1998 in baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1998 throughout the world.
Headline events of the year
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- The asterisk denotes the club that won the wild card for its respective league. The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants 5-3 in a one-game playoff to determine the NL wild card.
- January 5 – Don Sutton, a 324-game winner, is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his fifth try. Sutton, who missed election by nine votes in 1997, is named on 81.6% of the ballots.
- February 2 – New York Yankees general manager Bob Watson announces his resignation. He is replaced by 30-year-old Brian Cashman.
- March 3 – Larry Doby, Lee MacPhail, George Davis and Bullet Joe Rogan are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.
- March 31 – The Tampa Bay Devil Rays lose to the Detroit Tigers 11–6, in their first game ever. Pitcher Wilson Álvarez takes the loss for Tampa while third baseman Wade Boggs hit the first home run in team history and drives in three runs.
- March 31 – The Arizona Diamondbacks drop a 9–2 decision to the Colorado Rockies in their first game ever. Andy Benes is tagged with the loss, and rookies Travis Lee, who gets three hits, and Karim García hit home runs. Vinny Castilla drives in five runs for Colorado.
- March 31 – The New York Mets beat rival Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 in the longest scoreless opening day game in the National League and the longest one in MLB since 1926 (when the Washington Senators beat the Philadelphia Athletics 1-0 in 15 innings) when backup catcher Alberto Castillo delivered a full-count, two-out, pinch-hit single to right with the bases loaded off Philadelphia closer Ricky Bottalico.
- March 31 – The Milwaukee Brewers, in their National League debut, fall 2-1 at Turner Field in Atlanta to the team that preceded them in Milwaukee, the Atlanta Braves, the Braves winning in walk-off fashion following an errant throw to second base by catcher Mike Matheny which allowed Gerald Williams to score from third base. Bob Wickman took the loss in relief. The Brewers had played for 29 years in the American League, debuting in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots before moving to Milwaukee in 1970 and becoming the Brewers.
- April 1 – The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays win their first game in franchise history, beating the Tigers 11–8. Fred McGriff has four RBI on three hits.
- April 2 – By hitting a home run in Colorado's 6–4 win over Arizona at Bank One Ballpark, Rockies outfielder Ellis Burks sets a major league record by having homered in 33 different stadiums.
- April 2 – The Milwaukee Brewers win for the first time as a National League team with an 8-6 win over the Atlanta Braves in 11 innings at Turner Field in Atlanta. Jeromy Burnitz homers twice, including a tie-breaking grand slam off Atlanta reliever Brian Edmondson in the 11th inning. Mike Myers picked up the win in relief.
- April 5 – The Arizona Diamondbacks win their first game in franchise history 3–2, over the San Francisco Giants. Andy Benes gets the win for the 1-5 Diamondbacks.
- April 7 – In the first National League game in Milwaukee since September 22, 1965, the Brewers defeat the Montreal Expos 6-4 at County Stadium. Starter Scott Karl gets the win, Doug Jones gets the save, and Jeromy Burnitz and José Valentín both contribute with home runs.
- April 10 – The Los Angeles Dodgers' Mike Piazza becomes the fifth NL player in history to hit grand slams in consecutive games by homering in a 7–2 win over the Houston Astros. Piazza also homered with the bags full, while driving in six runs, in the prior night's 7–2 win over Arizona. He would hit another on April 24 to tie the major-league record for slams in a month.
- April 13 – The Seattle Mariners' Ken Griffey, Jr. slugs two home runs in a 6–5 loss to the Cleveland Indians. In doing so, he becomes the second–youngest player in big league history to reach 300 homers for his career, at 28 years and 143 days. Jimmie Foxx, at 27 years 328 days, was younger.
- May 3 – The Seattle Mariners' Dan Wilson becomes just the seventh catcher in major league history to hit an inside-the-park grand slam, as Seattle defeats Detroit 10–6. It's a first for the Mariners and the first in the AL since Mike Greenwell did it on September 1, 1990.
- May 6 – In one of the finest pitching efforts ever, Chicago Cubs rookie right-hander Kerry Wood fans 20 Houston Astros in a 2–0, one-hit victory to tie the major league mark for strikeouts in a 9-inning game. The 20-year-old ties the record held by Roger Clemens, who performed the feat twice. He also eclipses Bill Gullickson's single-game rookie record of 18 strikeouts in 1980. The only Houston baserunners come from an infield single to Ricky Gutiérrez in the 3rd inning and a hit batter. Wood also becomes the second pitcher in baseball history to record a single-game strikeout total equal to his age (in 1936, 17-year-old Bob Feller struck out 17 batters). Wood strikes out the first five batters of the game, and seven in a row between the 7th and 9th innings, tying Jamie Moyer's Cubs record for most consecutive strikeouts.
