69 93 1748908 5 1070
Chicago Cubs 65 97 2789511 6 1143

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Atlanta Braves 95 67 3234304 1 1093
New York Mets 94 68 2820530 2 1164
Florida Marlins 79 82 1218326 3 1051
Montreal Expos 67 95 926272 4 1011
Philadelphia Philies 65 97 1612769 5 1123

Awards

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Tagged:
Al Leiter, Andres Galarraga, Andruw Jones, Atlanta Braves, Barry Bonds, Bobby Jones, Bud Selig, Chan Ho Park, Chicago Cubs, Chipper Jones, Darryl Kile, Edgar Renteria, Edgardo Alfonzo, Gary Sheffield, Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Jim Edmonds, John Rocker, John Smoltz, Ken Griffey, Jr., Kevin Brown, Kevin Millwood, Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Castillo, Luis Gonzalez, Mark McGwire, Mike Hampton, Mike Piazza, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Rafael Furcal, Randy Johnson, Richard Hidalgo, Sammy Sosa, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Todd Helton, Tom Glavine, Vladimir Guerrero

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