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Most bizarre plays in the world series

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  • Most bizarre plays in the world series

    I have been thinking about this for a while now. It is fairly easy to think of the most gripping intense meaningful or significant singular play in any World Series you have watched all the games of. Yet equally as intriguing are the plays that make you go "What the hell??" And so in my head I have thought of one play in each of the past few World Series that stands out over the others as being the most bizarre play of the series.

    2002 Game 5: Kenny Lofton triples to drive home 2 runs in the 7th while 3 yr old batboy and son of manager Dusty, Darren Baker runs onto the field. The first runner to score, J.T. Snow had to step on home while at the same time, grabbing little Baker and picking him up so as to avoid running him over himself or avoid allowing the runner close behind him about to score from running him over either. This was in the midst of a 16-4 Giants rout, and so I do not know what Kenny Lofton's triple made the score.

    2001 Game 3: Not Tino, not Jeter, not midnight, not Brosius, not Byung-Hyun Kim, not Rivera, not Luis Gonzales, those were heroic plays that by virtue of their own excess, were seen as bizarre. Here's the much forgotten most bizarre play of the series. In game 3 with the score tied at 1 in the 4th inning the Yankees had already loaded the bases with 2 outs by virtue of a missed foul pop up by Catcher Damian Miller which led to a walk to Shane Spencer, and a botched ground ball to short by Tony Womack. Now Soriano was up. He hit a mile high pop up in fair territory which Miller was searching for. The swirling winds fooled him and the ball dropped inches past his glove while the nearby infielders helplessly watched. Shane Spencer ran home and that four-note jingle that always plays when the Yankees score a run came on in the background. The Yankees had taken a 2-1 lead in a tough ballgame to score runs in...or had they? In the midst of this shock and joy no one seemed to notice the ball had rolled foul after hitting the ground, and Miller had not touched it. The ruling on the field by the umpire was "foul ball." Spencer came back out of the dugout to go back to third, Soriano came back to the plate and promptly flied out to end the inning, still tied at 1.

    2000 Game 2: This is an easy one. Top of the first inning, the much anticipated matchup was finally at hand in the top of the first. Roger Clemens facing Mike Piazza with no one on base. On June 8 Clemens had beaned Piazza in the head and knocked him out cold, Piazza would miss the all-star game. Now it was time for part 2. But come on, that was all just hype right? These things usually fizzle once its time to play, especially for a world championship. Nevertheless, on a full-count pitch, Clemens threw and Piazza fouled one back, but the bat shattered into several large pieces, and one of the larger ones found its way right back to Clemens. He grabbed it and instantly fired it across the first baseline, which was bizarre enough as it was, but somehow Piazza did not realize the ball was foul. He began to jog confusedly down the first base line at the same time, and the jagged barrel of the bat that Clemens had thrown (I believe Clemens had his head down when he threw it, he couldn't have seen Piazza there, but I still think he shouldn't have thrown it and believe the Mets fans have every right to villify Clemens over this). The bat shard missed Piazza by about 3 feet or less. This ignited a near brawl in which both dugouts and bullpens emptied onto the field as Piazza had to be restrained from going after Clemens. When order was finally restored, a clearly rattled Piazza made weak contact on a check-swing pitch and grounded out to first to end the inning.

    1999 Game 3: 8th inning, the Yankees had trailed the Braves 5-1 now its 5-3 with a man on for Chuck Knoblauch. His opposite field flyball to right took Brian Jordan back against the short rightfield Yankee Stadium wall. He leaped and the ball landed in such a way that it pinned Jordan's glove against the top of the wall (the very top, meaning the width of it so it would bounce up rather than down), actually bending the top of the webbing backwards, thus rendering it ineffective, and then bouncing up and over the wall for a game-tying homerun. The Yankees would go on to win the game in the 10th on Chad Curtis's walk off homerun.

    1998 Game 3: Early on like probably the first inning or so, a short bloop shot by a Yankee hitter (???) was hit to center. Steve Finley ran in and made one of the weirdest sliding catches you will ever see. First he dragged his glove on the ground so that the ball bounced up off the webbing which was laying on the ground, then he tried to grab it with the other arm as it bounced up. He missed it and it rolled down his arm and landed on his chest where he quickly picked it up for the out. Somehow the ball had bounced off of everything but the ground. It was a meaningless play but it was still the weirdest.