- May 11 – In a 4-2 win over Arizona, Kerry Wood strikes out 13 Diamondbacks in seven innings. By doing so, Wood sets a major league record with 33 strikeouts over two consecutive games.
- May 13 – The Atlanta Braves set an NL record by homering in their 25th straight game, a 10–2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. This ties the major league mark held by the 1941 Yankees and the 1994 Tigers. The streak will be stopped by the Cardinals the next day.
- May 15 – In one of the biggest trades in recent years, the Dodgers send All-Star catcher Mike Piazza and third baseman Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins in exchange for outfielders Gary Sheffield and Jim Eisenreich, catcher Charles Johnson, third baseman Bobby Bonilla, and pitcher Manuel Barrios. On May 22, the Mets will acquire Piazza from the Marlins in exchange for outfielder Preston Wilson, pitcher Ed Yarnall and a minor league player.
- May 17 – Yankees pitcher David Wells hurls the 15th perfect game in modern major league history with a 4–0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Wells fans 11 batters in his masterpiece. Bernie Williams strokes three hits for New York, including a home run.
- May 18 – The Oakland Athletics' Mike Blowers hits for the cycle and drives home four runs in the A's 14–0 win over the White Sox. Blowers becomes only the 2nd player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.
- May 19 – The Cardinals' Mark McGwire hits three home runs in a game for the 2nd time this season, leading St. Louis to a 10–8 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. He is only the 12th player in history to have a pair of 3–HR games in the same season. McGwire drives in six of the Cardinal runs as he reaches the 20 home run mark faster than any other player in history.
- May 20 – The Triple-A Indianapolis Indians perform a feat possibly never before duplicated in professional baseball. In the 5th inning of a game against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Indianapolis players hit for a "Homer Cycle". Pete Rose, Jr. opens the inning with a solo home run, Jason Williams connects for a 3–run shot, Glenn Murray slugs a grand slam, and Guillermo Garcia finishes the scoring with a 2–run blast. The Indians win the game 11–4.
- May 25 – Cleveland's David Bell becomes the third player in major league history to play against a team managed by his father. Bell's 2–run double brings home the go–ahead run in the Indians 7–4 win over Buddy Bell's Detroit Tigers. Bump Wills and Moisés Alou are the only other players to appear in games against their fathers (Maury Wills and Felipe Alou, respectively).
- May 28 – With Arizona leading the Giants, 8–6, in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded, manager Buck Showalter orders reliever Gregg Olson to intentionally walk Barry Bonds to bring home the Giants' 7th run. It is only the 4th bases–loaded intentional walk in major league history, and the first since Bill "Swish" Nicholson on July 23, 1944.
- June 6 – Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan has his uniform number 8 retired by the Cincinnati Reds in a ceremony at Cinergy Field.
- June 7 – At Camden Yards, Hall of Famer Eddie Murray has his uniform number 33 retired by the Baltimore Orioles.
- June 10 – Colorado's Dante Bichette becomes the first Rockies player ever to hit for the cycle and the first player to ever hit for the cycle in an interleague game in the team's 9–8, 10–inning victory over the Rangers.
- June 10 – NY Yankee Tim Raines steals the 800th base of his career in NY's 6–2 win over the Montreal Expos, his former team. He is the fifth player in history to reach the milestone.
- June 15 – Sammy Sosa hits 3 home runs helping Chicago Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5.
- June 20 – The Cleveland Indians retire Bob Feller's uniform number 19 prior to the team's 5–3 loss to the Yankees.
- June 29 – Uniquely, no major league games are scheduled today: all 30 teams are off.
- June 30 – The Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa hits his 33rd home run of the season in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sosa's 20th home run in the month of June is a new MLB record for most home runs in one month.
- July 5 – Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays records his 3000th career strikeout.
- July 7 – The American League defeats the National League 13–8, in the 69th All–Star Game at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Baltimore's Roberto Alomar is named the game's MVP, going 3–for–4 with a home run, one RBI, one stolen base and two runs scored.
- July 9 – Bud Selig is elected as the 9th Commissioner of Baseball by a vote of club owners.
- July 17 – Rafael Palmeiro hits his 300th career home run, helping Baltimore Orioles beat Anaheim Angels 4-1.
- July 26 – Trevor Hoffman's bid to set a major league record with 42 straight saves ended when the San Diego closer gave up a home run to Moisés Alou on his first delivery in the ninth inning, tying the game. The Padres wound up beating Houston 5-4 in the 10th.
- August 4 – Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays hits 3 home runs.
