The 2011 Major League Baseball season began on Thursday, March 31, and ended on Wednesday, September 28. This marked the first time a season began on a Thursday since 1976, and the first time a regular season ended on a Wednesday since 1990. The 82nd edition of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on July 12 with the National League defeating the American League for the second straight year, by a score of 5–1. As has been the case since 2003, the league winning that game has home field advantage in the World Series. Accordingly, the 2011 World Series began on October 19, and ended on October 28, with the St. Louis Cardinals winning in seven games over the Texas Rangers.
Only two teams were unable to complete the entire 162-game regular season schedule, as the make-up game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 8 was cancelled due to rain and was decided not to make up any further, owing to scheduling constraints and the game inconsequential to the playoffs.
They will go down as the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history. Never before and likely never again—if we even dare to assume anything else can be likely ever again—will baseball captivate and exhilarate on so many fronts in so small a window the way it did September 28, 2011.
— Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated
The Rays returned to the playoffs for the second consecutive year despite losing many players from the year before. The Red Sox and Braves suffered two of the most epic collapses their franchises had due to their losing the playoff spot the last day despite leading the next contending teams by multiple games the last month of the season. The Cardinals eventually rode the momentum of their win to win the NLDS and NLCS on their way to defeating the Texas Rangers for their 11th World Series title in the 2011 World Series.
The Red Sox were favored by pundits to win the American League pennant prior to the start of the season due to acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks. Despite a slow start, Boston darted to the top of the division during the summer months. Injuries plagued the team and they slowly lost first place to the Yankees, but were still in comfortable contention for the wild card. The month of September started an epic slump for the team where the team had allowed the Rays to get back into contention. However, Boston still controlled its own destiny going into their final series with the last place Orioles, but wound up having the season come down to the last game.
The Red Sox had taken a lead for a good part of the game, but the Orioles mounted a comeback. The game was interrupted by a rain delay in the middle of the 7th with Boston ahead 3–2. After play had resumed almost an hour and a half later, the Orioles still trailed by a run in the bottom of the 9th. When leading after eight innings, the Red Sox were 77–0 in 2011. Facing closer Jonathan Papelbon, Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold hit back-to-back doubles with two outs, which tied the game. The next batter, Robert Andino, hit a line drive to left field which Carl Crawford was unable to catch, allowing Reimold to score and the Orioles walked off with the win.
After the Orioles won, Andino, who had been a Red Sox killer of late, said, "End of season like this, to make Boston go home sad, crying, I'll take it all day."
The Yankees had already won the American League East several days prior to this contest. The Rays had been in third place behind both the Yankees and the Red Sox for much of the season. However, Boston had slowly started to lose many games in September due to poor starting and relief pitching, disappointing hitting from newly acquired free agent Carl Crawford throughout the year, and injuries to key players like Kevin Youkilis. The Rays, who had won the division in 2010, had lost many of their players to free agency. Despite the losses, the Rays had crawled back into contention and faced the Yankees in the final series of the year.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated that he would approach the final games so that the team's pitching staff would be set up for the 2011 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers. Suspicions rose to whether or not the Yankees would compete intensely due to them wanting to rest their aging players for the playoffs and to keep the Red Sox out, their fierce rivals whom they had a lopsided losing record to that season. Girardi indicated that many of his post-season pitchers would not be pitching that game. The Yankees, however, started the game strong by taking a 5–0 lead by the 2nd inning. Their lead grew to 7–0, which they held as the game entered the bottom of the 8th inning. In the 8th inning, the Rays scored six runs, capped off by a three-run home run by Evan Longoria. In the bottom of the 9th inning, down to his final strike, struggling Rays first baseman Dan Johnson hit a solo home run to tie the game. Already depleted from wanting to get pitchers who were not going to be on the post-season roster in, the Yankees went into extra innings with struggling pitchers. During Tampa Bay's half of the 12th inning, Evan Longoria hit his second home run of the game, a walk-off home run that cleared a short wall near the left field foul pole to win the game for the Rays just minutes after the Orioles' victory over the Red Sox. The win clinched the American League Wild Card for the Rays.
Seat No. 10 in the first row behind the right-field foul pole has been painted white in honor of Dan Johnson's, game-tying, ninth-inning, pinch-hit blast during Game 162. They have also renamed the section beyond the left field foul pole "162 Landing" in honor of Longoria's game winning, 12th-inning home run.
National League wildcard race
The National League wildcard race came down to the fate of two games on the last day of the regular season.
The National League Central had been a two way race late into the season with the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers vying for contention. After the Reds had fallen off, the Brewers had clinched the division. The Cardinals battled back despite perennial all-star Albert Pujols serving on the disabled list and not having pitcher Adam Wainwright. Upon Pujols' return, the Cardinals came within one game by defeating the Astros under nine innings of dominant pitching by ace pitcher Chris Carpenter.
