Strange But True: Teamwork

What happens when a team doesn’t like one of their own players? Pitcher Johnny “Phenomenal” Smith of Brooklyn found out that it doesn’t pay to be too cocky.

Smith was a rookie, and he boasted all the time. On June 17, 1885, when Smith was pitching, his teammates decided to teach him a lesson. They committed 20 errors and Brooklyn lost, 18-5.

Phenomenal Smith was angry, but Brooklyn club president Charles Byrns was even angrier. He threatened to fire every player on the team if they tried such a stunt again. The following day Brooklyn won. They committed no errors.

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

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