Year In Review : 1991 National League
Off the field...
In February, the Gulf War conflict between Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and a coalition of thirty-two nations including the United States, Britain, Egypt, France, and Saudi Arabia took place. The main coalition forces invaded southern Iraq on February 24 and, over the next four days, encircled and defeated the Iraqis while liberating Kuwait. By the time U.S. President George Bush Sr. declared a cease-fire on February 28, most of Hussein's forces had either surrendered or fled.
The "Cold War" between the United States and Russia finally came to an end as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was ousted by a group of communist radicals. The ill-planned coup soon faltered as infuriated citizens took to the streets of Moscow and other cities in support of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. After Gorbachev reluctantly resigned, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved and fourteen regions became independent nations ending seventy-four years of communist rule.
Basketball icon Magic Johnson stunned the world shortly before the start of the 1991 season after announcing his retirement due to testing positive to the HIV Virus. He later accepted an invitation by the NBA players to his twelfth All-Star Game in which he won the MVP honors.
In the American League...
The Detroit Tigers' Cecil Fielder hit a 502-foot home run out of the Milwaukee Brewers' County Stadium, for what was believed to be the first ball ever truly knocked "out of the park". The tape measure blast traveled even further after it landed in the back of a truck that didn't stop until it reached Madison.
On June 6th, the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers combined for eighteen-innings to tie a Major League mark by leaving forty-five stranded runners on base. The Royals also set an American League record with twenty-five of the "castaways" belonging to them.
Thirty-nine year-old Dave Winfield went five-for-five and hit for the cycle as the California Angels defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-4. He completed the sequence in the eighth with a triple becoming the oldest player ever to accomplish the feat.
In the National League...
Darryl Strawberry tied a National League record by striking out five times in a single game as his Los Angeles Dodgers fell 9-3 to the Montreal Expos. The struggling slugger also stumbled in the outfield dropping a fly ball for a three-base error.
Deion Sanders, who hit .304 in ninety-seven games with the Atlanta Braves made the conversion from baseball to football after practicing with the Atlanta Falcons. Despite the crossover, Sanders led the majors with fourteen triples.
Fellow Brave Otis Nixon set a new National League record by stealing six bases during a 7-6 loss to the Montreal Expos and tied the major league record previously set by Eddie Collins, who did it twice in 1912.
Around the league...
Pete Rose continued to make headlines when he was released from a federal prison after serving five months for tax evasion. He was also required to provide 1,000 hours of community service at several of Cincinnati's inner-city schools.
The Major League's Umpires Union voted to sit out Opening Day resulting in amateur officials reporting as replacements. The arbiters, whose contract had expired on December 31st, returned to work the following day with better benefits and an increased starting salary.
During a straw vote held at the owner's meetings in California, the National League voted unanimously to admit Denver, Colorado and Miami, Florida into the league as expansion teams in 1993.
The Committee for Statistical Accuracy righted a thirty year wrong after officially removing the asterisk attached to Roger Maris' single-season homerun record of 61 in 1961. The committee also defined a no-hit game as one; which ends after nine or more innings with one team failing to get a hit. The decision erased fifty games (mostly shortened) from the list that had previously been considered no-hitters.