The Philadelphia Phillies had clinched a playoff berth, the division title, and the best league record for weeks. For most of the season, the Atlanta Braves had been in 2nd place in the National League East by a good margin and well ahead in the wildcard standings. The Phillies had something to play for, a franchise record in wins. They battled back to force the game into extra innings where they won and in effect, not only eliminated the Braves from post-season contention, but also set that record with 102, surpassing the previous record of 101 set back-to-back in 1976 and 1977 during their run of three straight division championships from 1976–1978.Charlie Manuel also became the winningest manager in the history of the Phillies with 646 wins, surpassing Gene Mauch, the manager of the Phillies when they collapsed in a similar way the Braves did in 1964.
*: 11 innings †: postponed to October 10 due to rain
The St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers squared off in a season long division race and by the beginning of August, they were only a few games apart in the division. The Brewers would pull away for the crown, and the Cardinals continued poorly until they were 101⁄2 games back of the wild card on August 25. They made a historical comeback in September to win the wild card from the Atlanta Braves on the last day of the season. Both teams would advance through the NLDS in five games setting up a 1982 World Series rematch. The Cardinals won the pennant in six games, clinching the series on the road.
Cox announced in 2009 that the 2010 season would be his last as manager of the Braves. In two terms, first from 1978 through 1981 and from mid-1990, replacing Russ Nixon as manager through 2010, Cox has led the team to fourteen division titles, five pennants and the 1995 World Championship. Cox retires as the manager with the fourth highest number of wins (2,504) along with the most ejections in baseball history (158).
After six decades in baseball as a player, coach, manager and television commentator, Piniella announced on June 19, 2010, his intentions to retire. He has managed the New York Yankees, the Cincinnati Reds (including their 1990 World Series championship), the Seattle Mariners (including a record 116 win season in 2001), the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Cubs. The official retirement came on August 22 as Piniella stepped down due to his mother's failing health, and Quade, the Cubs' third base coach, was named interim manager, and was named permanent manager October 19.
Torre announced on September 17 that he would not be returning to the Dodgers for the 2011 season. With his contract expiring and club ownership being contested in divorce court, Torre chose not to negotiate an extension. At the same time, the Dodgers announced that Mattingly, the team's hitting coach, will be promoted to manager. Mattingly was best known as an outstanding first baseman with the New York Yankees.
After being lured out of retirement by team president Paul Beeston, Gaston announced on October 29, 2009, that he would step aside after the completion of the 2010 season and remain in a consulting position. In his first term as the Jays' skipper, he led the team to their greatest success, winning back-to-back Fall Classic in 1992 and 1993. His second term started as he replaced John Gibbons in the middle of the 2008 season. Farrell comes over after serving as the pitching coach for the AL East rival Boston Red Sox.
At the end of the 2010 season, three teams fired their managers and made replacements:
Macha announced to the Associated Press that the Milwaukee Brewers had declined to pick up his Club Option for 2011. Roenicke was named in November 2010 as the team's new field leader coming over from the Los Angeles Angels serving 11 seasons as Mike Scioscia's third base coach.
Manuel, along with general manager Omar Minaya, were fired following the end of the 2010 season on October 4, 2010. Since making the 2006 National League Championship Series, the team has fallen short of expectations, which include back to back season ending collapses in 2007 and 2008, followed by back-to-back injury plagued seasons in 2009 and 2010. Collins, a feisty and intense manager, was named the team's new manager November 2010 and returned to being a field manager in the majors after 12 years. He previously managed the Houston Astros and the Anaheim Angels from 1994 to 1999.
Russell was fired after three losing seasons, compiling a total record of 186–299 in those three seasons. The Pirates have not had a winning season since 1992, which was also the last time they made the playoffs. They have also endured six different managers during that span. Hurdle last managed the Colorado Rockies in 2009 before being replaced.
The following managers who were interim managers for 2010 will lead their respective teams in 2011:
Gibson, who started the season as bench coach, filled in for the final 83 games. New GM Kevin Towers made the decision to keep Gibson as the manager for 2011. Hinch was "demoted" from his position as Director of Player Development in 2009 when he took over for Bob Melvin.
After coming to Kansas City to be a consultant, the Royals named Yost on May 13 to replace Hillman. Prior to that, Yost served as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers for much of the 2008 season, only to be sacked in mid-September when the team was struggling to make the post-season. Hillman had previous success in Japan, leading the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to the Japan World Series championship in 2006.
The no-nonsense Showalter, who had previously managed the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks on the brink of success before being replaced, served as a commentator for ESPN's Baseball Tonight before agreeing to return to the dugout with the Orioles on August 3, and turned the fortunes of the Maryland ball club. Trembley was in the manager's seat until June 4, when third-base coach Samuel replaced him on an interim basis before Showalter's arrival.