- August 9 – Dennis Martínez of the Atlanta Braves defeats the San Francisco Giants 7–5, for his 244th career victory, to set the record for most wins by a Latin American pitcher. Juan Marichal held the old mark. Chipper Jones backs Martínez' pitching with four hits and four RBIs.
- August 10 – At Qualcomm Stadium, the Wendelstedts become the first father and son duo to umpire in the same Major League game. Harry, umpiring in his final Major League season, serves as home plate umpire while his son Hunter, working in his first as a vacation substitute, serves as second base umpire in the Florida Marlins' 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.
- August 13 – Harold Baines of the Baltimore Orioles becomes the all–time leader in RBI by a designated hitter when he drives in his 824th in a 7–4 win over the Indians. Hal McRae was the previous record–holder.
- August 14 – Baltimore catcher Chris Hoiles becomes the ninth player — and first catcher — to hit two grand slams in a single game, doing so in a 15–3 win over the Cleveland Indians.
- August 23 – Barry Bonds hits his 400th career home run.
- August 25 – The Toronto Blue Jays' Roger Clemens strikes out 18 in a 3–0 victory over the Kansas City Royals. He becomes the first pitcher ever to record three games of 18 or more strikeouts. Clemens allows only three hits and does not walk a batter.
- August 31 – Oakland's Rickey Henderson scores the 2,000th run of his career in the Athletics' 15–6 loss to Cleveland. He joins Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Pete Rose and Willie Mays as the only players to reach the milestone.
- September 1 – Mark McGwire hits his 56th and 57th home runs of the season, breaking Hack Wilson's National League record of 56 in 1930.
- September 4 – The New York Yankees win their 100th game of the season, defeating the Chicago White Sox 11–6, reaching that mark five days faster than the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 1954 Cleveland Indians.
- September 5 – Mark McGwire becomes the third player in major league history to reach 60 home runs, as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-0. McGwire joins Babe Ruth and Roger Maris with 60 home runs in a single season.
- September 6 – Atlanta's Andruw Jones hits his 50th career home run in a 4–0 win over the New York Mets. He becomes the 3rd–youngest player in history to reach that level; only Mel Ott and Tony Conigliaro did so at a younger age.
- September 7 – Ken Griffey, Jr. hits his fiftieth home run of the season, becoming the third player (Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire) to hit 50 or more home runs in consecutive seasons.
- September 8 – Mark McGwire breaks Roger Maris' 37-year-old home run record, lining historic No. 62 just over the wall in left field with two outs in the fourth inning. McGwire's solo shot off the Chicago Cubs' Steve Trachsel—among the shortest he would hit all year—sets off a wild celebration at Busch Stadium. The Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who hit his 58th home run earlier in the game, is on the field to congratulate McGwire, creating an iconic image of the 1998 home run race. In the sixth inning of the same game, the Cardinals' J. D. Drew makes his major league debut pinch-hitting for pitcher Kent Mercker.
- September 11 – The Florida Marlins lose to the Atlanta Braves 8–2, to become the first World Series champion in history to lose 100 games the next season.
- September 15 – Ken Griffey, Jr. hits homer #52 and drives in the 1,000th run of his career in the Mariners 12–7 win over the Twins. He becomes the fourth-youngest player in history to reach the milestone, after Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig. A day later, Griffey would collect his 20th stolen base of the season to become just the third player in major league history to record at least 50 homers and 20 steals in the same season; Willie Mays and Brady Anderson are the others.
- September 16 – Mike Piazza hits his 200th career home run helping the New York Mets beat the Houston Astros 4-3.
- September 17 – Denny Neagle puts the Atlanta Braves pitching staff into the baseball record books as he limits the Arizona Diamondbacks to four hits in six innings for a 1-0 win. Neagle improves to 15-11, making the Braves the first major league team with five 15-game winners since the 1930 Washington Senators. Neagle joins Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Kevin Millwood.
- September 19 – Alex Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners hits his 40th home run of the season and becomes the third player (José Canseco and Barry Bonds) to join the 40–40 club.
- September 20 – Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles takes himself out of the lineup prior to the game with the New York Yankees to end his major league record consecutive game streak at 2,632. The Orioles lose the historic game by a score of 5–4. Ryan Minor, Ripken's replacement at 3B, gets one hit in four at bats.
- September 21 – Jason Kendall of the Pittsburgh Pirates steals his 26th base of the season to set a new NL record for catchers. The previous mark was set by John Stearns in 1978.
