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The 2016 Major League Baseball season began on April 3, 2016 with a Sunday afternoon matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the two teams with the best regular-season records in 2015, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The regular season ended on Sunday, October 2, 2016, and the postseason on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, with the Chicago Cubs coming back from a three games to one deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series and win their first championship since 1908.
As was the case in 2015, teams were scheduled to play 19 games against each division opponent for a total of 76 games, and six or seven games against each team from the other two divisions in its league for a total of 66 games. The Civil Rights Game was not played this year.
In February 2016, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed to two rule changes.
Rule 6.01(j) delineates criteria for a legal slide while trying to break up a double play, which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder. This is intended to protect infielders while still allowing for aggressive baserunning.
The second rule change limits managers and coaches visits to the mound to 30 seconds and shortens between innings break times by 20 seconds to match television commercial breaks.
On October 4, 2015, the night after the regular season ended in a loss to the Rangers, the Angels hired Billy Eppler as their new permanent general manager, replacing Bill Stoneman, who was the interim GM after Jerry Dipoto who resigned earlier in the season.
On October 24, 2015, Matt Klentak was hired as the new permanent general manager to replace interim GM Scott Proefrock, who was a temporary replacement for Ruben Amaro Jr., who was fired on September 10.
Matt Williams was fired on October 5, 2015, after two seasons with the team. He guided them to the division title in 2014 before losing to the San Francisco Giants. He finished with a 179-145 record. On November 3, 2015, the Nationals announced that Dusty Baker will be their new manager for the 2016 season.
Pat Murphy was named interim manager on June 16, 2015, after Bud Black was fired. He finished the 2015 season with a record of 42-53. On October 29, 2015, Andy Green was named the new permanent manager of the Padres.
Jennings made the unusual move from GM to manager when the Marlins fired Mike Redmond in May after a 16-22 start. The change failed to spark a turnaround, and the injury-riddled Marlins finished at 71-91, their sixth consecutive losing season. Jennings returned as GM and was subsequently fired from that role. On October 29, 2015, Don Mattingly was named the new manager.
McClendon compiled records of 87-75 in 2014 and 76-86 in 2015. On October 9, 2015, it was reported that new Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto wished to hire a new manager, rather than retain McClendon from the previous GM, Jack Zduriencik. On October 23, 2015, Scott Servais was the hired as the team's new manager.
Don Mattingly and the Dodgers parted ways on October 22 after five seasons together. The Dodgers had won their third straight NL West Championship, marking the first time in franchise history that they made the playoffs three years in a row. Their season ended when they lost to the New York Mets in the Division Series. Mattingly finished with a 446-363 record. On November 23, 2015, Dave Roberts was named the Los Angeles Dodgers new manager.
González was fired after starting the season with a 9-28 record, which was the worst record in baseball at the time. González in six-plus seasons finished with a 434-413 record with two playoff appearances. After the season was over, Brian Snitker was named as the new manager on October 11, 2016, dropping the "interim" title.
With a home run in his next game, Story joined the Cardinals' Joe Cunningham in 1954 as the only players in modern history (since 1900) with three home runs in his first two career games.
With another home run in his third consecutive game, Story became the first player in Major League history to hit a home run in each of his first three big-league games. He is also the first player in Major League history to hit a home run for each of his first four hits.
In his fourth career game, Story hit two more home runs making him the first player in Major League history to hit a home run in each of his first four big-league games. Story also became the fifth Major League player since 1900 to homer in each of his team's first four games of a season, joining Chris Davis, Nelson Cruz, Mark McGwire and Willie Mays.
Hit his seventh home run of the season in his sixth career big-league game setting the record for most home runs through his first six Major League contests.
Recorded his 4,256th professional career hit, which included 1,278 hits from his time in Japan's major leagues that are not included in his official MLB total, with an infield single in the first inning against the San Diego Padres on June 15, unofficially tying Pete Rose for the all-time record for most professional hits. Suzuki then doubled in the ninth inning to unofficially surpass Rose's professional career hit record.
Recorded his 3,000th career hit with a triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies on August 7. He became the 30th player to reach this mark.
