The 1996 Major League Baseball season was the final season of play before the beginning of Interleague play the following season. It ended with the New York Yankees defeating the defending champion Atlanta Braves in six games for the World Series title, the Yankees first championship since 1978. The record for most home runs hit in an MLB regular season, set at 4,458 in 1987, was broken, as the AL and NL combined to hit 4,962 home runs. Only 196 shutouts were recorded in the 2,266 MLB regular-season games.
|1996 MLB season|
|League||Major League Baseball|
|Duration||March 31 – October 26, 1996|
|Top draft pick||Kris Benson|
|Picked by||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Season MVP||AL: Juan González (TEX)|
NL: Ken Caminiti (SD)
|AL champions||New York Yankees|
|AL runners-up||Baltimore Orioles|
|NL champions||Atlanta Braves|
|NL runners-up||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Champions||New York Yankees|
|World Series MVP||John Wetteland (NYY)|
|League Championship Series
|Baseball Writers' Association of America Awards|
|BBWAA Award||National League||American League|
|Rookie of the Year||Todd Hollandsworth (LA)||Derek Jeter (NYY)|
|Cy Young Award||John Smoltz (ATL)||Pat Hentgen (TOR)|
|Manager of the Year||Johnny Oates (TEX)||Bruce Bochy (SD)|
|Most Valuable Player||Ken Caminiti (SD)||Juan González (TEX)|
|Gold Glove Awards|
|Position||National League||American League|
|Pitcher||Greg Maddux (ATL)||Mike Mussina (BAL)|
|Catcher||Charles Johnson (FLA)||Iván Rodríguez (TEX)|
|First Baseman||Mark Grace (CHC)||J. T. Snow (CAL)|
|Second Baseman||Craig Biggio (HOU)||Roberto Alomar (BAL)|
|Third Baseman||Ken Caminiti (SD)||Robin Ventura (CHW)|
|Shortstop||Barry Larkin (CIN)||Omar Vizquel (CLE)|
|Outfielders||Barry Bonds (SF)||Kenny Lofton (CLE)|
|Marquis Grissom (MTL)||Jay Buhner (SEA)|
|Steve Finley (SD)||Ken Griffey Jr. (SEA)|
|Silver Slugger Awards|
|Pitcher/Designated Hitter||Tom Glavine (ATL)||Paul Molitor (MIN)|
|Catcher||Mike Piazza (LA)||Iván Rodríguez (TEX)|
|First Baseman||Andrés Galarraga (COL)||Mark McGwire (OAK)|
|Second Baseman||Eric Young (COL)||Roberto Alomar (BAL)|
|Third Baseman||Ken Caminiti (SD)||Jim Thome (CLE)|
|Shortstop||Barry Larkin (CIN)||Alex Rodriguez (SEA)|
|Outfielders||Barry Bonds (SF)||Albert Belle (CLE)|
|Ellis Burks (COL)||Juan González (TEX)|
|Gary Sheffield (FLA)||Ken Griffey Jr. (SEA)|
|Statistic||American League||National League|
|AVG||Alex Rodriguez SEA||.358||Tony Gwynn SD||.353|
|HR||Mark McGwire OAK||52||Andrés Galarraga COL||47|
|RBI||Albert Belle CLE||148||Andrés Galarraga COL||150|
|Wins||Andy Pettitte NYY||21||John Smoltz ATL||24|
|ERA||Juan Guzmán TOR||2.93||Kevin Brown FLA||1.89|
|SO||Roger Clemens BOS||257||John Smoltz ATL||276|
|SV||John Wetteland NYY||43||Jeff Brantley CIN
Todd Worrell LA
|SB||Kenny Lofton CLE||75||Eric Young COL||53|
|Baltimore Orioles||Davey Johnson|
|Boston Red Sox||Kevin Kennedy|
|California Angels||Marcel Lachemann, John McNamara, Joe Maddon|
|Chicago White Sox||Terry Bevington|
|Cleveland Indians||Mike Hargrove|
|Detroit Tigers||Buddy Bell|
|Kansas City Royals||Bob Boone|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Phil Garner|
|Minnesota Twins||Tom Kelly|
|New York Yankees||Joe Torre||Won World Series|
|Oakland Athletics||Art Howe|
|Seattle Mariners||Lou Piniella|
|Texas Rangers||Johnny Oates|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Cito Gaston|
|Atlanta Braves||Bobby Cox||Won National League Pennant|
|Chicago Cubs||Jim Riggleman|
|Cincinnati Reds||Ray Knight|
|Colorado Rockies||Don Baylor|
|Florida Marlins||Rene Lachemann, Cookie Rojas, John Boles|
|Houston Astros||Terry Collins|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Tommy Lasorda, Bill Russell|
|Montreal Expos||Felipe Alou|
|New York Mets||Dallas Green, Bobby Valentine|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Jim Fregosi|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Jim Leyland|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Tony La Russa|
|San Diego Padres||Bruce Bochy|
|San Francisco Giants||Dusty Baker|
|Network||Day of week||Announcers|
|Jon Miller, Joe Morgan|
|Fox||Saturday afternoons||Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Thom Brennaman, Bob Brenly|
|NBC||None[n1 1]||Bob Costas, Joe Morgan, Bob Uecker|
The 1996 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 1996 American League playoffs, matched the East Division champion New York Yankees against the Wild Card team, the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees had the home field advantage in the series because they had won their division and the Orioles were the Wild Card team.1996 American League Division Series
