Strange plays and rare moments in Astros History
by Bob Hulsey
Updated: October 2, 2012
Johnson: Lost no-hitter
(c) Houston Astros
Sometimes, we like to think that everything in baseball can be codified and stored in neat little boxes. It's a game that lends itself to all sorts of statistical analysis and charts. But baseball continues to surprise us with moments that never happened before and may never happen again. Even in the ten no-hitters in franchise history, they include the only time a pitcher has thrown a nine-inning complete game no-hitter and lost the game and the only time six pitchers combined to toss a no-hitter.
Some moments are rare and some are "one of a kind". Others, as Loel Passe used to say, "you just had to see it to believe it". While this list is by no means complete, here are some of the strangest or rarest moments in Houston Astros history:
Rarely seen at the big league level, this usually involves an infielder pretending to toss a ball back to the pitcher after a pickoff throw. When play resumes, the infielder waits for the baserunner to take his lead off the base then surprises him with the ball and tags him out.
07/27/1963 - Rookie Jim Wynn was tricked by first baseman Frank Thomas of the Mets at Colt Stadium in the second inning. Houston still managed to win, 1-0.
04/17/1977 - First baseman Bob Watson used the trick on Pat Rockett of the Braves during a 5-4 loss in Atlanta. The game also saw umpires leave the field in protest when an earlier close play was replayed on the new scoreboard video screen, leading fans to boo the call.
06/12/1982 - Phil Garner caught Ruppert Jones napping off second when he pulled the trick in the fourth inning at San Diego. The Astros still lost, 4-0.
04/27/1991 - Eric Yelding is the victim when Atlanta's Jeff Treadway catches him off second in the sixth inning of a 2-1 extra-inning loss at the Astrodome.
A double play may be the "pitcher's best friend" but getting three outs on one play must seem like a godsend to a hurler in a jam. By definition, all of these came with at least two men on base and nobody out.
05/17/1964 - Jerry Grote of the Colt .45s hits into the rally-killer at Colt Stadium against the Phillies. With Walt Williams on first and Rusty Staub on second, Grote hit a roller to first baseman Johnny Hernstein who turned and threw out Williams at second then took the return throw from shortstop Bobby Wine. Hernstein then noticed Staub break for home plate, spun and threw him out with catcher Gus Triandos applying the tag. Score it 3-6-3-2. Chris Short went the distance in a 2-0 shutout.
04/15/1965 - Jim Wynn's attempt at a sacrifice fly in the second inning at Shea Stadium backfires in a big way. Right fielder Johnny Lewis guns down Walt Bond trying to score from third then catcher Chris Cannizzaro threw out Bob Aspromonte at second, trying to advance. Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool faked Aspro on the throw home, causing the late break to second. Score it 9-2-6. The Mets won the game in extras, 5-4.
05/30/1969 - Pittsburgh's Al Oliver gets two putouts and two assists in the top of the fourth inning at Forbes Field. With Jesus Alou at first and Doug Rader at second, Johnny Edwards grounds to the first baseman who steps on the bag then tosses to Gene Alley covering second. Alou tries to go back to first but Alley chases Alou then flips to Oliver for the tag. Meanwhile Rader, who had stayed on second thinking Edwards had hit a line drive, broke for third but Oliver gunned him down with Richie Hebner applying the tag. Score it 3-6-3-5. The Bucs won, 9-3, in the first game of a twinbill.
07/16/1971 - The Astros turn their first triple play in franchise history. In the top of the third at the Astrodome, with Ken Boswell at second and Tommie Agee at first, the Mets' Cleon Jones bounced to shortstop Roger Metzger who stepped on second and tossed to Denis Menke at first. Boswell then took off for third but Menke threw across the diamond to Doug Rader who made the tag for the third out. Score it 6-3-5. Houston coasted to a 9-4 victory.