- September 23 – At Milwaukee County Stadium, Sammy Sosa hits his 64th and 65th home runs as the Chicago Cubs jump out to a 7-0 lead against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, the Brewers erase the deficit by scoring eight runs in the last three innings, the last three coming when Brant Brown drops a Geoff Jenkins fly ball with two out in the ninth inning; the error allows Mark Loretta, Jeff Cirillo and Jeromy Burnitz to score. The Cubs stay tied with the San Francisco Giants for the wildcard lead when they could have led by one game with three games left. Ironically, the error comes 90 years to the day of "Merkle's Boner", which led to the Cubs ultimately winning the National League pennant and ultimately, their last World Series title until 2016.
- September 24 – Boston Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon records his 42nd consecutive save of the year for a new major league mark as Boston defeats the Baltimore Orioles 9–6. Rod Beck and Trevor Hoffman shared the old mark.
- September 25 – Just hours after Sammy Sosa hits his league-leading 66th home run, pulling ahead of Mark McGwire for the first time all season, McGwire hits his 66th in a game against the Montreal Expos.
- September 26 – Dennis Eckersley gets a standing ovation from the Fenway Park crowd as he appears in his 1,071st game, breaking Hoyt Wilhelm's record for most appearances by a pitcher.
- September 26 – The St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire hits his 67th and 68th home runs against the Montreal Expos, pulling two ahead of the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa, who goes 2-for-4 but fails to homer against the Houston Astros.
- September 27 – The Cincinnati Reds defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4–1. Cincinnati uses a pair of brothers in the infield: Bret Boone (2B) and his brother Aaron (3B); Barry Larkin (SS) and his brother Stephen (1B).
- September 27 – In the St. Louis Cardinals' final game of the season, Mark McGwire hits two home runs against the Montreal Expos for the second straight night, establishing a new MLB record with 70 home runs in a season. Sammy Sosa fails to hit a home run in the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros, leaving him at 66 homers. However, the Cubs loss forces a one-game playoff with the San Francisco Giants for the National League wild card, giving Sosa one final chance to reach McGwire.
- September 27 – In the San Diego Padres' final regular season game, left fielder Greg Vaughn hits his 50th home run of the season, a career high and a San Diego Padres record for home runs in a season. This marks the first time in major league history that four players – Vaughn (50), Griffey (56), Sosa (66) and McGwire (70) – hit at least 50 home runs in the same season. Also during this game, Trevor Hoffman records his 53rd save of the season, tying the National League record set by the Cubs' Randy Myers in 1993.
- September 27 – The New York Yankees win their seventh-straight game, defeating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-3. The Yankees finish the season with an American League record 114 wins.
- September 27 – In recording his first-ever Major League win, a 2-1 decision over the Detroit Tigers at the SkyDome, Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays, a week removed from his Major League debut, has what would have been the second no-hitter in Blue Jay history broken up by a Bobby Higginson home run with two out in the ninth, the only hit he will allow. The no-hitter also would have been the third to be pitched on the final day of a regular season, joining the combination of Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers in 1975 and Mike Witt's perfect game in 1984. The home run ball is caught, ironically, by Dave Stieb—himself a three-time victim of a no-hitter being broken up with two out in the ninth (his last two starts of the 1988 season and a perfect game bid in 1989) before finally pitching the Blue Jays' only no-hitter to date, in 1990.
- September 28 – In a one-game playoff, the Chicago Cubs defeat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 to secure the final playoff spot in the National League. For the third game in a row, the Cubs' Sammy Sosa gets two hits, but no home runs, leaving him at 66 home runs for the season; four fewer than Mark McGwire, who pulled ahead of Sosa with five home runs in his final three games.
- World Series: New York Yankees win 4 games to 0 over the San Diego Padres. The Series MVP is Scott Brosius, Yankees third baseman. The Yankees end the season with a major league record 125 combined regular season and postseason wins.
- Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves wins his second National League Cy Young Award in an extremely close vote over two San Diego Padres pitchers: Trevor Hoffman and Kevin Brown. Glavine, who receives 11 first-place votes to Hoffman's 13 (Brown receives the remaining 8), becomes the first National League pitcher since the league instituted its four-vote system in 1970 to win the award despite receiving fewer first-place votes than another player. Glavine tallied 99 points (Hoffman – 88, Brown – 76), with 5 points being awarded for each first place vote, 3 for each second-place vote, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth. Another oddity is the fact that Hoffman, Brown, and Rod Beck (who did not receive a single point in the Cy Young Award voting) finished higher than Glavine in the MVP voting, despite Glavine's Braves finishing with the best record in the National League.
- November 9 – It is revealed that Hall of Fame pitcher Jim "Catfish" Hunter is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the progressive, ultimately fatal neurological condition better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
- November 30 – The Arizona Diamondbacks sign free agent Randy Johnson to a 4-year contract worth approximately $50 million.
