Featured Major League Players were red-hot in 1997
Bernie Williams, Centerfielder NY Yankees, was selected AL Player of the Month for August 1997, whacked 8 home runs and hit .395, after having been hampered by a strained hamstring during most of July. For all of 1997 Bernie Williams batted .329 vs right-handed pitchers and .326 vs lefties and had 53 multi-hit games. He was named to his first All-Star Game and the centerfielder was honored with his first Gold Glove Award for best fielder. Born in Puerto Rico. Bernie Williams played in first major league game for Yankees on 7.7.1991. He led the majors in batting average for a leadoff batter with a torrid .362 in 1994.
Derek Bell, Outfielder Houston Astros, had 2 four RBI games in 1997 despite missing 30 games with a calf injury. The fast running outfielder stole 15 bases and lined 15 home runs and batted .276 for 1997. In August of ’97 Derek Bell batted .333 and had 22 RBIs. In 1996 he hit 17 homers and collected 113 RBIs. In 1993 Derek Bell became just the 3rd San Diego Padres player to join the 20-20 club, by lining 21 homers and swiping 26 bases, (joining Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and Joe Carter). Debuted into the major leagues with Toronto Blue Jays on 6.28.1991. Derek Bell was named Minor League MVP in ’91 while putting up strong batting numbers for Syracuse AAA – led league while batting .346 and also led International League with Runs, RBIs, hits and triples.
Jeff Bagwell, First Baseman Houston Astros, won a Silver Slugger Award for heavy statistics in 1997. He posted a .286 batting average, lined 43 home runs, 135 RBIs 127 walks and stole 31 bases. In 1997 Jeff Bagwell was first ever, first baseman in major league history to join the 30-30 club (homers and stolen bases). He led all Houston players for the 7th straight year in RBIs. In May batted .320 and lined 10 homers. In 1996 Jeff Bagwell led the National League with 48 doubles, an Astros record, and including in those stats he hit 4 doubles in a game on 6.14.1996, tying a major league record. Broke into the majors in ’91 with Houston. Jeff Bagwell was born in Boston and attended the University of Hartford.
1998 Runs Scored Leaders
Sammy Sosa, Cubs 134… Mark McGwire, Cardinals 130… Jeff Bagwell, Astros 124… Craig Biggio, Astros 123… Chipper Jones, Braves 123
Barry Bonds, Giants 120… Scott Rolen, Phillies 120… Larry Walker, Rockies 113… Greg Vaughn, Padres 112… Derek Bell, Astros 111
Derek Jeter, Yankees 127… Ray Durham, White Sox 126… Alex Rodriguez, Mariners 123… Ken Griffey Jr, Mariners 120… Chuck Knoblauch, Yankees 117
Jim Edmonds, Angels 115… John Valentin, Red Sox 113… Albert Belle, White Sox 113… Joey Cora, Indians 111… Nomar Garciaparra, Red Sox 111
Edgar Martinez, DH/3B Seattle Mariners, put together another season of hefty statistics in 1997, batting .330, 179 hits, 35 doubles, 28 home runs, 119 walks, scored 104 runs and had 108 RBIs. In 1995 Edgar Martinez was the American League Batting Champion with a .356 average, and tied for AL lead with 52 doubles and 121 Runs and was 3rd in MVP balloting. He has been chosen to four All-Star Games, 1992, 1995-1997. He was a star baseball player for American College in Puerto Rico and signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent in 1982.
Ray Durham, Second baseman, Chicago White Sox, was a noted team player all thru his major league tenure. In 1997 he played in 155 games as the leadoff hitter for the Chi-Sox and posted a .271 batting average, lined 27 doubles, 11 homers, scored 106 runs, stole 33 bases, walked 61 times and had 53 RBIs. In 1995, during his rookie season, Ray Durham captured the attention of hometown fans with his endless hustling, hit .257 and stole 15 bases. He led the American Association in total bases in 1994, by hitting .296, with 33 Ds, 12 triples, 16 Hr for Nashville AAA.