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Lo Dufus and the Fallen Angel (Say Hey!), Part II
2006-05-08 21:15
by Mike Carminati

Part I

As a follow-up to the atrocious Paul Lo Duca/Angel Hernandez baseball play cum Porter Goss CIA scandal metaphor, I turn to Rich Marazzi's great The Rules and Lore of Baseball. Marazzi does not document the same play as we witnessed yesterday, but then again his exposition is based on actual rules, not those dreamt up on the spot in an umpire's head.

By I digress. Marazzi has two examples of rule 5.10 being employed that, though they are just tangentially related to yesterday's call, prove to be entertaining and enlightening. And hey, it's a slow Monday with a handful of games including a Barry-less Giants offering.

So without further ado….

Re. Rule 5.l0—(c-1) If an accident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to which he is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of one or more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.

Nick Bremigan tells a story about an incident that took place in a minor league game in the mid-1960s:

The batter hit a long shot down the left field line that would easily clear the fence, but there was some doubt whether it would be fair or foul. As the batter was trotting to first, intensely watching the ball to be certain that it remained in fair territory, he tripped over first base while jumping for joy, and turned his ankle. The fair ball was signaled a home run by the umpire, but it was physically impossible for the batter to circle the bases because of his injured ankle.

The manager then asked the umpire if he could insert a pinch-runner to complete the circuit around the bases. Following a brief conference among the umpires it was decided that, while this was highly unusual, it was legal.

According to the rule book, a substitute may enter the game any time the ball is dead. (3.03) A home run is technically a dead ball situation in which the batter is awarded four bases.

OK, that was entertaining but had little to do with the Lo Duca play. The second example comes a bit closer…

Re. Rule 5.10—(e) When the umpire wishes to examine the ball, to consult with either manager, or for any similar cause [the umpire in chief shall call "Time"].

This rule came to focus on the night of June 11, 1957, in a game played between the Yankees and White Sox.

In the contest, Minnie Minoso swiftly ran from first to third on a wild pitch. There was a close play at third base, but umpire John Stevens called Minoso safe. Yankee third baseman Andy Carey disputed the call with Stevens, but the third base umpire repeated that Minnie was safe and asked to look at the ball, which had caromed past batter Sherm Lollar to the backstop. The umpire asked for it again, but each time Carey jerked his hand back and wouldn't give him the ball. .

Minoso, seeing that the plate was unguarded, headed for home. Carey threw the ball to Bobby Shantz, who had come over to cover the plate, and Bobby gave Minnie a pushing tag that knocked him down as he went by. .

As Minnie leaped to his feet and bellowed belligerently at Shantz, manager Al Lopez of the White Sox rushed to third base and reminded Stevens that he had asked to look at the ball and, therefore, "time" automatically was called. .

Stevens realized that Lopez was right and ruled it no play. The play was the third out of the inning, and the Yankees had left the field. Stevens called Minoso back to third and ordered the Yankees to return to the field. .

Yankee manager Casey Stengel protested, but, since the Yankees won 3-2, his protest was voided. .

American League president William Harridge revealed that Stengel had no grounds for a protest, but that if Stevens hadn't ruled that "time" was called, Lopez definitely would have had grounds for a protest, and that it would have had to be allowed.

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