Baseball's wild and crazy first half
It's been a crazy baseball season. The 1999 American and National League MVPs announced their retirements. Magic Johnson went from the basketball court to taking over the Dodgers from Frank McCourt. Five no-hitters have been thrown -- two of them perfect games. A player has hit for the cycle twice (the same player). Ozzie Guillen said something stupid. Jamie Moyer proved that his change-up ages like a fine wine. Josh Hamilton left no doubt that he can hit lots and lots of home runs--in one night.
And we haven't even reached the All-Star break.
Check out the top moments of the 2012 season -- so far.
CHIPPER JONES ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
The longtime Braves third baseman announced that the 2012 season would be his last. Jones came into the year a seven-time All Star, and picked up his eighth selection on July 3, filling in for the injured Matt Kemp. The 1999 National League MVP, Jones finished top 10 in the voting five other times. He began 2012 with a .304 career average and 454 home runs.
DODGERS SOLD TO GROUP FRONTED BY MAGIC JOHNSON
The Johnson-fronted group reportedly paid $2 billion to rescue the team from previous owner Frank McCourt, under whose watch the team entered bankruptcy. That perilous financial position seemed to be a thing of the past once Johnson took over.
“We're gonna pour money into the team,” Johnson said. “We're gonna pour money into the fan experience and we're here to win.”
OZZIE GUILLEN SUSPENDED FOR PRO-CASTRO RANT
It wouldn't be baseball season if Ozzie Guillen wasn't in hot water.
During an interview with Time, Guillen said, “I love Fidel Castro...I respect Fidel Castro.” During an obscenity-laced answer (what other type is there with Ozzie?) Guillen said he respected Castro because “a lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years” but the Cuban leader is still alive.
Those remarks didn't fly with the large Cuban community in Miami, Guillen's new managerial home. After attempts to walk-back the comments, Guillen was suspended for five games.
JAMIE MOYER BECOMES THE OLDEST PITCHER TO RECORD A WIN
In his 25th major league season, Moyer recorded a win for his eighth team, the Colorado Rockies. The 49-year-old lefty allowed two unearned runs over seven innings against the Padres to become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to win a game. On May 16, he became the oldest player to record an RBI during a game against Arizona. Moyer's two-out single in the fourth inning scored two.
PHIL HUMBER THROWS A PERFECT GAME
Humber kicked off the Year of the Pitcher sequel in fine fashion, pitching the third perfect game in White Sox history during a 4-0 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field. It was the 20th regular-season perfect game and also served as Humber's first complete game.
Humber needed only 97 pitches to complete the feat and struck out nine.
IVAN RODRIGUEZ ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Unable to find a job behind the plate this season, Rodriguez announced his retirement at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The 14-time All-Star played 13 of his 21 seasons with the Rangers. Rodriguez won 13 Gold Gloves during his career and was the 1999 AL MVP. He hit .296 with 311 career home runs and threw out 46 percent of the runners who dared to try to steal on him.
During a pregame ceremony at the Ballpark, Rodriguez crouched behind home plate and fired a strike to second base, a fitting twist on the tradition of throwing out the first pitch.
JERED WEAVER THROWS A NO-HITTER
Weaver tossed the Angels' second no-hitter in less than a year, striking out nine and walking one during a 9-0 win over Minnesota. Weaver needed 121 pitches to make history, the final out coming on Alexi Casilla's fly out to Torii Hunter.
JOSH HAMILTON HITS FOUR HOME RUNS IN A GAME
Hamilton became the 16th player in baseball to hit four home runs in a game during the Rangers' 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Each of his home runs was a two-run shot. Hamilton homered off Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings, added another off Zach Phillips in the seventh and finished up his night with a shot off Darren O'Day in the eighth. Hamilton's power display was the first four-homer game since Carlos Delgado did it in 2003 for Toronto.
KERRY WOOD RETIRES
It was a striking finish for Kerry Wood.
The prolific strikeout artist retired after a Cubs game on May 18, but not before showing what made him so special to watch. Wood came in with a runner on first and one out in the eighth inning, striking out White Sox hitter Dayan Viciedo swinging. He started Viciedo out with a 96 mph fastball before throwing two curveballs to finish him off. The oft-injured pitcher retires with a 86-75 record and 3.67 ERA. He began his career as a starter, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1998, but was derailed by persistent injuries and was converted to a full-time reliever in 2007. He was traded to the Yankees in 2010 and went 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 24 games down the stretch.
JOHAN SANTANA THROWS FIRST METS NO-HITTER
It took 8,019 games, but the Mets finally got their first no-hitter when Johan Santana dominated the St. Louis Cardinals in an 8-0 win. Santana walked five and struck out eight, needing 134 pitches. But the historic night was not without some controversy. Former Met Carlos Beltran appeared to line a base hit down the leftfield line to lead off the sixth inning, replays showing that the ball hit the white line. But umpire Adrian Johnson ruled it a foul ball. Beltran ended up grounding out.
MAGGLIO ORDONEZ RETIRES
After 15 solid seasons, Ordoñez wasn't able to field a major league contract offer and so he decided to hang up his spikes. He was honored during a pregame ceremony by the Tigers — his final team and the one in which he experienced his crowning moment: Ordoñez's walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2006 American League Championship Series, sending the Tigers to the World Series. Ordoñez retired with a .309 average and 294 home runs while playing for the White Sox and Tigers. A six-time All-Star, he finished in the top 20 of the MVP voting four times.
MARINERS THROW A COMBINED NO-HITTER
It looked like misfortune would end the Mariners’ attempt at a no-hitter when starter Kevin Millwood was removed after six hitless innings with a leg injury. But five Seattle relievers pitched in to keep the bid and a 1-0 win over the Dodgers intact, completing the 10th combined no-hitter in major-league history. After Millwood exited, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen combined for three hitless innings, walking two and striking out three.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ TIES LOU GEHRIG FOR MOST GRAND SLAMS
Even during the decline of his career, A-Rod can produce some pretty spectacular moments. His latest entry on baseball's all-time list came during a 6-4 win over the Braves at Turner Field. With the Yankees trailing 4-0 with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Rodriguez hit his 23rd career grand slam, tying him with Lou Gehrig for the most in MLB history.
MATT CAIN THROWS A PERFECT GAME
Cain threw the Giants' first ever perfect game and notched the fifth no-hitter of 2012 during a 10-0 win over the Astros at AT&T Park. Cain, who threw 125 pitches, struck out a career-high 14 hitters, tying Sandy Koufax for the most ever during a perfect game.
R.A. DICKEY'S AMAZING FEAT
June 13 and June 18
On the same night that Matt Cain threw a perfect game, R.A. Dickey fell just short of history himself, allowing a single hit during a complete game win over the Rays. He struck out 12. But it was still the start of something special for the Mets knuckleballer, who also allowed only one hit in a complete game during his next start against Baltimore. Dickey struck out 13 that night and became the first pitcher in modern MLB history to throw back-to-back complete games while striking out 10 or more batters and allowing one hit or less in each game.
AARON HILL HITS TWO CYCLES IN THE SAME MONTH
June 18 and June 29
Hill continued his resurgent season with the Arizona Diamondbacks by becoming the first player since Babe Herman in 1931 to hit for the cycle twice during the same season. Hill hit for the cycle on June 18 against the Mariners and again on June 29 against Milwaukee.