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West Division

Central Division

East Division

Series Wrapup

Story

Once again the National League’s strongest team, the defending world-champion Atlanta Braves posted the best record in the senior circuit for the second consecutive year in 1996, concluding the campaign with a mark of 96-66 that left them eight games ahead of the runner-up Montreal Expos in the N.L. East.  An extremely well-balanced ball club, the Braves finished fourth in the league with 773 runs scored, and they also placed second with 197 home runs, a .270 team batting average, and a 3.52 team ERA.  

Atlanta’s deep starting rotation again featured the formidable threesome of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.  Although Maddux failed to win the Cy Young Award for the first time in five years, he posted 15 victories and finished second in the league with a 2.72 ERA and 245 innings pitched.  Glavine also won 15 games and placed among the league leaders with a 2.98 ERA and 235 innings pitched.  Smoltz kept the Cy Young trophy in house by compiling a 2.94 ERA and leading all N.L. hurlers with a record of 24-8, 276 strikeouts, and 254 innings pitched.  

Marquis Grissom, Ryan Klesko, Fred McGriff and Chipper Jones paced the Braves on offense.  Grissom hit 23 homers, scored 106 runs, batted .308, collected 207 hits, and stole 28 bases.  Klesko led the team with 34 homers, knocked in 93 runs, scored 90 others, and batted .282.  McGriff hit 28 home runs, drove in 107 runs, and batted .295.  Jones hit 30 homers and led the team with 110 runs batted in, 114 runs scored, and a .309 batting average.  

While the Braves repeated as Eastern Division champions, the St. Louis Cardinals jumped three places in the standings to claim the top spot in the N.L. Central.  After finishing fourth in the division the previous year with a record of only 62-81, the Cardinals concluded the campaign with a mark of 88-74 that left them six games ahead of runner-up Houston and seven games in front of third-place Cincinnati.  

The Cardinals advanced to the postseason for the first time in nearly a decade even though they placed near the middle of the league rankings in most statistical categories.  Andy Benes served as the team’s top starting pitcher, compiling a record of 18-10 and an ERA of 3.83.  Gary Gaetti, Ron Gant, Ray Lankford, and Brian Jordan provided most of the punch on offense.  Gaetti hit 23 homers and drove in 80 runs.  Gant homered 30 times and knocked in 82 runs.  Lankford hit 21 home runs, drove in 86 runs, and scored 100 others.  Jordan hit 17 homers and led the club with 104 runs batted in and a .310 batting average.

The Reds and Astros had the division’s two best players in Barry Larkin and Jeff Bagwell.  Larkin followed up his 1995 MVP campaign by establishing career highs with 33 home runs, 89 runs batted in, and 117 runs scored for Cincinnati.  He also batted .298 and stole 36 bases.  Bagwell, the 1994 N.L. MVP, hit 31 homers, knocked in 120 runs, scored 111 others, batted .315, and accumulated a league-leading 48 doubles for Houston.  

While the Braves and Cardinals clinched their respective division titles with room to spare, the San Diego Padres overtook the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West on the season’s final day to advance to the playoffs for just the second time in their 28-year history.  The Dodgers needed to win just one of their three season-ending matchups with the Padres to lay claim to the Western Division crown.  But the Padres swept them in the three-game series to move one game ahead of them in the final standings.  San Diego concluded the campaign with a record of 91-71, while Los Angeles advanced to the postseason tournament as the league’s wild-card representative with a mark of 90-72.

Featuring an offense that finished just 12th in the senior circuit in runs scored, the Dodgers relied heavily on their league-leading pitching staff to earn a spot in the playoffs.  Los Angeles hurlers posted the lowest team ERA in the league – a mark of 3.46 that edged out Atlanta for the top spot.  Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdez, and Ramon Martinez each surpassed 15 victories, with Nomo leading the club with 16 wins, a 3.19 ERA, and 234 strikeouts.  Meanwhile, Todd Worrell topped the circuit with 44 saves.

