1996 in baseball
The following are the baseball events of the year 1996 throughout the world.
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- The asterisk denotes the club that won the wild card for its respective league.
- January 8 – For only the seventh time in history, and the first time since 1971, the Baseball Writers' Association of America fails to select a player for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- February 8 – Future Hall-of-Famer Dave Winfield announces his retirement. He is the oldest to hit for the cycle (in 1991) and is one of five players to reach 3,000 hits, 450 home runs and 200 stolen bases. Winfield was born on the day that Bobby Thomson hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" that led the New York Giants to the 1951 NL pennant.
- March 5 – The Veterans Committee elects four new members to the Hall of Fame, and just misses naming a fifth. The group elected includes Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager for 17 seasons; pitcher Jim Bunning, who wins 100 games in each league; 19th-century manager Ned Hanlon, who wins pennants in Baltimore and Brooklyn, and Bill Foster, the Negro Leagues' winningest pitcher. Second baseman Nellie Fox receives the necessary 75% of the Committee's votes, but the rules allow for election of only one modern player, and Bunning has more votes.
- April 1 – Seven pitches into the first game of the season, at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati, home plate umpire John McSherry collapses on the field and dies of a massive heart attack. The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos is postponed, along with the rest of the games scheduled for that day. Reds owner Marge Schott later comes under fire for wanting the game in Cincinnati to continue despite the events (and against the wishes of the players on both teams), saying that she feels "cheated" when it's canceled.
- April 9 – In a wild Opening Day game at Tiger Stadium, the Detroit Tigers defeat the Seattle Mariners 10-9, scoring their 10 runs on just 4 hits. Alan Trammell hits a 3rd-inning home run, the final one of his career.
- April 11 – Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddux ends his major league record for consecutive road victories with a 2–1 loss to the San Diego Padres. Maddux is 18-0 with an 0.99 earned run average in 20 regular-season road starts since losing to the Montreal Expos on June 27, 1994.
- April 16 – Cecil Fielder hits three home runs helping the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 13–8.
- April 27 – Barry Bonds hits 300th career home run.
- April 30 – At Cinergy Field, Jeff King of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits two home runs in the fourth inning of a 10-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. King, who had hit two home runs in the second inning of the Pirates' August 8, 1995 game against the San Francisco Giants, becomes the third player to hit two home runs in one inning on two occasions, joining Willie McCovey and Andre Dawson.
- May 7 – Mike Piazza hits 100th career home run.
- May 11 – At Pro Player Stadium, Al Leiter of the Florida Marlins no-hits the Colorado Rockies 11-0, the first no-hitter in Marlins history.
- May 12 – Rafael Palmeiro hits 200th career home run.
- May 14 – New York Yankee pitcher Dwight Gooden pitches the first Yankee Stadium no-hitter in 3 years as his Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 3-0.
- May 17 – At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Chris Hoiles, batting with the bases loaded and his Baltimore Orioles trailing the Seattle Mariners 13-10, hits a grand slam home run off Norm Charlton for a 14-13 Oriole victory. Hoiles' home run, one of only 24 "ultimate grand slams" in Major League history, becomes the most ultimate, as it occurs on a full count with two outs—to date, the only time in Major League history that this occurs.
- May 21 – Ken Griffey, Jr. hits 200th career home run helping Seattle Mariners beat Boston Red Sox 13-7.
- May 24 – Ken Griffey, Jr. hits 3 home runs helping Seattle Mariners beat New York Yankees 10-4.
- May 28 – Cal Ripken hits 3 home runs helping Baltimore Orioles beat Seattle Mariners 12-8.
- June 5 – Sammy Sosa hits 3 home runs helping Chicago Cubs beat Philadelphia Phillies 9-6.
- June 6 – The Boston Red Sox beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4, as John Valentin of Boston hits for the cycle and the White Sox complete a triple play. It marks the first time since July 1, 1931 that both events occur in the same game. The cycle makes Valentin, who turned an unassisted triple play in 1994, the first player to turn an unassisted triple play and hit for the cycle. Later, Troy Tulowitzki joins Valentin in accomplishing both feats.
- June 23 – The Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium by a score of 4-3. It is the last game and victory in Tommy Lasorda's career. The next day he checks himself into a hospital with abdominal pains which he learns are the symptoms of a heart attack. He retires formally on July 29 with 1,599 wins.
- June 29 – Mike Piazza hits 3 home runs helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 13-10.
- July 9 – At Veterans Stadium, the National League defeats the American League 6-0 in the All-Star Game. Ken Caminiti and Mike Piazza hit home runs for the winners. The game is the first All-Star contest in which no walks are issued by either team. The Orioles' Cal Ripken, Jr. starts the game, despite suffering a broken nose when he accidentally catches a forearm from White Sox reliever Roberto Hernández when the latter slips on the tarp during the AL team photo shoot.