On May 23, González, who had coached under Bobby Cox in Atlanta, was fired from his position. Rodríguez had spent the past 1½ years managing the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate. Cox made discouraging comments about the handling of the dismissal shortly afterward, and as a result, was not honored by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria when the Braves visit to Miami in September as part of Cox's retirement tour.
Wakamatsu, the first MLB manager of Asian-American descent, was fired on August 9 and replaced by Brown, at the time in his fourth season managing the Mariners' AAA affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers. The team was expected to contend for the American League West title with the addition of Chone Figgins and Cliff Lee, but stumbled out of the starting gate. Wedge, who last managed with the Cleveland Indians in 2009, was reportedly hired by the Mariners according to a report by SI.com on October 15, 2010, and made official three days later.
After a losing streak and slump in June, Rodriguez announced his resignation on June 19. McKeon at age 80 became the oldest manager since Connie Mack to manage in the majors; he had won the 2003 World Series with the Marlins. McKeon announced his second retirement allowing Ozzie Guillén to become Marlins' skipper.
McLaren, who was previously the Nationals bench coach, was named interim manager, but he is not expected to fill the role for the remainder of the season. Davey Johnson was named the full-time manager three days after Riggleman resigned and two days after McLaren was named interim manager.
Guillen was released from his contract after the White Sox game on September 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Guillen became the Marlins new manager with the retirement of Jack McKeon at the end of the season. Cooper, the current pitching coach for the White Sox, managed the final two games of the season.
Set the major league record for RBI by a designated hitter (1004) by driving in a run with a groundout in the fourth inning against the Texas Rangers on April 2. He broke the record that was previously held by Edgar Martínez.
Recorded his 1,000th career run scored in the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians on May 25. He became the 311th player to reach this mark.
Became the third player in Major League history, joining Willie Mays and Mark McGwire, and the first American League player to hit a home run in his fourth straight game to begin the baseball season.
Became the first player in Major League history to hit an official walk-off grand slam in postseason history (against the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the 2011 American League Championship Series). With that, Cruz also became the first batter to hit a walk-off hit in postseason for the Texas Rangers.
Passed Mickey Mantle for second all-time for RBI by a switch-hitter by driving in his 1,510th run with a RBI groundout in the first inning against the San Diego Padres on April 27. Eddie Murray is the all-time leader with 1,917 RBIs.
Tied the Major League record with his 16th game this season that he went hitless and struck out at least three times in the game on August 1 against the New York Yankees. He joins Mark Reynolds, who set the record in 2009. He set the Major League record with his 17th such game on August 10 against the Baltimore Orioles. He finished the season with 18 such games.
Set a Major League record by hitting in 23 consecutive games in April with a double in first inning against the Florida Marlins on April 26. He broke the record that was held by Joe Torre in 1971. Ethier extended his April hitting streak to 26 games on April 30.
Tied the franchise record for consecutive seasons with 30-plus doubles with his double on September 6 against the Washington Nationals. Ethier tied Jackie Robinson with five consecutive seasons.
Became the fourth player in Major League history to record at least seven hits and 10 RBIs in a single day since RBIs became an official stat in 1920. The other three are Jim Bottomley (1929), Pete Fox (1935) and Nate Colbert (1972).
Became the second player in Major League history to hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in the ninth inning and end the game in extra innings with another home run on May 17 against the Houston Astros. Jeff Heath, of the Boston Braves accomplished this feat on August 27, 1949 against the Cincinnati Reds.
After 1,000 career major-league games, Reyes has 98 triples and 360 stolen bases. The only other player in history with that many triples and stolen bases in their first 1000 games is Ty Cobb, who had 106 triples and 391 steals.
Became the first player in the Mets' 50-year history to win the batting title by hitting .337.
With 11 home runs during the month of May, the most in the American League, it was the fifth straight month in which he led the American League in home runs (excluding March and October) joining Jimmie Foxx in 1933–1934.
Became the second player in Major League history to have 17 or more home runs and five or more triples in a season before June 1. He joins Babe Ruth, who did it for the Yankees in 1928.
Became the third player in American League history (tenth in Major League history) to record at least 30 home runs, 20 steals and 10 triples in the same season with his triple on August 18 against the Minnesota Twins. The other American Leaguers were Ken Williams (1922) and Nomar Garciaparra (1997).
Became the second player in Major League history to have hit 40 home runs, 10 triples and have 20 stolen bases in a season on September 17 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Willie Mays accomplished this feat in 1955.
Set the Major League record for most switch-hitting home runs in the same game by hitting home runs from both sides of the plate for the 12th game of his career against the Chicago White Sox on August 2. He broke the record that he shared with Eddie Murray and Chili Davis.
Became the first player in Major League history with a multiple-home run game for eight different teams by hitting two home runs against the Washington Nationals on July 27. He broke the record that he shared with Jeromy Burnitz and Reggie Sanders.
