Saturday, December 8, 2012

Rule 5.04

Rule 5.04

The offensive team’s objective is to have its batter become a runner, and its runners advance.


Rarely an offensive team will try to employ tactics other than getting on base or moving runners in order to win a baseball game.

Late during the 1939 season, the New York Yankees played a Sunday doubleheader against the Red Sox at Boston's Fenway Park. During the second game the Yankees took a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth. With George Selkirk on third and Joe Gordon at second with one out, the Yankees realized that time was running out. At that time Boston had a 6:30 pm curfew on Sunday baseball and the game only had 10 minutes left before curfew. They needed to quickly end their half of the inning, then retire the Red Sox in the bottom of the eighth. If the inning was not finished before curfew, the score would revert to the score at the end of the seventh inning, 5-5, and the game would need to be replayed at a later date (under the rules existing at that time).

The Red Sox also realized the time implications. Red Sox manager Joe Cronin ordered an intentional walk to Babe Dahlgren to delay the game. Dahlgren, however, swung anyway-strike one-and Selkirk trotted home to be tagged out at the plate. Umpire Cal Hubbard warned Dahlgren not to swing at the second intentional ball, and Dahlgren complied. Gordon then ran in from third base and was tagged for the third out. Cronin ran out to protest the making of intentional outs, and the Boston fans erupted in anger, hurling bottles and other debris onto the field, making it impossible to clear the field and resume play before the expiration of time. Hubbard ruled that Cronin and the Red Sox were held responsible for the delay and the Yankees were awarded a forfeit.

Cronin filed a protest to the league office "on the ground that it was the Yankees who had played unfairly by deliberately running into put-outs at the plate and also trying to interfere with a perfectly legal intentional pass by having the batter swing at wild pitches." Five days later, AL President Will Harridge upheld the protest and ordered the game to be replayed. He also fined Dahlgren, Selkirk, and Gordon each $100. The game was rescheduled but never played because of rain. The Yankees won the pennant by 17 games over second-place Boston.

Enjoy this beautiful video taken at the 1939 World Series. The pitcher goofing off before the game is Al Schacht, the original Clown Prince of Baseball.

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