Athletes pay a lot of attention to their “wind”–the ability to run and run without getting out of breath. But one athlete, a baseball player named Bert Haas, once used his wind to stop a run from scoring.
Haas was playing third base for the Montreal Royals of the International League during a 1940 game. The Jersey City Giants had a runner at third when batter Woody Jensen tried to start a suicide squeeze play. Jensen dropped a beautiful bunt toward third. The ball rolled slowly along just inside the foul line.
The runner at third ran for home, and Jensen sprinted for first. Bert Haas realized that he wouldn’t be able to throw out the runner at either base. So he got down on his knees and began to blow the ball toward the foul line. It kept rolling fair, so he blew again and again, harder and harder.
“Keep blowing!” screamed the Montreal infielders.
Finally, just before the ball reached third base, it rolled foul. The runner had to go back to third, the batter back to the plate.
Strangely, Jersey City did not protest. But Frank Shaughnessy, the president of the International League, thought he should say something.
With a twinkle in his eye, Shaughnessy proclaimed a new rule: “After this, no player is permitted to blow a ball foul.”
From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.