Became the fifth player in Major League history to have as many as four home runs and 12 RBIs through his first ten games in the majors. He joins Dino Restelli (1949 Pirates), Alvin Davis (1984 Mariners), Mark Quinn (1999 Royals) and Taylor Teagarden (2008 Rangers).
With his 15th home run during his hitting streak on August 13 against the Chicago Cubs, Uggla tied the Major League record for most home runs during a hitting streak of any length. Joe DiMaggio hit 15 home runs during his 56-game hitting streak in 1941, Willie McCovey hit 15 home runs during his 24-game hitting streak in 1963 and Alex Rodriguez hit 15 home runs during a 23-game hitting streak that spanned the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
With his 30th home run on August 22 against the Chicago Cubs, Uggla became the first second baseman in modern baseball history (since 1900) with five seasons of at least 30 home runs.
Became the 55th player in Major League history to record a 30 (home runs)/30 (stolen bases) season. He reached this mark on August 26 with his 30th home run against the Colorado Rockies.
Became the second player in Major League history to record a season in which he hit .320 or better with at least 35 home runs, 125 RBIs and 35 stolen bases. The other was Ken Williams who accomplished this feat in 1922 for the St. Louis Browns.
Became the second player in Major League history to have struck out at least 200 times in a season on September 20 against the Houston Astros. He joins Mark Reynolds who accomplished this feat in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Became the 57th player in Major League history to record a 30 (home runs)/30 (stolen bases) season. He reached this mark on September 25 with his 30th home run against the New York Yankees. Ellsbury also became the first player in Red Sox history to join the 30/30 club.
Became the third player in Major League history to hit multiple home runs in the first game that he had started behind the plate on September 27 against the Baltimore Orioles. The others were J. P. Arencibia (August 7, 2010) and Bobby Pfeil (July 27, 1971). Lavarnway also became the first player in Major League history to hit his first two big-league homers in the same game for a team trying to earn a postseason berth, in either of the season's last two scheduled games (excluding tie-breaker games).
With his ground out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning on September 28 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he set a modern-day record for non-pitchers with his 46th straight hitless at-bat breaking the record that was held by Bill Bergen, Dave Campbell and Craig Counsell. He finished the season hitless in 37 at-bats, which broke the record of 35 that was set by Hal Finney in 1936.
Threw the fifth no-hitter in Minnesota Twins history and the seventh in franchise history (the other two came when the club was known as the Washington Senators) in a 1–0 win over the Chicago White Sox in Chicago on May 3. It was also Liriano's first complete game in 95 major league starts. Liriano also became just the fifth pitcher in the last 30 years to throw a no-hitter that included more walks (6) than strikeouts (2). In addition, he carried the second-highest ERA (minimum three starts) of 9.13 into the outing of any pitcher to go on to throw a no-hitter, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Threw the seventh no-hitter in Tigers history by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on May 7. This was Verlander's second no-hitter, his first coming against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007. Verlander allowed one walk but still faced the minimum of 27 batters. He became the second Tigers pitcher (Virgil Trucks) and the 30th pitcher in Major League history to throw multiple career no-hitters.
Threw the ninth no-hitter in Angels history by defeating the Cleveland Indians 3–1 in Cleveland on July 27. This was Santana's first career no-hitter. Santana walked only one batter while striking out 10, but he allowed one unearned run, a wild pitch in the 1st. His no-no improved him to 6–8 on the year.
Became the first pitcher in Major League history with six wins by April 25. He defeated the Oakland Athletics to set this record. He also became the sixth pitcher since 1900 with six wins by the end of April joining Vida Blue (1971), Dave Stewart (1988), Randy Johnson (2000, 2002) and Brandon Webb (2008).
According to The Elias Sports Bureau, Mazzaro became the first pitcher to give up at least 14 runs in fewer than three innings (2.1) in baseball's modern era (since 1900) against the Cleveland Indians on May 16.
Tied the major league record by making his 28th consecutive start without recording a win on May 25 against the New York Yankees. He ties the record that is currently held by Matt Keough (1978–79) and Cliff Curtis (1910–11).
Became the first pitcher in Major League history to have appeared in 1,000 games for one team by closing out the Yankees win on May 25 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Rivera became the 15th pitcher overall to reach this plateau.
Recorded his 20th save of the season by closing out a win against the Colorado Rockies on June 26. This is the 15th time that Rivera has reached 20 saves in one season, tying Trevor Hoffman for the most 20-plus save seasons in Major League history.
Recorded his 25th save of the season by closing out a win against the Oakland Athletics on July 24. This extends his record to 15 consecutive seasons with 25 or more saves.
Set a Major League record for consecutive 30-save seasons with nine by closing out the win against the Los Angeles Angels on August 11.
With his save on September 5 against the Baltimore Orioles, Rivera set the Major League record for the most saves by any pitcher against any team. His 69th save against the Orioles broke the record that Trevor Hoffman had against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Recorded his 600th career save by closing out a win against the Seattle Mariners on September 13. He became the 2nd player to reach this mark.
With his save on September 19 against the Minnesota Twins, Rivera became the all-time saves leader in Major League history with his 602nd save, breaking Trevor Hoffman's record.
Tied the Major League record for most saves by a rookie before the All-Star break since 1969 that was set by Jonathan Papelbon in 2006 by closing out the game against the Colorado Rockies on July 5. It was Kimbrel's 26th save. He set the rookie record on July 7 with his 27th save by closing out a win against the Colorado Rockies. He finished with 28 saves before the All-Star Game.
Tied the Major League record for most saves by a rookie by recording his 40th save on August 23 against the Chicago Cubs. He tied the record that was set by Neftalí Feliz that was set in 2010. He then broke the record with his 41st against the Washington Nationals on August 31. He finished with 46 saves.
Became the first player in Major League history to allow eight-or-more runs while lasting less than an inning in each of two consecutive starts. He allowed eight runs in two-thirds of an inning on July 8 against the Boston Red Sox and then in his next start on July 30 against the New York Yankees allowed nine runs in one-third of an inning.
Set the Major League record for most consecutive scoreless road games to begin a season on August 11 against the Baltimore Orioles. He hasn't been charged with a run in 25 appearances in road games this year. He broke the record that was previously held by Mariano Rivera.
With his victory in relief against the Oakland Athletics on August 27, Aceves lifted his career record to 23–2. This set the Major League record for the most wins by a pitcher in his first 25 decisions, breaking the record held by Larry Corcoran who had 22 wins in his first 25 decisions in 1880.
Became the first pitcher in Major League history to have two months in one season with at least five wins, no losses and an ERA under 0.50. Lee went 5–0 with a 0.21 ERA in June and then went 5–0 with a 0.45 ERA in August.
Became the second player in Major League history to allow grand slams to consecutive batters faced. He gave up a grand slam to Carl Crawford on September 3 then in his next appearance on September 10, allowed a grand slam to the first batter he faced, Scott Sizemore. Greg McCarthy did this in 1998.
Became the sixth player in Major League history to finish at least seven games over .500 in seven consecutive seasons. The other pitchers to do that are in the Hall of Fame: Tim Keefe (seven years, 1883–89), John Clarkson (nine, 1884–92), Kid Nichols (nine, 1890–98), Christy Mathewson (12, 1903–14) and Lefty Grove (seven, 1927–33).
Became the second pitcher in modern Major League history to earn a victory in which he recorded three-or-fewer outs while allowing five-or-more runs on September 27 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jack Knott was the other pitcher who accomplished this on May 22, 1934.
Became the 56th manager in Major League history to have 1,000 or more victories as his Angels defeated the Cleveland Indians on May 8. Scioscia is also the 23rd manager to get 1000 or more victories with a single team. He began his career as a manager in 2000, and reached this mark in 1817 games.
Became the first team in Major League history to sweep a homestand of six games or more without scoring more than four runs in any of the games. They defeated the Colorado Rockies 4–3, 3–2, and 3–0 and defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 1–0, 4–3, and 3–2. The games took place May 6 through May 12.
Became the first team in Major League history to avoid having more than one error in its first 49 games, according to statistics provided by the Rays from the Elias Sports Bureau. The streak stopped after 52 games.
Set the American League record for consecutive starts by a pitcher under the age of 30 on July 27 against the Oakland Athletics. James Shields start gave the Rays their 705th consecutive start which broke the record set by the Washington Senators from 1913 to 1917. The last Rays pitcher that was at least 30-years-old to start was Jae Seo on May 24, 2007, which happened to be his 30th birthday.
Won their 1,000th game against the Texas Rangers on September 7. The Rays have lost 1245 games.
Became the first American League team to start a season 0–6 and make the postseason.
Became the first team in Major League history to enter the month of May with at least a 6½-game deficit in their league (pre 1969) or division (since 1969) and gain sole possession of first place during the month on May 29.
With their 90th win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 21, the Diamondbacks become the eighth team in Major League history to win 90 games in a season after losing at least 90 games in each of the previous two seasons.
With their division clinching victory on September 23, the Diamondbacks tied the Major League record for most losses in the previous season (65–97) by a team that finished in first place. The other two teams were the 1991 Atlanta Braves and the 1999 Diamondbacks.
The Pirates (six) and Astros (four) used ten pitchers in the Pirates 1–0 victory on June 14. That is the most pitchers used in a 9-inning 1–0 game played without expanded rosters in Major League history.
Became the third team in modern Major League history (since 1900) to issue no walks while sweeping a four-game series. They swept the Chicago White Sox from August 1–4. They join the Boston Red Sox who accomplished this feat against the White Sox in 1968 (August 5–8) and against Washington in 1905 (June 29 – July 3).
