Friday, September 30, 2011

Start of the playoffs.

So Josh Hamilton got the first base hit of the ALDS just a few minutes ago in the bottom of the first inning.

Unfortunately C.J. Wilson coughed up a two-run home run to Johnny Damon in the top of the second just now.

Hope the offense has their bats ready.

Go Rangers!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


The Rangers 3-1 victory last night over the Angels finalized their season record at 96-66. Starter Matt Harrision turned in an acceptable performance and Mike Naopli knocked in all three Rangers runs.

The win also moved the team past Ivan Rodriguez, shown here on his 2001 SP Piece of the Action card, and the rest of the 1999 squad. The 2011 club now stands alone as the having the most wins in franchise history. That leaves the 1999 team in second and the 1977 squad in third. Very nice achievement.

In addition to a franchise record, the win last night also gave the Rangers home field advantage for the American League Divisional Series. That will start tomorrow at 1600 in Arlington. The red hot Tampa Bay Devil Rays will be coming in fresh off their upset of the Yankees last night. Both teams are hot and both are hungry. This will be an interesting series. Hope to see a repeat of last year.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kinsler, Rangers win.

The Rangers ended up not facing Ervin Santana last night. Angels manager Mike Scioscia shut Santana and Jered Weaver down for the season. Scioscia says that he didn't want to risk injury to his top two pitchers in the final days of a season that won't see Anaheim in the playoffs.

The Rangers took advantage of Santana's absence as they pounded the Angels 10-3 to keep their one game lead over the Tigers intact. The win also moves the 2011 club into a tie with the 1999 team for the most wins in franchise history. Either a Rangers win or a Tigers loss in the last game of the season will ensure that Texas starts the ALDS at home on Friday.

Texas had plenty of home runs in last night's game. Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, and Nelson Cruz all went deep. Mike Napoli had two on the night. At one point Beltre, Napoli, and Cruz went back to back to back with long balls. Additionally Kinsler and Mitch Moreland also hit doubles. Good to see the offense getting tuned up going into the playoffs.

Also good to see Ian Kinsler, shown here on card number 185 of the 2008 Goudey set, steal third in the fourth inning. That steal punched his second ticket to the 30/30 club. It seemed fitting that he homered and stole a base in the same game. With his totals sitting at 32/30 Ian is looking at a banner year. The 32 home runs are the most he has ever his in a season and the 30 steals are one short of his all-time best. He is also having one of his best years on defense. Congratulations Mr. Kinsler on your second induction into the 30/30 club.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tying 1977.

Texas beat Anaheim last night to stay one game up on Detroit for the second best record in the American League. The win was the team's 94th of the season. That ties them with the 1977 club for the second most in franchise history. One more will tie them with the 1999 squad for the most in franchise history. I wouldn't mind seeing them stand alone with the most wins ever. That's unlikely though with the two remaining games of the season being in Anaheim against their number one and two pitchers. Probably need to win at least one of those to stay on top of Detroit.

Adrian Beltre's home run, Elvis Andrus' four hit night, and Mark Hamburger's first major league win were what stole the spotlight last night. I found those to all be great news but I was following two less glitzy stories.

The first is Ian Kinsler's attempt to get back into the 30/30 club. Unfortunately he was unable to steal a base last night and so his season totals are stalled at 29/31. Two more games to swipe a bag. Let him run I say.

The second saga that I am keeping tabs on is Michael Young's chase of Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is currently leading the American League in batting average with a .343 average - that with a three hit game last night. Michael, shown here on card number 124 of the 2004 Bowman set, had one hit last night and his average currently stands at .338 - tied for second with Adrian Gonzalez. A couple of good games and Mike could catch Cabrera and win his second batting title. It would be nice to see him do so but it's a long shot with the way Cabrera hit Cleveland pitching last night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

One up on Detroit and one base to go.

Well, the Rangers sent a patchwork lineup against the Mariners on Saturday as most of the regulars got the day off. Manager Ron Washington even pulled starter Alexi Ogando after just two innings.

In spite of facing Felix Hernandez, the Texas subs came up with a big win as they downed Seattle 7-3. Meanwhile Detroit lost to Baltimore. That put the Rangers by themselves as the second best team in the American League. If they can hang on to their lead over Detroit that will give them home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Yesterday several of the regulars were back for the final home game of the regular season and the fireworks really went off. Derek Holland allowed a Seattle home run as did Darren O'Day out of the bullpen. Yorvit Torrealba single-handedly answered for Texas as he knocked a pair of long balls, one of which was a grand slam. Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler both homered as well to help bring the final score to 12-5 Rangers.

Ian Kinsler, shown here on card number 218 of the 2008 Upper Deck set, also stole two bases in yesterday's game. That brings his season total to 29. Couple that with his 31 home runs and he is on the verge of his second 30/30 season. 2009 was his first. If he can steal just one more base against the Angels in the last three games of the season he will be there. You can bet that Ron Washington and Gary Pettis will be looking for a chance for Kins to run.

Along with Ian Kinsler's 30/30 chase the Rangers are also looking to stay ahead of Detroit in the win column. Since Texas is headed to Anaheim and Detroit is playing Cleveland at home that could be kind of tough.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Two reasons to celebrate!

Double celebration today. When I went to sleep last night the Rangers had already closed out their win against the Mariners in Arlington. Anahiem and Oakland were still playing out west though. The Rangers victory dropped their magic number to one. A divisional crown was within reach if the A's beat the Angels. Let's go A's!

Got up this morning and headed downstairs. Checked the mail on the way to the computer. Card box! From Brian at Play at the Plate. This box was the result of a long worked on trade between us and was packed with wantlist fulfilling goodies. Included was an entire base team set of the 2011 Topps Lineage Rangers. Card number 62, shown here, featuring Adrian Beltre was included in the lot. Since Adrian started the Rangers scoring last night I thought it was very appropriate that his card was included in the package. In addition to this card there were at least a hundred and thirty five other cards that filled holes in my collection. That knocked a ton of cards off my lists and completed four team sets. If that weren't enough, Brian also included a couple of game-used and a couple of autographed cards that fit extremely nicely into my collection. Very impressive. Thanks a bunch Brian! Please let me know if you are ever interested in another trade.

After exclaiming loudly over the box from Brian I switched on the computer and checked the scores from last night. A's win! Rangers clinch the A.L. West crown! Awesome news! Now the fight for home field advantage in the first round. Texas is currently tied with Detroit for the second best record in the American League. Detroit won the season series though so the Rangers need to be at least one game better to get the home field for the first round of the playoffs. Great to be in the position of thinking about things like that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nolan knew.

Some of you might remember a post from March of this year where I talked about Nolan Ryan's prediction of the Rangers 2011 season. Ryan, shown here on card number BBC45 of the 1992 Baseball Cards Magazine set, had said that he thought that the Rangers would win 90 to 95 games and would win the division. He wasn't discounting the A's or Angels but thought that Texas would pull it out.

At the time I asked if anyone had any comments on the prediction. Mr. Napkin Doon was full of hope and looking forward to full years from Kinsler and Cruz. At least he got a full year from Ian.

LoCoDe commented that Nolan pretty much had to predict positive things in their opinion. They also thought that the Rangers would drop off a bit to maybe 86 wins.

Well, the night before last the Rangers won their 90th game of the season. With six left to play their record stands at 90-66. I would be pleased but very surprised if the team wins all six of the remaining games but I also doubt they will lose all six. Even a 3-3 record will put them squarely in Ryan's prediction window. With the magic number down to two and a five game lead it is also looking more and more like the division crown belongs to Texas again.

Apparently Nolan knew his stuff!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A milestone and some convoluted reasoning.

Ok, so today's card, 2007 Sweet Spot Classic #CM-GP, has a very weak connection to the events of the past couple of days. There is a connection though so hang in there.

Texas lost today to the A's in Oakland. Colby Lewis allowed three earned runs as the A's topped Texas 4-3. Mike Adams allowed the fourth run to take the loss. That stalls the Rangers magic number at three.

At least the Rangers took two of three from the A's on this road trip. That was in part due to C.J. Wilson's performance in last night's game. Wilson didn't get the win but he did keep the team in the game to set up the late inning scoring that comprised the 3-2 win.

