Year In Review : 1986 American League
Off the field...
After a Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack against Americans in West Germany, U.S. military warplanes attacked various targets in Libya. As a result, the Libyans scaled back their support for terrorist activities against all Western targets.
The Reagan Administration confirmed that it had been selling arms to Iran in an effort to obtain the release of American hostages in Lebanon as part of the "Iran-Contra Deal". Money from the sales was used to help the Contras fighting the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.
Tragedy struck the NASA Space Program after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after take-off, killing all seven astronauts on board. The crew included the first "civilian" ever accepted into the astronaut program, a teacher named Christa McAuliffe. The accident was later blamed on faulty o-rings in the shuttles main booster rocket.
In the American League...
On April 29th, Red Sox ace Roger Clemens struck out twenty Seattle Mariners setting a Major League record for most strikeouts in a single game.
Vincent "Bo" Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner who chose baseball over football, played twenty-five games for the Kansas City Royals as an outfielder and designated hitter, batting .207 with two home runs. The Auburn All-American turned down a $7 million dollar deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a much smaller $1 million dollar contract with the Royals because he said he liked baseball best.
The "Curse of the Bambino" remained in effect as the Boston Red Sox fell victim to the "Amazin' Mets". In Game 6, the Red Sox had a two-run, 10th-inning lead with two outs and no runners on base. Then, after the Mets hit three consecutive singles, a passed ball erased the Red Sox lead, setting up one of the most improbable comebacks in post-season history. When the Mets' Mookie Wilson tapped a grounder down the first base line that somehow found its way between Bill Buckner's legs, the game ended; the costly error gave New York a 6-5 victory, and extended the Series to a Game 7.
In the National League...
On May 31st, a young rookie outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates named Barry Bonds tapped a double off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt for his first official Major League hit.
Bob Horner, of the Atlanta Braves, hit four homeruns in a single game against the Montreal Expos. Despite tying the Major League record for solo blasts, Horner's team lost 11-8 to the visiting Canadian franchise.
Forty-five year-old Pete Rose banged out five hits for the tenth time in his career (setting a National League record) as the Cincinnati Reds took on the San Francisco Giants on August 11th. "Charlie Hustle" also reached a record 4,256 career at-bats during his last appearance in a Major League line-up.
Around the league...
In an effort to set an example, Commissioner Peter Ueberoth suspended seven players for drug abuse. All seven decided to contribute ten percent of their seasonal salary to drug abuse programs, serve one-hundred hours of community service and be subjected to random drug testing. The seven include Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets, Dale Berra of the New York Yankees, Joaquin Andujar of the Oakland Athletics, Jeffrey Leonard of the San Francisco Giants, Lonnie Smith of the Kansas City Royals, Enos Cabell of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds.
Bret Saberhagen sued Rawlings over a misrepresented endorsement deal. As many other players were being paid $50,000+ as part of their compensation, the Kansas City Royal pitcher was given two free gloves per season as his contract.
A free baseball promotion night at Arlington Stadium backfired as hundreds of fans targeted the Texas Rangers and umpires after the visiting Milwaukee Brewers rallied for a 10-2 win.
The Chicago Cubs were forced to fire their twenty-eight year old ball girl, Marla Collins, after she posed nude for Playboy. Despite fan support the young lady was terminated for "behavior unbecoming an employee" of the franchise.