1st The major league All-Star team opens their 8-game series in Japan with a 6–5 loss to the Japan All-Stars. Players include Cal Ripken, Sammy Sosa, Steve Finley, Brady Anderson, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Hideo Nomo, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, and Shane Reynolds.
2nd Toni Stone, the first female to play professional baseball at a big league level, dies at age 75. Stone played 2B for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League in 1953.
4th The Angels name Terry Collins as their new manager.
5th Yankee SS Derek Jeter is the unanimous choice for AL Rookie of the Year. Jeter was the Yanks Opening Day shortstop, the first rookie to start at SS for New York since Tom Tresh in 1962.
6th In Chicago, the ML owners decisively reject a proposed labor agreement that would have ended a 3-year stalemate. The 18-12 vote threatens to plunge baseball back into full-fledged hostilities between the owners and players’ union.
Todd Hollandsworth is voted the 1996 NL Rookie of the year, the 5th year in a row that the award has gone to a Dodger. the previous 4 were Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, and Nomo. Hollandsworth played 41 games in 1995 (103 at bats) but a broken right hand in May and a broken right thumb in August of ’95 kept him eligible for the rookie award.
9thAt Yokohama, Japanese All Star Hideki Matsui hits a grand slam off Shane McReynolds. McReynolds retires 20 of the next 21 batters, but loses 6–4.
10th At Tokyo, in the finale of the Japanese vs. ML All Stars, the Japanese rally for 3 runs to earn an 8–8 tie. The Americans hit .302 in the series with 11 homers, and come away with 4 wins, 2 losses, and 2 ties. None of the games go extra innings. Steve Finley, 8-for-20 with 9 RBI, is named MVP.
11th The Cy Young award stays in Atlanta with the expected announcement of John Smoltz as the 1996 NL winner. Since 1991, 5 of the 6 Cy Young winners have been Braves. Smoltz is named first on 26 of 28 ballots, with Kevin Brown finishing second in the voting.
Bud Selig meets with Don Fehr, the players’ labor leader, in a futile attempt to convince Fehr to accept the owners’ demands. With the deadline for an agreement at midnight on the 14th, there is virtually no hope that the two sides will agree. If the two sides reach the deadline without an agreement, the interleague schedule for next year will be wiped out, and a traditional schedule followed.
13th San Diego 3B Ken Caminiti is named the MVP of the NL. After the All-Star break, Caminiti led all NL players with a.360 average, 28 homers, and 81 RBI. He sealed the Padres NL West title by going 4-for-4 on September 27 against the Dodgers Ismael Valdes.
The Indians trade P Julian Tavarez, 2B Jose Vizcaino, IF Jeff Kent, and a player to be named to the Giants in exchange for slugging 3B Matt Williams and a player to be named. Williams, with the Giants for 10 years, underwent shoulder surgery in mid-August and missed the remainder of the season.
The Blue Jays ink their ace pitcher Juan Guzman to a 2-year $9 million deal with incentives. Along with the just-signed Pat Hentgen and nabbing Clemens next month, the Jays load up for next year.
14th Toronto’s Pat Hentgen is named the AL Cy Young winner.
Texas star Juan Gonzalez beats out Seattle’s Alex Rodriguez for the AL MVP. He averaged 1.08 RBI per game, the best ratio in the majors since 1938. He finished the year with 47 homers and 144 RBI.
The Toronto Blue Jays and the Pittsburgh Pirates complete a 9-player swap with the Jays acquiring the 2B they are looking for in 29-year-old Carlos Garcia. In addition, the Jays pick up OF Orlando Merced and reliever Dan Plesac. The Bucs receive 6 prospects, including pitchers Jose Pett and Jose Silva, along with Knoxville IF Brandon Cromer and three players to be named.
19th The Chicago White Sox make Albert Belle the highest paid player in history when they sign the free agent slugger to a $55 million dollar, 5-year contract. Belle’s annual salary of $11 million exceeds Ken Griffey ($8,500,000) and Frank Thomas ($7,250,000) in annual take, and is just $750,000 short of the Milwaukee Brewers’ total payroll for 1996. It includes an clause stating that unless Belle is one of the three highest paid players in baseball, he has the right to renegotiate or file for free agency. By mid-1998, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Gary Sheffield will all sign contracts more lucrative than Belle’s deal, allowing Belle to declare himself a free agent at the conclusion of the season. Acting Commissioner Bud Selig, reacting to owners outrage, calls a meeting for next Tuesday in Chicago in response to the signing.
The Red Sox hire Jimy Williams to manage the team, replacing Kevin Kennedy who was fired on September 30. Williams has been the 3B coach of the Braves for the past 6 years. He managed the Blue Jays for 4 years before being fired on May 15, 1989.
The California Angels officially become the Anaheim Angels, revealing their new logo today.
The Marlins sign free agent 3B Bobby Bonilla to 4-year contract.
25th The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sign high school pitcher Matt White for a record $10.2 million bonus. The 6′ 5″ White had a 0.65 ERA for Waynesboro (Pa) High School last spring, and then was drafted 7th in June by the Giants. He became a free agent in September on a technicality when San Francisco failed to mail him a contract within 15 days of the draft. The deal tops the $10 million signing last month of the number 2 pick, Travis Lee, by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Mets obtain P Greg McMichael from the Braves in exchange for P Paul Byrd.
27th The Angels obtain pitchers Allan Watson and Fausto Macey from the Giants in exchange for 1B J.T. Snow.
The Mets trade P Jerry DiPoto to the Rockies in exchange for P Armando Reynoso. New York also trades 1B Rico Brogna to the Phillies in exchange for pitchers Toby Borland and Ricardo Jordan.