09/17/1971 - Just two months later, the Astros get their second trifecta in a 4-1 win against Cincinnati at the Astrodome. After the Reds got their only hit and only run of the game against Don Wilson, he gets out of a bases-loaded jam when Darrell Cheney lined to Joe Morgan at second base. Morgan threw to Roger Metzger for the second out then Metzger flipped to John Mayberry at first to catch the retreating Pat Corrales. Score it 4-6-3.
06/03/1972 - At Jarry Park in Montreal, in the top of the second, Tommy Helms taps in front of the plate with Doug Rader at first and Bob Watson at second. Terry Humphrey pounces on it and throws to third for the force out then Bob Bailey tosses to first to get Helms. Mike Jorgensen then sees Rader rounding past second and flips to Tim Foli for the tag and the trifecta. Score it 2-5-3-6. The Expos win, 1-0, in ten innings.
05/08/1977 - In the top of the third at St. Louis, Willie Crawford lines to Mike Tyson at second who flips to shortstop Don Kessinger who doubles off Enos Cabell at the bag. Kessinger then fires to Keith Hernandez at first to catch Cesar Cedeno for the final out. Score it 4-6-3. The Redbirds would win, 2-1.
04/06/1978 - This traditional Opening Day in Cincinnati seemed to have some of everything, including three rain delays and a triple play where the pitch wasn't even struck. With George Foster at first and Joe Morgan at third, Joe Sambito struck out Dan Driessen in the eighth then Joe Ferguson threw out Foster at second. Morgan then got caught between third and home with Roger Metzger and Enos Cabell teaming up for the final out. Score it 2-6-5-6, but the Reds get the 11-9 victory.
04/21/1978 - Less than a month later, the Astros get their second triple play in Hollywood fashion. With Reggie Smith on first base and Bill Russell on second, trailing by two runs, the Dodgers' Ron Cey hit a liner in the bottom of the ninth at Dodger Stadium. But first baseman Bob Watson snagged it, stepped on first and threw to Roger Metzger covering second to end the ballgame. Score it 3-6. Houston won, 8-6.
09/15/1987 - In the bottom of the fourth at Dodger Stadium, with Glenn Hoffman at first and Mike Scioscia at second, Phil Garner hits a liner that is speared by second baseman Bill Doran. Doran then threw to shortstop Craig Reynolds to double off Scioscia then Reynolds threw over to Glenn Davis at first to complete the trifecta. Score it 4-6-3. The Dodgers held on for a 3-2 decision.
08/16/1988 - Perhaps the most natural looking triple play occurs "around the horn". This happened to the Astros at Busch Stadium in the eighth inning, down 3-0. With Bill Doran at first and Gerald Young at second, Jim Pankovits rolled into a 5-4-3 triple killing performed by Terry Pendleton, Jose Oquendo and Mike Laga. It was that sort of night.
04/09/1989 - A similar variation occured the next year at the Astrodome in the eighth inning. Kevin Bass was on second and Greg Gross on first when Ken Caminiti grounded to Padres third baseman Luis Salazar who flipped to Roberto Alomar at second for the force who then threw to Jack Clark at first for the second out. When Bass rounded third and headed for home, Clark threw him out at the plate with catcher Mark Parent doing the honors. Score it 5-4-3-2. The Astros could have used that run as they fell to San Diego, 5-4.
09/21/1990 - It's the Astros' turn to make a 5-4-3 triple play in Atlanta when Francisco Cabrera bounces to Ken Caminiti at third who steps on the bag to retire David Justice then flips to second baseman Dave Rhode for the second out. Rhode tosses to Mike Simms at first for the last out. That occurred in the fourth inning which helped the Astros win, 4-3, in ten innings.
04/16/1991 - Houston does it again to the Braves at Atlanta in the second inning. With Mark Lemke at first and Sid Bream at second, Mike Heath grounded into the 5-4-3 triple play with Ken Caminiti, Casey Candaele and Jeff Bagwell turning the trick. Atlanta shrugged it off in a 10-4 win.
08/04/1991 - For the third time in franchise history, the Astros pulled two triple plays in one season. This time, an outfielder gets it started. In the top of the fifth at the Astrodome, the Dodgers' Alfredo Griffin flied out to Mike Simms in right. He threw out Mike Sharperson at third base then Ken Caminiti threw to Andujar Cedeno at second for the last out. Score it 9-5-6. The Astros took a 2-1 victory in 10 innings.
