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This Interfered With My New Year's Plans

Let's celebrate 2010, and not just with my brand new "Images of Shea Stadium" 2010 calendar, whose cover features the ballpark's namesake giving a ceremonial wreath to Joe Torre on Opening Day, 1978 (they didn't have a more apt image than that?)

I'm in a joyful mood, and not just because it's the New Year. I've finally found a needle in my haystack, and wouldn'tcha know who was involved, albeit indireectly.

Those of you who know this blog know that there's one type of ending that I was particularly intrigued by, but had been unable to find evidence of it occurring in a major league game. It turns out that it has happened, more or less.

I'm referring to the Dodgers-Reds game, the only documented one to end in this manner within the last 55 years, on August 1, 1971.

Our protagonist didn't make his impact until the 11th inning of this game, or rather, the game made an impact on him. With one out and the bases loaded, Bill Buckner was hit by a pitch, bringing home the tying run and setting the stage for a ridiculous conclusion.

One out later, the bags were filled and with an 0-1 count, Dodgers baserunner Manny Mota attempted to steal home.

Future Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, in an effort to make the play on Mota, jumped in front of the plate to field Joe Gibbon's pitch, and when he did, he tagged Mota out.

However, in doing so, Bench prevented Crawford from being able to swing at the pitch, and this was a violation of a baseball rule. The scoring on the play, by newspaper accounts, appears to be a combination of a balk on Gibbon, an error on Bench, and for some reason, an RBI for Crawford, who gets awarded first base, while Mota is permitted the advance to home plate.

The bottom line is this though- The miscue is the closest thing we have to a known walk-off catchers interference in major league play. Hallelujah.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

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