Bill Buckner Circles The Bases (4/25/1990)
A few days before this post, Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz, 40, stole the show by legging out a triple—at his age, that's a rare occurrence in MLB.
And if fortysomethings rarely hit triples, surely they never, ever hit inside-the-park home runs, right? RIGHT?
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to 40-year-old Red Sox 1B Bill Buckner.
Once upon a time, Buckner was a fairly fast guy, but over the years he suffered multiple injuries to his lower limbs. To put it mildly, by 1990 speed was not one of the tools Buckner displayed.
Turns out you don't need loads of speed when the opposing RF falls into the crowd pursuing your fly ball!
Notes: Buckner's homer, the final one of his career, was hit off Angels SP Kirk McCaskill with the bases empty in the B4th. Claudell Washington is the Angels RF who falls into the crowd and remains there for some time. Washington left the game a few innings later with a knee contusion.
Boston could muster no other offense on this night and fell to the Angels 3-1. This was the final MLB season for both Buckner and Washington, both of whom have since passed away.
Brain-Lock Strikes P.J. Tucker (1/23/2019)
The Basketballreference.com play-by-play describes it as a "bad pass from Eric Gordon", but that is not even remotely close to the truth.
What is the truth about Rockets F P.J. Tucker allowing Gordon's inbound pass right to him to roll away untouched?
Even smart guys are capable of dumb plays.
Tucker's gaffe occurred with just under a minute to go in a nail-biter between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. Houston quickly went from a three-point lead and possession to a turnover, a one-point lead, and no momentum.
Mercifully, Tucker's incomprehensible mistake did not cost Houston the game; they held on for the 114-110 victory.
Notes: It should be noted that Houston G James Harden went for 61 in this game.
F Noah Vonleh made the swipe-and-score of Gordon's "bad" pass that cut New York's deficit to one.
Tucker started and played 39 minutes, finishing 1-of-5 for three points.
Posey Gets Drilled Up HIGH (4/10/2017)
In terms of devastating impact to his team, I'm not sure I've seen a baseball injury worse than the broken leg suffered by Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey in 2011.
As bad as that was—and it was bad—watching Posey take a mid-90's fastball to the helmet six years later was pretty damn scary, too. By no means was the pitch from Arizona SP Taijuan Walker intentional, but that made it no less dangerous.
Fortunately, as far as high-velocity baseballs to the head go, this blow wasn't as damaging as it could have been, and Posey was back in action after a week on the concussion DL.
Notes: Posey was hit in the very first inning; backup C Nick Hundley pinch-ran for him, but was stranded.
Despite losing their superstar, the Giants went on to win 4-1 behind eight innings from Matt Moore. Overall, SF went 2-4 while Posey was sidelined.
Manning Breaks Touchdown Record (10/19/2014)
There wasn't much left for the great Peyton Manning to achieve by 2014, but one box remaining for him to check: passing legendary Packers QB Brett Favre for #1 all-time in touchdown passes.
Manning was in position to check said box against my 49ers in October 2014. Not only did he break the record that day, but his Broncos annihilated San Francisco to the point I've blocked all memory of the historical afternoon from my memory.
Notes: It was WR Demaryius Thomas who made the historic grab with 3:15 to go in the 2Q. Denver went on to smack the 49ers 42-17.
That's 49ers rookie DL #59 Aaron Lynch congratulating Manning at around the 2:20 mark.
Manning ended his career (after the 2015 season) having upped the record to 539 TD passes. Drew Brees broke that record in late 2019; today Tom Brady is the all-time TD pass leader with 581 and counting.
Nathan's Umpire-Aided Save (4/8/2013)
Entering play on this night, Joe Nathan had accumulated 299 career saves, many in dominant fashion. He'd been an All-Star many times over and was sure to get a few Hall of Fame votes one day.
What I'm trying to tell you is this: Nathan did not need help to succeed (other than from his eight defenders).
But on this night against the Tampa Bay Rays, he sure got it en route to career save #300.
I'm usually one to try to make sense of questionable ball/strike calls, but not in this case—home plate ump Marty Foster simply made a grotesque call on what should have been ball four to Ben Zobrist.
Notes: That was Rays manager Joe Maddon vociferously arguing with Foster over the call, which dropped Tampa to 3-4 on the young season while raising Texas to 5-2. Foster did later admit he blew the call.
Rays UT Sean Rodriguez, who had singled home Tampa's 4th run earlier in the inning, was stranded on first base.
A month later, Maddon would be ejected by Foster over a call against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"Friendship is one mind in two bodies.'" -- Mencius, Chinese author