A-Rod, Manny slugging their way toward history

Updated: April 14, 2008

AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Alex Rodriguez is greeted by Hideki Matsui after hitting his 521st homer Monday.

MATCHING IMMORTALS

Some home run history was made on Monday, as both Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez matched baseball immortals in career home runs.

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Rodriguez did so first, hitting his 521st to tie Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 15th all time. However, on this night, it was teammate Robinson Cano who hit the more important one, the one that put the Yankees ahead for good after their bullpen blew a late lead against the Rays. Rodriguez had four hits on a night when the Yankees' offense mustered its best output of the season. He may never match Williams' mark as baseball's last .400 hitter or the majesty of some of McCovey's monstrous shots, but he's in the process of carving out as big, if not a bigger, legacy than either.

Ramirez has his own special legacy. He went a little better in Boston's marathon win over the Indians (one that wiped out the early edition of Monday's "Baseball Tonight"), tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 24th all-time with his 493rd career home run. This one gave the Red Sox an unlikely win in a game they trailed entering the ninth inning. And even though it's early, the victory allowed the Red Sox to keep pace with the Yankees (and Orioles) in the AL East race.

Tied For 15th in HR All Time
  HR AB per HR Most HR, season Seasons
Alex Rodriguez 521 14.2 57 (2002) 15
Ted Williams 521 14.8 43 (1949) 19
Willie McCovey 521 15.7 45 (1969) 22

Tied For 24th in HR All-Time
  HR AB per HR Most HR, season Seasons
Manny Ramirez 493 14.4 45 (1998, 2005) 16
Lou Gehrig 493 16.2 49 (1934) 17
Fred McGriff 493 17.8 37 (1993) 19

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: April 13 | April 10 | April 9 | April 8 | April 7 | April 6

42 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JACKIE ROBINSON

1 MVP award and Rookie of the Year award won
2 Number of World Series HRs
3 Number of ABs in his first game
4 Number of sports lettered in at UCLA
5 The youngest of 5 children
6 Number of World Series appearances
7 Number of seasons he scored 99 or more runs
  Inning that he stole home in Game 1 of 1955 WS
8 More runs than strikeouts in World Series career
9 Number of times he was hit by a pitch in rookie season
10 Number of seasons in MLB
11 Lifetime BA of .311
12 Number of HR in his rookie season
13 Traded by Brooklyn Dodgers to N.Y. Giants on Dec. 13, 1956. Robinson retired rather than play for the Giants
14 Most times he was hit by pitch in a season (1952)
15 Made his debut on April 15, 1947
16 Number of home runs in his MVP season
17 Dodgers play Montreal Royals on March 17, 1946, with Robinson in the lineup marking the first appearance of an integrated team in organized baseball this century
  Named first-ever Rookie of the Year on Sept. 17, 1947, 11 days before the last game of the regular season
18 Number of All-Star ABs
19 Career high for HRs set in 1951 and 1952
  Number of times he stole home in his MLB career
20 Family moved to Pasadena in 1920
21 Number of World Series walks
22 Number of World Series runs
23 Branch Rickey announces signing of Robinson on Oct. 23, 1945
  Selected for MLB HOF on January 23, 1962
  Inducted into MLB HOF on July 23, 1962
24 Number of more points he had than runner-up Larry Jansen in ROY voting
25 Number of years after his major league debut that he threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2 of the 1972 World Series
26 Years it had been since a NL player stole their way around the bases, which he did in 1954
27 Number of extra-base hits in his final MLB season
28 Age he was when he made his MLB debut
29 Stolen bases in rookie year
30 Played in first World Series game on Sept. 30, 1947
31 Number of doubles in his rookie season
32 Number of postseason hits
33 Price of postage stamp in 1999 when U.S. Postal Service issued a Jackie Robinson stamp as part of their "Celebrate the Century" program
34 Average number of strikeouts per 162-game season
35 Age when he stole his way around the bases in 1954
  Number of Negro League players in HOF
36 Number of strikeouts in his rookie season
37 Age during final season
38 Number of postseason games
39 Entered UCLA in 1939
40 Career-high for strikeouts set in 1952
41 Played pro football for Honolulu Bears in 1941
42 His number retired by MLB

NEWS AND NOTES

• The Angels expect to be without 2B Howie Kendrick for several games after Kendrick sustained a strained left hamstring in the seventh inning of Sunday's 10-5 victory at Seattle.

• Angels RHP John Lackey's rehab from a strained right triceps continues with a bullpen session scheduled on Wednesday in Anaheim.

• Boston DH David Ortiz snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a first-inning single.

• Detroit CF Curtis Granderson, who is on the DL, is expected to take batting practice Tuesday.

• Tigers RHP Fernando Rodney is scheduled to have Dr. James Andrews examine his injured shoulder Wednesday.

• New York RHP Joba Chamberlain went on the bereavement list to be with his hospitalized father in Nebraska.