On September 15, Melky Cabrera hit his 40th double as an outfielder (he had one as a designated hitter) to become the first team in Major League history to have three outfielders with 40 or more doubles in a season. Joining him is Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur.
On September 21, Billy Butler hit his 40th double this season to become the fourth Royals player to reach 40 doubles in a season. The Royals become the fourth team in Major League history to have four player reach that many doubles in a season, joining the Texas Rangers (2006), Philadelphia Phillies (1932) and the Detroit Tigers (1929).
The Padres (17) and Giants (19) pitching staffs combined to strike out 36 batters in their 14-inning game on July 6. This is the most combined strikeouts in a game of 14 or fewer innings since 1900. The previous record was 35, that was set in August 2007, by the Oakland Athletics (21) and Texas Rangers (14) in 13-innings.
Became the second franchise in Major League history to record 10,000 losses in league history by losing to the Florida Marlins on July 31. They join the Philadelphia Phillies as the only other franchise to reach this mark.
The Red Sox (five) and Rays (three) combined for only eight hits in Boston's 16-inning, 1–0 victory on July 17. This is the lowest hit total in any Major League game of 14 or more innings in the live-ball era (since 1920).
Both pitchers allowed five home runs on August 12. This was the second time in Major League history that two pitchers allowed at least five home runs on the same day. The other was September 21, 1996 and Jeff D'Amico and Dave Telgheder were the pitchers.
With their loss to the New York Mets on September 24, the Phillies extended their losing streak to eight games. This set a Major League record for most consecutive losses by a team that had at least 95 wins breaking the old record of seven that was held by the 1987 Toronto Blue Jays.
With their extra-inning victory on September 22 against the Los Angeles Angels, it was their 14th consecutive extra-inning win at the Rogers Centre, which tied the Major League record that was set by the Chicago Cubs from July 1928 to August 1930.
With their 20th loss (in 27 games) to the Baltimore Orioles on September 28, the Red Sox tied a Major League record for most losses from September 1 to the end of a season by a team that entered the month in first place. The 1914 New York Giants went 21–20 to finish the season.
The national telecast breakdown is as follows, along with the maximum number of appearances per team:
Fox: Saturday afternoon Game of the Week on a regional basis; up to nine appearances per team. In addition, the network will broadcast the All-Star Game, ALCS, and World Series. Fox Deportes holds Spanish broadcast rights to the World Series. Most Saturday games are scheduled to start at 4 PM US EDT/1 pm PDT, except for games on April 9, April 30 and May 7, when those telecasts began at 1 PM US EDT/10 AM US PDT due to NASCAR coverage and on May 14, 21 and 28, the latter because of the UEFA Champions League final as those games are tenatively scheduled to start at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.
TBS: Sunday afternoon games starting on April 3; 13 appearances per team. In addition, the network will carry the announcement of the All-Star Teams in the National and American Leagues on July 3 as well as the Division Series and the NLCS as per the alternating contract with Fox. Blackout rules will again apply here as HLN will be broadcast in the teams' markets during the regular season.
MLB Network: The network will again air a Thursday Night Game of the Week, games on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights, and selected afternoon games. Thursday Night games are mostly produced in-house, while all other games come off the home team's video production. Blackouts will once again apply here, as viewers in the competing teams' markets will see an alternate game off the home team feed of selected teams. In addition, holiday games on Memorial Day (May 30), day games on July 4, Labor Day (September 5) and in addition, commencing in August, expanded coverage of the pennant races will be taking place.
In Canada, Toronto Blue Jays games will be televised on Rogers Sportsnet. RSN also holds the Canadian rights to air the Fox and ESPN/ESPN2 games if they do not conflict with Blue Jays games, and additional regular season games on a regional basis on Rogers Sportsnet One as well as the All-Star Game and the entire postseason. TSN2 holds rights to the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecasts.
In Australia, it is free to air channel One HD and shows up to five games live per week, and European channel ESPN America broadcasts games as well.
For international viewers, MLB International will broadcast the All-Star Game, the NLCS and the World Series.
ESPN Radio will once again serve as MLB's national radio network, broadcasting Sunday Night Baseball as well as selected Saturday and holiday games during the regular season, the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, and all postseason series. ESPN Deportes Radio holds the Spanish language rights to the Fall Classic.
The San Diego Padres have changed the color of their road uniforms from the khaki/sand color to the standard gray road uniform in 2011.
The Washington Nationals unveiled new uniforms on November 10. The road uniform remains untouched, except for the minor modifications in the letter W and a navy cap with red bill. The home and alternate uniforms will feature the 'pretzeled W' logo exclusively on the left side, with the number on the right side. The gold accents were also removed. The blue alternates will feature the 'pretzeled W' in the Stars and Stripes motif and will be used on holiday games, and will be accompanied with the official MLB commeretive cap.
