OTD in 1996, Athletics Tied MLB Record With Seven Hitters Blasting Homers

John Hickey

When thinking of the best Oakland A’s teams, there’s no chance that the 1996 squad will come up in casual conversation.

That team went 78-84 and finished third in the five-team American League West. The A’s began the season playing their first homestand at Las Vegas’s Cashman Field while the modifications to the Oakland Coliseum for the benefit of the Raiders were onging. They finished playing in the Coliseum, being dead last in the AL in attendance.

Still, that team could hit. And more than a little bit. It was on this day, June 27, that the A’s hit eight home runs in an 18-2 win over the Angels. Curiously enough, however, these homers were all hit on the road in Anaheim. It was a weird year.

Scott Brosius hit a pair, both of them solo shots. Mark McGwire, Geronimo Berroa, Jason Giambi, Terry Steinbach, Ernie Young and Jose Herrera all went deep. Having seven players homer in the same game tied the Major League record. Brosius’s two-out homer in the seventh was the finale, after which Oakland didn’t go deep again.

McGwire, in what would be his last full season with Oakland went deep 52 times in 130 games. The first baseman, who’d hit 49 homers in winning Rookie of the Year honors, hadn’t done better until 1996, which would be the start of a four-year stretch in which he would average 61 homers per season.

He was not alone. Hitting home runs was second nature to that team.

Berroa, the DH, had 37 career homers in 352 games. For the A’s in 1996, he needed 153 games to hammer 36 homers.

Steinbach, the A's catcher who had been a rookie the same year as McGwire, had by far the biggest year of his career with 35 homers in 1996, more than double his second-best total, the 16 hit as a rookie in 1987.

Brosius, the third baseman who would be sent to the Yankees at the end of the 1997 season, had a career-best 22 bombs.

Giambi, in his first full season in the Major Leagues, finished with 20 homers. It was the first of 11 seasons with 20 or more bombs. He’d finish with 440 in a 20-year career.

Young, the center fielder, is perhaps is best known for crashing into the center field wall at Cashman Field on April 7, 1996 against the Tigers, catching a rocket off the bat of Detroit’s Bobby Higginson, and turning it into a one of the eight triple plays in A’s history. He had an all-too-brief big-league career, but hit 19 in 1996, the only year in which he’d play more than 71 games.

Part of the reason for the A’s eruption that season was the building of Mt. Davis in left and center field. While those seats were built to accommodate the Raiders, the construction changed the wind patterns at field level, and balls flew out of the park . Oakland hit what was then a club record 243 homers for the season.

That record stood until last season, when the A’s launched 257 bombs.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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