Raul Mondesi, Eric Karros, and Mike Piazza paced the Dodgers on offense.  Mondesi hit 24 homers, knocked in 88 runs, scored 98 others, and batted .297.  Karros hit 34 home runs and drove in 111 runs.  Piazza earned a second-place finish in the N.L. MVP balloting by hitting 36 home runs, knocking in 105 runs, and batting .336.  

Edging out Piazza for MVP honors was Ken Caminiti, who served as San Diego’s primary power threat.  The third baseman scored 109 runs and placed among the league leaders with 40 home runs, 130 runs batted in, a .326 batting average, and a .621 slugging average.  The Padres also got fine seasons from Steve Finley, Tony Gwynn, and Trevor Hoffman.  Finley hit 30 homers, drove in 95 runs, batted .298, and finished second in the league with 126 runs scored.  Although Gwynn appeared in only 116 games, he won his seventh batting title with a mark of .353.  Hoffman saved 42 games, won nine others, and compiled a 2.25 ERA.

Although the Colorado Rockies finished third in the division, eight games behind the first-place Padres, they featured three of the league’s top offensive performers.  First baseman Andres Galarraga and outfielders Ellis Burks and Dante Bichette all had huge years for the Rockies, placing among the league leaders in numerous statistical categories.  Galarraga batted .304, scored 119 runs, and topped the circuit with 47 home runs and 150 runs batted in.  Burks placed near the top of the league rankings with 40 homers, 128 runs batted in, a .344 batting average, 211 hits, and 45 doubles, and he finished first with 142 runs scored, a .639 slugging average, and 392 total bases.  Bichette hit 31 homers, drove in 141 runs, scored 114 others, and batted .313.  

While the Rockies remained relatively close to the division leaders for most of the year, the Giants finished well out of contention, concluding the campaign with a record of just 68-94 that left them 23 games behind the first-place Padres.  Nevertheless, Barry Bonds performed brilliantly for San Francisco, hitting 42 homers, driving in 129 runs, scoring 122 others, stealing 40 bases, batting .308, and establishing a new National League record by walking 151 times.  Bonds’ 42 homers and 40 steals made him just the second player in major league history to top the 40-mark in both categories in the same season.

The two National League Division Playoff Series provided little in the way of excitement.  St. Louis romped over San Diego in three straight games, while the Braves similarly swept the Dodgers in their first-round matchup.

The Cardinals subsequently took a stunning three-games-to-one lead over the Braves in the NLCS before the defending champions finally righted themselves.  Atlanta collected 22 hits en route to posting a 14-0 victory in Game Five.  The Braves then evened the Series with a 3-1 win in Game Six, before routing the Cardinals 15-0 in the decisive seventh contest.  Javy Lopez earned NLCS MVP honors by amassing 13 hits in 24 times at-bat, for a .542 batting average.  The Atlanta catcher also homered twice, drove in six runs, and scored eight others.  After starting off the Series slowly, Atlanta’s pitching staff limited St. Louis to just one run in the final three contests, en route to posting an ERA of 1.92 over the course of the NLCS.

The Braves carried their momentum into the World Series, humiliating the Yankees in Game One at Yankee Stadium by a score of 12-1.  They then took a commanding 2-0 lead in the Fall Classic by winning Game Two 4-0.

Returning to Atlanta for the next three contests, the Braves seemed to have the Series well in hand.  But the Yankees displayed a tremendous amount of resilience by winning all three games in Atlanta, and then returning home to clinch the world championship with a victory in Game Six.  New York’s comeback denied the Braves their second consecutive World Series win, and the fourth in franchise history.  