    I'd like to see how many years back we can go with this. Also if someone thinks there was a weirder play in any of these series that deserves the accolade feel free to say it, although I am fairly sure that all the plays I have mentioned in this milennium are correct. But I would like to see if someone has one for 1997 (I only saw game 7), 1996 (there were too many to choose in that one)and so on. If anyone can fill in some of the gaps that would help too. What did Kenny Lofton's triple make the score of that game? Was Soriano's pop-up to roll foul really in the 4th? What pitcher allowed Knoblauch's homer, may have been Glavine, the game's started, it would have made since because he always pitches on what announcer Jim Kaat refers to as "Low and away avenue" perfect for Knobby to line an opposite field drive to right against, but Im not sure? And who was the Yankee hitter, and was it really the first when Finley made that catch? I am also thinking maybe there was a crazier play in the 98 series that I just cannot think of. Why dont you guys sound off on this for now?
    "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
    --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

  • #2
    1939 - Reds v. Yankees

    Ernie Lombardi's "snooze" play at the plate when he got hit in the cup.
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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    • #3
      Hey, good stuff guys, thanks. 1996 is a real tough year to pick just one play as so many weird things happened. In game 1 they all went against the Yanks then in games 4,5,6 they all went against the Braves, maybe you can help me decide which one stands out.

      Game 1: a broken bat ground ball to 3rd. Boggs fields the ball, the only problem, uh oh he comes the barrel of the broken bat. It hits him in his legs and slows him down. When he recovers the runner is safe at first and beats the throw.

      also in game 1: a wild pitch to charlie hayes. The catcher runs after the ball and throws off his mask. The mask hits Hayes square in the stomach. Ouch.

      game 4: Yanks down 6-0. Jeter leads off the 6th with little reason for hope. He hits a foul pop up that 3 Braves try to converge on. McGriff, Lemke, and rookie Jermaine Dye. The right field umpire only sees the first two and does not move. Dye meanwhile has to see where the ball is in the air, plot a route around the ump who is directly in the way (damn, shoulda just ran right over that damn ump ). then as he came back around he made one last dive and the foul pop fell a foot from his glove. Given a reprieve, Jeter fought off a good pitch for a leadoff single which would be the beginning of the end for the Braves.

      also in game 4: If you saw Charlie Hayes swinging bunt roller down the third base line to lead off the 8th you would put it in this category too. Damn how did that ball stay fair? Even Joe Buck commented "Hayes with a swinging bunt that will roll...and stay fair, unbelievable!" And that, along with Mariano Duncan's taylor-made double play grounder muffed by SS Rafael Beliard in there for defensive purposes, (he only got the out at second) this set up Leyritz's famed blast game tying blast. OK so these two probably dont make it I just love how many breaks the Yanks got in that series, I really believe it was fate. :gt

      Game 5: A pop fly from Charlie Hayes in a scoreless game brings Dye and gold glove CF Marquis Grisson together. Dye perhaps screened Grissom from seeing the ball, and it bounced off Grissom's hip and hit the ground. Hayes was at second, and Cecil Fielder would double him home for the only run of the game.

      Personally I think its between the game 1 Boggs having to field a ground ball and bat and game 4 the umpire gets in the way and gives rookie Jeter a second chance.

      oh yeah, that 1970 play you talk about, was that when Sparky Anderson ran out and went nuts on the ump? I might have seen this, they had him mic'd for sound "There's no way possible he tagged him! No way possible!...How could you have seen the play when you were knocked down!" Because I believe the ump got in the way of the runner and got knocked over before getting up and instantly making the out call. Carbo came back to argue too, and the films show he may not have touched home plate on the slide (he also wasnt tagged of course) but when he was arguing he had jumped on home plate w/o even realizing it. That's when the run should've counted.

      And for Chancellor? That is funny stuff, where did you hear about that play, especially from such an old series that was a sweep, I figure no one is talking about funny little things like that in such a dull overlooked 4 and out series.
      "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
      --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

      Comment


      • #4
        I was going to mention the Devon White play. Watching it live, it was bizarre.

        How about Mickey Owen's dropped third strike in 1941?

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        • #5
          1972 World Series-Oakland A's reliever Rollie Fingers had a 3-2 count on Johnny Bench when A's catcher Gene Tenace "called" for an intentional walk,then proceeded to squat in his regular position as Fingers threw one down the middle of the plate for strike 3 killing a Reds rally and stunning Bench at the same time.

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          • #6
            Pop quiz: Which World Series ended on a routine fly ball which the outfielder simply chose not to catch?

            (This one will have you guys kicking yourselves when you find out what it is )
            "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
            --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chisox73
              1972 World Series-Oakland A's reliever Rollie Fingers had a 3-2 count on Johnny Bench when A's catcher Gene Tenace "called" for an intentional walk,then proceeded to squat in his regular position as Fingers threw one down the middle of the plate for strike 3 killing a Reds rally and stunning Bench at the same time.
              One of my favorites, ChiSox ... I think Bench is still pulling his jock up from that one.

