Top 300 Moments That Shaped Major League Baseball Preview: AL Central

by Rocco Constantino | Posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2016
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Starting on March 1, Baseball Hot Corner will rank the Top 300 moments that shaped baseball history.  All moments from 1900 forward are eligible and the list includes moments from on and off the field.  There are regular season, post season and All-Star Game moments, triumphs and tragedies incredible accomplishments and unbreakable records.  In the week leading up to the start of the countdown, we’ll preview each division in the majors.  We’re nearing the end of the previews as we head over to the American League Central.

The American League Central might not have the heavy hitters of baseball history the way the AL East does, but four of the five franchises in the division date back to 1901.  The division newbie, the Kansas City Royals, began play in 1969 and have had their fair share of contributions to the countdown as well.

The AL central’s teams call Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Walter Johnson, Nap Lajoie, Bob Feller, George Brett and Tris Speaker alumni, and while it’s probably just short of the AL East’s roll call of immortality, it’s not as far behind as you’d think.  In addition to being the home of some of the game’s pioneers, it also had some of the most influential players in the integration of the game.  Larry Doby, the American League’s first black player, began his career with the Cleveland Indians, as did the legendary Satchel Paige.  In fact, Minnie Minoso, the ageless wonder of the Chicago White Sox, became the first player to play in five decades in the 1900s and was also the last active Major Leaguer who also played in the Negro Leagues.

Players from this division were also some pioneers in the World War II effort as Feller and Greenberg were two of the first stars to enroll in the military after the attacks on Pearl Harbor.  Feller actually eschewed a job as a military fitness instructor because he wanted to be closer to battle.  He ended up excelling as a Navy gunmen and calls a 13-hour attack his boat was besieged with the most thrilling moments of his life.

If you want crazy and scandal, the AL Central is also the place to go.  The Black Sox Scandal of 1919, the Kansas City RoyalsNew York Yankees Pinetar Game and Ty Cobb’s antics (take your pick) all play significant roles in what what makes the sport so interesting.

For as much history the AL Central has, they lack in World Series titles.  The White Sox went 88 years between World Series titles, the Indians are on a current streak of nearly seven decades without a title and when the Minnesota Twins won in 1987, it broke a 63-year streak that dated back to the Walter Johnson days.

Despite the lack of overall titles, there are plenty of iconic World Series moments that are sure to find their way onto the list.  Kirby Puckett‘s signature performance of his Hall of Fame career came in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, Don Denkinger’s blown call in the 1985 World Series stands as one of the great missed calls in the game’s history and Mickey Lolich‘s showdown with Bob Gibson in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series was everything you’d expect it to be.

Four of the eight original American League teams dating back to 1901 reside in the American League Central, so there’s no question the division is ripe with history.  Just how far some of these iconic moments can place on the list remain to be seen.

National League East Top 300 Preview

National League Central Top 300 Preview

National League West Top 300 Preview

American League East Top 300 Preview

At Baseball Hot Corner, we’ll do our best to help keep you occupied as you wait for Opening Day with a countdown of the Top 300 Moments that Shaped Major League Baseball History.  The series will begin March 1 with an introduction, followed by a quick look at the top pre-1900 moments before getting into the countdown.  The countdown itself will be released in sets of 10 with the top 10 announced on April 2 — Opening Day Eve.

While fans are enjoying Opening Day, they’ll be able to participate in a fan poll ranking all of the events and of course, the comments section will be open on every article to haggle over the rankings.

Between now and March 1, you will also be able to nominate your favorite moments to be considered for the countdown.  You can tweet your ideas to the author @mlb100years.

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Rocco Constantino
About the Author

Rocco is the author of 50 Moments That Defined Major League Baseball (Available on Amazon now!) and former Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. He is also a die hard Mets fan going back to the awful early 80's and ready for the revival. D2 NCAA softball coach and athletics administrator. Follow Rocco on Twitter @mlb100years.

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