Other outstanding performers, notable events, and points of interest from around the league follow:

• April 1 - Seven pitches into the first game of the season, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, home plate umpire John McSherry collapsed on the field and died of a massive heart attack.  The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos was postponed, along with the rest of the contests scheduled for that day.  Reds owner Marge Schott later came under fire for wanting the game in Cincinnati to continue despite the events (and against the wishes of the players on both teams), saying that she felt "cheated" when it was canceled.

• Atlanta rookie Andruw Jones, only 19 years of age, slugged two homers in Game One of the World Series.

• Todd Hollandsworth of the Dodgers captured N.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• The Mets' Todd Hundley set a new major league record for homers by a catcher (41).

• Cincinnati owner Marge Schott was suspended by her fellow owners for her insensitive racial remarks.

• Kevin Brown of the Florida Marlins won 17 games and led the major leagues with a 1.89 ERA.

• After rebounding from throat cancer to return to action in September, Los Angeles centerfielder Brett Butler suffered a season-ending injury within days of his return.

• Al Leiter notched the first no-hitter in Florida Marlins' history when he beat Colorado 11-0 on May 11.

• Following a heart attack, Tom Lasorda stepped down as Dodgers pilot after 20 years at the helm.

 

Seasons of the National League

1876 · 1877 · 1878 · 1879 · 1880 · 1881 · 1882 · 1883 · 1884 · 1885 · 1886 · 1887 · 1888 · 1889 · 1890 · 1891 · 1892 · 1893 · 1894 · 1895 · 1896 · 1897 · 1898 · 1899 · 1900 · 1901 · 1902 · 1903 · 1904 · 1905 · 1906 · 1907 · 1908 · 1909 · 1910 · 1911 · 1912 · 1913 · 1914 · 1915 · 1916 · 1917 · 1918 · 1919 · 1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929 · 1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935 · 1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939 · 1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949 · 1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959 · 1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969 · 1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979 · 1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989 · 1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999 · 2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
ATL 2309 5614 773 1514 735 .226 264 28 197 83 43 2425 .372 .316 .725 144 50 69
CHN 2395 5531 772 1388 725 .205 267 19 175 108 50 2218 .324 .307 .657 126 48 66
CIN 2343 5455 778 1398 733 .186 259 36 191 171 63 2302 .340 .287 .695 115 49 71
COL 2324 5590 961 1607 909 .206 297 37 221 201 66 2641 .357 .296 .685 118 52 81
FLO 2297 5498 688 1413 650 .206 240 30 150 99 46 2163 .343 .280 .671 138 45 41
HOU 2280 5508 753 1445 703 .185 297 29 129 180 63 2187 .361 .283 .725 115 55 68
LAN 2313 5538 703 1396 661 .177 215 33 150 124 40 2127 .336 .247 .633 112 35 74
MON 2329 5505 741 1441 696 .179 297 27 148 108 34 2236 .308 .252 .613 119 36 79
NYN 2286 5618 746 1515 697 .188 267 47 147 97 48 2317 .307 .282 .647 114 49 75
PHI 2162 5499 650 1405 604 .208 249 39 132 117 41 2128 .337 .299 .679 116 37 54
PIT 2292 5665 776 1509 738 .197 319 33 138 126 49 2308 .307 .271 .637 107 49 72
SDN 2311 5655 771 1499 718 .178 285 24 147 109 55 2273 .311 .268 .646 146 52 59
SFN 2292 5533 752 1400 707 .200 245 21 153 113 53 2146 .334 .274 .647 108 43 77
SLN 2259 5502 759 1468 711 .188 281 31 142 149 58 2237 .436 .256 .741 121 48 88

