Maybe it was the name. The Beaneaters. It was a disappointing year for the Braves (then known as the Boston Beaneaters) in 1896. The finished fourth with a 74-57 overall record. They were 17 games behind. They had an infusion of talent that would help them over the next few years but not in 1896 though. Frank Selee, the manager, would certainly experience it all during his tenure.
Frank Selee served as manager from 1890 to 1901.
It was also the year that Republican William McKinley would defeat William Jennings Bryan for President. He was the last veteran of the War Between the States to be elected for President.