During his six innings Wilson struck out eight A's. That brings his season strikeout total to 206. That makes him the first lefthander in Rangers history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. It also makes him the first Rangers pitcher to reach 200 in a season since Nolan Ryan did it in 1991.

Gaylord Perry never struck out 200 batters in a season when he was with Texas. He is in the Hall of Fame though. So is Nolan Ryan. Since I have no game-used or signed cards of Nolan or C.J. that I haven't already posted, that's as close as I could come. Still, puts C.J. Wilson in some pretty impressive company.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

200, 104, 4.

The Rangers saw several important numbers come up in their 7-2 win over the Oakland A's last night. Michael Young, shown here on card number 308 of the 2005 Donruss Champions set, said that the most important number was 4. That's the magic number after the win. With a five game lead and eight left to play, things are looking good. Not that the Angels couldn't still rain on the parade but it's looking good so far.

In addition to the magic number getting down to four, starting pitcher Derek Holland saw his season win total rise to 15 as he threw seven innings of two-hit ball. One hit was a solo home run. A second solo shot off the bullpen gave the A's their total runs for the night.

The other important numbers on the night belonged to Michael Young. He went 3-for-5 at the plate to raise his season hit total to 201. That's his sixth 200 hit season and the first since 2007. He also managed to raise his season batting average to .333. Additionally Michael bumped in two RBI to push his season total to 104. That beats his previous career high of 103 in 2006.

Good to see the winning continuing and Young clicking on all gears. I gave him some grief at the start of the season over his behaviour but he seems to have put that behind him. Nice to see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

1975 Topps - Leo Cardenas.

No game for Texas last night. One final day off before the final nine games of the season. Thought this would be a good time to take another look back at 1975.

Leo Cardenas appears today on card number 518 of the 1975 Topps set. Looks like Leo is taking a break from batting practice in this photo.

1975 was Cardenas' second season with the Rangers. Even though Topps lists Leo as a shortstop he spent the season as a utility back-up infielder. In 55 games he appeared at third base, shortstop, and second base. In spite of all that moving around Mr. Automatic made just five errors to keep in step with his reputation as a high quality defender.

Cardenas got 119 trips to the plate in 1975. In those plate appearances he struggled, posting a batting average of just .235. His 14 walks helped raise his on-base percentage to .328. Leo hit just two doubles and one home run all year.

Clearly at age 36 Leo Cardenas' was starting to slip. His numbers at the plate had never been intimidating but they had dropped in the past few years. His glove work continued to be good and his enthusiasm played a large part in motivating the team. The problem was that Texas had several options in the infield. To keep even his utility role in 1976 Cardenas would need to improve bit on his offense. Apparently the Topps photographer caught him just where he needed to be - at the batting cage.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Catching up.

Ok, so I was out of town this past weekend and didn't get any posts scheduled to go up while I was gone. Time to do some catching up.

On Friday the Rangers kicked off a three game set in Seattle. The first game didn't go well as Texas lost 4-0. Former Ranger prospect Blake Beavan held the Texas offense scoreless through eight innings. C.J. Wilson had an uncharacteristically rough night as he gave up four runs in his seventh loss of the season. It was an indicator of how the night went that only one of the runs was earned. Fortunately for the Rangers their former teammate Tommy Hunter tossed a loss at the Angels. That meant the Rangers divisional lead did not shrink below 3.5 games.

Saturday was Colby Lewis' turn to start. He stumbled badly as he gave up six runs in 5.2 innings. The offense and bullpen rode to the rescue though as the Rangers pulled out a 7-6 win over Seattle. Anaheim lost that night so Texas pushed their divisional lead to 4.5 games.

Last night was all Matt Harrison. For the third time in four career matchups he out dueled Felix Hernandez to get the win. Harrison lasted 6.2 innings and allowed no Mariner runs to pick up his 13th win on the season. In spite of Ian Kinsler's overturned home run Texas was able to plate three runs against the M's. That's all they needed to come out on top 3-0. Anaheim also won so the divisional lead stays at 4.5.

