The Short History of Baseball: The 1990s



Hello and welcome to story 10 of 12 of my look at the most significant events in MLB history as well as some of my favourite MLB stories, decade by decade.

In this edition I shall be looking at the 1990’s and here is what I shall be talking about: 1990 – The Nasty Boys 1990-1999 – The Steroid Era 1993 – “Touch ‘em all Joe!” 1993-1999 – Atlanta’s Terrific Trio 1994 – The Wildcard is introduced 1994 – The Corked Bat Tale

1994/1995 – Player’s strike causing no Postseason 1995 – The aftermath and reaction from fans to the strike 1995 – Cal Ripken breaks Lou Gehrig’s record for successive games played 1997-2003 – Pedro Martinez 1998 – Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa Home Run Tussle

1990 – The Nasty Boys

In 1990, the Cincinnati Reds were facing the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. It saw a repeat of the 1972 World Series which the A’s won in 7 games. The Reds were in their first World Series since 1976 and the A’s were appearing in their 3rd straight World Series, losing to the Dodgers in 1988 and beating the Giants in 1989.

Much like the 1988 World Series the A’s were heavy favourites but again much like that series it would not go to plan for them. Years later, Dave Duncan who was the pitching coach for the A’s in 1990, said that: “We didn’t think Cincinnati were that good, and that was a mistake.” It certainly was as the Reds would beat the A’s 4-0.

The series is best remembered for the Reds’ awesome bullpen of Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers or as they became known: “The Nasty Boys”. The trio would pitch 8 2/3 innings in the series, allowing just 6 hits and 0 runs.

1990-1999 – The Steroid Era

In 1988 Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics stunned Baseball by becoming the first player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a single season. He claimed it was just intensive weight training that was the secret behind his never before seen power and speed, but there was more to it than that. He was taking anabolic steroids and many of his teammates would follow his training regime.

Canseco and (if Canseco in his 2005 book is to believed) 85% of the players in the game were taking anabolic steroids, synthetically created testosterone. When taken in large enough amounts it enabled players to lift prodigious amounts of weight every day, rapidly building muscle mass and increasing their speed and agility.