08/19/2004 - As their improbable wild card chase began, the Astros were helped by a 5-4-3 triple play at Philadelphia. Trailing 7-2 in the fifth with the bases full of Phils, Todd Pratt bounced to Morgan Ensberg at third who stepped on the bag and tossed to Jeff Kent at second. Kent threw to Mike Lamb to complete the gem and the Astros stormed back to take a 12-10 triumph.
Metzger: Part of 4 TPs
(c) Houston Astros
And then there was the "triple play that wasn't" in Game 4 of the 1980 NLCS in the top of the fourth at the Astrodome. After Bake McBride and Manny Trillo opened the inning with singles off Vern Ruhle, Garry Maddox hit a soft liner back to Ruhle who appeared to scoop the ball with his glove just as it reached the mound. Ruhle threw to Art Howe at first to double off Trillo then, as confusion reigned, Howe ran to second to step on it for the third out. But after umpires discussed it with the league president who was in attendance, the umps decided to put McBride back at second, believing their own indecision had caused McBride to head for third.
When is a home run not a home run? When the batter doesn't get to keep it, as detailed below:
06-24-1962 - Norm Larker of the Colt .45s belted a three-run homer off the Mets' Roger Craig in the third inning of a game at the Polo Grounds. However, the game was rained out before it became official.
05-01-1963 - Bob Aspromonte is robbed as well. Same place, same opponent. His homer comes leading off the second inning in New York but the game was rained out.
06/10/1974 - In the top of the first inning at the Astrodome, Mike Schmidt of Philadelphia hit, arguably, the longest ball in stadium history to center field off Claude Osteen. Center fielder Cesar Cedeno ran back toward the fence when he heard the ball clank off the loudspeaker dangling from the roof, 117 feet above the playing field. The ball landed in shallow center. The bases were loaded at the time but the confused Phillies were only able to advance one base before Cedeno played the ball back into the infield. If unimpeded, the ball was estimated to travel 600 feet. Instead of a titanic grand slam, Schmidt was given an RBI single. The Phillies went on to blast Houston, 12-0.
08/25/1975 - In the top of the eleventh, Cliff Johnson hit a solo home run to give the Astros a 4-3 lead over the Cardinals. However, with two outs in the bottom of the inning, and the Astros one out away from victory, a thunderstorm hit Busch Stadium. After a 2:19 rain delay, the game was called. Under existing rules, if a lead had changed and an inning was not yet complete, the score reverted back to the last completed inning. It went into the books as a 3-3 tie. Therefore, Johnson lost his home run, which would have given him his sixth consecutive game with a homer.
05/11/1988 - In the top of the ninth at the Astrodome, Tim Teufel of the Mets hit what appeared to be a grand slam homer off Dave Smith in left center but the ball struck an outer barrier and bounced back onto the field. Umpires eventually ruled it a three-run double and the Mets still won, 9-8, in ten innings.
09/11/2000 - Richard Hidalgo homered against Miguel Del Toro of San Francisco in the fifth inning off the top of the fence to the bullpen in right-center at Enron Field. The ball caromed back onto the field and was ruled in play. Hidalgo had to settle for a triple. In each of the previous two games, Hidalgo had hit two homers. With the homer he had hit in the second inning, this lost blast would have made three consecutive games with multiple homers. Houston lost the game, 8-7, in ten innings.
09/16/2006 - In the top of the sixth at Minute Maid Park, Ryan Howard of the Phillies hit a long drive to right off Jason Hirsh which struck a fan and bounced back onto the field. The ball was mistakenly ruled in play and Howard was credited with only a double. The Phillies still won, 7-2.
If a pitcher stops in the middle of their windup, it's called a "balk" and advances all runners 90 feet, including the run on third who would then score a run. Here are some notable balks:
06/08/1965 - In the 11th inning at Forbes Field, Hal Woodeshick balks home Donn Clendenon to give Pittsburgh a 7-6 verdict.