              How about the shoe polish episode in the '69 Mets-Orioles World Series?

              Billny - - - As for which Series ended on a routine fly that an outfielder "simply chose not to catch," well, that one's got me stumped due to the wording, I think ... The '91 Series ended when Atlanta's LF (Gant?) sort of gave up on catching the fly ball since there was no way he was going to throw the 3B runner out at home even if he did catch it ... Is that what you're looking for?
              Never confuse character with geography --- Red Smith
              Astros Daily

              Comment


              • #8
                1975 World Series, Game 3

                The score is tied at 5 in the tenth at Riverfront. Cesar Geronimo leads off with a single off the Red Sox' Jim Willoughby. Ed Armbrister is sent in to pinch hit and lays down a bunt in front of the plate. He takes a step toward first and gets tangled in Carlton Fisk's equipment and vice-versa. Fisk eventually gets to the ball and throws it into centerfield. Armbrister has the best seat in the house at first base listening to Fisk and manager Darrell Johnson scream and curse* HP umpire Larry Barnett, who didn't think this collision was interference. "It’s only interference in the case of intent," was his mantra. Fisk said something to the effect that if that wasn't interference, he didn't know what was. (His diatribe was rated R.) Comments, BlueZebra?

                The upshot is, Geronimo went to third on the errant throw. Willoughby was replaced by Rogelio Moret who gave Rose a free pass to first to induce a force at any base. With Fred Lynn drawn in, Joe Morgan shot a ball over his head in center for the GWRBI. Still frustrated over the busted play, Boston didn't come back in their half of the inning.

                * My guess is that the cursing was held for the dugout and the post-game, as I don't remember these guys being tossed.
                "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
                --Bob Feller

                Comment


                • #9
                  This thread reminded me of a controversial play in the 1961 World Series. I only have a vague memory of it (I was 10 years old at the time) but I believe it involved Red`s second baseman Elio Chacon and umpire Jocko Colon.

                  While doing research to refresh my memory of the incident, I ran across something I couldn`t believe. I know there is a lot of mis-information on the internet, but this beat everything I`ve seen.

                  Hope this link works:

                  http://www.duteaudesign.homeip.net:7...d%20SERIES.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ok first off, PopTop you are correct. I should've known that question wouldn't last long with you guys, but the question certainly was a curious one when I thought of it that way, (Gant took a walking step or two back and pretty much just stared at it, he did choose not to catch it, the thing is, he had a fairly decent reason not to, even though I think you should always at least make the attempt, what if the runner from third tagged a second too early, you never know) it seemed almost like a riddle. 2Chance, your game 3 of the 1975 WS scenario has one flaw in it you must have forgotten. If this happened in the 10th inning at riverfront and the reds scored thanks to this controversy, then Boston wouldn't have had another half inning to try to tie the game, it would have ended instantly.
                    "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
                    --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yellowdog
                      I know there is a lot of mis-information on the internet, but this beat everything I`ve seen.
                      Yellowdog --- Good find, and that is one of the worst ones I've seen ... Being about your age, I remember the incident you're talking about ... Wasn't it something to do with him drifting towards the foul line on a pop and the ump basically backpedaling away from from 1B Gordy Coleman going back on same pop, and Jocko sort of bulldozed Chacon ... I may be wrong about that ... Funny how I seem to have more vivid memories of the '60 and '62 Series than the '61 ... Must've burned some of those cells out in the late 60s at one of Timothy Leary's Bible Study Meetings.
                      Never confuse character with geography --- Red Smith
                      Astros Daily

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by billny33
                        2Chance, your game 3 of the 1975 WS scenario has one flaw in it....
                        Haw haw! Probably not my first goof in a post, but it ranks up with the biggest! Good catch, Bill!
                        "Someone asked me if I took steroids. I said, 'No. I had a contract with Wheaties.'"
                        --Bob Feller

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          no poptop, there's a simple reason why you remember 60 and 62 but not 61. 1960 and 1962 were absolute classic series, complete with climactic bottom of the 9th inning surprise endings in each case. 1962 may not have been a classic series but the drama of that game 7 makes up for a lot (thats why I think the 1997 World Series is underrated, any series with a game 7 like that should be an instant classic I dont care how store-bought the team was, that's totally beside the point) but 1961 was a 5 game romp by one of the greatest Yankee teams of all time, it was an anticlimax to the Mantle-Maris homerun race and everyone knew they would beat the Reds and they did.

