Baseball Tidbits

Testing the Limits - 2

Baseball's long history has been dotted with colorful violations of its unwritten Code of Conduct. (Baseball Digest Jan/Feb 2022)

  • 1972
    Gamesmanship

    In Game 3 of the World Series, Oakland reliever Rollie Fingers has a 3-2 count on the Reds' Johnny Bench with first base open in the top of the 8th with the Reds leading 1-0. A's manager Dick Williams visits the mound and makes an overt display of ordering his pitcher to intentionally walk the batter. Sure enough, C Gene Tenace stands behind the plate with his arm extended, but when Fingers goes into his windup, Tenace slides into position and Fingers fires a slider for strike three.

  • 1973
    Sign Stealing

    Angels ace Nolan Ryan circumvents the possibility of stolen signs by ignoring whatever his catcher, Art Kusnyer, puts down, then signals his own pitch. Touching the back of his cap means fastball, touching the front means curve. The result: Ryan's second career no-hitter.

  • 1980
    Peeking

    White Sox P Ed Farmer suspects Kansas City's Al Cowens of peeking at the catcher, and pre-arranges for a low-and-away setup for an up-and-in fastball. Cowens, expecting a curveball that would break away from him, never moves to avoid the pitch, which breaks his jaw.

  • 1981
    Showboating
    Cleveland P John Denney floors Reggie Jackson with an inside fastball, then strikes him out two pitches later. In his next at-bat, Reggie homers, then watches the ball from the batter's box, then pumps his fist at Denny, then trots slowly around the bases, then tips his cap upon crossing the plate...then, instead of heading back to the Yankees dugout, charges the mound.

  • 1994
    Showboating

    Marlins reliever Yorkis Perez strikes out Barry Bonds, celebrates on the mound and then races into the dugout ... even though it was only the first out of the inning. Says teammate Orestes Destrade: "I was dumbounded. I guess he figured striking out Barry Bonds is worth three outs."

  • 2001
    No-Hitter Etiquette
    Padres C Ben Davis bunts for an eighth-inning hit against Arizona's Curt Schilling. It is the first baserunner that Schilling hasn allowed, and the response is fierce. The idea: O a pitcher's best day, beat him with the best that you have, not a gimmick. It was the only time in Davis' career that he attempted to bunt for a hit.

  • 2006
    Don't...During a Blowout

    Torii Hunter swings at a 3-0 pitch while his Twins lead the Red Sox 8-1 in the eighth inning. His manager, Ron Gardenhire, is so concerned that he brings Hunter to the Boston clubhouse after the game to apologize to Boston manager Terry Francona.