04/15/1968 - In the 24th inning, Norm Miller is balked by pitcher Les Rohr from first to second. This took off the force play which then led to Jim Wynn and also John Bateman receiving intentional walks before Bob Aspromonte's grounder to short rolled through the legs of Al Weis to give the Astros a 1-0 win over the Mets in the longest shutout game in major league history.
04/29/1973 - Down 3-2 to Montreal in the ninth at the Astrodome, Mike Marshall's wild pitch plates Jim Wynn before he is relieved by Tom Walker who balks home Cesar Cedeno with the winning run, 4-3.
Mistakes happen and even managers make them. When a batter bats out of turn, by rule, the batter who should have hit is declared out and the rest of the order continues as determined by the official lineup card that is handed to the umpires at home plate before the game.
08/27/1989 - Rookie manager Art Howe attempted to change his lineup a couple of hours before the game. He wanted Alex Trevino in the second spot and Rafael Ramirez in the eighth spot. Howe told coach Matt Galante to make the switch. Galante changed the lineup card in the dugout but failed to change the lineup card given to the umpires. In the bottom of the first, Trevino singled with one out in the number two spot. Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog then pointed out that Trevino batted out of turn. This resulted in the second out of the inning. According to the rules, Ramirez (the proper batter) was out. However, the umpires then allowed Ramirez to bat. He flied out, apparently ending the inning. Then Herzog talked with the umpires again about an incorrect batter, this time Ramirez. After a few minutes of discussion, the umpires put the Cardinals back on the field and made Kevin Bass, the number three hitter, bat. He struck out to end the inning. The Astros had lost the previous five games but beat the Redbirds, 6-3. "Everybody in the dugout was laughing," said Ken Caminiti. "We knew we had hit rock bottom when we couldn’t even bat in the right order."
05/20/2009 - Astros manager Cecil Cooper contemplated switching outfielder Michael Bourn in the batting order with second baseman Kazuo Matsui. Cooper turned in one lineup card with Bourn at the top of the lineup and gave Milwaukee manager Ken Macha a card with Matsui at the top of the lineup. So after Bourn singled as the leadoff hitter, Brewers manager Ken Macha went to the umpires and challenged the play. Matsui was ruled out for batting out of turn and Bourn had to leave first so he could bat as the second man in the lineup. He drew a walk and later scored on a double by Lance Berkman. Houston won the game, 6-4, but lost their next seven games which put the Houston skipper back on the hot seat.
Howe: Rookie mistake
(c) Houston Astros
Sometimes you can buy a ticket for a baseball game and wind up watching two - or more. Here are the games in franchise history that took at least 20 innings:
04-15-1968 - The longest shutout game in baseball history goes 24 innings at the Astrodome before an error by Mets shortstop Al Weis lets in the winning run.
09/24/1971 - In the first game of a doubleheader in San Diego, a balk by Gary Ross in the 21st inning plates Jesus Alou with the winning run in a 2-1 Houston victory. Then the Padres took the second game, 5-4, after a fog delay.
08/15/1980 - In San Diego, errors by Ozzie Smith and Jerry Mumphrey give the Astros a 3-1 victory in 20 innings.
06-03-1989 - At the Astrodome, the Dodgers and Astros play 22 and then play 13 more the next afternoon.
Some games don't even let you stay until the end or they make you wait through some odd delays:
08/11/1966 - A doubleheader at lightless Wrigley Field took too long and the second game was suspended due to darkness after seven innings with the Astros leading, 8-5. Since it was Houston's last trip to Chicago for the year, the game resumed on August 26th at the Astrodome with a different umpiring crew. The Astros, as the visitors, added an insurance run in the ninth and then held on as the Cubs rally fell just short in a 9-8 Houston win.
06/15/1976 - You'd think it would be impossible to have a rain out at the Astrodome, but it happened. Hard rains produced local flooding which prevented umpires from reaching the ballpark from their hotel. Players and a few hardy fans ate at picnic tables brought out onto the field from the clubhouses.
