Year In Review : 1996 American League
Off the field...
After years of investigation, federal law enforcement officials finally captured the Unabomber otherwise known as Ted Kaczynski. The anti-social academic, who developed mail bombs, was captured in a remote cabin after his own brother recognized his writing style in a lengthy manifesto that he anonymously submitted to the Washington Post.
The Summer Olympic Games celebrated its Centenary in Atlanta Georgia as a record-setting seventy-nine nations won medals and fifty-three won gold. Unfortunately, the festivities were interrupted after a terrorist bomb was detonated in Centennial Olympic Park killing one person and injuring one-hundred ten more.
After capturing an unprecedented third straight U.S. Amateur in August, twenty year-old Tiger Woods turned pro and promptly won two tourneys for $790,594. Sports Illustrated selected Woods as the 1996 Sportsman of the Year and he was only getting started.
In the American League...
The Texas Rangers showed no mercy in running up the largest score in the American League in forty-one years while massacring the league-leading Baltimore Orioles, 26-7. Sixteen of the runs came in the fifty-six minute eighth resulting in the largest eighth inning tally in baseball history.
As the Seattle Mariners hosted the Cleveland Indians on May 2nd, an earthquake, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, rattled the Kingdome causing the officials to suspend the game. The incident occurred in the seventh inning as the Tribe led 6-3 and after the stadium's structure was thoroughly inspected, play resumed the following day.
The Oakland Athletics' Pedro Munoz hit the longest home run in the five-year history of Camden Yards on the way to a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The 463-foot blast to dead center field came in the sixth inning (with two on) breaking through a 2-2 tie.
In the National League...
New York Mets closer John Franco recorded his 300th save in a 3-2 win over the division-leading Montreal Expos. The left-handed reliever became the first to reach the 300-save mark exactly twelve years to the day (April 29th) after his first one, for the Cincinnati Reds, in 1984.
Los Angeles Dodger, Chan Ho Park became the first South Korean pitcher to win in the majors. The right-handed sensation from Kongju tossed four scoreless innings in relief of injured starter Ramon Martinez for the 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Eric Davis belted his second grand slam in as many games leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 12-6 triumph over the home team San Francisco Giants. In doing so, the outfielder became the fifteenth player in Major League history to slam round-trippers in back-to-back outings and he went on to add a third slam later in the month.
Around the league...
Prior to the start of the season, major league baseball's Rules Committee announced that the strike zone would be enlarged, dropping it from the top of the knees to just below them. The change came in response to a series of recommendations to help speed up play and increase the television viewing audience that was rapidly depleting.
Popular umpire John McSherry died of a massive heart attack after calling time from behind home plate seven pitches into a Reds-Expos game at Riverfront Stadium. The twenty-one year veteran had been suffering from a series of medical problems that was aggravated by his obesity.
Roberto Alomar set off a national debate after spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck following an argument and ejection over a called strike in the first inning of Baltimore's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. U.S. District Judge Edmund W. Ludwig later prevented other umpires from sitting out the playoffs in protest of the incident, citing a no-strike clause in their contract.
Milt Gaston, a former American League pitcher who played for five teams in the 1920s and 1930s (Yankees, Browns, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox) died at age one-hundred. Gaston boasted eighteen Hall of Fame teammates and managers, more than any player in history of the game.