Ghost Homers: A Look at Lost Round-Trippers

Pee Wee Reese lost an inside-the-park grand slam due to the “dim out” rule implemented by the U.S. Army during World War II. (via Oregon Department of Transportation)

Were it not for the airplane, Pee Wee Reese and John Lowenstein each would have another home run. Indeed, were it not for aerodynamic lift and the people who put its principles to use, Reese would have 127 dingers on his ledger and Lowenstein 117.

As it stands, though, the pair of 16-year vets finished with 126 and 116, respectively. And they could blame it on those who grasped Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

On August 4, 1942, at the Polo Grounds, Reese stepped to the plate in the top of the 10th inning to face Giants starter Bill McGee. Reese’s run-scoring single in the fifth inning had given his Dodgers a 1-0 lead over their Gotham rivals, but in the bottom of the sixth, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Willard Marshall had scored Mel Ott to tie the score at 1-1. And so it stood now, in the first extra frame, as the Brooklyn shortstop got set for an opportunity to change the score in dramatic fashion. Change it he did, in the most dramatic fashion available, by hitting an inside-the-park grand slam.

Today, however, you won’t find that rarest of rarities in the record books. According to Major League Baseball, and despite the fact that nearly 15,000 spectators watched Pee Wee touch home plate behind three runners, that grand slam never happened.

What did happen, even if no evidence appears in the box score, is this: Still in the top of the 10th, umpires stopped the game in the middle of Joe “Ducky” Medwick’s fifth at-bat. In accordance with MLB rules, the 10th inning was erased from history and the game officially reverted to a nine-inning 1-1 tie. But why had umpires stopped the game?

No rain had fallen, and no locust swarm had hit Coogan’s Hollow. Instead, they had stopped it because they had to. The U.S. Army said so.

Months earlier, in the spring of 1942, the Army had determined that the glow from New York City lights had rendered offshore ships easy targets for German submarines by making their silhouettes distinguishable. In response, Army brass had ordered a “dimout.” Though less stringent than a blackout, the dimout required that Times Square go dark, office buildings veil their windows, and nighttime baseball be banned at Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.

And so, at 9:10 on a Tuesday night, Pee Wee’s granny was no more.

In search of a scapegoat, Reese could have pointed to the 49 B5N bombers that had led the aerial assault on Pearl Harbor just nine months earlier. He could have pointed to the 51 D3A dive bombers that followed, or the 43 Zero fighters that concluded the first-wave attack. He could have pointed to the second wave of aircraft — this time comprising 54 B5A bombers, 78 D3A dive bombers and 36 Zeroes — that completed the surprise bombardment on the morning of Dececember 7. Though the attack had exacted far less a toll on Reese than on thousands of other men, he could have pinned blame on any or all of the 353 Japanese Imperial airplanes that drew the U.S. into war and its citizens into the sacrifices necessary to its engagement. Due to their takeoff, his granny didn’t land.

***

Due to a landing some four decades later, another homer never took off — not officially. On Sept. 6, 1978, Lowenstein stepped to the plate in the third inning of his Rangers’ game against the Angels and clubbed a ball over the right-field fence to give Texas a 4-0 lead. Or so it appeared.

Just prior to the pitch, umpire Bill Deegan had called time out. Why?

From somewhere in the stands, a paper airplane had flown onto the field.

***

On Baseball, Game Design, and Output Randomness
Considering baseball through the lens of game design.

It should be noted, for the record, that Lowenstein could have had 118 official home runs. Not only had the airplane deprived him of 117, but the meddling heavens already had wiped out another of his round-trippers. In the first inning of a 1975 game, this time against Texas, Lowenstein homered to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. Alas, the skies over Arlington opened, and Lowenstein was dispossessed of his bomb. Rained out, the game was never replayed. What was GONE! was now just…gone.

Of course, Lowenstein is hardly alone in having a home run ripped from history and tossed to the statistical void. For reasons ranging from rain to darkness to mandatory curfews, hundreds of homers have been erased from big league reality.

Others weren’t erased so much as never officially consummated, the batter having failed in some measure to satisfy the conditions of a home run. Maybe he missed a base or passed a runner. Still others were lost to forfeits, lineup errors, balk calls, fan interference, object interference, timeouts and genuinely bizarre ground rules.

