October 19, 2003

Baseball History 2

Before 'the hated one' in Chicago, even before Buckner, there was a goof so outrageous that the others pale in comparison.

Merkle's Boner

It happened in September of 1908, in NY City. The Cubs were facing the Giants with the pennant on the line. Each and every game was a must-win situation. The score was tied 1-1, in the bottom of the 9th, the Giants had runners on the corners with two outs.

Fred Merkle, a 19 year-old rookie, was the runner on first. The next batter lined a single. The runner at third came home. It appeared to be a Giants victory, they had taken the lead for the pennant, the cheering fans swarmed the field. Merkle looked toward home plate and saw his teammate cross the plate. Merkle, startled as the crowd swarmed out of the bleachers onto the field, stopped. Thinking the game was over, Merkle sprinted off the field. But, he had forgotten an important rule of baseball, he did not go touch second. The Cubs retrieved the ball, went and touched second.

The game was declared at tie because order could not be restored because the fans could not be removed from the field. The two teams went on to finish the season in a dead tie for the pennant. They had to play a one-game playoff. The Cubs won and went to the World Series. One loss, the loss, that day knocked the Giants out.

Merkle was never forgiven by the NY fans for that blunder. He went on to have a solid career of 14 years and a lifetime average of 273. However, everywhere he went he always was reminded by fans of his terrible mistake on that day of his rookie season. A mistake that will always be called Merkle's Boner.

Didjaknow: The ball that Bill Buckner muffed was hit by Mets batter Mookie Wilson. Our Mookie was indirectly named for him.

Posted by Ted at October 19, 2003 08:53 AM
Category: History

Is there a World Series going on? I musta missed it.

Glad you're up and blogging, though...thought I was gonna have to post something just to entertain myself.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 19, 2003 08:58 AM

Didja know that Buckner & Wilson regularly show up at card shows nowadays signing pictures of the ball going thru Buckner's legs and Mookie running down the line?

Posted by: glenn at October 19, 2003 10:43 AM

I thought I was weird naming my rats for hockey players.

Posted by: Victor at October 19, 2003 03:41 PM

Glenn, I've only been to one card show. Too weird for me.

Victor, you are weird for naming your rats after hockey players. We had a dog named Montana. :)

Posted by: Ted at October 19, 2003 04:39 PM

Mookie should be glad she didn't get called "Wilson" then.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at October 19, 2003 09:49 PM
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