Strange But True: Double Victory

Years ago in the minor leagues, one of baseball’s strangest plays occurred, and it took the president of the league to force a decision on both teams.

Texarkana was playing against Sherman. In the bottom of the ninth Texarkana had a man on third with two out. The batter had two strikes on him.

As the pitcher wound up for his next delivery, the base runner tried to steal home. The pitch was taken at the plate. The runner slid home and the umpire called him safe.

It should have been the winning run, but the manager of the Sherman team came charging off the bench to confront the umpire.

“Was that last pitch a ball or a strike?” he demanded. “Listen, ump, if it was a strike, the batter is out on strikes and the run doesn’t count. If it was a ball, okay, the winning run has scored. Now, was it a ball or a strike?”

The umpire was dumbfounded. “I don’t know,” he admitted sheepishly. “I was busy watching the runner and I didn’t pay attention to the pitch.”

The other umpire was equally unsure. He too had been watching the runner.

The league president was present at the game, and although he as well had been watching the runner, he had to make a decision.

“The run doesn’t count,” he said.

The game had to be resumed the next day in the tenth inning. Sherman scored two runs, but a three-run homer gave the victory to Texarkana.

The Texarkana manager was still angry about the decision. “We had to win that game twice,” he declared.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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