08/21/1979 - This game in New York had three endings over two days. With two outs in the ninth during a 5-0 shutout by Pete Falcone, Jeff Leonard flied out to center for the Astros but shortstop Alex Taveras had called time out before the pitch. The Mets had to be led back onto the field and, when play was restored, Leonard spanked a base hit to center. However, Mets manager Joe Torre noticed that his first baseman, Ed Kranepool, had not returned. He complained to the umpires that the single should not have counted because the Mets didn't have nine defenders on the field. Leonard was called back to the plate and eventually flied out to left. But Houston manager Bill Virdon protested that Leonard's single should count because Kranepool would not have been involved in the play. His protest was taken to league president Chub Feeney who agreed with Virdon and ordered the game to be replayed from the point of Torre's dispute. The next evening, with Kevin Kobel replacing Falcone and Leonard at first, Jose Cruz grounded out to second to officially end the game.
09/02/1986 - Darkness at Wrigley Field halts a marathon between the Astros and Cubs with one out in the 15th inning of a 4-4 tie. Houston breaks through with three runs in the 17th the following afternoon but the Cubs tie it on Keith Moreland's three-run homer. A solo shot by Billy Hatcher in the 18th and a catch by Hatcher in the bottom half of the inning finally secure the win, 8-7.
05/23/1988 - Mike Scott probably didn't need the help but play was halted in the top of the ninth in a 3-0 victory when swirling gusts of wind took over Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, blowing debris all over the field and forcing Rafael Ramirez to literally hug third base until he could retreat to the dugout. Play was not resumed.
08/10/1991 - A game between Houston and Atlanta is delayed for five minutes while trainers extract a moth that had flown into the ear of outfielder Mike Simms.
06/13/1999 - Leading 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the game is halted to treat Houston manager Larry Dierker who is experiencing a gran mal brain seizure. Dierker is rushed to the hospital, has surgery, and eventually recovers. The game, meanwhile is resumed the next time the Padres come to town, on July 23rd. The Astros hold on for a 4-3 win under interim manager Matt Galante.
07/30/2004 - The Astros and Reds try to get in a game amidst the rain drops. The game was delayed 41 minutes before it started then 27 minutes in the third inning. Jeff Bagwell drilled an RBI single in the top of the sixth as a heavy shower poured so the game was suspended in a 2-2 tie. The next day, play resumed and the Reds eventually pushed across the winning run in the 13th.
05/05/2009 - Rain halted a 10-10 tie with the Nationals with one out in the 11th inning. Since this was the Astros only trip to Washington, the game was resumed in Houston on July 9th. Nyjer Morgan, who was a Pittsburgh Pirate when the game began, had been traded to Washington in the interim and he scored the winning run on an error by Miguel Tejada. Joel Hanrahan, who came over in the same trade, became the winning pitcher.
07/02/2009 - It was a hum-drum 7-1 Houston win at Petco Park in San Diego when Michael Bourn singled with two outs in the top of the ninth. Soon, there was a buzz along the left field line when bees swarmed a jacket belonging to a ballgirl stationed next to the stands. A bee expert was summoned and froze most of the insects until play could be resumed 52 minutes later.
Bee-lay of game
(c) Houston Astros
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, you never know what you're gonna get when you attend a baseball game. Here are some rare and unique moments that have happened at Astros games through the years:
06/03/1962 - In the bottom of the seventh at Forbes Field with Roberto Clemente at third base, Smokey Burgess hit a fly ball to right fielder Roman Mejias off knuckleball pitcher Bob Tiefenauer. Clemente tagged up and tried to score. Tiefenauer rushed behind the plate to back up the throw home but flipped his glove to catcher Hal Smith who discarded his own bulky catchers mitt and tagged out Clemente using Tiefenauer's glove. The Colts won, 10-6.
09/08/1962 - Dave Roberts of the Colt .45s is called out when his pop foul in the sixth inning lands harmessly next to the Colts dugout. That's because umpire Al Barlick ruled that the Houston batboy interfered with Mets catcher Chris Cannizzaro who was chasing down the pop. Houston won in 10 innings, 6-5.
