1991 Major League Baseball season

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This article is about the 1991 Major League Baseball season only. For information on all of baseball, see 1991 in baseball.
1991 MLB season
League Major League Baseball
Sport Baseball
Duration April 8, 1991 – October 27, 1991
Regular Season
Season MVP AL: Cal Ripken, Jr. (BAL)
NL: Terry Pendleton (ATL)
League Postseason
AL champions Minnesota Twins
  AL runners-up Toronto Blue Jays
NL champions Atlanta Braves
  NL runners-up Pittsburgh Pirates
World Series
Champions Minnesota Twins
  Runners-up Atlanta Braves
World Series MVP Jack Morris (MIN)
MLB seasons
The Baltimore Orioles at play during a 1991 home game at Memorial Stadium.

The 1991 Major League Baseball season.

Awards and honors[edit]

Statistical leaders[edit]

  American League National League
Type Name Stat Name Stat
AVG Julio Franco TEX .341 Terry Pendleton ATL .319
HR José Canseco OAK
Cecil Fielder DET
44 Howard Johnson NYM 38
RBI Cecil Fielder DET 133 Howard Johnson NYM 117
Wins Scott Erickson MIN
Bill Gullickson DET
20 Tom Glavine ATL
John Smiley PIT
ERA Roger Clemens BOS 2.62 Dennis Martínez MON 2.39
SO Roger Clemens BOS 241 David Cone NYM 241
SV Bryan Harvey CAL 46 Lee Smith STL 47
SB Rickey Henderson OAK 58 Marquis Grissom MON 76

Major league baseball final standings[edit]

There was quite a bit of parity in the American League, as 10 teams finished within 10 games of each other, and only 3 teams (Yankees, Orioles, and Indians) had losing records. The standings in the American League West were quite notable because all the teams in that division finished with at least a .500 record.


League Championship Series
World Series
East Toronto Blue Jays 1
West Minnesota Twins 4
AL Minnesota Twins 4
NL Atlanta Braves 3
East Pittsburgh Pirates 3
West Atlanta Braves 4


American League[edit]

Team Manager Comments
Baltimore Orioles Frank Robinson Replaced during the season by Johnny Oates
Boston Red Sox Joe Morgan
California Angels Doug Rader Replaced during the season by Buck Rodgers
Chicago White Sox Jeff Torborg
Cleveland Indians John McNamara Replaced during the season by Mike Hargrove
Detroit Tigers Sparky Anderson
Kansas City Royals John Wathan Replaced during the season by Hal McRae
Milwaukee Brewers Tom Trebelhorn
Minnesota Twins Tom Kelly Won the World Series
New York Yankees Stump Merrill
Oakland Athletics Tony La Russa
Seattle Mariners Jim Lefebvre
Texas Rangers Bobby Valentine
Toronto Blue Jays Cito Gaston Replaced temporarily by Gene Tenace while undergoing treatment for a herniated disc

National League[edit]

Team Manager Comments
Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox Won National League pennant
Chicago Cubs Don Zimmer Replaced during the season by Jim Essian
Cincinnati Reds Lou Piniella
Houston Astros Art Howe
Los Angeles Dodgers Tommy Lasorda
Montreal Expos Buck Rodgers Replaced during the season by Tom Runnels
New York Mets Bud Harrelson Replaced during the season by Mike Cubbage
Philadelphia Phillies Nick Leyva Replaced during the season by Jim Fregosi
Pittsburgh Pirates Jim Leyland
St. Louis Cardinals Joe Torre
San Diego Padres Greg Riddoch
San Francisco Giants Roger Craig (baseball)



  • January 6 – Alan Wiggins, former leadoff hitter for the San Diego Padres and a key member of their 1984 pennant run, becomes the first baseball player known to die of AIDS. He was 32.
  • January 7 – Pete Rose is released from Marion Federal Prison after serving a five-month sentence for tax evasion.
  • February 4 – The 12 members of the board of directors of the Hall of Fame vote unanimously to bar Pete Rose from the ballot. He will become eligible again only if the commissioner reinstates him by December 2005.


  • April 8 – Just hours before the first pitch of the baseball season, MLB averts an umpires strike by reaching agreement with the Major League Umpires' Association on a new four-year contract.
  • April 21 – The Chicago Cubs score five runs in the top of the eleventh inning, but the Pittsburgh Pirates comeback with six runs in the bottom of the inning for the victory; the greatest extra-innings comeback (in terms of runs) in Major League history.


