With the 2023 MLB season officially over, it’s time to reflect on one wild year. This may be a year to remember, especially for Rangers fans, who can go out saying their team is finally champions. With the World Baseball Classic, we saw a little more baseball action than usual, which did not disappoint. We noticed some long-time game players fulfill their legacy, ending their careers on positive notes. Finally, as always, we saw greatness on the mound or at the plate. Let’s highlight some of the best moments of the 2023 season!
March 2023 – World Baseball Classic
The fifth iteration of the World Baseball Classic took place from March 9th to 21st, with too much anticipation. It was initially supposed to take place in 2021, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the games were canceled in May 2020. It was announced in September of 2022 that qualifications for the tournament would begin and that the tournament would expand from 16 to 20 teams. Out of 20 countries, eight advanced into the Knockout Stage. Cuba defeated Australia 4-3 and would face a heavily studded United States team that defeated Venezuela 9-7. Mexico advanced by defeating Puerto Rico 5-4. Meanwhile, Japan moved on by beating Italy 9-3.
During the semi-finals, the US dominated Cuba in a 14-2 matchup. After being down 5-4, Japan scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth in a walk-off win against Mexico. The Finals would come down to the US and Japan, a matchup that would be much speculated. Japan held a 3-1 lead for most of the game and eventually won 3-2. Shohei Ohtani would be named the 2023 World Baseball Classic’s Most Valuable Player. Eight months later, he would be awarded his second American League MVP Award after a phenomenal 2023 season.
April 22nd – Adolis García’s Monster Game
The Texas Rangers destroyed the Oakland Athletics 18-3 on this day. Almost half of the runs Texas scored were provided by Adolis García. Adolis scored five for five with three home runs and eight batted in. Those eight runs batted in were a new career-high for García, whose previous record was five. It was also the first three-home run game of his career. This was the 14th time a player recorded five extra-base hits in MLB history. The only other Ranger to do it was Josh Hamilton on May 8th, 2012. In total, he recorded 16 total bases. This is the 25th time in MLB history that a player has recorded 16 total bases or more. Shawn Green holds the record with 19 total bases on May 23rd, 2002. Adolis García had a monster day in Arlington against the A’s.
June 18th, 2023 – Lance Lynn’s 16 Strikeout Game
During an unfortunate 5-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners, White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn recorded 16 strikeouts, tying Chicago’s franchise record. He tied Jack Harshman’s record, which was set on July 25th, 1954. Lynn’s 16 strikeouts would be the most strikeouts by a pitcher in 2023. Three pitchers came close with 14, but Lynn’s record will stand the most in one game during the year. Lance pitched seven innings that outing, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. He would finish the season with a 13-11 record playing with the White Sox and the Dodgers.
June 28th, 2023 – Domingo Germán’s Perfect Game
Yankees’ starting pitcher, Domingo Germán, became the fourth Yankee and the 24th Major League pitcher to throw a perfect game. In an 11-0 win over the Oakland Athletics, Germán threw 99 pitches, making this ideal game a Maddux. 51 of those 99 pitches were curveballs. The last Yankee to throw a perfect game was David Cone in 1999. Félix Hernández was the previous pitcher to pitch a perfect game, doing so on August 15th, 2012, against the Tampa Bay Rays. Domingo had nine strikeouts during this historical achievement.
September 18th, 2023 – Adam Wainwright’s 200th Career Win
In a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, long-time St.Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright recorded his 200th career win. Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out three batters. His 200 wins, all with St. Louis, ranks third on the Cardinals in all-time wins, sitting behind Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines. Adam also became the 122nd pitcher with 200 or more wins. That night, he finished his career with 2,203 strikeouts, becoming the 66th pitcher with at least 2,200 strikeouts. Adam Wainwright can now retire knowing he had one heck of a career and may be one of the best pitchers in Cardinals history.
September 27th – Miguel Cabrera’s 511th Career and Final Home Run
In an 8-0 win over the Kansas City Royals, two-time MVP, and 2003 World Series champion Miguel Cabrera crushed a 397-foot home run, which would be the 511th of his career and his final. Miggy jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Royals pitcher Jonathan Bowlan, sending it deep into center field. The future Hall of Famer hit a vintage homer, one that he may remember now that his career is all said and done. The home run tied him with Norm Cash for the second most home runs for the Tigers’ franchise with 373. Miguel is one of two players in MLB history to finish their careers with 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, and 600 doubles while posting a career batting average above .300.
October/November – 2023 MLB Playoffs
In the 2023 MLB Postseason, they had a lot of action to unfold. Teams like the Baltimore Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers made their first appearance in the postseason since the 2016 or 2017 season. Texas would go on to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, who broke the modern-day record to start a season, the Baltimore Orioles, who held the best record in the American League, and the Houston Astros, who made their seventh straight postseason appearance, and eight out of the nine last seasons, and make their first World Series appearance since 2011. As for Arizona, they beat the NL Central champion Milwaukee Bucks, the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Philadelphia Phillies, who won the NL Pennant during the 2022 season.
Arizona would make their first World Series appearance since 2o01. The Texas Rangers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win their first World Series championship in franchise history. Corey Seager won his second career World Series MVP Award.
Main Photo Credits: Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK