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"Friendship is one mind in two bodies.'" --  Mencius, Chinese author

An Interesting Outfield Throw (7/24/2014)

Let the record show that Corey Kluber was in position to shut out the eventual AL Champion Kansas City Royals on July 24, 2014, until a very weird mishap by his left fielder allowed KC to tie the game 1-1 in the B8th.

Not that the left fielder in question, Ryan Raburn, wasn't hustling—he definitely gave maximum effort on the pop fly from Royals 3B Mike Moustakas. But what happened next was the baseball equivalent of ordering your kid to "brush your bed and go to teeth!" in frustration.

In other words, the conviction was there, but the execution was awful.

Notes: As mentioned, Raburn's goof allowed Moustakas to circle the bases with the tying run; KC would win 2-1 in the 14th on a walk-off 1B by Nori Aoki (off RP John Axford). Kluber went nine full innings with no decision.

In Raburn's defense, he'd played RF all day up until moving to LF in that 8th inning. Chris Dickerson pinch-hit for him in the T9th and took over LF—I'd like to believe Indians MGR Terry Francona would have done that regardless, but who knows.

Moustakas was credited with a double.

 
Wrong Way, Shawn! (12/1/1999)

First of all, please forgive the foreign word and Spurs/Mavericks logos at the bottom of the video. I don't know what any of that is about.

Second of all, please forgive the random clip of a laughing Shaquille O'Neal, who was not at this game. I should have trimmed it out.

This video, and any information about it, was tough to dig up. This was the best we could do.

What happens is: Phoenix Suns rookie F Shawn Marion corralled a jump-ball between teammate Jason Kidd and Houston Rockets G Steve Francis. So excited was Marion at the prospect of a wide-open score, he damn near dunked for Houston instead of Phoenix.

Notes: The play, which took place in the opening seconds of the 3Q, went down as a turnover for Marion. Overall, the youngster finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, helping Phoenix to the double-overtime 128-122 win over visiting Houston.

 
Juan Encarnacion's Career Ends (8/31/2007)

It's been 14 years and a part of me still can't believe this actually happened.

The host Cardinals took on the Reds, and trailed them 4-3 in the B6th. 2B Aaron Miles batted against RP Jon Coutlangus, and on the 0-1 pitch, Miles lasered a foul ball directly into the on-deck circle...where teammate and would-be PH Juan Encarnacion stood.

The 31-year-old quickly went down in a heap. The baseball did severe damage to the eye area (his vision was 20/400 at one point) and his doctor described the damage as the worst he'd ever seen.

Though his eye was saved, Encarnacion never played again.

Notes: It's merely coincidental this video was posted on the heels of a Reds/Cardinals brawl on 4/3/2021; it was selected for posting weeks ago.

Encarnacion was to pinch-hit for RP Randy Flores, but that duty wound up going to OF So Taguchi. St. Louis eventually came back to win 8-5 on a Rick Ankiel grand slam.

Miles wound up with the backwards K in this at-bat; he finished the game 2-for-4, however.

Starting for Cincinnati was Tom Shearn, who I'd NEVER heard of before doing this report. Evidently, he made seven MLB appearances, all in 2007.

 
Reggie Brown's Career Ends (12/21/1997)

On December 21, 1997, the final day of the NFL regular season, Lions LB Reggie Brown was set to complete Year Two in the league out of Texas A&M. Also, Lions superstar RB Barry Sanders was set to reach the 2,000-yard season milestone.

Then everything changed. On a nondescript two-yard run by Jets RB Adrian Murrell.

As Brown assisted on the tackle, his head planted into the back of Jets OL Lamont Burns. Brown had damaged vertebrae, couldn't move, and even stopped breathing on the field for a time.

Notes: 17-year-old me actually watched this game live; I distinctly remember at least one Detroit Lion openly crying on the sideline (though it was edited out of this video). Brown did eventually recover, though football was no longer an option.

The Lions assisting with the stretcher are #27 Mark Carrier (fittingly) and #33 Glyn Milburn. Detroit was leading 13-10 in the 4Q when Brown was hurt, and they'd win by that same score.

Sanders did reach the 2,000-yard milestone, finishing with 184 rush yards on the day and 2,053 for the season.

 

Though unrelated to the collision with Brown, Burns never played another NFL game, either.

 
A Wild World Series Ending (10/26/2013)

Just off the top of my head, I think I could better handle losing a World Series game because:

 

  • a bird crapped in my mouth as I caught the final out,

  • I tripped over a rat while trying to score the winning run, or

  • distracted by a belching fan, I threw a crucial pitch four feet outside.

And probably more. But to lose like this?

The setup: with 2013 World Series Game 3 tied 4-4 in the B9th, the Cardinals had two RISP and one out against Boston's Koji Uehara. Cardinals batter Jon Jay grounded to 2B, and Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia easily erased runner Yadier Molina at home.

Then all hell broke loose near third base, where evidently Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks was expected to turn invisible after unsuccessfully corralling C Jarrod Saltalamacchia's throw.

