The second installment of the WBC proved to be a huge success with increased attendance, higher TV ratings and plenty of on-field drama. The Netherlands stunned the world by upsetting the Dominican Republic, the U.S. team scored a dramatic win ninth-inning comeback win over Puerto Rico to reach the semifinals, and Japan won its second WBC title behind MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka.
2 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Nick Adenhart killed
Just hours after pitching six scoreless innings in his first start of the season, 22-year-old Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver in an accident. The grief-stricken Angels initially struggled to cope with Adenhart's death, but dedicated their season to his memory and kept his jersey in their dugout every game en route to another AL West title and a berth in the ALCS.
3 of 10Erick W. Rasco, John Iacono/SI
New York City opened not one but two gleaming new baseball palaces this season. Citi Field, far smaller and cheaper than Yankee Stadium, opened first, with a 6-5 loss to the Padres on April 13. The Yankees opened their billion-dollar-plus cathedral on April 16 with a blowout loss to the Indians, but while the Mets season never got better behind injuries and front office controversy, the Yankees rebounded. In November, they became just the fourth team to win a World Series in their inaugural season in a new ballpark, joining the 1912 Red Sox, the 1923 Yankees and the 2006 Cardinals.
4 of 10Robert Beck/SI
In 2006, Greinke, then a 23-year-old tabbed as the future of the Royals, left the team in spring training with what was later diagnosed as social anxiety disorder. He returned to the majors that September and was an effective pitcher in 2007 and 2008 but no one foresaw 2009. Greinke started the year 8-1 with a 0.84 ERA in his first 10 starts and cruised to the AL Cy Young award, finishing 16-8 with an AL-best 2.16 ERA and 1.073 WHIP.
5 of 10Nick Laham/Getty Images, Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire
Just when it seemed baseball fans had been able to forget about the Steroids Era it came roaring back to life when three of the game's biggest stars were found to have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In February, Sports Illustrated broke the news of Alex Rodriguez's positive 2003 test; in May, Manny Ramirez was found to have tested positive, and in July, Boston's beloved David Ortiz had a positive test revealed as well. For good measure, one-time home run hero Sammy Sosa was also outed as having tested positive during his playing days.
6 of 10Ron Vesely/MLB Photos/Getty Images, Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI
Mark Buehrle perfect game
On July 23, Buehrle retired all 27 Tampa Bay Rays batters he faced for the 18th perfect game in major league history. Buehrle struck out six en route to his second career no-hitter, which was preserved when Dewayne Wise, inserted as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, made an over-the-wall catch to rob Tampa Bay's Gabe Kapler for the second out in the ninth.
7 of 10Tom Dahlin/SI
Twins overtake Tigers
On September 6, the Twins trailed the Tigers by 7 games in the AL Central, but they caught fire by winning 16 of 20 to force a one-game tiebreaker in Minnesota with the Tigers. In the last game at the Metrodome before their move to a new ballpark next season, the Twins rallied to tie the game in the 10th inning and won in the 12th on a base hit by Alexi Casilla.
8 of 10Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Umpire gaffes in postseason
Baseball enjoyed its first full season with the use of instant replay in 2009, but it was limited only to home run calls. Cries to expand its use became more pronounced after a series of mistakes by the umpires in the postseason that included a horrendous foul ball call by Phil Cuzzi in the Yankees-Twins ALDS, two blown safe-out calls by C.B. Bucknor in a Red Sox-Angels game, and a missed call by Tim McClelland in the Yankees-Angels ALCS. Commissioner Bud Selig has said the expansion of replay is unlikely.
9 of 10Chuck Solomon/SI
Yankees win 27th World Series
After an offseason in which they spent nearly half a billion dollars to sign three players (CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett), a spring in which their best and highest paid player (Alex Rodriguez) was found to have taken steroids, and a slow start in their new ballpark, the Yankees finally got moving in mid-May. They stormed into the playoffs with 103 wins, the most in the majors, and rode Rodriguez's scorching hot postseason (.365 average, franchise record 18 RBIs) to their record 27th World Series win and first since 2000, beating the defending champion Phillies in six games.
10 of 10Drew Hallowell/Getty Images, Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee were the talk of the trade market in July, but only one of them wound up getting dealt. When the Phillies couldn't pry Halladay from the Blue Jays they settled for acquiring Lee, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, from Cleveland, and he helped pitch Philadelphia to a second straight NL pennant. In December, the Phillies finally got Halladay, but it cost them Lee, who was shipped to the Mariners as part of a three-team trade that was the first ever to involve two Cy Young winners.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!