• Rays LHP Scott Kazmir (left elbow) pitched two innings in an extended spring training game. He could rejoin the team early next month.

• The Yankees purchased the contract of C Chad Moeller from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With backup C Jose Molina slowed by a left hamstring injury, Moeller was in the starting lineup Monday.

• The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that John Bowker became the first Giant in franchise history -- not just the San Francisco era -- to homer in his first two games.


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BBTN ON THE AIR: TUESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: Peter Gammons
John Kruk, Buck Showalter
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk
Buck Showalter

BASEBALL TONIGHT MINUTE: JACKIE'S DAY

DESIGNATED FIELDER

The designated hitter was put into play in 1973. Ron Blomberg was the forefather for the likes of David Ortiz and, before him, Harold Baines and Edgar Martinez. The debate about which league is best -- the National, by letting the pitcher hit, or the American, which uses the DH -- will rage until there is some uniformity. I propose a new wrinkle. I'd like teams to be able to use a designated fielder.

Do you have a question or comment for Karl Ravech? Click here to send one and check back on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page to see if he responded to it.

Instead of having your eighth hitter in the NL be a near-automatic out or the ninth hitter in the American League be nothing more than a sacrificial lamb, let's acknowledge some guys don't hit as well as others but can be huge assets with their gloves. Coco Crisp may be the best center fielder, not just on his team but in the league. Let him play every day and let Jacoby Ellsbury or Manny Ramirez hit for him.

Others who may be great DFs include Corey Patterson, Jhonny Peralta, Shane Victorino, Willy Taveras and the Dodgers' slick-fielding shortstop, Chin-lung Hu. The concept is tremendous for players who are struggling at the plate and need a break.

MONDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES

GOOD
Nate McLouth hit a two-out, three-run home run off Dodgers closer Takashi Saito as the Pirates rallied to a 6-4 victory. McLouth also extended his season-opening hitting streak to 13 games.
BAD
Twins The Twins' bullpen was called on to preserve a 9-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but it didn't happen. Matt Guerrier and Pat Neshek surrendered seven runs over the final few innings as Detroit came up for an 11-9 victory.
UGLY
It was a third straight poor start for Jason Jennings, who allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings as the Rangers fell to the Angels 7-4. Jennings is now 0-3 with an 8.79 ERA.

JOHN KRUK: THREE THINGS TO KNOW

FORWARD THINKING: TUESDAY

A's at White Sox, 2:05 p.m. ET: Could these two teams be leading their divisions? Yes, indeed. The pitching matchup is a pair of lefties -- Dana Eveland (1-0, 0.68 ERA), who's been a surprise for Oakland, against John Danks (0-1, 8.00 ERA), who's coming off a rough outing against the Twins (seven runs in 2 1/3 innings).

Blue Jays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. ET: Shaun Marcum (1-0, 2.57 ERA) is the No. 4 starter in Toronto's rotation but he's pitched like a No. 1, turning in successive quality starts. He'll be pitching against Baltimore's Steve Trachsel (1-1, 3.00 ERA).

Reds at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. ET: So far, so good for Ryan Dempster (1-0, 0.69 ERA) in his return to being a starting pitcher. Opponents are hitting .095 against him in two starts. He'll pitch against the Reds' Josh Fogg (1-1, 7.00 ERA).

Complete list of Tuesday's pitching probables

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF TUESDAY'S GAMES

Will Harris examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Tuesday's schedule in the American League and National League.

Will also looks at current injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Tuesdays slate of games. Daily Notes

THIS DATE IN MLB HISTORY (APRIL 15)

1947: Facing Johnny Sain, Jackie Robinson goes hitless in three trips to the plate in his debut but handles 11 chances at first base, a new position for him, in a 5-3 Brooklyn win over the Braves.

1976: Remodeled Yankee Stadium makes its debut.

1993: The Tigers best Oakland, 3-2, giving manager Sparky Anderson his 2,000th career win.

1997: The 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier in baseball is celebrated before 54,047 at Shea Stadium during a game between the Mets and the Dodgers. President Bill Clinton and Jackie's widow, Rachel Robinson, both speak during the 35-minute presentation, but the surprise of the evening occurs when acting commissioner Bud Selig announces that the No. 42 will be retired in perpetuity for every team, but those currently wearing it could continue to do so for the rest of their careers.

1998: The Yankees defeat the Angels, 6-3, in an afternoon game played at Shea Stadium. The Mets defeat the Cubs, 2-1, in a night game, marking the first time in history that American and National League games are played in the same park on the same day. The Yankees are forced to come to Shea Stadium after a beam falls into the stands at Yankee Stadium on April 13.

2000: The Orioles defeat the Twins, 6-4, as Cal Ripken Jr. gets the 3,000th hit of his illustrious career. Ripken goes 3-for-5 in becoming the 24th player to reach the milestone, and the seventh to get 3,000 hits and 400 HRs.