1996 Leaders & Numbers

It was easy to smell a jack rabbit as offense rose to even more ridiculous heights, with 30+ home runs being smacked by the unlikely likes of Terry Steinbach, Bernard Gilkey, Barry Larkin and Benito Santiago—players known for averaging 5-15 clouts a year. But the year’s statistical insanity can be best summed up in four words: Brady Anderson, 50 homers. Ken Caminiti would ultimately fess up to his NL MVP-winning, career peak performance by confirming he was on steroids. After much prodding and guilt, Mark McGwire would later do the same—and that likely explains how he could miss 32 games and still rout 52 homers. Denver’s Coors Field, with its own mathematical madness, made a mile-high monster out of Ellis Burks while Andres Galarraga and Dante Bichette each knocked in 100 runs just at home. Alex Rodriguez shortened his swing and controlled his wildness, making the 20-year-old an instant and frightening force to be reckoned with. Neither his father (Bobby Bonds) nor godfather (Willie Mays) could do it, but Barry Bonds achieved 40 homers and 40 steals in the same year. John Smoltz, who pitched 14 straight wins after losing his first start, enjoyed his one great year among many good ones. Pat Hentgen rebounded from an awful 1995, doubling his win total and halving his ERA while rightfully earning AL Cy Young honors over popular favorite Andy Pettitte. Kevin Brown escaped the AL offensive orgy and ended Greg Maddux’s three-year reign as NL ERA leader.

The Ten Best National League Hitters, 1996
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Ellis Burks Boston 156 .344 613 142 211 45 8 40 128 59 2 6 32 6 19
2. Barry Bonds San Francisco 158 .308 517 122 159 27 3 42 129 121 30 1 40 7 11
3. Gary Sheffield Florida 161 .314 519 118 163 33 1 42 120 123 19 10 16 9 16
4. Jeff Bagwell Houston 162 .315 568 111 179 48 2 31 120 115 20 10 21 7 15
5. Andres Galarraga Colorado 159 .304 626 116 190 39 3 47 150 37 3 17 18 8 6
6. Ken Caminiti San Diego 146 .326 546 109 178 37 2 40 130 62 16 4 11 5 15
7. Dante Bichette Colorado 159 .313 633 114 198 39 3 31 141 41 4 6 31 12 18
8. Barry Larkin Cincinnati 152 .298 517 117 154 32 4 33 89 93 3 7 36 10 20
9. Bernard Gilkey New York 153 .317 571 108 181 44 3 30 117 66 7 4 17 9 18
10. Chipper Jones Atlanta 157 .309 598 114 185 32 5 30 110 87 0 0 14 1 14
The Ten Best American League Hitters, 1996
Name Team G BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IB HB SB CS GD
1. Alex Rodriguez Seattle 146 .358 601 141 215 54 1 36 123 58 1 4 15 4 15
2. Albert Belle Cleveland 158 .311 602 124 187 38 3 48 148 84 15 7 11 0 20
3. Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle 140 .303 545 125 165 26 2 49 140 65 13 7 16 1 7
4. Mark McGwire Oakland 130 .312 423 104 132 21 0 52 113 100 16 8 0 0 14
5. Frank Thomas Chicago 141 .349 527 110 184 26 0 40 134 83 26 5 1 1 25
6. Mo Vaughn Boston 161 .326 635 118 207 29 1 44 143 76 19 14 2 0 17
7. Jim Thome Cleveland 151 .311 505 122 157 28 5 38 116 115 8 6 2 2 13
8. Chuck Knoblauch Minnesota 153 .341 578 140 197 35 14 13 72 92 6 19 45 14 9
9. Brady Anderson Baltimore 149 .297 579 117 172 37 5 50 110 75 1 22 21 8 11
10. Edgar Martinez Seattle 139 .327 499 121 163 52 2 26 103 111 12 8 3 3 15
The Ten Best National League Pitchers, 1996
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Kevin Brown Florida 1.89 17 11 .607 0 0 32 32 233 245 49 31 2 6 16 1 12 9 26
2. John Smoltz Atlanta 2.94 24 8 .750 0 0 35 35 253.2 305 83 52 3 10 2 1 10 12 13
3. Greg Maddux Atlanta 2.72 15 11 .577 0 0 35 35 245 315 74 17 11 4 3 0 21 5 24
4. Tom Glavine Atlanta 2.98 15 10 .625 0 0 36 36 235.1 315 78 78 7 4 0 0 7 7 20
5. Al Leiter Florida 2.93 16 12 .571 0 0 33 33 215.1 239 70 116 3 5 11 0 7 9 23
6. Trevor Hoffman San Diego 2.25 9 5 .643 42 7 70 0 88 80 22 26 5 2 2 0 4 2 2
7. Robb Nen Florida 1.95 5 1 .833 35 7 75 0 83 89 18 15 6 4 1 0 2 2 11
8. Shane Reynolds Houston 3.65 16 10 .625 0 0 35 35 239 341 97 41 3 5 8 1 10 9 10
9. Mel Rojas Montreal 3.22 7 4 .636 36 4 74 0 81 84 29 25 3 3 2 0 7 0 5
10. Jeff Fassero Montreal 3.30 15 11 .577 0 0 34 34 231.2 321 85 52 3 5 3 2 12 13 12
The Ten Best American League Pitchers, 1996
Name Team ERA W L PCT SV BS G GS IP TB ER BB IB WP HB BK SB CS GD
1. Pat Hentgen Toronto 3.22 20 10 .667 0 0 35 35 265.2 351 95 91 3 8 5 0 7 9 24
2. Ken Hill Texas 3.63 16 10 .615 0 0 35 35 250.2 359 101 92 3 5 6 4 11 14 26
3. Charles Nagy Cleveland 3.41 17 5 .773 0 0 32 32 222 330 84 59 2 7 3 0 19 5 26
4. Andy Pettitte New York 3.87 21 8 .724 0 0 35 34 221 341 95 70 2 6 3 1 10 11 23
5. Alex Fernandez Chicago 3.45 16 10 .615 0 0 35 35 258 389 99 68 4 5 7 0 13 8 20
6. Roberto Hernandez Chicago 1.91 6 5 .545 38 8 72 0 84.2 82 18 33 5 6 0 0 7 2 2
7. Juan Guzman Toronto 2.93 11 8 .579 0 0 27 27 187.2 251 61 50 3 7 7 0 18 4 19
8. Kevin Appier Kansas City 3.62 14 11 .560 0 0 32 32 211.1 290 85 73 2 10 5 1 13 9 21
9. Mariano Rivera New York 2.09 8 3 .727 5 3 61 0 107.2 88 25 31 3 1 2 0 3 2 6
10. John Wetteland New York 2.83 2 3 .400 43 4 62 0 63.2 94 20 17 4 1 0 0 8 2 3

