This Day in Baseball History

May 24, 8:55 AM

2000 - Mark McGwire becomes fastest player to hit 20 home runs in a season

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire began the 2000 season at a record-setting pace, belting 20 home runs in his first 35 games. 

The blast off Florida Marlins pitcher Vladimir Nunez - his third home run in as many days - broke Mickey Mantle's record by six games, making McGwire the fastest person to reach the 20 home run mark to began a season. 

During the streak, McGwire homered in 17 of 35 games, including a three home run, seven RBI performance against the Philadelphia Phillies the week before.

McGwire would cool off however, hitting one home run over the next 13 games and would finish the season with 32, as injuries limited him to 89 games. 

2000 - 16 Dodger players and three coaches suspended for fight with fans 

During the ninth inning of a 6-5 Los Angeles Dodgers' win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 16, 2000, a fight erupted after a fan tried to steal Dodger catcher Chad Kreuter's hat.

Kreuter was in the bullpen area when a fan reached over and grabbed his hat and ran off. Kreuter took off after the fan as several teammates followed, causing the benches to clear, resulting in several ejections and a delay of almost 10 minutes. 

"If you wanted a hat that bad, be polite and ask for one. We'll give it to you. We've got a whole bunch of them," Dodger catcher Todd Hundley told Sports Illustrated.

"When you get physical, if you even touch a player, then it's on."

While three fans would be arrested, they would not be the only ones to face discipline, as sixteen Dodger players and three coaches were suspended eight days later for a total of 60 games, the harshest penalty ever handed down by MLB at the time. 

Birthdays

1965 - Rob Ducey

1972 - Danny Bautista

1973 - Bartolo Colon

1978 - Brad Penny

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters