Year In Review : 1986 American League

O ff the field...

After a Libyan-sponsored terrorist attack against Americans in West Germany, U.S. military warplanes attacked various targets in Libya. As a result, the Libyans scaled back their support for terrorist activities against all Western targets.

The Reagan Administration confirmed that it had been selling arms to Iran in an effort to obtain the release of American hostages in Lebanon as part of the "Iran-Contra Deal". Money from the sales was used to help the Contras fighting the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua.

Tragedy struck the NASA Space Program after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy-three seconds after take-off, killing all seven astronauts on board. The crew included the first "civilian" ever accepted into the astronaut program, a teacher named Christa McAuliffe. The accident was later blamed on faulty o-rings in the shuttles main booster rocket.

I n the American League...

On April 29th, Red Sox ace Roger Clemens struck out twenty Seattle Mariners setting a Major League record for most strikeouts in a single game.

Vincent "Bo" Jackson, a Heisman Trophy winner who chose baseball over football, played twenty-five games for the Kansas City Royals as an outfielder and designated hitter, batting .207 with two home runs. The Auburn All-American turned down a $7 million dollar deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a much smaller $1 million dollar contract with the Royals because he said he liked baseball best.

The "Curse of the Bambino" remained in effect as the Boston Red Sox fell victim to the "Amazin' Mets". In Game 6, the Red Sox had a two-run, 10th-inning lead with two outs and no runners on base. Then, after the Mets hit three consecutive singles, a passed ball erased the Red Sox lead, setting up one of the most improbable comebacks in post-season history. When the Mets' Mookie Wilson tapped a grounder down the first base line that somehow found its way between Bill Buckner's legs, the game ended; the costly error gave New York a 6-5 victory, and extended the Series to a Game 7.

I n the National League...

On May 31st, a young rookie outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates named Barry Bonds tapped a double off the Los Angeles Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt for his first official Major League hit.

Bob Horner, of the Atlanta Braves, hit four homeruns in a single game against the Montreal Expos. Despite tying the Major League record for solo blasts, Horner's team lost 11-8 to the visiting Canadian franchise.

Forty-five year-old Pete Rose banged out five hits for the tenth time in his career (setting a National League record) as the Cincinnati Reds took on the San Francisco Giants on August 11th. "Charlie Hustle" also reached a record 4,256 career at-bats during his last appearance in a Major League line-up.

A round the league...

In an effort to set an example, Commissioner Peter Ueberoth suspended seven players for drug abuse. All seven decided to contribute ten percent of their seasonal salary to drug abuse programs, serve one-hundred hours of community service and be subjected to random drug testing. The seven include Keith Hernandez of the New York Mets, Dale Berra of the New York Yankees, Joaquin Andujar of the Oakland Athletics, Jeffrey Leonard of the San Francisco Giants, Lonnie Smith of the Kansas City Royals, Enos Cabell of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bret Saberhagen sued Rawlings over a misrepresented endorsement deal. As many other players were being paid $50,000+ as part of their compensation, the Kansas City Royal pitcher was given two free gloves per season as his contract.

A free baseball promotion night at Arlington Stadium backfired as hundreds of fans targeted the Texas Rangers and umpires after the visiting Milwaukee Brewers rallied for a 10-2 win.

The Chicago Cubs were forced to fire their twenty-eight year old ball girl, Marla Collins, after she posed nude for Playboy. Despite fan support the young lady was terminated for "behavior unbecoming an employee" of the franchise.

"All you have to do is pick up a baseball. It begs to you - throw me." - Dave Dravecky
1986 American League Player Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

Boston

106

Batting Average

Boston

.357

Doubles

New York

53

Hits

New York

238

Home Runs

Toronto

40

On Base Percentage

Boston

.455

RBI

Cleveland

121

Runs

New York

130

Slugging Average

New York

.573

Stolen Bases

New York

87

Total Bases

New York

388

Triples

Cleveland

14

1986 American League Pitcher Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Cleveland

17

ERA

Boston

2.48

Games

Texas

80

Saves

New York

46

Shutouts

Detroit

6

Strikeouts

Seattle

245

Winning Percentage

Boston

.857

Wins

Boston

24

1986 American League

Team Standings

Boston Red Sox

95 66 .590 0

$16,003,236

New York Yankees

90 72 .556

$17,248,360

Detroit Tigers

87 75 .537

$12,254,047

Toronto Blue Jays

86 76 .531

$12,447,880

Cleveland Indians

84 78 .519 11½

$8,047,000

Milwaukee Brewers

77 84 .478 18

$8,429,321

Baltimore Orioles

73 89 .451 22½

$12,196,745

California Angels

92 70 .568 0

$14,254,758

Texas Rangers

87 75 .537 5

$6,892,218

Kansas City Royals

76 86 .469 16

$13,996,417

Oakland Athletics

76 86 .469 16

$9,933,388

Chicago White Sox

72 90 .444 20

$10,099,510

Minnesota Twins

71 91 .438 21

$9,815,200

Seattle Mariners

67 95 .414 25

$6,382,309

1986 American League Team Review

Hitting Statistics League Leaderboard

Base on Balls

California

671

Batting Average

Cleveland

.284

Doubles

Boston

320

Hits

Cleveland

1,620

Home Runs

Detroit

198

On Base Percentage

New York

.350

Runs

Cleveland

831

Slugging Average

New York

.430

Stolen Bases

Cleveland

141

Triples

Cleveland

45

1986 American League Team Review

Pitching Statistics League Leaderboard

Complete Games

Minnesota

39

ERA

Kansas City

3.82

Fewest Hits Allowed

Oakland

1,334

Fewest Home Runs Allowed

Kansas City

121

Fewest Walks Allowed

Boston

474

Saves

New York

58

Shutouts

Kansas City

13

Strikeouts

Texas

1,059



On April 29, 1986, Roger Clemens set the Major League record for strikeouts during a nine-inning game with twenty. His pitch count also included zero walks, three hits, and eight consecutive strikeouts at one point.

On October 4, 1986, Dave Righetti saved both ends of a doubleheader AND set a Major League record with forty-six saves during a single season.

In November, 1986, Roger Clemens won the American League Cy Young Award unanimously and became the first starting pitcher since Vida Blue to win the Most Valuable Player Award during the same season.

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