|Readers: Shocking baseball moments|
From the Page 2 mailbag
Earlier this week, Page 2 listed the 10 most shocking moments in baseball history, and we asked for your choices.
We received more than 1,500 e-mails, and here is how Page 2 readers ranked our National Pastime's most surprising occurrences. Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the most shocking moment of them all.
1. Black Sox throw the 1919 Series (164 letters)
With all due respect to Red Sox fans who will undoubtedly insist Bill Buckner's error -- an unintentional lapse by one man -- was equivalent to the coming of the apocalypse, the 1919 Black Sox scandal is unquestionably the most shocking moment. The fact that it happened so long ago makes it seem less significant to today's public, but just imagine eight players on the best team in baseball taking money to intentionally lose the World Series. What would happen if, this September, it was revealed that the Yankees threw last year's Series, and Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, and others were banned from baseball for life? You media guys would probably be asking the players tougher questions than "It's not true, is it?"
Although I found it interesting that Pete Rose's gambling problem didn't make it to your list, the most shocking moment in baseball history was the Black Sox scandal. Even forgetting the actual events on the field of the 1919 World Series for a moment, consider the following: Comiskey & Rothstein hired attorneys together to protect Comiskey's players, and keep Rothstein out of jail. The Black Sox spent most of 1920 locked in a tight pennant race with the Indians and Yankees and threw games throughout the season to keep the gamblers from exposing them (the players were suspended with two weeks left in the season and were within two games of first place when it happened). Then, don't forget the disappearance of the signed Grand Jury confessions of Shoeless Joe and Eddie Cicotte prior to the trial ... evidence that almost certainly would have led to convictions in the trial. It seems every generation remembers a watershed event. Everybody of our generation will remember 9/11. Some will remember the Challenger disaster, when Kennedy was shot, or Pearl Harbor was attacked. For a much earlier generation of baseball fans, I am quite certain they will recall where they were when when they heard scandalous news.
2. Strike cancels 1994 Series (137 letters)
How can you not even give an honorable mention to the 1994 strike-driven cancellation of the World Series? That's got to be the worst thing that's happened to baseball since mesh hats.
As a lifelong fan of the game, nothing in the last 20 years can compare to Bud Selig's cancellation in '94. If baseball thinks that anybody is going to come back when they strike again this time, they are sorely mistaken. I think we will have had enough.
3. Red Sox Series hopes go through Buckner's legs (111 letters)
Totally unbelievable and unforgettable!!
This weekend, I watched Trot Nixon let a ball go under his glove in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Yankees. As a Red Sox fan, I was devastated. Multiply that by 100, in say ... Game 6 of the would-be first World Series Championship since 1918, and you have the most shocking moment in baseball history.
No one will forget until Boston finally wins one ... maybe not.
I was sitting in a bar in Boston, with a beautiful blonde next to me ... next to her, a New York Mets fan. The blonde overheard us arguing about who was going to win the game. She decided to add to the fun, by stating that she would leave with whom ever won the game. Needless to say, in the bottom of the 10th, two outs, up by two runs, I was planning a wonderful evening for two. Then hit, after hit, after hit ... my throat swelled up when Bob Stanley threw the wild pitch. I was so confused, and it only got worse. Next came the slow roller down the first-base line through the legs of Bill Buckner. The whole bar was quiet, the streets were quiet. How could you go to N.Y. and win the first two games, come home and barely win one, then go back to N.Y., win it in extra innings, only to lose it in extra innings?? I am no longer mad at the Sox, I'm a convert ... a Yankees fan now. Never again to feel the pain, Boston gave me year after year ... Oh, and the blonde, yeah she left with the Mets fan. I am OK, now.
4. Roberto Clemente dies in plane crash (96 letters)
With all due respect to Thurman Munson and Darryl Kile, the most shocking loss was Roberto Clemente. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and Clemente died when I was 7 years old. His loss is one of my most vivid and defining childhood memories. I remember my mother telling me, "Roberto died trying to help others, Honey. God takes his best as soon as he can." I cried for days. I've got a tear in my eye right now. God must really have needed a great man to play right field.
Being from Pittsburgh, there are a few things one learns as a child:
5. Lou Gehrig struck down in his prime (89 letters)
6. Darryl Kile found dead in hotel room (87 letters)
I realize that I might be somewhat biased not only because of where I live, but also because of how recently it happened, but the unimaginable death of Darryl Kile is easily the most shocking moment that I have ever experienced related to baseball. I can vividly recall the day of the Jack Buck memorial service when my friend and I went to Busch Stadium to remember Mr. Buck and watch the Cards play. ... The first two players out of the dugout as Mr. Buck's coffin was taken from the field were Matt Morris and Darryl Kile. ... I can still clearly picture Matt and Darryl smiling, kidding around with each other as we watched Darryl snap his incredible curve ball. Only a few days later we settled into our seats at my friend's apartment only to hear the tragic news. Words still cannot describe the shock and devastation of my friends and I, let alone the obvious effect upon the Cards family.
7. Juan Marichal-John Roseboro bat brawl (77 letters)
What about Juan Marichal clobbering Johnnie Roseboro over the head with the bat after getting hit by pitch. This is the ultimate no-no in the unwritten rules of baseball. It might not be as shocking if it happened today, but remember that this was before violent video games, gangsta rap, and the other pollutants "experts" say poison the minds of our children now.
8. Umpire John McSherry collapses to his death on the field (69 letters)
John McSherry (age 51) died on Opening Day of 1996 in Cincinnati, and it was the most shocking thing I've ever seen on a baseball field. To see him stumbling back from the plate ... it was just disturbing. Almost equally as shocking is the fact that Marge Schott pushed for the game to continue! Unbelievable.
9. Pete Rose banned for betting on baseball (62 letters)
Pete Rose, say it isn't so! The mighty hit master who brought the promised land to Philly, decides the ponies are not enough and gets banned for betting on baseball. How could you take the Padres over the Dodgers even up?! Is his attorney selling vacuums door to door now?
10. Giants, Dodgers head west (58 letters)
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