- December 12 – The Dodgers set the salary bar higher by signing free agent Kevin Brown to a 7-year, $105 million contract, the largest in the majors.
- January 11 – Joe Becker, 89, catcher for the Cleveland Indians from 1936–37, later a pitching coach for the Dodgers, Cardinals and Cubs
- January 29 – Anna Mae Hutchison, 72, two-time All-Star pitcher who posted several all-time and single-season records in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
- January 30 – Lucille Colacito, 76, AAGPBL catcher for the Kenosha Comets from 1944 through 1945
- February 5 – Marv Olson, 90, second baseman who played in the early 1930s for the Boston Red Sox
- February 8 – Betty Foss, 68, All-Star first woman and two-time champion bat in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
- February 11 – Mike Fornieles, 66, All-Star relief pitcher for four AL teams who led league in saves in 1960
- February 18 – Harry Caray, 83, beloved and much-parodied broadcaster for the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs since 1945
- March 23 – Joseph Jessup, 83, pitcher in the Negro leagues from 1940 to 1948
- April 11 – Doris Tetzlaff, 77, infielder and coach during ten seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
- April 26 – Gabe Paul, 88, general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Colt .45s, and Cleveland Indians from 1951 to 1973, later part owner of the Yankees
- April 27 – John Irvin Kennedy, 71, first black player in Philadelphia Phillies history
- May 9 – Ray Noble, 79, Cuban catcher in the Negro Leagues, later a reserve with the New York Giants
- May 16 – Rufino Linares, 47, Dominican left fielder for the Atlanta Braves who hit .298 for 1982 division champions
- June 4 – Shirley Povich, 92, sportswriter for The Washington Post since 1924
- June 7 – Tom Buskey, 51, relief pitcher who played from 1973 through 1980 for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays.
- June 10 – Jim Hearn, 77, All-Star pitcher for the Cardinals and NY Giants who won 17 games for New York's 1951 pennant winners
- June 21 – Al Campanis, 81, general manager of the Dodgers from 1968 to 1987 who was fired after making racially controversial remarks in a 1987 TV interview; previously a scout for 18 years
- July 1 – Ed Connolly, 57, pitched in the 1960s for the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians
- July 19 – Elmer Valo, 77, Czech right fielder who batted .300 five times for the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics; later a minor league manager and scout
- July 27 – Bill Tuttle, 69, center fielder for three AL teams who batted .300 for the 1959 Kansas City Athletics
- August 6 – Jack Brickhouse, 82, broadcaster for the Cubs from 1941–1981, also with the White Sox for over 20 years
- August 17 – Johnny Lipon, 75, shortstop for the Tigers who scored 104 runs in 1950; later a minor league manager
- August 17 – Jim Murray, 79, sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times since 1961 who won a Pulitzer Prize and was named the nation's best sportswriter 14 times
- September 17 – Chet Hoff, 107, pitcher for the New York Highlanders and St. Louis Browns who became the longest-lived major league player
- September 30 – Dan Quisenberry, 45, All-Star relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals who led the AL in saves a record five times and posted the first 40-save season in history; held AL career record from 1987 to 1992 and was Cy Young runnerup twice
- October 2 – Gene Autry, 91, owner of the Angels since their formation in 1961 who hoped in vain for the team's first pennant, watching the team fall achingly short three times
- October 6 – Mark Belanger, 54, All-Star shortstop and eight-time Gold Glove winner for the Baltimore Orioles, later a players' union official
- October 10 – Strick Shofner, 79, third baseman for the 1947 Boston Red Sox
- October 14 – Denny Galehouse, 86, pitcher who won 109 games with the Indians, Red Sox and Browns, and Game 1 of 1944 World Series
- October 21 – Phil Haugstad, 74, pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds between 1947 and 1952
- October 30 – George Schmees, 74, first baseman/outfielder/pitcher for the St. Louis Browns and Boston Red Sox in the 1950s
- November 10 – Hal Newhouser, 77, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who won back-to-back MVP awards in 1944-45; led AL in wins four times and in ERA and strikeouts twice each; struck out 10 in Game 7 victory in 1945 World Series
- November 16 – Russ Meyer, 75, pitcher who won over 90 games for the Cubs, Phillies and Dodgers, known as the "Mad Monk" for his fiery temper
- November 20 – Dick Sisler, 78, All-Star first baseman and left fielder for three NL teams whose closing day home run brought the Phillies the 1950 pennant
- November 23 – Bob Betts, 70, public announcer at Milwaukee County Stadium for 23 seasons