- July 12 – After the failure of two operations to repair the glaucoma-induced damage that blinded him in his right eye, the Minnesota Twins' much loved outfielder Kirby Puckett announces his retirement effective immediately.
- July 28 – Darryl Strawberry hits his 300th career home run, which helps the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2.
- August 6 – Darryl Strawberry hits 3 home runs helping the New York Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 9-2.
- August 16 – The first official Major League game to be played outside of Canada and the United States takes place at Estadio Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. The San Diego Padres win behind, appropriately, Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
- September 2 – At the Kingdome, Mike Greenwell drives in all nine Boston Red Sox runs in his team's 9-8, 10-inning victory over the Seattle Mariners. The nine RBIs are the most by one player accounting for all of his team's runs in one game. Greenwell, whose evening includes two home runs, singles in the tenth to score Wil Cordero for the winning run.
- September 6 – Eddie Murray of the Baltimore Orioles becomes the 15th player in major league history to hit 500 home runs. He homers off Felipe Lira in the seventh inning of the Orioles' 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards. Murray also joins Hank Aaron and Willie Mays as the only big leaguers to reach both this milestone and also the 3,000 hit mark.
- September 6 – Brett Butler returns to the Los Angeles Dodgers line-up four months after having surgery for throat cancer. The 39-year-old center fielder scores the decisive run in a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- September 16 – Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins becomes the first DH with 3000 career hits. He is the first player in history to reach the milestone by collecting a triple.
- September 17 – Hideo Nomo pitches a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 9-0 victory. Nomo walks four batters and strikes out eight.
- September 18 – Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox ties his own Major League record for a nine inning game by striking out twenty Detroit Tigers en route to a 4-0 win.
- September 27 – Barry Bonds steals his 40th base of the season, becoming the second member of Major League Baseball's 40–40 club. Bonds' San Francisco Giants defeat the Colorado Rockies, 9-3.
- September 29 – Against the Toronto Blue Jays at the SkyDome, Brady Anderson of the Baltimore Orioles hits his 50th home run of the season. The home run, leading off the game, breaks Frank Robinson's single-season franchise record of 49 home runs in 1966. Anderson also becomes the first player to hit 50 home runs in one season and steal 50 bases in another, having stolen 52 in 1992. However, the Blue Jays give up no more runs and defeat the Orioles 4-1 for Pat Hentgen's 20th victory of the season. Hentgen, the eventual American League Cy Young Award winner, becomes only the second 20-game winner in Jays history, after Jack Morris winning 21 games in 1992.
- October 24 – The Atlanta Braves play their final game at Fulton County Stadium vs. the New York Yankees.
- October 26 – The New York Yankees take their fourth victory in a row from the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, giving them the 1996 World Series and their 23rd World Championship. Starter Jimmy Key gets the win with help from closer John Wetteland, whose four saves earn him the MVP trophy.
- November 12 – Pat Hentgen of the Toronto Blue Jays edges Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees for the Cy Young Award in the closest American League voting since 1972 when Gaylord Perry tops Wilbur Wood by six points. Hentgen, who posts a 20-10 record with a 3.22 ERA and leads the Major Leagues in complete games (10), outpoints Pettitte (21-8, 3.87) by the narrow margin of 110-104. Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, who goes 8-3 with a 2.09 ERA and five saves in 61 appearances, finishes third in the ballot and receives one first-place vote.
- November 26 – Less than three weeks after major league owners vote 18-12 against ratification of baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, owners vote again and this time approve it by a vote of 26-4. The landmark agreement brings interleague play to the regular season for the first time as well as revenue sharing among owners and a payroll tax on players.
- November 30 – Ken Caminiti of the San Diego Padres is the unanimous choice as National League Most Valuable Player. In 2002, he would be the first player of his era to admit that he uses steroids, specifically during this season, and dies in 2004 of a heart attack thought to be drug related. Mike Piazza is the runner-up for the award.