The Rangers are off tonight - their last off day of the regular season. Tomorrow they start a visit the A's in Oakland. Oakland is where the team clinched last year. With the magic number at six a repeat of that is unlikely but it would be nice to see happen again.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hamilton hammers Tribe, Holland gets stingy.

Let me start off by saying that I don't have any more signed or game-used cards of Josh Hamilton. Thus, in spite of launching a grand slam last night, Josh does not appear on this Thursday.

Standing in for Josh is Derek Holland on a signed 2009 Topps card that I got in trade a while back. Derek had one of his good nights last night. In seven innings Dutch struck out six while walking three and allowing six hits. The Indians scored just one run off of him. Darren O'Day and Merkin Valdez both worked scoreless innings to nail down Holland's 14th win of the season.

Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler joined Josh Hamilton in the home run club while Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, and David Murphy put doubles up on the board. Final score: Texas - 9, Cleveland - 1.

Another nice win. Very good to see Derek Holland have a good outing. As inconsistent as Dutch can be, he seems to be gradually putting it all together. Could be a very nice piece of the rotation in the very near future. Great to see some homegrown pitching make good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Murph is the man!

So Matt Harrison got his 12th win last night. Since Matt struggled a bit he was probably glad that the offense showed up in the 10-4 win over Cleveland.

The offensive onslaught was led in part by David Murphy. Murph, shown here on card number 486 of the 2008 Upper Deck First Edition set, went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate. Two of his hit were long balls and a third was a double. David was rocking the house as he also scored four times and picked up a couple of RBI. Great to have a "reserve" outfielder who is capable of such a performance and who appreciates his role on the team. The Rangers are undoubtedly better with David Murphy on the team.

While nobody else had as big a night as Murph there were a few other offensive blows. Elvis Andrus knocked a double while Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre also homered.

All in all a great night for the Texas offense. They maintained their three game lead and picked up another win.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wilson whacks the A's.

Have house guests in right now. Ironically it is my brother and his family. I say that because my brother is a big A's fan. Big. You cut the guy and he would probably bleed green and gold.

Last night C.J. Wilson, shown here on card number 161 of the 2006 Topps Opening Day set, shut down the A's. In eight innings Wilson gave up just five hits and one walk while striking out eleven A's. Oakland was unable to score any runs against C.J. but they did get a lone run off Koji Uehara in the ninth to spoil the shutout.

Meanwhile the Texas offense jumped on Oakland pitching for eight runs. Adrian Beltre in particular led the charge with to home runs as he went 4-for-5. He also picked up three RBI. Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler both had 3-for-5 nights join in the barrage.

What made the night really ironic was that the victory officially eliminated the A's from contention for the 2011 season. Sorry bro.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More mixed results.

Sorry about the lack of a post yesterday. Got called back into work and then had company so the time just evaporated. Between yesterday's and today's games the Rangers kept the back and forth going. Would be real nice to see a solid win streak about now.

Yesterday Colby Lewis faced off with former Ranger Brandon McCarthy, shown here on card number 212 of the 2008 Upper Deck set. Lewis went 7.1 innings while giving up three earned runs. McCarthy went six while giving up two earned and two unearned runs. Texas added nine more after the game went to the bullpens while Oakland was only able to muster a single run against Texas relievers. Final: Rangers - 13, A's - 4.

I must admit that I had misgivings about today's game, what with Alexi Ogando starting. Alexi had a great first half but seems to have hit a wall as of late. Today was no different. The A's scored five runs in five innings off Ogando in route to a 8-7 win. About the only positive was that Texas never led and was actually down 8-3 before fighting back to within a run. They're going to need that never say die attitude to stay ahead of the Angels on the last sprint to the finish line. Could be a dangerously close sprint.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travel day auto.

Well, today's a travel day and there's not much else going on in Ranger-land.

Since I don't really feel motivated enough to do justice to one of T.R. Sullivan's lists, I'll just post this 1987 Donruss card of Charlie Hough. I sent this card to Mr. Hough back in the early 1990's I believe. It was when he was still a big name in Texas.

Charlie was nice enough to sign and return the card for a young Rangers fan. Hough always did seem to be a class act and was great at signing. That's probably why he was one of my early Ranger favorites.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Brilliant and not quite enough.

