When Derek Jeter Was a Rookie

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2014

When Derek Jeter Was a Rookie

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    RON FREHM/Associated Press

    When Derek Jeter was a rookie, the world was a different place.

    Bill Clinton was president, and the Dallas Cowboys were good at football.

    Bosnia was on the path to peace, but conflict in central Africa still flared.

    Where were you in 1996? Some of us were in middle school trying to hide our braces—as a random example. Others were winning World Series championships.

    Here are some things that were happening in the world while Derek Jeter was batting .314 en route to an AL Rookie of the Year award.

    We’ll cover U.S. and international news, sports and entertainment. Let's go back to 1996, shall we?

“Macarena” Craze

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    You remember the “Macarena”, right? The smash hit by Los del Rio was originally released in 1995, but it gained major dance-scene steam in 1996.

    On August 3, the pop song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. It spent 14 weeks there and a total of 60 weeks on the Hot 100 chart overall.


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    KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/Associated Press

    As far as the entertainment industry goes, people were really into E.R. and Will Smith in 1996.

    • Independence Day grossed over $300 million at the box office, besting all other films that year. 
    • The Spice Girls were a big deal. Their hit “Wannabe” was released in the summer and went No. 1 on the British charts. Then it went No. 1 in 21 other countries before the end of the year.
    • According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The English Patient was the best movie of 1996. This fact was announced at the Oscars in early ’97.
    • Celine Deon’s “Falling Into You” won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
    • E.R. and Seinfeld were two of TV’s most-watched shows that fall. 

Tickle Me Elmo

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    LIZ SCHULTZ/Associated Press

    If you were trying to buy a holiday gift for a kid in 1996, odds are it was a Tickle Me Elmo.

    The little red doll burst onto the scene in time for the holidays that year and caused a near toy-pocolypse.

    Stores were selling out, and people were paying outrageous amounts of money to get their hands on one. CNN reports that some classified ads back then were putting the price at upwards of $2,500.

    During the Elmo craze, toy manufacturer Tyco saw sales increase by 500 percent, according to Business Insider.

    Too bad there was never a Tickle Me Elmo that did the “Macarena”—that would’ve really dominated.

Tupac Shakur

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    ROBERT KALFUS/Associated Press

    Tupac Shakur was an American rapper, actor and hip-hop icon. Despite his fame, the rapper led an embattled life. He was shot in a mugging and spent time in prison after a sexual-assault conviction.

    Tupac was a part of the feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers and known for his controversial song lyrics. He was shot in Las Vegas on September 7 and died six days later. 

    Tupac continues to be a cultural icon even now. The rapper has sold more than 75 million records, and seven platinum records came out after his death. According to Forbes, his estate brought in $3.5 million in 2010 alone.

TWA Flight 800

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    On July 17, Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 230 people aboard.

    The plane was en route from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Paris, but it exploded shortly after takeoff.

    At the time, terrorism was suspected to be the cause, but an investigation conducted by the FBI turned up no such evidence.

    Ultimately, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the most likely cause was an explosion in the fuel tank caused by faulty wiring.

Bill Clinton Re-Elected

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    J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/Associated Press

    On November 5, Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton defeated Republican nominee Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election.

    Clinton and vice presidential candidate Al Gore won with 49 percent of the popular vote and 379 electoral votes.

Unabomber Captured

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    ELAINE THOMPSON/Associated Press

    Ted Kaczynski is a serial bomber also known as the Unabomber. He set a total of 16 bombs from 1978-95, killing three people and injuring many more. 

    On April 3, 1996, police arrested Kaczynski at his Montana cabin after his brother called in a tip. He eventually pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sports Champions

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The Yankees won the World Series in 1996—this we know. Otherwise, the rest of the year in sports looked something like this:

    • January 2: The Nebraska Cornhuskers won their second national championship in as many years by defeating the Florida Gators 62-24 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
    • January 28: The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Larry Brown was named the game’s MVP. Jerry Jones looked the same. 
    • April 1: The Kentucky Wildcats defeated Syracuse 76-67 to win their sixth national title in men’s basketball.
    • June 10: The Colorado Avalanche swept the Florida Panthers en route to its first Stanley Cup.
    • June 16: Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the first championship of their second three-peat. He won the MVP while he was at it.

Centennial Olympics in Atlanta

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    The 1996 Summer Olympic Games, or the Centennial Olympics, were held in Atlanta, and many inspirational sports moments took place there.

    Boxing legend Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch. Injured gymnast Kerri Strug won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. with her legendary vault.

    But a devastating attack took place there as well. On July 27, a bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park, killing two people and injuring 111. Eric Rudolph later pleaded guilty to this and other crimes and was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison.

Central African Conflict

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    Jerome Delay/Associated Press

    The ethnic conflict in central Africa has lasted for decades. In 1994, Hutu extremists incited the mass murder of up to 800,000 people—mostly those in the Tutsi minority—in Rwanda.  

    Following the genocide, approximately two million Hutus fled to seek refuge in Zaire.

    In 1996, the situation became critical when civil war broke out in Zaire. Refugees no longer had access to supplies, and many began the journey back to Rwanda.  

Elections in Bosnia

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    HIDAJET DELIC/Associated Press

    From 1992-95, the territorial conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina resulted in more than 97,000 casualties.   

    After over three years of war, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was signed at the end of 1995. 

    In 1996, opposing armies finally withdrew, and national elections were held.


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