Notes: Do not read BaseballReference.com's explanation of the play unless you WANT your head/eyes to hurt.

Third base umpire Jim Joyce and home plate umpire Dana DeMuth (good GOD, he was still around in 2013?) made the tough, but immediate call to send trail runner Allen Craig home with the winning run for St. Louis. 

Red Sox manager John Farrell is seeing arguing with the umpires, to no avail. In the end, this would be the Cardinals' lone win of the series.

Here is my favorite account of the wild ending, especially Middlebrooks's quotes.

 
Gary Carter's Final Career Hit (9/27/1992)

When Hall-of-Fame catcher Gary Carter was traded away from the Expos in the early 1980's, there wasn't much harmony, and the odds of him ever returning to the franchise were bleak at best.

But things (such as management) do change over time, and Carter returned to the Expos for his farewell season of 1992. Late in the year, the one-time superstar ended his career on one of the highest of notes—an RBI double in the 7th inning that held up as the game-winner.

Notes: The Expos defeated the Cubs 1-0; Mike Morgan, Carter's batterymate with the Dodgers one season prior, served up the hit. The double went over the head of another longtime Carter teammate, Andre Dawson.

Young reserve C Tim Laker ran for Carter.

I admit to getting chillz when I first saw this, partially because Carter is gone now, but largely because there was literally NO other way for The Kid's career to end, was there? (And yes, once upon a time Montreal drew loads of fans.)

 
Dennis Rodman Hits Three Threes (1/2/1998)

Don't confuse Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman's indifference to scoring in his later years for an inability to score. During his middle five years with the Detroit Pistons, Rodman averaged just under 10 points per game and it wasn't all on put-backs, either.

By the time he got to the Chicago Bulls, however, Rodman's game was basically rebounding and defending; he generally only scored when he had to. So imagine the surprise when, late in a decided game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Rodman suddenly started launching—and hitting—from beyond the three-point arc!

Notes: The final triple didn't count; Rodman stepped out-of-bounds before shooting it (not that the crowd cared).  He finished with eight total points as Chicago defeated Milwaukee 114-100.

Rodman would make two more threes that season, and another in the playoffs.

 
Jim Abbott Can Hit. What's YOUR Excuse? (6/30/1999)

You likely know the story of Jim Abbott, a successful pitcher for the Angels/Yankees/White Sox who was born without his right hand. From a batting standpoint, this wasn't an issue, since the American League used the DH.

Interleague play commenced in 1997, meaning AL pitchers would have to bat in NL parks, but Abbott was out of baseball that year. And he wasn't around long enough in 1998 to bat.

But then Abbott signed with the NL's Brewers for 1999, meaning sooner or later he'd have to dig in. Nobody expected much...but in his 14th at-bat, Abbott produced an RBI single!

Notes: That's Jon Lieber, a more-than-decent pitcher, who allowed Abbott's single. Sean Berry scored on the play, but Geoff Jenkins was thrown out at 3B. I doubt anyone cared about that, though.

Abbott threw 6.2 innings and eventually took the loss. Two weeks later, his second MLB hit drove home two runs—also against Lieber! Abbott finished up his career that year batting 2-for-19.

 
James Harrison Goes 100 Yards (2/1/2009)

As far as football goes, my buddy Chicken and I love nothing more than big guys returning fumbles/interceptions. There's been a handful of notable such plays in recent years, but James Harrison of the Steelers has to be credited with the greatest one of our lifetime.

It has everything: the sudden turnover, the big guy avoiding tackles, the little guys blocking, the score, and the whole sequence moving at about 5 MPH (or so it seems). Did we mention it was in the Super Bowl?

Harrison intercepted Arizona's Kurt Warner literally AT the Pittsburgh goal line, and after what seemed like 10 minutes, the Steelers LB reached the end zone 100 yards away...and promptly collapsed of exhaustion.

(The flag almost ruined everything. Just imagine that awesome play being called back...)

Notes: Harrison's score, which ended the first half, made it 16-7 Pittsburgh, and they'd go on to win 27-23.

 
A Pitcher's Inside-The-Park Homer (5/8/1992)

Astros SP Butch Henry was a rookie in 1992, one with a load of potential. He'd recognize some of that potential with the 1994-95 Expos, but in the end health prevented him from prolonged success in the majors.

Still, Henry became one of the select few in league history to rope an inside-the-park home run as his first MLB hit! It happened when his sinking liner eluded the dive of Pirates superstar LF Barry Bonds. Within seconds, Henry—and the two teammates on base with him—all scored!

Notes: This play went down in the T2nd, and gave visiting Houston the early 3-0 advantage. The Pirates would comeback to win 6-3, however.

C Ed Taubensee and OF Luis Gonzalez scored ahead of Henry, who gave up two runs in the B2nd and did not return to the mound for the third inning. I couldn't confirm if injury played a role in Henry's early departure, but he did make his next start on schedule.