  • July 7 – Outside a restaurant in Arlington, Texas, American League umpire Steve Palermo is shot and paralyzed from the waist down after aiding a woman who was being mugged. The assailant is later sentenced to 75 years in prison.
  • July 26 – Montreal Expos pitcher Mark Gardner throws a no-hitter through nine innings, but does not complete it when his team fails to score against Los Angeles Dodgers starter Orel Hershiser and reliever Kip Gross. Gardner loses the no-hitter and the game in the tenth inning when the Dodgers get three hits and score the only run of the game. The Expos only get two hits.
  • August 11 – In only his second Major League game, and first Major League start, Wilson Alvarez throws a no-hitter as the Chicago White Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 7–0. It is the fifth no-hitter of the 1991 season, not including Mark Gardner's nine inning no-hitter that was lost in the tenth on July 26.
  • September 4 – Removing an "asterisk" which was never universally recognized, the Statistical Accuracy Committee decides to put Roger Maris' 61 home run season of 1961 ahead of Babe Ruth's 60 mark of 1927. Regarding the expunging of the asterisk, historian Bill Deane later points out, "It was an easy job: the asterisk never existed. Maris' record was, from 1962 until 1991, listed separately from Ruth's and was never actually defined by 'some distinctive mark.'" The eight-man panel also re-defines a no-hit game as one which ends after nine or more innings with one team failing to get a hit, thereby removing 50 games from the list that had previously been considered hitless, including the 1959 performance of St. Louis Cardinals' Harvey Haddix, who pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, and Cincinnati Reds' Jim Maloney 1965 1–0 loss to the New York Mets in 11 innings. Another casualty is Boston Red Sox reliever Ernie Shore 27 straight outs on June 23, 1917, a game in which he relieved Babe Ruth after being ejected for protesting a walk to Ray Morgan, the first Washington Senators batter he faced. Morgan was thrown out trying to steal second, and Shore retired all 26 men he faces in a 4–0 win‚ getting credit in the books for a perfect game.
  • September 15 – Smokey Burgess, a former major leaguer and previous holder of the record for most pinch-hits, dies at age 64.
  • September 16 – Otis Nixon, the league's leading base stealer and catalyst on the Atlanta Braves' run from last to first, fails a drug test and is suspended for sixty days, consisting of the rest of the 1991 baseball season and the first six weeks of the 1992 season. The Braves lose the first two games without Nixon but rebound to win the National League pennant.


  • October 2 – Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine becomes the first 20-game winner in the majors by beating the Cincinnati Reds. The win assures Glavine of the Cy Young Award when it is given in November.
  • October 3 – Chicago White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hits two home runs, including a grand slam, to lead the White Sox to a 13–12 victory over the Minnesota Twins. In doing so, just nine months shy of his 44th birthday, Fisk becomes the oldest 20th-century player to collect a two-HR game. His 7th-inning grand slam off Steve Bedrosian also makes him the oldest major leaguer ever to hit a bases-loaded homer. Cap Anson, at 45, hit two home runs on this date in 1897, and is the oldest major league player to hit a pair.
  • October 5 – The Atlanta Braves become the second team in two weeks to go from last to first when they beat the Houston Astros, 5–2. Moments later, the San Francisco Giants eliminate their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, when Trevor Wilson pitches a 4–0 complete game shutout, handing the National League West division title to the Braves. John Smoltz gets his fourteenth win of the season as the Braves close out with eight consecutive wins after trailing the Dodgers by two with only ten games left to play.
  • October 7 – Leo Durocher, who is credited with the phrase 'nice guys finish last,' dies at the age of 86. The same day, the New York Yankees fire Stump Merrill, the ninth major league manager fired in 1991.
  • October 8 – Despite finishing in second, their lowest finish in his 3½ years as manager, the Boston Red Sox dismiss Joe Morgan and replace him with Butch Hobson. Morgan is the tenth manager fired in 1991.
  • October 9 – Tom Trebelhorn becomes the eleventh managerial casualty of 1991 despite a record of 40–19 and a finish over .500 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • October 18 – Jim Essian, who replaced Don Zimmer in May, is fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs, the thirteenth and last firing of a manager in 1991. The thirteen firings in a season set a majors record that still stands.