The following are the baseball events of the year 1996 throughout the world.
Major League Baseball
Awards and honors
MLB statistical leaders
Major league baseball final standings
- The asterisk denotes the club that won the wild card for its respective league.
- March 5 - The Veterans Committee elects four new members to the Hall of Fame, and just misses naming a fifth. The group elected includes Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager for 17 seasons; pitcher Jim Bunning, who wins 100 games in each league; 19th-century manager Ned Hanlon, who wins pennants in Baltimore and Brooklyn, and Bill Foster, the Negro Leagues' winningest pitcher. Second baseman Nellie Fox receives the necessary 75% of the Committee's votes, but the rules allow for election of only one modern player, and Bunning has more votes.
- April 1 - Seven pitches into the first game of the season, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, home plate umpire John McSherry collapses on the field and dies of a massive heart attack. The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos is postponed, along with the rest of the games scheduled for that day. Reds owner Marge Schott later comes 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 feels "cheated" when it's canceled.
- May 17 - At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Chris Hoiles, batting with the bases loaded and his Baltimore Orioles trailing the Seattle Mariners 13-10, hits a grand slam home run off Norm Charlton for a 14-13 Oriole victory. Hoiles' home run, one of only 24 "ultimate grand slams" in Major League history, becomes the most ultimate, as it occurs on a full count with two outs—to date, the only time in Major League history that this occurs.
- June 23 - The Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the Houston Astros at Dodger Stadium by a score of 4-3. It is the last game and victory in Tommy Lasorda's career. The next day he checks himself into a hospital with abdominal pains which he learns are the symptoms of a heart attack. He retires formally on July 29 with 1,599 wins.
- July 12 - After the failure of two operations to repair the glaucoma-induced damage that blinded him in his right eye, the Minnesota Twins' much loved outfielder Kirby Puckett announces his retirement effective immediately.
- September 29 - Against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Skydome, Brady Anderson of the Baltimore Orioles hits his 50th home run of the season. The home run, leading off the game, breaks Frank Robinson's single-season franchise record of 49 home runs in 1966. Anderson also becomes the first player to hit 50 home runs in one season and steal 50 bases in another, having stolen 52 in 1992. However, the Blue Jays give up no more runs and defeat the Orioles 4-1 for Pat Hentgen's 20th victory of the season. Hentgen, the eventual American League Cy Young Award winner, becomes only the second 20-game winner in Jays history, Jack Morris winning 21 games in 1992.
- November 12 - Pat Hentgen of the Toronto Blue Jays edges Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees for the Cy Young Award in the closest American League voting since 1972 when Gaylord Perry tops Wilbur Wood by six points. Hentgen, who posts a 20-10 record with a 3.22 ERA and leads the Major Leagues in complete games (10), outpoints Pettitte (21-8, 3.87) by the narrow margin of 110-104. Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, who goes 8-3 with a 2.09 ERA and five saves in 61 appearances, finishes third in the ballot and receives one first-place vote.
- November 26 - Less than three weeks after major league owners vote 18-12 against ratification of baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, owners vote again and this time approve it by a vote of 26-4. The landmark agreement brings interleague play to the regular season for the first time as well as revenue sharing among owners and a payroll tax on players.