What we are left with is this: Whether due to natural or man-made causes, apparent taters have been erased or otherwise uncredited across the past century and a half.

The first erasure on record? Well, the homer was never on record and thus never actually erased. It came on September 23, 1880, when Fred Corey of the Worcester Ruby Legs sprinted around the bases and touched home plate for an inside-the-park home run. What he had failed to touch was third base. The Red Stockings had taken notice, and Corey lost his tater after the Boston appeal. It would have been his first.

Poor Corey failed to learn his lesson and today is credited with baseball’s second uncredited homer after again failing to touch third. It happened this time on Sept. 17, 1881. Corey wouldn’t hit his first official four-bagger until his fifth season.

Today, one hopes someone shouted, “Touch ’em all!”

The first officially recorded homer lost to history — that is to say, the first that had registered as an actual homer and not as a double or triple — arrived on May 16, 1885, when Tip O’Neill of the St. Louis Browns went deep against Baltimore only to see the rain come down and erase it.

Six apparent homers, including Corey’s, had been annulled across the previous five seasons when the batter failed to touch a base, but this was the first time in recorded history rain had been the culprit. Of course, what all those homers had in common is that they weren’t official homers. Even O’Neill’s, though logged in some early scorecard, was never an official homer because the game was never an official game. It didn’t go the necessary number of innings to be counted as such. And so the homer, despite the irony that it remains a part of history, was never an indelible fact.

***

Ghost homers do not discriminate.

Scrubs and Hall of Famers have all been victims. Case in point: Josh Clarke, brother of Hall of Famer Fred Clarke, is the second player in recorded history* to see rainfall wash away a dinger. It happened — but didn’t happen — in the first inning of a game in 1908. Had it counted, that homer would have given Clarke a slightly higher WAR than his career mark of 3.4, or 69.4 less than his Cooperstown-bound brother.

*We say “recorded history” for a reason. Surely, or almost surely, other dingers  have fallen to rainfall, but this is the list we have.

By contrast, the sixth and seventh players in recorded history to curse the homer-takin’ rain were future Hall of Famers: Kiki Cuyler, who lost a 1924 homer to a New York storm, and Earle Combs, who lost what would have been his first major league dinger to nasty conditions in Detroit.

Cuyler and Combs had Cooperstown company in rained-out misery. Of the next eight players to lose homers to rain, six were Hall of Famers: Travis Jackson, George Sisler, Pie Traynor, Al Simmons, Babe Ruth and Jim Bottomley. The other two victims in that span (1925-1928) were Tommy Griffith, who would finish his career with 52 homers and 9.4 WAR, and George Harper, who would end with 91 and 18.9.

Put it this way: Simmons could spare that nullified dinger. He finished with 307, just above the nice round number 300. But Griffith? He could’ve used all he’d gotten.

That said, Simmons could have had 309. In 1937, he belted a grand slam in the first inning of a game in Cleveland. Rain erased it. Simmons was among the five players from 1934 through 1939 to lose homers to rain-producing clouds, and all were Cooperstown-bound: Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Simmons, Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg. The man who snapped the string of Hall of Famers was Frankie Hayes, who in 1940, like Simmons, saw his grand slam go down the gutter.

He wouldn’t be the last to lose a granny to rain. A half dozen others would see theirs washed away: Woodie Held in 1961; Joe Pepitone in 1969; Gary Sheffield in 1997; Albert Pujols in 2003; Reggie Sanders in 2006; and Mitch Moreland in 2011.

Rain is a history-unmaking thing, as cruel to hitters of homers as it is kind to pitchers who yield them. Consider: In 1933, Boston’s Roy Johnson bopped a Bump Hadley pitch onto the roof of Sportsman’s Park, but owing to rain later that inning the blast entered a newer history — one that turns events that did happen into events that didn’t.

Consider, too: In 1947, Cleveland’s Joe Gordon and Les Fleming hit back-to-back homers off future Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser. Were it not for rain, the Cooperstown-bound Gordon would have posted 30 homers for the season. Fleming would have posted 30 for his career. Rain falls in different measures, and its cruelties are likewise allotted.

Consider: Joe DiMaggio and Dino Restelli both grew up on the San Francisco sandlots, but only one would go to Cooperstown. To reach the Hall, DiMaggio didn’t need the homer he lost on May 12, 1947, at Yankee Stadium. But to reach 13 for the season and 14 for his career, Restelli sure needed the dinger he hit on June 26, 1949.

After Gordon and Fleming, DiMaggio and Restelli were the latest to see their homers fall to rain. The next three came in one game. In it, Yankee All-Star Tommy Henrich went yard off future Hall of Famer Bob Feller. It was a homer well-earned but ultimately uncounted. Later, the aforementioned Gordon homered off Yankee starter Ed Lopat, but it, too, was ticketed for the scrap heap. One inning later, Cleveland’s Sam Zoldak also took Lopat deep. Here’s the thing: Zoldak was himself a pitcher.

Here’s the other thing: In his 200 at-bats leading up to the game, Zoldak had never homered. In his 86 at-bats to follow, he would never homer again. Rain had erased the only homer of Zoldak’s career.

***

Sam Zoldak isn’t the only pitcher to have lost a homer to precipitation.

Across major league history, at least six hurlers have seen their dingers go down the gutter. Tommy Byrne lost one in 1950 — off none other than Sam Zoldak. Frank Lary lost one, too, in 1955. It would have been the first of his career.

Of course, Lary isn’t the last batter to see his first go poof. Entering the Angels-Orioles game on Aug. 6, 1961, Angels rookie Tom Satriano had posted just two at-bats, both hitless. Then, in Baltimore, he went deep for the first time in The Show — except he didn’t. Blame rain.

Crueler, perhaps, are the manmade causes that erase a debut dinger. On April 15, 1997, Boston’s Scott Hatteberg drove a ball deep to center field at Fenway Park — so deep that it hit a TV camera beyond the wall. Umpire John Shulock didn’t see it that way. Instead of notching his first homer, Hatteberg had notched his third double.

Compare Hatteberg’s moment to Luther Bonin’s, though, and you might consider Hatteberg lucky. After all, Hatteberg would hit 106 homers. But Bonin? Facing Baltimore’s Kaiser Wilhelm in 1914, he drove a pitch deep into the bleachers for the first home run of his two-year career. In fact, it was just his third game.

As Bonin rounded third, however, Blues manager and third-base coach Larry Schlafly patted him on the back. Per MLB rules, that was a no-no. Rather than the ball being out, Bonin was out, and credited instead with a triple.

He would never homer again.

***

Like Bonin, many players have had homers yanked away by weirdness.

On Sept. 8, 1897, in the bottom of the fourth inning of a game against the Cleveland Spiders, Washington outfielder Kip Selbach hit a ball into the Boundary Field stands for a home run. In the top of the fifth, Cleveland captain Patsy Tebeau told batter Ed McKean to get hit by the pitch to reach first base. Umpire Bill Carpenter overheard the plan, however, and after McKean got hit, Carpenter refused to award him the base. In response, Tebeau got steamed and refused to continue the game. Officials ruled it a forfeit. All statistics, including Selbach’s homer, were gone.

Likewise, Hall of Famer Hughie Jennings lost a homer to forfeiture. The Brooklyn outfielder had gone yard in the first inning of a game against the Cardinals, but in the third inning, after umpire John Gaffney called Superbas runner Duke Farrell safe at home plate, St. Louis catcher Wilbert Robinson went ballistic. Furious, he chucked the ball at Gaffney and punched him in the chest. Gaffney responded by hitting Robinson in the nose, ejecting him, and then forfeiting the game to Brooklyn. With the game erased, Jennings had lost a homer but had gained a jolly good tale.

How’s this for a jolly good tale? In July of 1890, Boston outfielder Hardy Richardson homered in each of three straight games. Later, however, officials ruled Boston had illegally used shortstop Gil Hatfield, on loan from the Giants, and nullified all three games and the stats they generated. Gone were the goners.

That sort of strangeness was no stranger to baseball’s early days. On Aug. 4, 1906, an unusually large crowd arrived at the Polo Grounds for a Cubs-Giants game. Upon overrunning the stands, the crowd was allowed the unusual step of ringing the outfield. Officials then devised a ground rule: Any ball hit into or over the crowd would be a double. In the third inning, New York’s Bill Dahlen lofted a ball into the left-field stands. On any other day? A dinger. On this day? A double.

More absurd, perhaps, was a headline in the Sept. 13, 1921 edition of The New York Times: “Gharrity’s Homer Retires His Side.” What happened was this: A day earlier, Washington’s Patsy Gharrity whacked a pitch into the left-field bleachers at Comiskey Park for an apparent two-run homer. When base runner Frank Ellerbe heard the crowd cheering in the left-field seats, however, he reasoned that Joe Jackson had caught the ball to end the inning. Rounding third, Ellerbe turned and trotted back toward his shortstop position. Poor Patsy passed him. Now he was out.

This was the latest in a decade of strangeness. On Oct. 13, 1912, National League President Tom Lynch upheld Pirates manager Fred Clarke’s protest of a game eight days earlier and tossed it out of existence, erasing homers by Franck Schulte and Chief Wilson. At issue: Clarke had seen Chicago’s Dick Cotter batting out of order.

Then in 1920, just four months before Gharrity’s ghost homer, Brooklyn’s Ernie Krueger suffered baseball’s fourth nullified inside-the-park home run in an eight-year span when his batted ball rolled beneath the temporary stands at Ebbets Field.

That 1920 weirdness was the start of a decade of same. In 1921, Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann clocked a ball into the bleachers but lost the homer when called out for batting out of turn. Detroit skipper Ty Cobb had changed the lineup but failed to inform the players. 

In that same season, Babe Ruth clubbed a ball toward the stands but lost the homer when a fan reached over to catch it. Babe got a double instead. Also getting doubles from should-have-been homers in that decade were Bill Cunningham, Heinie Sand, Tony Kaufmann and Max Carey, each of whose drives bounced from the bleachers and onto the field.

Cincinnati infielder Frank Sigafoos closed the soaring ’20s by hitting a ball into the seats at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis for his first career homer. But wait! An umpire had called a balk. Dinger undone, Sigafoos would finish the season, the decade, and his career with exactly zero dingers.

Perhaps more lamentable was the weirdness on Memorial Day, 1922. On that morning (yes, morning) at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl, in the first game of a doubleheader, Phillies catcher Butch Henline stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with a chance to win the game. Tilly Walker stood on third base, Cy Williams on first. Facing Giants reliever Red Causey with one out, Henline needed only a single or even a sacrifice fly to drive home the game-winner. Instead he hit a Causey offering deep into the bleachers for a three-run homer — except it wasn’t a three-run homer. It was a one-run double. Henline, seeing the winning run had already scored, stopped at second base and left it at that.

***

Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first time a batter had denied himself a homer. On June 15, 1889, Al Maul of the Pittsburgh Alleghenys drove a ball over the fence against Indianapolis. Instead of rounding third and touching home plate, the man they called Smiling Al stopped at third.

Why? Well, in those days, catchers would often stand farther behind the batter whenever the bases were empty. This made it easier to handle the pitch. Smiling Al’s strategy was that if he remained at third, the catcher would have to scoot up. And this would make life harder for said backstop.

Needless to say, baseball’s early days were different.

That said, when it came to other ghost homers, the later days were similar to their antecedents. From 1930 through 1969, at least 25 batters saw their dingers erased by a circumstance other than rain. Ten batters — including Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks — had homers revoked by an ump.

In fact, Robinson lost two, in back-to-back seasons, when umpires ruled that balls he’d hit out of the yard were still in play. As for Aaron, he lost a dinger when an umpire ruled that he had been out of the batter’s box when he made contact.

In that same four-decade span, 15 other batters lost homers to revisionist history: three to curfew statutes stating Sunday evening games had to end before 7 o’clock; three to timeouts just prior to the pitch; one each to a forfeit, a balk and a batting-out-of-turn.

Famously, Ruth waved goodbye to a wave-it-goodbye! when his batted ball hit a speaker in the Shibe Park stands and bounced back onto the field. The ump called it a double. Teammate Gehrig lost one a year later when a ball he hit caromed likewise onto the field. Believing the ball had been caught, runner Lyn Lary returned to the dugout, and Gehrig was called out for passing him. At season’s end, Gehrig and Ruth were tied for the big league lead in homers, at 46, though Gehrig had hit 47.

Question: Do you think Gehrig is alone in having a revoked homer dramatically damage his stats?