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
ATL 570 96 66 1470 1245 451 6132 1372 120 71.360 577 648 14 3 46 49 5
CHN 601 76 86 1455 1027 546 6268 1447 184 78.060 705 771 10 5 34 48 8
CIN 587 81 81 1439 1089 591 6277 1447 167 121.340 695 773 6 5 52 66 6
COL 609 83 79 1424 932 624 6391 1597 198 142.080 885 964 5 1 34 66 11
FLO 579 80 82 1442 1050 598 6183 1386 113 94.970 634 703 8 4 41 49 5
HOU 533 82 80 1445 1163 539 6364 1541 154 116.600 704 792 13 3 35 65 12
LAN 545 90 72 1466 1212 534 6223 1378 125 60.310 567 652 6 4 50 39 22
MON 595 88 74 1444 1206 482 6119 1353 152 80.490 605 668 11 3 43 46 9
NYN 497 71 91 1441 999 532 6288 1517 159 81.990 675 779 10 3 41 60 12
PHI 549 67 95 1422 1044 510 6138 1463 160 152.020 709 790 12 3 42 71 7
PIT 584 73 89 1454 1044 479 6338 1602 183 135.320 749 833 5 2 37 62 8
SDN 573 91 71 1490 1194 506 6292 1395 138 72.020 616 682 5 1 47 59 10
SFN 587 68 94 1443 997 570 6330 1520 194 99.450 757 862 9 1 35 58 10
SLN 575 88 74 1452 1050 539 6184 1380 173 99.380 642 706 13 5 43 44 6

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
ATL 2679 7375 5388 1835 152 .954 17628 116 44 0 11
CHN 2749 7314 5394 1795 125 .974 17474 129 50 2.00 13
CIN 2771 7158 5296 1722 140 .942 17314 146 50 1.00 7
COL 2675 7276 5185 1921 170 .967 17072 122 55 0 19
FLO 2670 7161 5210 1820 131 .955 17314 84 57 0 12
HOU 2654 7236 5331 1736 169 .979 17362 115 55 0 14
LAN 2671 7224 5406 1665 153 .975 17596 171 39 1.00 15
MON 2766 7167 5280 1738 149 .937 17296 156 48 0 10
NYN 2638 7354 5400 1758 196 .960 17280 125 33 0 10
PHI 2539 7119 5368 1612 139 .960 17077 88 44 2.00 10
PIT 2691 7364 5315 1898 151 .957 17439 185 57 0 10
SDN 2644 7380 5460 1783 137 .970 17867 136 54 0 14
SFN 2661 7226 5403 1665 158 .981 17307 108 69 2.00 13
SLN 2663 7278 5445 1693 140 .952 17429 104 54 1.00 7

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
San Diego Padres 91 71 2187886 1 1194
Los Angeles Dodgers 90 72 3188454 2 1212
Colorado Rockies 83 79 3891014 3 932
San Francisco Giants 68 94 1413922 4 997

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
St. Louis Cardinals 88 74 2654718 1 1050
Houston Astros 82 80 1975888 2 1163
Cincinnati Reds 81 81 1861428 3 1089
Chicago Cubs 76 86 2219110 4 1027
Pittsburg Pirates 73 89 1332150 5 1044

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Atlanta Braves 96 66 2901242 1 1245
Montreal Expos 88 74 1616709 2 1206
Florida Marlins 80 82 1746767 3 1050
New York Mets 71 91 1588323 4 999
Philadelphia Philies 67 95 1801677 5 1044

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Tagged:
1996 NLCS, 1996 NLDS1, 1996 NLDS2, 1996 World Series, Al Leiter, Andres Galarraga, Andruw Jones, Andy Benes, Atlanta Braves, Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin, Brett Butler, Brian Jordan, Chipper Jones, Dante Bichette, Ellis Burks, Eric Karros, Fred McGriff, Gary Gaetti, Greg Maddux, Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdez, Javy Lopez, Jeff Bagwell, John McSherry, John Smoltz, Ken Caminiti, Kevin Brown, Los Angeles Dodgers, Marge Schott, Marquis Grissom, Mike Piazza, Ramon Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Ray Lankford, Ron Gant, Ryan Klesko, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Steve Finley, Todd Hollandsworth, Todd Hundley, Todd Worrell, Tom Glavine, Tommy Lasorda, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman

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