Friday, August 24, 2012

When All Else Fails, Stall!

One of the strangest games on record was played in May of 1915. The Pirates were trailing the Cubs, 5-1, in the bottom of the fourth inning and Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke instructed his players to slow things down hoping the game would be suspended on account of darkness, weather or an act of God.

With pitcher George Pearce at the plate, southpaw Wilbur Cooper began throwing pitches so high that they almost eluded his battery mate. Realizing that a plot was afoot, Chicago skipper Roger Bresnahan advised Pearce to swing at anything. With a 2-0 count, he hacked at two of the high offerings, bringing Clarke out of the dugout to argue--another stall tactic.

Clarke was ejected by umpire Bill "Lord" Byron and play resumed. Cooper changed strategy, throwing a pitch straight at Pearce to make the count full. Pearce dodged the next pitch (another bean ball) and threw his bat at Cooper. He was subsequently ejected, but Byron granted him a base on balls.

Cubs' pinch-runner Hippo Vaughn tried to get a third out with weak attempts to steal second and third. He was safe at both stations due to defensive indifference. He was eventually caught at home plate when he slowed dramatically so he could be tagged out. The umpires waited until the bottom of the fifth to declare the game official and the Pirates absorbed the loss.

Nice try, Mr. Clarke!

No comments:

Post a Comment