The Cleveland Indians unveiled a new road uniform featuring 'Cleveland' in block lettering and in navy with red trim. The accompanying cap will feature a red block 'C' in navy blue, previously accompanying the cream retro home alternates, which will now be dressed with an alternate cap featuring a navy block 'C' in red.
The Chicago White Sox added the Old English Sox logo on the left sleeve of the road uniforms, replacing the 'Pale Hose' logo.
The Braves and Phillies wore Negro League uniforms for the May 14 with the Braves donning the Atlanta Black Crackers replicas, and the Phillies wearing Philadelphia Stars uniforms. In addition, for the Civil Rights Game the following day, both teams donned 1974 uniforms with a special 'Civil Rights Game' patch on the upper back of the jersey.
The Padres were involved in four Turn Back the Clock games, their first was on June 11 at home against the Nationals as both donned 1936 uniforms (The Pacific Coast League version) and the Nats wore 1936 American League forerunners unis. On July 1, the Padres donned their brown, orange and yellow 1984 championship unis against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field, then honored their late manager Dick Williams wearing a patch with his initials ("RHW") on July 14 at home against the Giants, and again on July 22 in Philadelphia with the Ray Kroc initials.
Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers chose in an online survey the 1944 light blue uniforms worn in Brooklyn for night games, which were made of satin; however, they will wear these for six weekday day games at Dodger Stadium and they will be made from polyester. The opponents for all the weekday games will wear throwbacks as well, starting with the Atlanta Braves on April 21, the Chicago Cubs on May 4, the Cincinnati Reds on June 15, and the Detroit Tigers on June 22. The Phillies and Padres opted to wear their regular uniforms for their August 10 and 31 games.
On May 21, the Red Sox and Cubs wore 1918 uniforms to mark the Cubs' first visit to Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.
July 9 saw a tribute to the Negro Leagues in Milwaukee, with the Brewers donning the 1921 Milwaukee Bears set, while the Cincinnati Reds wore 1930s Cincinnati Tigers uniforms. A week later, during the 9th Annual Negro League weekend at Detroit, the Chicago White Sox wore the jerseys of the Chicago American Giants and the Detroit Tigers honored the Detroit Stars during the 17th Annual Negro League Tribute Game. Another Nego League tribute game was held at PNC Park where the Pirates (Homestead Grays) faced the Cardinals (St. Louis Stars).
On July 17, the A's and Angels wore 1980s throwbacks for "80's Day" at Oakland. As part of the promotion, fans got a MC Hammer bobblehead, who was once an executive under Charles O. Finley's ownership in the late 1970s.
On September 9–11, the Diamondbacks wore their purple pinstripe uniforms that were used in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. They wore the old uniforms in honor of the 10th anniversary reunion of the 2001 team that defeated the Yankees to win their only World Series.
Besides the Diamondbacks wearing the All-Star Game logo on their uniforms, the following teams have added several memorial patches:
Both the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers honored Sparky Anderson with a memorial on their sleeves. Cincinnati will feature "SPARKY", while the Tigers will not only wear "Sparky", but also add his uniform #11 on a patch. In addition, the Tigers retired Anderson's #11;
The Indians honored Bob Feller with a patch featuring his retired #19 and an illustration of him in his famous windup;
The Dodgers saluted Duke Snider with a patch in a black circle with his retired #4 in white on their right sleeve;
The Mariners honored their long-time play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus with a patch on their sleeve, featuring his famous call "My Oh My!";
Following the passing of Harmon Killebrew, the Twins added his retired number 3 to the right sleeve, and wore their pinstriped throwback alternate home uniforms for the rest of the season at Target Field.
Following the death of Paul Splittorff, the all-time winningest pitcher in the history of the Kansas City Royals, as well as one of their color commentators, the team started wearing a black circular patch as of May 26 with "SPLITT" in white lettering.
Both the Royals and Cardinals wore patches during their interleague series from June 17 to 19 that remembered the May 22, 2011 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, killing over 150 people. The patches featured an outline of the state of Missouri, both teams' logos and the words "TEAMS UNITE FOR JOPLIN".
The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics sported black ribbons on their uniforms on July 8, 2011, in memory of Rangers fan Shannon Stone, who died from a 20-foot fall after catching Josh Hamilton's toss into the left field stands off the foul ball during the second inning of Texas' 6–0 win over the A's at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington the night before. They sported the ribbons for the remainder of their series.
The Baltimore Orioles honored the late pitcher and broadcaster Mike Flanagan by sporting a black circular patch with his nickname "FLANNY" on their right sleeve. Orioles broadcasters also wore it on their jackets.
The Milwaukee Brewers honored long-time groundskeeper Gary Vanden Berg by sporting a navy blue patch with the initials "GV" in the front left of their uniforms. Vanden Berg died on October 12.