                          This reminds me, I was also wondering about another similar topic, most unusual final out or run to end a World Series, I alluded to the 91 series with that question that was pretty weird. 1960 almost had a truly bizarre end to game 7 that even makes it more intriguing that it was avoided. Few people know about this, and maybe some of you older guys remember watching or hearing this from when it happened, but I'm only 19 and I just read this in a Sports Illustrated archive and I was blown away.

                          Its fairly common knowledge that game 7 had the Yanks leading 7-4 going into the bottom of the 8th and the Pirates scored 2 and Hal Smith went deep for a dramatic 9-7 lead to put the Yankees on their deathbed. People know that the Yanks scored 2 in the top of the 9th to set up the Maz blast, but here's what blew me away. In that top of the 9th the Yanks were down 9-8, Dale Long on 3rd, Mickey Mantle on 1st, one out and Yogi Berra up with 1 out. Berra hits a sharp grounder to Pirate first baseman Rocky Nelson. He goes and steps on first for out number two, then draws his arm back to throw to second to complete the double play and win the world series. But Mantle would not be denied, he outsmarted Nelson. He was only a few feet from first and barely escaped the tag going back, leaving time for Long to score the tying run and force the bottom of the 9th. Wow, this is why Mantle was the icon of so many baseball fans in the 1950s and 60s, heroic acts such as this, singlehandedly keeping his team alive with grit and hustle, and this was just an act that no one remembers (I have no idea why), but if the double play had been completed in time it would have been a pretty odd final out to a world series, an unconventional 3-3-6 double play. Nowadays these things get replayed all the time, a double play of that nature doesnt quite make for the same kind of instant recognition a commercial to congratulate the World Champions is looking for. (I know that wouldnt have happened then but its fun to say what if something similar happened now)

                          Anyway, does anyone know of a world series that has ended on a double play or any other unorthodox or unroutine play, Ive often imagined how weird it would be if the clinching game of a series ended on a successful pickoff throw to first or a foul bunt for strike 3 (just weird to imagine a team start celebrating the way they do after something like that), and yes, I know, I know, Babe Ruth was thrown out stealing second to end the '26 series and he was the tying run vs St.Louis. anything else?
                          "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
                          --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well this event did not take place in the World Series but it did cost one team a trip to the WS and it was bizarre to say the least. The Giants and the Cubs in 1908. I am sure most are familiar with "Merkle's boner" that ended that game in a tie and had to be replayed since the Giants and Cubs tied for first place at the seasons end.
                            Just a refresher here. The game was tied 1- 1 in the bottom of the ninth, Giants batting, two outs, Al Bridwell at the plate, runners on first ( Merkle) and third. Bridwell lines a single and the runner from third scores. Merkle sees his the Giants running off the field, headed to the club house, he does not touch second base but runs towards the club house. The Cubs take note of this retrieve the ball, touch second base and Merkle is called out, the run does not count. At this time there are thousands of fans on the field order can not be restored and the game is declared a tie. When the game is replayed the Cubs win 4- 2 and they are in the WS.
                            Thats the story as we know it, here are some details. The following is from the archives of the Boston Post, September 24,1908.
                            Cub Joe Tinker yelled to teammate Solly Hofmann to throw him the ball so he could make the force at second base. Hoffman over threw the ball and Giant Joe McGinnity picked up the ball and refused to give the ball to Tinker. The Cubs surrounded McGinnity who would not give up the ball. McGinnity threw the ball away and one of the Cubs picked it up and threw the ball to Evers who touched second base for the last out. The Cubs who were on the field were then attacked by the N.Y fans, police were called in. Punches were thrown between Cub and Giant players and fans who ran onto the field. There was so much confusion on the field that most of the Giant fans left the park thinking the Giants had won the game. Later McGinnity made the claim that he had thrown the ball into the grandstand and the ball used to make the put out was not the game ball, who knows if he was telling the truth.
                            Any umps out there, what if the ball used to make the put out was not the game ball. My guess would be even if McGinnity did throw the ball into the grandstand the umps would have called interference and Merkle would have been declared out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What McGinnity should have done was hold the ball and either try to call for or run for Fred Merkle and try to find him, perhaps that was impossible with the Cubs surrounding him and the mob of fans I dont know, but I would try to hold the ball as long as I could until Merkle could come back out and touch second base. But even if this happened I still think the umpire should have called Merkle out for McGinnity's interference. Thanks for bringing this up, even though it wasnt world series, it was probably the single most bizarre finish to a game ever. One question though, was there any drama whatsoever in the replayed 4-2 game (the score seems promising enough)? thats what I am curious about if you happen to know.
                              "You can't say I love baseball and then turn around and say I hate the Yankees when they play the game the way you wish your team played"
                              --Bob Ryan BOSTON Globe Columnist

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