So C.J. Wilson started last night against the Devil Rays in Tampa Bay. Typical of C.J. as of late, he was good. Real good. In fact, this may have been one of the better games of his career. For the first time in his pro career he tossed a complete game shutout. I was a little surprised to hear that. Apparently he had never even thrown one in the minors. Ian Kinsler and David Murphy backed him up with home runs while the rest of the Ranger bats looked good. Final: Rangers 8, Devil Rays 0.

I seem to be running low on C.J. Wilson cards. Guess that's what happens when the guy throws a gem every time he pitches. In light of that I will give today's card to Ian Kinsler. Ian appears on card number AS-25 of the 2007 SP Authentic Speed set. Got to give Kinsler the nod due to his offensive performances in the past two games. In addition to his home run last night he also homered twice this afternoon. That was enough to get the Rangers back into the game in spite of Derek Holland's struggles. Not enough to win it though as Mark Lowe surrendered a walk-off home run in the tenth inning. Final: Devil Rays 5, Rangers 4.

Once again Texas has been up and down over the past couple of days. Starting to feel like a yo-yo here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1975 Topps - Jeff Burroughs.

Jeff Burroughs was not an All-Star in 1975. The notation on card number 470 of the 1975 Topps set refers to his 1974 appearance in the midsummer classic. Burroughs had a lot to live up to in 1975 after his monster season in 1974.

Unfortunately for Texas, their starting right-fielder was not able to meet expectations. Jeff's fielding percentage dropped from .972 in 1974 to .966 in 1975. That compared to a one point drop in the league average between the two seasons.

At the plate Jeff's batting average dropped 75 points to .226 while his strikeout total climbed to 155 - a league worst. Burroughs' on-base percentage sank from .395 to .315. Most of the rest of his offensive totals dropped as well: hits by 35, doubles by 13, triples by 2, RBI by 24, runs by 3, walks by 12 and slugging percentage by 95 points. About the only improvement was in the long ball department with four more than the previous season for a total of 29.

Even though Jeff had experienced a significant drop in his numbers he wasn't yet in danger of losing his starting job. Tom Grieve was lurking though so continued decline was not a good idea. What Burroughs needed to do for 1976 was to try and get closer to his 1974 numbers. A total return might not be expected but improvement was a definite possibility.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Up and down.

Kind of a mixed bag the past two days for the Rangers.

Yesterday Texas finished up their season series with the Red Sox in Boston. Matt Harrison started for the Rangers and went seven strong innings. He struck out five and walked two while allowing just two runs. Mike Gonzalez allowed two more runs in the eighth inning while Koji Uehara worked a perfect ninth.

The Texas offense managed just two runs through the first five innings against Boston starter John Lackey. The sixth inning was the breakout inning though as the Rangers plated seven. Josh Hamilton, shown here on card number 500 of the 2009 Upper Deck set, was a key part of the onslaught as he hammered a three run triple. Two more runs in the ninth for the Rangers brought the score to final 11-4.

That win gave Texas the three game series in Boston 2-1 and the season series 6-4. Nice to see Josh make solid contact in a day game. Matt Harrison deserved his eleventh win with his performance.

Today was the downer as Texas fell to the Devil Rays 5-1. Tampa Bay starter James Shields lived up to his reputation with a complete game where he kept the offense handcuffed. Scott Feldman started for Texas in place of Alexi Ogando. After Ogando got shelled his last time out, Feldman was tabbed to give him a rest. Problem was, Scott Feldman couldn't seem to find the plate today. He walked four batters in five innings as he gave up four runs. That's all the Devil Rays would need but they would tack on a fifth run in the seventh against Merkin Valdez.

Bummer to see the bats go flat today. Even more disheartening to see Scooter struggle like he did. After his last spot start it seemed that maybe Scott had moved past last year's woes and was back in his 2009 form. Apparently not. Hopefully he can put it back together should the Rangers need another spot start out of him.

Just gotta hope the Mariners can beat the Angels tonight.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Holland holds the Sox.

