Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bonehead Merkle Lives

Or should I say, Bonehead Merkle, Esq.?

It's over a hundred years ago, but you still know the name and you might even know what happened.

It was 1908 and the Giants and the Cubs had ended the season tied for first. In the ninth inning it was tied. The Giants had two outs, 19-year old Fred Merkle on first, and the winning run on third. The next batter hit the ball into the outfield, driving in the winning run.

Except . . .

Except . . .

The batter has to reach first and the man on first has to reach second, which Merkle failed to do once he saw the winning run score. Pandemonium ruled, with joyous fans all over the field, but the Cubs knew what had happened, called for the ball, and stepped on second base. Merkle was out and the winning run was called back. It was impossible to get the game started again so it ended in a tie and the Giants lost the next day.

The egregious running error became known as Merkle's Boner, and Fred Merkle, who was actually a decent player, became forever known as Bonehead Merkle. In fact, his obituary almost fifty years later started out "Fred Merkle, Of 'Boner' Fame, Dies".

But what does that have to do with life in 2013, or especially with the law?

The law first. There's a minor league team in Michigan called the Lansing Lugnuts, and they play in what might be the only baseball stadium named for a law school. Their home stadium is called Cooley Law School Stadium, and Thomas M. Cooley Law School paid good money for the naming rights.

Anyway, the Lugnuts were playing the other night and it happened again.

Watch the video:

This is one of the things I love about baseball. Here we are more than a century after the fact, and as soon as I saw this play I knew it was Fred Merkle all over again.

Or, as I say, Bonehead Merkle, Esq.

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Blogger John said...

Another fine example of bizarre confusion.

Stealing Second twice in one inning

July 12, 2013 1:25 AM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

So these guys are professionals, huh?

There is actually a rule against running the bases in reverse order in order to confuse the defense. It was instituted after Heinie Manush stole second, hoping to draw a throw to enable the man on third to steal home, and when he didn't draw the throw he stole first so he could try it again.

In this case the man wasn't running backwards to confuse the defense, he was just stupid. He was safe at second and could have stayed there.

July 12, 2013 6:52 AM  

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