The pitcher hit his first career home run in the second inning against the San Diego Padres on May 7. At age 42 years, 349 days, Colón became the oldest player in MLB history to hit his first career homer. The previous oldest player to do so was Randy Johnson, at age 40 years, 9 days.
Recorded his 600th career double in the 11th inning against the Houston Astros on May 14. He became the 15th player to reach this mark. Ortiz also became the third player in Major League history to record at least 500 home runs and 600 doubles joining Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
Became the sixth player in Major League history to record seven hits in one game, during a 14-inning game against the Miami Marlins on August 8. The hits tied a National League record and also marked the first time in franchise history a Giant had seven hits in a game.
With a single in the first inning on August 11 against the Texas Rangers, Dahl extended his career-opening hitting streak to 17 games, which tied the Major League record that was set by Chuck Aleno in 1941.
Became the fastest player in Major League history to reach 11 home runs, doing so in his 23rd career game on August 27 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Became the first rookie in Major League history to win consecutive Player of the Week awards. He won for the weeks ending August 21 and August 28.
With his 19th home run on September 21 against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sanchez became the quickest player in Major League history to hit 19 home runs, doing so in his 45th game. Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves owned the previous record, having done so in his 51st game.
Recorded his 600th career double in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 16. He became the 16th player to reach this mark. Pujols also became the third player in Major League history to amass 575 home runs and 600 doubles in his career, joining Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
Hit his 30th home run of the season on September 17 against the Toronto Blue Jays. This was his 14th season of at least 30 homers making him the fourth player in Major League history to accomplish this feat. He joins Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.
Threw his second career no-hitter by defeating the Cincinnati Reds 16-0 on April 21. Arrieta walked four and struck out six as he became the fourth reigning Cy Young winner (joining Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, and Clayton Kershaw), to throw a no-hitter the following season. Arrieta threw 119 pitches, 71 of which were strikes. The no-hitter was historically notable for some other reasons:
The Cubs' 16 runs were the most scored by the winning team in any no-hitter in baseball's modern era (post-1900). The only no-hitter in which more runs were scored was in 1884, when the Buffalo Bisons defeated the Detroit Wolverines 18-0 behind Pud Galvin's no-hitter.
Arrieta became the first pitcher to go unbeaten in the regular season between no-hitters since Johnny Vander Meer, who threw consecutive no-hitters in 1938.
Recorded his 38th consecutive game played without allowing an earned run on April 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays. This tied the major league record set by Craig Kimbrel. Cecil's streak came to an end the day later, when Logan Forsythe hit a home run off of him.
Pitched his 11th consecutive start allowing five hits or fewer, while going at least six innings on June 21. This set a new Major League record; Johnny Cueto, Jake Arrieta, and Johan Santana were the only other pitchers to accomplish ten such starts in a row.
The San Diego Padres became the first team in Major League history to be shut out in three consecutive games to open a season. San Diego lost to Los Angeles by the scores of 15-0, 3-0 and 7-0, respectively. Previously, the St. Louis Browns had had the worst start, going scoreless in their first 26 innings in 1943.
The Cincinnati Reds' bullpen set a record by allowing a run in 23 consecutive games from April 10 to May 5. The previous record had been 20, set by the 2013 Colorado Rockies.
Major League Baseball set a new league record with 6,726 strikeouts in the month of May.
On June 25, the Chicago White Sox tied the Major League record for most home runs hit in a single game by a losing team. Chicago hit seven home runs, but still lost 10-8 against the Toronto Blue Jays. The only other team to accomplish this feat was the Detroit Tigers on May 28, 1995 and August 8, 2004.
On August 19 the Baltimore Orioles set a new Major League record by hitting four home runs before recording their first out, in the course of a five run first inning against the Houston Astros.
The TwinsMax Kepler's home run in the third inning on August 31 against the Cleveland Indians was the 1,034th homer in Major League baseball for August. That is the most home runs hit in the month of August in Major League history. It is also the third-most homers hit in any month in Major League history (1,069 in May 2000, 1,101 in June 2017).
The Cincinnati Reds gave up their 242nd home run on September 19. That is the most home runs allowed in a season by a team in Major League history. The 1996 Detroit Tigers held the previous mark with 241 home runs allowed. Prior to this game, Cincinnati had been tied for the high among National League clubs with the Colorado Rockies, who allowed 239 home runs in 2001.
In Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS on October 9, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 7-6. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Rougned Odor threw away a potential inning-ending double play ball, allowing Josh Donaldson to score the winning run from second base. It was the first time in MLB history that a playoff series ended via a walk-off error.
The Minnesota Twins added a red alternate to their uniform lineup. It features the TC logo on the chest. Although the Twins announced they would be worn on Fridays, they wore the alternate on April 25 and September 5 (Labor Day), both Monday; they wore it on other days as well.
The Phillies and Brewers wore 1976 throwbacks from June 3-5. The Phillies' throwbacks included the NL's 100th anniversary logo, while the Brewers didn't because they were an American League team at the time.
The Indians and Royals wore 1976 throwbacks on June 4.
The Cardinals and Mariners wore 1984 throwbacks on June 25.
The Cubs and Reds wore 1916 throwbacks on July 6 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Cubs playing at Wrigley Field.
The Orioles wore 1966 throwbacks on July 8 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Orioles' 1966 World Series title.
The Angels wore 1970s throwbacks on July 15 and 16.
Eight teams wore throwbacks on July 20 as a part of an MLB "Turn Back the Clock" promotion:
Atlanta at Cincinnati: The Braves wore 1969 throwbacks, while the Reds wore throwbacks from the early 2000s, when Ken Griffey Jr. played. The Braves' uniforms did not have an Indian on the left sleeve or the 100th anniversary of pro baseball logo on the right sleeves, which all teams wore that season.
New York Mets at Chicago Cubs: The Mets wore 1986 road throwbacks, while the Cubs wore 1988 throwbacks.
San Francisco at Boston: The Giants wore their 1978 throwbacks, and The Red Sox wore 1975 throwbacks.
Texas at Los Angeles Angels: The Rangers wore their 1986 throwbacks, and the Angels wore the 1970s throwbacks they had worn July 15 and 16.
The Cardinals wore 1956 throwbacks July 23. The Cardinals uniforms didn't have the two cardinals and bat, which were only worn that season. The Dodgers, their opponent, wore Brooklyn Dodgers caps, but wore their normal road uniform.
The Brewers and Pirates wore 1990s throwbacks on July 30.
The Cubs and Athletics wore 1981 throwbacks on August 6.
The Rangers and Astros wore 1986 throwbacks on August 6 to mark the Astros' 30th anniversary of their winning the NL West title.
The Red Sox and Padres wore 1936 throwbacks on September 7 to mark the 80th anniversary of the Padres' debut in the Pacific Coast League.
The Reds and Pirates wore Negro Leagues throwbacks on September 9. The Reds wore the uniforms of the Cincinnati Tigers, which were actually the Reds' road uniforms in the 1930s, while the Pirates wore the uniforms of the Homestead Grays (which the Nationals had worn on June 25 - the Grays called both Pittsburgh and Washington home).
The Diamondbacks will wear their 1998-2006 throwbacks on Thursday home games.
The Royals wore uniforms with a golden "Royals" script and caps with a golden KC on April 3 and 5 to mark their winning the 2015 World Series. The Royals then announced they would wear the uniforms on Friday nights for the remainder of the season.
Players, coaches, and umpires at all games wore #42 on April 15, the 69th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the majors.
Umpires wore a "EA" patch on the left sleeves honoring umpire Emmett Ashford on April 11 for breaking the color barrier for umpires.
On April 18 (Patriots' Day), the Boston Red Sox wore home white jerseys with "BOSTON" written on the front to mark the three year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. The uniform also sported the 2013 navy-blue circular patch with a white border on the left shoulder saying "B Strong" (with the red B in the classic font featured on the Red Sox's caps).
The Red Sox wore a patch on April 21 to mark Earth Day. The patch is of the two hanging socks surrounded by the recycling symbol. The Red Sox had worn that logo in 2008 and 2009.
The Reds and Giants wore Spanish-language "Los Rojos" and "Gigantes" uniforms respectively on May 5, Cinco de Mayo. The Reds wore the "Los Rojos" uniforms again on August 13 and September 16 (as part of a Fiesta Rojos promotion).
Teams wore special caps and uniforms with pink lettering on May 8, Mother's Day.
The Reds wore camouflage caps and uniforms on May 21, Armed Forces Day, June 12, August 19 and September 2. The team's uniforms had the "Reds" script wordmark on the front, rather than the "C" and the Reds and the player's number.
The Blue Jays wore a 1970s-era cap May 29 to mark the franchise's 40th season.
Teams wore camouflage caps and uniforms May 30, Memorial Day in the United States. The uniforms were woodland camouflage, licensed from the US Marine Corps. The Blue Jays wore camouflage of the Canadian forces' CADPAT design, even though Memorial Day is not officially a holiday in Toronto, the province of Ontario, or Canada on the last Monday in May.
The Rays wore a special cap on June 17 to mark the Orlando shooting five days earlier. They wore the cap of the Orlando Rays, the team's Southern League affiliate from 1999 to 2002. Both the Rays and Giants, their opponents, wore "ORLANDO" patches.
Teams wore uniforms with blue lettering on June 19, Father's Day.
The Royals and the Astros wore Spanish-language "Los Reales" and "Los Astros" uniforms on June 25.
The Blue Jays wore a red uniform July 1, Canada Day. The Indians, their opponents, wore a Canadian flag on their sleeve. The Blue Jays wore their red uniforms again on August 28.
All teams wore red, white and blue-themed uniforms on July 4, Independence Day in the United States.
The Reds and Brewers wore Spanish-language "Los Rojos" and "Cerveceros" uniforms August 13.
The Mariners wore Spanish-language "Marineros" uniforms September 4.
All 30 teams wore caps with American flags September 11 to mark the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Blue Jays wore a cap with American and Canadian flags.
The Reds wore green uniforms on September 18. The uniforms had the Reds script wordmark on the front, instead of the C and the player's number. The uniforms have a shamrock on their right sleeves.
The Astros wore orange Spanish-language "Los Astros" uniforms September 25.
The Marlins all wore uniforms with José Fernández's name and number 16 on September 26 to honor him. Fernández died the previous day.
This was the third year of the current eight-year deals with Fox Sports, ESPN and TBS. Fox aired eight weeks of baseball on Saturday night leading up to the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which also aired on Fox. Fox then televised Saturday afternoon games for the last four weeks of the regular season. Fox Sports 1 televised games on Tuesday nights and Saturdays, both during the afternoon and night. ESPN televised games on its flagship telecast, Sunday Night Baseball, as well as Monday and Wednesday nights. TBS televised Sunday afternoon games for the last 13 weeks of the regular season. Fox and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball telecasts will be exclusive; all other national telecasts will be subject to local blackout.
TBS will televise the American League Wild Card Game, Division Series, and Championship Series. ESPN will televise the National League Wild Card Game, Fox Sports 1 and MLB Network will televise the National League Division Series, and Fox Sports 1 will televise the National League Championship Series. The World Series will air exclusively on Fox for the 17th consecutive year.
Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully announced in August 2015 that he will retire after the 2016 season, his 67th as play-by-play announcer for Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasts.
Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross announced that he would probably retire during a November 2015 radio interview on MLB radio network. He homered in his final major league game in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, becoming the oldest player to homer in a World Series game 7.
San Diego Padres broadcaster Dick Enberg announced in September 2015 that he will retire as San Diego Padres broadcast play-by-play announcer after the 2016 season.
David Ortiz announced on November 18, 2015 that he will retire at the end of the 2016 season.
Pete Rose had his #14 retired by the Cincinnati Reds on June 26 as part of the Reds' Hall of Fame Ceremony. Rose was also inducted as part of the Reds' 2016 induction class. It is the tenth number retired by the Reds.
Ken Griffey Jr. had a formal retirement ceremony for his #24 by the Seattle Mariners during the pregame on August 6; the number had officially been retired as of the start of the season. It is the first number retired by the team. Griffey's number has also been retired throughout the whole Mariners minor-league organization.
José Fernández had his #16 retired by the Miami Marlins immediately after his accidental death on September 25. In a statement from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, "No one will ever wear #16 ever again in the Marlins franchise." It is the 2nd number retired by the franchise.