Listening to Derek Holland, shown here on card number 502 of the 2010 Upper Deck set, pitch can be very frustrating or very enjoyable. If he's off he's going to get shelled. If he's on it's going to be a fun night for Rangers fans and a difficult night at the office for the opposing offense.

Last night Dutch was on and it was a long night for the Red Sox offense in Boston. Over seven innings Derek allowed just two Boston hits and didn't walk anyone while striking out six. One of the hits he allowed was to Jacoby Ellsbury. Shortly after the hit Holland picked Ellsbury off first to negate his hit.

In the eighth inning the bullpen took over. Perfect innings by recent call-up Merkin Valdez and recent acquisition Michael Gonzalez left the final score at 10-0 Rangers.

Several Rangers had a decent night at the plate but David Murphy was perhaps the hottest. Murph went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI. The RBI came on a home run. Kinsler also went deep and, amazingly, so did Elvis Andrus. The much-heralded Leonys Martin made his Major League debut and managed a single off Tim Wakefield in his only at-bat.

Nice to see Murphy and Kinsler getting hot coming down the stretch. Especially nice to see Holland turn in a spectacular performance to get his 13th win and give the bullpen a break. This game gives Texas 17 shutouts this year. That ties them with the 1977 squad for the team record. The win also bumped the Rangers divisional lead up to 4.5 games as the Twins thumped the Angels.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Starting September off right.

The Rangers managed to take the final game of the homestand last night as they topped the Devil Rays 7-2. That keeps them ahead of the Angels by 3.5 games as the Halos also won.

C.J. Wilson, shown here on card number TEX13 of the 2008 Topps Texas Rangers set, got the win with his dominant performance. For five innings Wilson was perfect. Literally. I was wondering if a no-hitter was in the making.

Of the first 15 batters Wilson faced he struck out seven, got six on fly balls and two on grounders. Going into the sixth inning C.J. was cruising. Then Casey Kotchman smacked a chopper and Wilson tried to grab it with his left hand. That stung a finger on his pitching hand and cost him his control. He struggled through the rest of the inning and was pulled in the seventh after facing two batters. C.J. later made a point of saying that his finger is fine and he will make his next start. Ron Washington confirmed that report.

No worries for Wilson though as the bullpen came in and kept the Tampa Bay bats quiet. The two runs credited to Wilson were the only two they were able to score.

On the other side of the ball Ian Kinsler knocked two long balls while Michael Young smacked one. Kinsler seems to have recovered his home run swing recently. As is normal when he does that he is hammering home runs in bunches. Hopefully he won't fall so much in love with his power swing that it hurts his ability to get on base. On the other hand, the home runs sure are nice.

All in all it was good to see the win and even better to see Texas take the series 2-1. That puts them past one of their difficult series left in the season. On to Boston!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best Seasons: Rodriguez - 1999.

Number seven on T.R.'s list of best seasons is Ivan Rodriguez's 1999 performance. Pudge is shown here on card number 174 of the 2001 Leaf Limited Lumberjacks set. The card features a piece of Ivan's bat and is numbered 399/500.

By 1999 Ivan Rodriguez was established as the Rangers starting catcher and as a defensive genius behind the plate. At age 27 he had been in the majors for eight seasons and had been an All-Star seven times. He had also won eight Gold Gloves and five Silver Slugger awards. It seemed that it would be hard to top such performances. Top them he did though.

Pudge played in 144 games in 1999 and went to the plate 630 times. In those trips he posted a .332 batting average (1st on the club) and a .356 on-base percentage. He collected 199 hits to lead the team in that category. Of those hits, 35 were home runs, and 29 were doubles. Ivan scored 116 runs (team best) while picking up 113 RBI of his own. He also stole 25 bases while getting caught 12 times.

In the field Rodriguez continued his remarkable defense. He committed just seven errors all season for a .993 fielding percentage, two points above the league average. He also allowed just one passed ball all season. Stealing on Pudge was not a safe undertaking. He threw out 41 would-be base thieves while only 34 runners survived the attempt. That gave him a league best 55% caught stealing rate.

Rodriguez's defense had always been good. In 1999 he finally put together an outstanding offensive year as well. People noticed. Once again he won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and was named to the All-Star game. He was also named the MVP of the American League.