Answer: C’mon. What do you think?

Take Ruth. For decades, he stood atop Mount Homer-More with 714 dingers. It could’ve been, should’ve been, 718. After all, rain revoked two Ruthian dingers, interference two more. But wait! In truth, the number could have been 719!

During part of Ruth’s career, baseball had a rule that went like this: Say a batter homers to win the game, walk-off style. However! At the time he hits it, the runner ahead of him represents the winning run. The thinking was that, if the runner scores the game-winner, how can anyone score behind him? And so in those instances, the batter was awarded not with a homer but with only enough bases needed to send the runner to the plate — single, double, triple.

This, then, is what history records today: that history did not record one such Ruthian blast.

A separate rule cost the Babe upward of 75 home runs. So say some researchers. During much of his career, this rule stated that if a batted ball went over the fence in fair territory but landed foul, it was, y’know, foul. Otherwise, Ruth might own 800-plus.

***

No matter their distance, those Ruthian homers never counted as such — not for an instant. Other ghost homers did count, if not in the undried ink of the scorecard then in the instant reactions of the guys who hit them. And many of those would-have-been-but-never-were home runs have likewise exerted a dramatic influence on the final record. And in the end, what’s more important than the final record?

On August 2, 1952, Cubs slugger Hank Sauer blasted a third-inning homer at Ebbets Field. In the fifth, rain erased it. At season’s end, Sauer remained tied with Ralph Kiner at 37 for the home run crown.

On July 17, 1961, in the second game of a Yankees-Orioles doubleheader, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris each homered to give New York a 4-1 lead entering the fifth. That’s when the rains came. If not for the washout, Mantle would have finished the season with 55 dingers. Cool. But Maris? He would have finished not with a then-record 61 but with a then-record 62.

On September 12, 1983, Carl Yastrzemski hit a two-run bomb off fellow-future Hall member Jim Palmer. Again, the rains came to Baltimore. What would have been the 453rd and final home run of his career was now a memory. In the makeup game the next day, Yaz went 0-for-4 and finished with 452.

On September 20, 1998, Mark McGwire hit a drive to the wall at County Stadium. A fan reached over and touched it. Replays showed that it would have cleared the wall. McGwire was awarded (if that’s the right word) a double. At season’s end, he had a record 70 homers, not 71.

Worse was the fate that befell Al Kaline. In 1958, and again in 1963, the Detroit star slammed a home run that weather wiped out. Baseball loves its round numbers. He would end his career with 399, the nearest of misses.

***

In the wake of a World Series title or some other achievement, players often say, “They can never take it away from me.” But when it comes to home runs, they can — more than once. Besides Babe Ruth and Brooks Robinson — not to mention John Lowenstein, Fred Corey and Al Kaline — many players have had more than one homer erased. Among them are Hall of Famers Al Simmons, Joe Gordon, Joe DiMaggio, Pee Wee Reese, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield and Ryne Sandberg, plus not-Hall of Famers Vic Wertz, Ruppert Jones, Tim McCarver, Leon Wagner, Earl Williams, Butch Hobson, George Scott, Dwight Evans, Andy Van Slyke, Raul Mondesi, Tino Martinez, Gary Sheffield, Larry Walker, Jose Canseco and Albert Pujols, though Pujols is headed for the Hall.

Wagner lost homers in consecutive seasons, each to rain. Hobson lost homers in the same season, 1977, when his drives left the yard but caromed onto the field and were ruled in play. Earl Williams lost two dingers in the same game, to rain. Same thing happened to Tino Martinez: two homers, one game, both gone.

For every victim, each ghost homer must be a gut punch. And whether that punch comes sooner or later, it still has to inflict a pain more visceral than merely ghostly.

Among the haunted, some suffer more than others.

The Not Good

Some players, as if the victims of alchemical flimflam, have had homers turned into outs. Take Dave Kingman. In 1985, he hit a Kingmanesque drive in Seattle’s Kingdome for a no-doubt home run…except it hit a wire and fell for an out.

Same thing happened to Chili Davis. He lost it to a Metrodome speaker.

