Brady Anderson's 1996 power surge yielded multiple records, and his first Eutaw Street home run
In a season defined by his rare display of power at the plate, Brady Anderson became a first-time bronze bomber in 1996 by hitting the shortest Eutaw Street home run in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Anderson's eighth-inning homer off Bobby Witt traveled a "mere" 380 feet. The Rangers' Hank Blalock later matched the distance on July 22, 2003.
The Orioles 4-2 loss to the Rangers on April 27 was their ninth loss in 11 games following an 11-2 start to the 1996 season. However, with the Yankees also losing, the O's maintained a one-game lead in the A.L. East. They ended up four games behind the Yankees but earned their first and only Wild Card with an 88-74 record.
Anderson's home run was his 10th of the young season, tying Frank Robinson's club record for most home runs in April and leaving him one short of the then-Major League record of 11 for the month. (Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez have each since hit 14 April home runs.)
After tying Robinson's record Anderson joked: "I'm just going to stand and stare at him until he acknowledges the record. In fact, I may be calling Frank tonight."
Anderson would exceed Robinson's April total and match the MLB mark the very next day, putting him on pace for 66 home runs, 140 RBIs, 147 runs, and 113 extra-base hits. After battling a strained quadriceps and appendicitis, Anderson finished the year batting .297 with 50 home runs, 110 RBIs, 117 runs, and 92 extra-base hits.
The center-fielder had already established an MLB record earlier in the month by hitting a lead-off home run in four consecutive games, from April 18 to 21. On the season, he matched Bobby Bonds' record 35 home runs while batting lead-off and hit 12 home runs leading off a game to top Bonds' 1973 record in that category. (Alfonso Soriano topped Anderson with 13 in 2003.)
Among the Oriole records Anderson set in 1996 were most home runs (50), home runs while leading off (34), home runs leading off a game (12), extra-base hits (92), and total bases (369).
In 1996, Anderson joked on ESPN that "grease" was responsible for his sudden power surge as he was now eating fattier foods. He later stated in Outside Pitch magazine that "massive" doses of the (legal) supplement creatine were in fact contributed to the outburst. Former Oriole pitcher Jim Palmer raised Anderson's ire when he instead insinuated that the outfielder benefited from the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
"I know what I did and how I accomplished it," Anderson said. "I am proud of it and know that it was done with integrity."
Anderson reached Eutaw Street twice more in his career. His three Eutaw Street home runs are tied with Jason Giambi for the second-most in Camden Yards history behind Rafael Palmeiro, who accomplished the feat four times.
In addition to his Eutaw Street home run against the Rangers, Anderson recorded his fifth of what would be 21 total stolen bases for the season. He became the first player with both a 50-20 (homers-steals) and a 20-50 season.
Read previous entries in The Eutaw Street Chronicles here.