Brown type indicates league leader.
Notes: Walks (BB) do not include intentional walks (IB). For pitchers, caught stealing (CS) also includes pickoffs.
How does This Great Game determine the best hitters and pitchers? Find out here.


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1996 Awards


NL MVP
Ken Caminiti, San Diego

AL MVP
Juan Gonzalez, Texas


NL Cy Young Award
John Smoltz, Atlanta

AL Cy Young Award
Pat Hentgen, Toronto


NL Rookie of the Year
Todd Hollandsworth, Los Angeles

AL Rookie of the Year
Derek Jeter, New York


NL Manager of the Year
Bruce Bochy, San Diego

AL Manager of the Year
Johnny Oates, Texas
Joe Torre, New York


NL Gold Glove Awards
P Greg Maddux, Atlanta
C Charles Johnson, Florida
1B Mark Grace, Chicago
2B Craig Biggio, Houston
3B Ken Caminiti, San Diego
SS Barry Larkin, Cincinnati
OF Marquis Grissom, Atlanta
OF Steve Finley, San Diego
OF Barry Bonds, San Francisco


AL Gold Glove Awards
P Mike Mussina, Baltimore
C Ivan Rodriguez, Texas
1B J.T. Snow, California
2B Roberto Alomar, Baltimore
3B Robin Ventura, Chicago
SS Omar Vizquel, Cleveland
OF Kenny Lofton, Cleveland
OF Jay Buhner, Seattle
OF Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle