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We have completed our 4th major section for Baseball-Almanac: The History of the American and National League Divisional Series. Recaps from 1981, 1995-present with complete statistics are online at's Division Series section. The draft copy is also available here under Postseason.

MLB Postseason History: The Divisional Series
by Michael Aubrecht

Written for's Divisional Series section
Sources: Baseball Almanac, Baseball Reference, The Baseball-Library, USA Today Sports, Official MLB Team Sites

1996 American League Divisional Series:

New York Yankees (3), Texas Rangers (1)
Baltimore Orioles (3), Cleveland Indians (1)

The second installment of the American League Divisional Series recalled the familiar faces of both the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. Cleveland had swept the '95 affair against the Boston Red Sox en route to a World Series appearance and the Bronx Bombers had finally started to show glimpses of a dynasty that would dominate the remainder of the decade. This season they were matched up against the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers who were both making their first divisional playoff appearance.

In Game 1, the Texas "freshman" showed little fear after both Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer connected for home runs off of Yankees pitcher David Cone. The result was a 6-2 shocker that eliminated the possibility of a previously predicted New York sweep. Juan Gonzalez maintained his momentum at the plate in Game 2 and added two more homers off of Andy Pettitte. Somehow, the Yanks managed to bounce back in the bottom of the twelfth with a 5-4 effort that evened the series at a game-a-piece. New York hero Bernie Williams took control in Game 3 with an outstanding 2-for-3, 1 RBI performance and capped it off with a 3-for-5, 2 home run victory in Game 4 that earned the pinstripes their fourth trip to the ALCS.

"Dahn" in Baltimore, the Orioles stunned the defending AL champions in Game 1 with a 10-4 rally that was "lit off" by a Brady Anderson "leadoff" homer courtesy of Charles Nagy. Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray followed suite in Game 2 sealing a 7-4 win while both going 2-for-3 with an RBI each. Now down two-games-to-none, the Indians managed their first win in Game 3 after Albert Belle connected for a grand slam in the seventh. Unfortunately, it would prove to be too little - too late. The following day, both teams ran neck-and-neck for eight innings until Orioles slugger Roberto Alomar pulled ahead with a tying single in the top of the ninth and a game-winning homer in the top of the twelfth. Alomar's "MVP performance" was rewarded with a 4-3 victory and a ticket to meet the Yankees.

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