The 1996 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 1996 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 1, and ended on Saturday, October 5, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Cleveland Indians (Central Division champion, 99–62) vs. (4) Baltimore Orioles (Wild Card, 88–74): Orioles win series, 3–1.
(2) Texas Rangers (Western Division champion, 90–72) vs. (3) New York Yankees (Eastern Division champion, 92–70): Yankees win series, 3–1.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field "advantage" was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. Had the 1996 ALDS been played under the 1998-2011 arrangement, then Cleveland (1) would have still faced off against Baltimore (4) and New York (2) would have likewise still faced off against Texas (3) but would also have had home field advantage. Under the format adopted in 2012, which removed the prohibition against teams from the same division meeting in the Division Series, the matchups also would have been Cleveland-Baltimore and New York-Texas, with the Yankees having home field advantage.
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees went on to meet in the AL Championship Series (ALCS). The Yankees became the American League champion, and defeated the of National League champion Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series.1996 Boston Red Sox season
The 1996 Boston Red Sox season was the 96th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League East with a record of 85 wins and 77 losses, seven games behind the New York Yankees.1996 Chicago Cubs season
The 1996 Chicago Cubs season was the 125th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 121st in the National League and the 81st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League Central with a record of 76–86.1996 Chicago White Sox season
The 1996 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 97th season. They finished with a record 85-77, good enough for 2nd place in the American League Central, 14.5 games behind the 1st place Cleveland Indians.1996 Cincinnati Reds season
The Cincinnati Reds' 1996 season consisted of the Cincinnati Reds attempting to win the National League Central.1996 Cleveland Indians season
For the second consecutive season, the Indians had the best record in Major League Baseball. This was the first time in franchise history that the Indians had accomplished that feat.1996 Kansas City Royals season
The 1996 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 5th in the American League Central with a record of 75 wins and 86 losses.1996 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1996 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 67th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 9, 1996, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. This marked the fifteenth and final all star game appearance of Ozzie Smith, who retired after the 1996 season. Smith entered the game in the top of the sixth inning. His first at-bat was greeted by chants of "Oz-zie, Oz-zie" from the Philadelphia crowd. Iron Man Cal Ripken, Jr., who was in the midst of his record-breaking run of consecutive games played, broke his nose during the pre-game AL team picture. However, he was ready to go at game time and started at SS.
During the pregame ceremonies, Kelsey Grammer of Frasier sang the American National Anthem and Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan sang the Canadian National Anthem. U.S. Congressman Jim Bunning (who was elected to the baseball hall-of-fame in 1996) joined other Phillies' hall of fame alumni Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts in tossing the ceremonial first pitches.
Joe Carter, the Toronto Blue Jays representative to the All-Star Game, received boos from the crowd for his home run that ended the 1993 World Series.The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 6–0. The National League would not win another All-Star Game until 2010.
Then-Chairman of the Executive Committee Bud Selig presented the All-Star Game MVP Award to Mike Piazza. Bobby Brown had presented the MVP Award in 1993, while National League President Len Coleman had presented the award in 1994 and 1995. After presenting the MVP Award at the 1998 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Selig was officially named Commissioner of Baseball.
