Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 1959: Two Balls In Play At Wrigley!!!

     On June 30, 1959, Stan "The Man" Musial was involved in one of the most unusual plays in baseball history at Wrigley Field in Chicago when he was retired with two balls in play.

     The ridiculous turn of events came during the top of the fourth when Musial worked Chicago's starter Bob Anderson to a 3-1 count, before he fired ball four over the plate. The ball hit the Chicago catcher Sammy Taylor, and caught a piece of the umpire Vic Delmore and bounced to the backstop. Taylor wasn't even worried about the ball. He began arguing with the umpire because he thought that the ball had caught a piece of the bat, therefore it would be a foul tip. As Musial trotted to first his teammates began screaming "Run, run!" He heard them and made a break for second, while the Cubs third baseman Al Dark realized this and went after the ball.

     As Dark was trying to retrieve the ball as quickly as he could, the Cardinals batboy picked it up and tried to flip it to the Cubs field announcer Pat Peiper, who also was in charge of keeping the baseballs for the umpires. Dark screamed to Peiper "Gimme that ball!" Peiper, not wanting to interfere, pointed at it saying "it's right there." as Dark stormed in, scooped and fired to second. At the same time that Dark was making his throw, the catcher Taylor had another ball put into his hands by Delmore, and he fired toward second as well. Taylor's throw sailed into center, while Dark's was dead on to Ernie Banks.

    While this craziness unfolded Stan decided to take third base as well, and the choice cost him, as Banks was able to tag him out as he tried to get back to second with baseballs flying everywhere. Bobby Thomson fielded Taylor's misguided throw into center, and he immediately threw the ball back in to the Cubs bench realizing that the other ball was the one that had tagged Musial out. Then came an argument.

     The Cards skipper Solly Hemus was furious, as he argued that Musial should be safe no matter what since the bat boy had his hand in it. The Boys in Blue referred to the rule book, and pointed at a rule that said if a bat boy had unintentionally interfered there was no interference at all. The ruling led to Hemus playing the game under protest, which in the end hardly mattered as the Cardinals ended up winning the tilt 4-1. I can only imagine Musial cracking his classic smile as he talked about the play with his teammates later that day.

Check out the box score here:

1 comment:

  1. I remember that play. I was listening to the game on the radio. Harry Caray painted the whole picture as it was unfolding. Those were great Cardinal years for me as a teenage fan, even though the team was living through an 18 year drought.