- January 3 - Connie Ryan, 75, first baseman for five Major League teams (1942-'53), who later coached for the Braves and Rangers (1957-'79)
- January 5 - Elmer Singleton, 77, pitcher for the Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Senators between 1945 and 1959
- January 9 - Roger Freed, 49, outfielder who played from 1970 through 1979 for the Orioles, Phillies, Reds, Montreal and Cardinals
- January 9 - Overton Tremper, 89, outfielder for the Brooklyn Robins in the 1927 and 1928 seasons
- January 10 - Joe Schultz, 77, catcher, coach and manager, who was the only manager in Seattle Pilots history and later managed the Milwaukee Brewers in their inaugural season
- January 22 - Dick Rand, 64, backup catcher for the Cardinals and Pirates between 1953 and 1957
- January 25 - Mike Clark, 73, relief pitcher who posted a 3-0 record and a 5.31 ERA for the Cardinals from 1952 to 1953
- February 8 - Del Ennis, 70, All-Star left fielder for the Phillies who had seven 100-RBI seasons, leading the NL for the 1950 "Whiz Kids" team, and was the team's career home run leader (259) until 1980
- February 19 - Charles O. Finley, 77, owner of the Athletics from 1960 to 1981 who moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland, and was known for numerous gimmicks and controversies; won three straight World Series from 1972–74
- February 20 - Carolyn Morris, 70, All-Star female pitcher who hurled a perfect game and two no-hitters in the AAGPBL
- March 8 - Bill Nicholson, 81, 5-time All-Star right fielder for the Cubs and Phillies who twice led the NL in home runs and RBI
- March 20 - Jim Pendleton, 72, outfielder for the Milwaukee Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Houston Colt .45s from 1953 to 1962
- April 1 - John McSherry, 51, National League umpire since 1971 who worked in eight NLCS and two World Series
- April 26 - Milt Gaston, 100, pitched from 1924 through 1934 for the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators and Chicago White Sox
- May 3 - Alex Kellner, 71, an All-Star pitcher who played for the Athletics, Reds and Cardinals between 1948 and 1959
- May 10 - Joe Holden, 82, catcher who played from 1934 through 1936 for the Philadelphia Phillies
- May 19 - Johnny Berardino, 79, infielder for the Browns and Indians who topped 80 RBI in 1940 and 1941; became an actor, best known for the soap opera General Hospital
- May 26 - Mike Sharperson, 34, All-Star infielder for the Dodgers who batted .300 in 1992
- June 16 - Mel Allen, 83, legendary broadcaster who spent over 35 years with the Yankees, also on national broadcasts and This Week in Baseball
- July 8 - Jim Busby, 69, All-Star center fielder for six teams who batted .312 for 1953 Senators, led AL in putouts twice; later a coach
- August 4 - Willard Brown, 81, All-Star outfielder of the Negro Leagues who became the first black player to hit a home run in the American League
- September 4 - Babe Dahlgren, 84, All-Star first baseman best remembered for replacing Lou Gehrig to end his 2,130 consecutive games streak, hitting a home run in the game
- September 6 - Barney McCosky, 79, outfielder for the Tigers and Athletics who batted .312 lifetime, led AL in hits in 1940
- September 9 - Harry Hanebrink, 68, second baseman/left fielder who hit .224 for the Milwaukee Braves and Philadelphia Phillies from 1953 to 1958
- October 4 - Joe Hoerner, 59, All-Star reliever for seven teams who averaged 15 saves for 1966-69 Cardinals
- October 29 - Ewell Blackwell, 74, six-time All-Star pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who came within two outs of throwing consecutive no-hitters in 1947; led NL in wins and strikeouts that season
- November 11 - Lum Harris, 81, manager who won 1969 NL West title with the Braves; previously a pitcher for the Athletics, and Houston manager
- November 16 - Joe Gonzales, 81, pitched for the 1937 Boston Red Sox
- November 18 - John Michaels, 89, pitcher for the 1932 Boston Red Sox
- November 21 - Earl Cook, 87, Canadian pitcher for the 1941 Detroit Tigers
- November 30 - Ted Petoskey, 85, a two-time All-American for the undefeated Wolverines in 1933 and 1933, who also was an outfielder for the 1934-35 Cincinnati Reds and later a distinguished three-sport collegiate coach
- December 9 - Dottie Schroeder, 68, shortstop; the only girl to play in the AAGPBL for its twelve full seasons, and a Hall of Fame member
- December 27 - Gene Brabender, 55, pitcher who led the Seattle Pilots with 13 wins in their only season