- January 3 – Connie Ryan, 75, first baseman for five Major League teams (1942-'53), who later coached for the Braves and Rangers (1957-'79)
- January 5 – Elmer Singleton, 77, pitcher for the Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators between 1945 and 1959
- January 9 – Roger Freed, 49, outfielder who played from 1970 through 1979 for the Orioles, Phillies, Reds, Expos and Cardinals
- January 9 – Overton Tremper, 89, outfielder for the Brooklyn Robins in the 1927 and 1928 seasons
- January 10 – Joe Schultz, 77, catcher, coach and manager, who was the only manager in Seattle Pilots history and later managed the Milwaukee Brewers in their inaugural season
- January 22 – Dick Rand, 64, backup catcher for the Cardinals and Pirates between 1953 and 1957
- January 25 – Mike Clark, 73, relief pitcher who posted a 3-0 record and a 5.31 ERA for the Cardinals from 1952 to 1953
- February 8 – Del Ennis, 70, All-Star left fielder for the Phillies who had seven 100-RBI seasons, leading the NL for the 1950 "Whiz Kids" team, and was the team's career home run leader (259) until 1980
- February 19 – Charles O. Finley, 77, owner of the Athletics from 1960 to 1981 who moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland, and was known for numerous gimmicks and controversies; won three straight World Series from 1972–74
- February 20 – Carolyn Morris, 70, All-Star female pitcher who hurled a perfect game and two no-hitters in the AAGPBL
- March 8 – Bill Nicholson, 81, 5-time All-Star right fielder for the Cubs and Phillies who twice led the NL in home runs and RBI
- March 20 – Jim Pendleton, 72, outfielder for the Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Colt .45s from 1953 to 1962
- March 21 – Ruby Stephens, 71, female pitcher who posted a 61-53 record in six AAGPBL seasons, and hurled a no-hitter in 1950
- April 1 – John McSherry, 51, National League umpire since 1971 who worked in eight NLCS and two World Series
- April 14 – Clyde McNeal, 67, shortstop in the Negro leagues
- April 26 – Milt Gaston, 100, pitched from 1924 through 1934 for the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox
- May 3 – Alex Kellner, 71, an All-Star pitcher who played for the Athletics, Reds and Cardinals between 1948 and 1959
- May 4 – Gus Keriazakos, 64, the second youngest player in 1950, he pitched for the White Sox, Senators and Athletics in 1950 and 1954–1955.
- May 10 – Joe Holden, 82, catcher who played from 1934 through 1936 for the Philadelphia Phillies
- May 19 – Johnny Berardino, 79, infielder for the Browns and Indians who topped 80 RBI in 1940 and 1941; became an actor, best known for the soap opera General Hospital
- May 26 – Mike Sharperson, 34, All-Star infielder for the Dodgers who batted .300 in 1992
- June 16 – Mel Allen, 83, legendary broadcaster who spent over 35 years with the Yankees, also on national broadcasts and This Week in Baseball
- July 8 – Jim Busby, 69, All-Star center fielder for six teams who batted .312 for 1953 Senators, led AL in putouts twice; later a coach
- July 23 – Clara Cook, 75, AAGPBL pitcher, member of the 1944 Milwaukee Chicks champion team
- August 4 – Willard Brown, 81, All-Star outfielder of the Negro Leagues who became the first black player to hit a home run in the American League
- September 4 – Babe Dahlgren, 84, All-Star first baseman best remembered for replacing Lou Gehrig to end his 2,130 consecutive games streak, hitting a home run in the game
- September 6 – Barney McCosky, 79, outfielder for the Tigers and Athletics who batted .312 lifetime, led AL in hits in 1940
- September 9 – Harry Hanebrink, 68, second baseman/left fielder who hit .224 for the Milwaukee Braves and Philadelphia Phillies from 1953 to 1958
- September 22 – Joanne Winter, 71, AAGPBL All-Star pitcher and later a master teacher of golf for 30 years
- October 4 – Joe Hoerner, 59, All-Star reliever for seven teams who averaged 15 saves for 1966–69 Cardinals.
- October 23 – Bob Grim, 66, All-Star pitcher who won the 1954 AL Rookie of the Year Award for the New York Yankees.
- October 29 – Ewell Blackwell, 74, six-time All-Star pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who came within two outs of throwing consecutive no-hitters in 1947; led NL in wins and strikeouts that season.
- November 11 – Lum Harris, 81, manager who won 1969 NL West title with the Braves; previously a pitcher for the Athletics, and Houston manager.
- November 16 – Joe Gonzales, 81, pitched for the 1937 Boston Red Sox.
- November 18 – John Michaels, 89, pitcher for the 1932 Boston Red Sox.
- November 21 – Earl Cook, 87, Canadian pitcher for the 1941 Detroit Tigers.
- November 30 – Ted Petoskey, 85, a two-time All-American for the undefeated Wolverines in 1932 and 1933, who also was an outfielder for the 1934–35 Cincinnati Reds and later a distinguished three-sport collegiate coach.
- December 3 – John Bateman, 56, catcher for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, Montreal Expos, and Philadelphia Phillies in 12 seasons from 1963 to 1972, who in 1963 caught the first no-hitter in Houston franchise history, a 4-1 gem by Don Nottebart over the Phillies.
- December 9 – Dottie Schroeder, 68, shortstop; the only girl to play in the AAGPBL for its twelve full seasons, and a Hall of Fame member.
- December 27 – Gene Brabender, 55, pitcher who led the Seattle Pilots with 13 wins in their only season.