This is the only All-Star Game in which not a single pitcher walked a batter; appropriately, Braves closer Mark Wohlers was the final pitcher of the game.
Veterans Stadium also held the "distinction" of being the most recent host stadium to be closed down, a distinction it lost after Yankee Stadium closed at the conclusion of the 2008 season. This is also, as of the end of the 2017 MLB season, the last MLB All-Star Game to be played on artificial turf (there are now only two MLB stadiums with artificial turf, but both are of the next-generation variety).1996 Major League Baseball draft
The 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 4 and 5, 1996. A total of 1740 players were drafted over the course of 100 rounds.
This is the only draft to last 100 rounds. The last player taken was outfielder Aron Amundson, drafted by the New York Yankees in the 100th round.
This draft is also notable because a record four first-round draft picks were not offered contracts by the teams that drafted them and subsequently became free agents.1996 National League Championship Series
The 1996 National League Championship Series (NLCS) matched the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals. It was the second NLCS meeting of the two teams and first since 1982. The Braves won in seven games, becoming the eighth team in baseball history to win a best-of-seven postseason series after being down 3–1, and first to overcome such a deficit in the NLCS. They outscored the Cardinals, 32–1, over the final three games. Also, Bobby Cox became the only manager to be on both the winning and losing end of such a comeback in postseason history, having previously blown the 1985 American League Championship Series with the Toronto Blue Jays against the Kansas City Royals.
The Braves would go on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in six games.1996 National League Division Series
The 1996 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1996 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 1, and ended on Saturday, October 5, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Los Angeles Dodgers (Wild Card, 90–72): Braves won series, 3–0.
(2) San Diego Padres (Western Division champion, 91–71) vs. (3) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 88–74): Cardinals won series, 3–0.The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field "advantage" was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. The Padres played the Cardinals, rather than the wild card Dodgers, because the Padres and Dodgers are in the same division. Had the 1996 NLDS been played under the 1998-2011 arrangement, then Atlanta (1) would have still faced off against Los Angeles (St. Louis had a worse record, but would have faced Atlanta because of the mandate of no teams from the same division playing against each other in the Division Series) and San Diego likewise would have still faced off against St. Louis, but the Cardinals would have had home field advantage. Under the 2012-present format, which removed the prohibition against teams from the same division meeting in the Division Series, the matchups still would have been Atlanta-Los Angeles and St. Louis-San Diego, with the Braves and Cardinals having home field advantage.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves both swept their Division Series, and went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Braves would rally to win that series four games to three and become the National League champion, but would lose to the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1996 World Series.1996 New York Mets season
The New York Mets' 1996 season was the 35th regular season for the Mets. They went 71-91 and finished 4th in the NL East. They were managed by Dallas Green and Bobby Valentine. They played home games at Shea Stadium.1996 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1996 Philadelphia Phillies season was the 114th season in the history of the franchise. The Phillies finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 67 wins and 95 losses. They also hosted the 1996 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.1996 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 1996 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 115th season of the franchise; the 110th in the National League. This was their 27th season at Three Rivers Stadium. The Pirates finished fifth and last in the National League Central with a record of 73–89.1996 San Diego Padres season
The 1996 San Diego Padres season was the 28th season in franchise history.1996 San Francisco Giants season
The 1996 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 114th season in Major League Baseball, their 39th season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 37th at 3Com Park at Candlestick Point. The team finished in fourth place in the National League West with a 68-94 record, 23 games behind the San Diego Padres.1996 Texas Rangers season
The Texas Rangers 1996 season involved the Rangers finishing 1st in the American League west with a record of 90 wins and 72 losses. It would be the first post-season appearance for the Rangers in franchise history.
The Rangers would win their first post-season game at Yankee Stadium against the New York Yankees, but would lose the last three games to lose the division series. The one post-season win would be the club's only post-season success until 2010.Jeffrey Maier
Jeffrey "Jeff" Maier (born November 15, 1983) is an American baseball fan who received media attention for an incident in which he was involved as a 12-year-old at a baseball game. During Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, Maier deflected a batted ball, hit by Derek Jeter, into the Yankee Stadium stands for what umpires ruled to be a home run, rather than fan interference. His action altered the course of Game 1, as the resulting home run allowed the Yankees to tie the score. They won the game and won the series four games to one en route to winning the World Series.
1996 MLB season by team