There's a chance that by the end of today's games Alex Rodriguez will have 500 home runs, Tom Glavine will have 300 wins and Barry Bonds will be tied with, or ahead of, Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list. That would be quite a memorable day in the history of baseball and perhaps the greatest concentration of individual milestones in the history of sports. No sport venerates numbers the way that baseball does so three iconic numbers coming up on the same day is something to savor.
Bonds is the biggie because it's the record rather than just a notch in the belt of a long career, but Bruce Bochy isn't confirming or denying his presence in the lineup tonight. I'd guess that he'll play against Brad Penny tonight after an off-day Monday but might rest on Wednesday against the lefty Mark Hendrickson. In front of a Dodger crowd predisposed toward booing Giants, though, they might just let Bonds languish on the bench.
It would be quite fitting for A-Rod to hit #500 on the same day that Bonds ties or breaks the record. He'll be the youngest man to joing the 500 club and he's already being touted as the guy who can cleanse the all-time record after Bonds takes it away from Henry Aaron. A-Rod isn't exactly a beloved character but the reasons people hate him - his personality, his contract - are much better for the game than the reasons they hate Bonds and no one is arguing that he's built his career on anything but talent and hard work.
Glavine's 300th win will be special because it will likely be the last time we see someone hit that number for a long while. Randy Johnson is close at 284 but he may not have 16 starts, let alone wins, left in his body. Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez are the only 200-game winners under the age of 40 but Pedro is coming back from a serious injury and Mussina may struggle to get to 250 wins (he has 244 right now).
There must be something about 2007 that draws these things together. It was just over a month ago, after all, that Craig Biggio and Frank Thomas combined to give baseball it's first-ever 3,000 hit/500 home run double-dip. It would seem impossible to top June 28th's confluence of events but if all three players reached the next step in their careers tonight it surely would trump the achievements of Biggio and the Big Hurt. But if just A-Rod and Glavine came through the two dates would have nearly the same significance. That would put June 28 and July 31, 2007 on equal footing with these other memorable dates in baseball history.
- August 4, 1984 - Tom Seaver wins his 300th game for the White Sox against the Yankees and Rod Carew singles off Frank Viola for his 3,000th hit. The only time those two milestones have been reached on the same day.
- May 1, 1991 - Rickey Henderson becomes the "greatest of all time" when he breaks Lou Brock's career steals record but loses a little of his self-proclaimed luster when Nolan Ryan throws career no-hitter number seven later the same day.
- June 29, 1990 - Dave Stewart and Fernando Valenzuela both throw no-hitters for the A's and Dodgers, respectively.
- April 22, 1898 - Ted Breitenstein no-hits the Pirates as a member of the Reds and Jay Hughes of the Orioles does the same to the ol' Boston Beaneaters.