Ditto Ken Phelps, almost. His sure-fire dinger crashed into a Kingdome speaker and caromed for a foul. He then lined into an out. In 1988, a Rich Gedman drive hit a foul pole in Kansas City for a go-ahead homer, but umpires ruled it foul. He then hit into an inning-ending double play. Final score: 8-7

Kevin Youkilis? In 2006, at Tropicana Field, he hit a blast that, en route to Souvenir City, banged into a B-ring catwalk and dropped toward the turf. Instead of a big four-bagger, Youkilis had a pop-fly out.

The Really Bad

Again, and to paraphrase an axiom, all ghost homers are not created equal.

Those near-misses by Kingman, et al, were never homers. In a sense, they weren’t even close. They weren’t history! Now they’re just history. Sometimes, though, a bona fide homer — and a big one, to boot — is erased in a way that history should not forget.

In the first inning of a 1972 game in Anaheim, Royals rookie pitcher Steve Busby stepped in and belted a grand slam. Incredibly, it was the second grand slam of the half inning — except that it wasn’t. Just before Lloyd Allen delivered the pitch, umpire John Rice had called timeout to eject Kansas City’s Jerry May. Busby did go on to hit a two-RBI single, but across the rest of his eight-year career he would never hit an official grand slam or even a home run.

Not to be outdone, Pittsburgh’s Lee Lacy belted a grand slam in a 1982 game but passed Omar Moreno on the basepath and was called out. Also losing grand slams, in 1985 and 1988, were Mike Easler and Tim Teufel. Each lost it to an umpiring call, their drives having been ruled doubles after caroming onto the field. What they needed was a future tool of revisionist history: replay. For Teufel, it would’ve been the third grand slam of his career; for Easler, the third of his week.

Then there’s Don Money. On April 10, 1976, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Milwaukee’s second game, Money was money. He whacked a walk-off grand slam. Minutes later, however, he walked back on — back onto the County Stadium field, where, even after celebrating in the clubhouse with teammates, he returned to the batter’s box with the bases loaded and no outs. This time he flew out, and after scoring just once more, the Brewers had lost to the Yankees, 9-7.

So, what the heck had happened? Well, just before reliever Dave Pagan delivered the gopher-ball pitch to Money, Yankees manager Billy Martin shouted to first baseman Chris Chambliss to call timeout. He did, asking umpire Jim McKean to halt play. And even as Money rounded the bases, Martin was already arguing with the umpires.

Martin won. Money lost, poor man.

The Very Ugly

Famously, Martin became the key figure in another ghost-homer moment. History calls it the Pine Tar Incident, when Kansas City’s George Brett had his ninth-inning go-ahead home run nullified after Martin argued, successfully, that Brett had too much pine tar on his bat.

That ghost homer was made real, though, after American League President Lee MacPhail upheld the Royals’ protest and ordered that the game be restarted from the point of Brett’s now legitimate round-tripper. Interestingly, the Royals were in flight during the final legal wranglings. It wasn’t until they landed in Newark that they knew the game would be replayed.

In all likelihood, longtime major leaguer Carlos May wishes he could replay a game. It happened in 1971, when he belted a Rollie Fingers pitch for a three-run homer.

Make that a two-run triple.

After rounding third, he neglected to touch home plate.

You can’t blame that one on the takeoff. No, that one’s all about the landing.


John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.
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87 Cards
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87 Cards

John Lowenstein, twice-robbed as mentioned and on United States Marine Corps Active Duty during 1969, observed this about global conflict: “Nuclear war would render all baseball statistics meaningless”.

Lowenstein was also anti-fan club but did lend subtle support to the Lowenstein Apathy Club (Personally, I was aware of the existence of the club but I didn’t care enough to join).

Given his sincerely holistic view of temporary events, I have to infer that John Lowenstein was/is philosophical about his cancelled 1975 and 1978 clouts.

doffbhoya123
Member
doffbhoya123

one of Ryne Sandberg’s is truly memorable. it was on August 8, 1988, during the first (as it turned out, unofficial) night game at Wrigley Field. Morgana the kissing bandit came out and tried to kiss him. He then hit a home run during the at-bat. The game got rained out and the home run isn’t in the books.
https://sabr.org/research/game-was-not-philadelphia-phillies-chicago-cubs-august-8-1988

hopbitters
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hopbitters

That infernal Pine Tar Game. I’ll be muttering about that for weeks. Again.