The Seattle Mariners wore their teal alternative jerseys from the 1990s on Monday and Friday home games. Their navy jerseys will only be worn on the road.
The Oakland Athletics revealed their new yellow alternate home jersey on January 27, marking the first time the team has had a gold jersey since 1986. The A's also began to wear their yellow alternates on select road games, beginning on June 21 with the interleague series against the New York Mets, instead of their customary green alternates.
The Minnesota Twins had a new alternate for the road based on the same concept as the navy jersey except it will feature "Minnesota" across the chest in the same font as the gray jersey.
In honor of Hispanic Night, the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals wore special uniforms on June 11 at Miller Park. The Cardinals wore their gray road uniforms, but with the word "Cardenales", while the Brewers wore special gold uniforms with the word "Cerveceros." On August 13, the Brewers and Pirates celebrated German Heritage Day donning jerseys with German names ("Bierbrauer" for Milwaukee and "Piraten" for Pittsburgh); Milwaukee pitcher Zach Greinke, in the game as a pinch hitter, accidentally wore a "Bierbrauer" jersey during the previous night's game as well. The team also again wore gold jerseys (with the "Brewers" name) on September 10 as part of a "gold out" against the Phillies.
On August 5, the New York Mets wore special alternate jerseys against the Atlanta Braves for Fiesta Latina night at Citi Field honoring Latino culture. They are similar to their black alternate jerseys, but are blue with orange piping and feature "Los Mets" written in orange lettering and white trim. The Mets wore the blue "Los Mets" jerseys again on September 1 against the Florida Marlins for Hispanic Heritage Night.
On August 20, the Houston Astros also wore Latin-inspired jerseys against the San Francisco Giants at Minute Maid Park. They used their non-pinstriped white home jerseys, with the addition of the word "Los" atop the word "Astros" in brick red with sand trim.
On September 24, the Arizona Diamondbacks also wore Latin-inspired jerseys for Hispanic Heritage Day against the Giants at Chase Field. The jersey is similar to their black alternate uniforms, but with "Los D-Backs" substituting for the 'A' logo.
Majestic Athletic will provide new button-down front spring training/batting practice jerseys with a modified design, and new jackets for all teams that started with the 2010 postseason.
On April 15, all players on all teams – and all umpires – wore #42 on the commemoration of the 64th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the majors.
Special caps were worn on Memorial Day and July 4 (For the Blue Jays, also on Canada Day as well). The caps were either red or blue with a white front and the team's logo in a Stars-and-Stripes motif (Toronto's caps have a Canadian flag). A portion of the proceeds made from sales of the caps will help Welcome Home Veterans. The New York Mets fittingly hosted Sunday night game on ESPN on September 11 to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks; their city was targeted by the terrorists on September 11, 2001 and they hosted the first major professional sporting event held in New York City since the attacks, on September 11, 2001.
Originally the Major League teams will be wearing their special patriotic caps on September 11, but it was decided that they will wear their regular caps with a few alterations. All American-based Major League teams sported a patch of the American flag behind their uniforms as well as on both sides of their baseball caps, in commemoration of the aforementioned September 11 attacks. The Toronto Blue Jays sported a patch containing both the American and Canadian flags crossing each other on their uniforms, while their caps contained the American flag on the left and the Canadian flag on the right.
Selected players who participated in the All-Star Game wore uniforms with two stars on each side of the MLB logo as well as the All-Star Game patch on the baseball cap to indicate their All-Star status. They wore these on the games played from July 4–10, the week before the All-Star Game.
The Los Angeles Angels celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2011. Founded by Gene Autry in 1961, the team played at Los Angeles' Wrigley Field in their first season, then shared Dodger Stadium (called "Chavez Ravine" by Angels management) with the Dodgers before moving to Anaheim in 1966 and their own stadium, Anaheim Stadium (later to become Edison International Field of Anaheim and finally Angel Stadium of Anaheim). That year, the team name was altered to the California Angels. After being purchased by The Walt Disney Company in 1997, the team name was changed to the Anaheim Angels and after Arte Moreno purchased the team, the name was changed to its current moniker to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005. For the season, in addition to the patch, the Angels changed the color of the halo from silver to gold on their uniforms, just as it looked from 1971 through 1996. In addition, on selected Friday night games, the team donned replicas of five of the six styles of uniforms they have worn, the most notable omission being that of the "Periwinkle Blue" era from 1997 to 2001, when Disney owned the team.
Due to the U2360° Tour concert scheduled June 29 at Sun Life Stadium and the needed time to set up the stage, the Marlins were forced to move their scheduled home games for June 24–26 against the Seattle Mariners to the Mariners' park at Safeco Field. As the Marlins were the home team, NL rules (no designated hitter) were applied. Mariners and Marlins would not meet again in Miami until 2014.