04/17/1963 - The Colt .45s successfully execute a triple steal. Howie Goss, Carroll Hardy and Bob Aspromonte each moved up a base at the same time with Goss crossing the plate. Houston defeated the Giants, 2-1, in 13 innings on a homer by Jim Campbell.
09/30/1966 - Jack Fisher of the Mets managed to pitch a complete game victory yet make just two plate appearances. That's because Larry Dierker tossed eight perfect innings for Houston but lost everything in the bottom of the ninth when Eddie Bressoud doubled and pinch-hitter Ron Hunt singled him home for a 1-0 New York win.
08/25/1967 - Striking out all four times in a game isn't a rare feat but it happened only once to baseball's all-time hit leader Pete Rose. That's when rookie Don Wilson made him wear the "golden sombrero" during a 2-1 Cincinnati win at the Astrodome.
05/17/1968 - With one on and one out in the bottom of the second at Dodger Stadium, Rusty Staub came over from first base to visit Larry Dierker on the mound. While handling the ball, Staub spat on it which was ruled ball four to Zoilo Versailles. The Dodger shortstop eventually scored in a 6-0 blanking of the Astros.
09/22/1969 - Trailing 5-3 to Atlanta in the seventh, the Astros' Norm Miller thought he saw a pitch get away from catcher Bob Didier and ran for home. It turned out the white object that flew past was a cast to protect one of Didier's fingers. Didier still had the ball and made an easy tag of Miller to end the rally. Houston lost by the same score.
05/26/1971 - Righthander Al Santorini of San Diego started both games of a doubleheader. This was actually a trick played by Padres manager Preston Gomez. Noting the Astros lineup had seven lefthanded batters in it, Gomez had Santorini retire the first batter on one pitch then removed him for lefty Dave Roberts. Santorini returned to start the second game and worked six innings. The ploy didn't work as the Astros swept the twinbill.
08/10/1975 - Before George Brett gave the rule lasting notoriety, Jerry DaVanon of the Astros was called out for having pine tar on the wrong end of his bat. It happened in the bottom of the sixth when DaVanon singled off Jim Rooker of the Pirates. Catcher Manny Sanguillen noticed the bat and showed home plate umpire Terry Tata who call DaVanon out. DaVanon explained afterwards that he accidentally applied the stickum to the wrong end while in the on-deck circle and hoped nobody would notice. Houston won the game, 5-3.
09/20/1981 - Houston's Gary Woods was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the first inning. With one run in and the bases full, the Giants replaced lefty starter Gary Lavelle with righthander Allen Ripley (believe it or not) so manager Bill Virdon countered by pulling Woods for lefty-hitting Terry Puhl. Ripley walked Puhl to put a second run in and the Giants gave up four in the frame.
Later that same game, Tony Scott took off for second in the eighth inning and was called out by umpire Billy Williams when the tag was applied by Joe Morgan. However, the pitch Scott ran on was ball four to Jose Cruz which should have allowed Scott to take second safely. Scott, believing he was out, stood next to the base and began to brush the dirt off his jersey so Morgan tagged him a second time. This time, Scott was really out.
04/10/1982 - It was the fifth game of the season in Atlanta when Jose Cruz reached on an infield single in the fourth inning. One out later, Ray Knight hit a deep fly to right field. Cruz stayed close to first in case Claudell Washington made the catch but Knight was sure he could stretch it into a double. After the ball landed, Cruz moved to second while Knight returned to first but Knight was called out for passing Cruz on the basepaths.
05/08/1983 - In a 4-4 tie at the Astrodome, Jose Cruz beat out a roller to first base that so enranged Mets first baseman Danny Heep that he forgot to call time out before he began arguing with umpire Terry Tata about the call. Phil Garner, standing at third, noticed the situation and sped for home with the winning run, beating Heep's belated throw.
06/23/1986 - Reliever Larry Andersen managed to become the winning pitcher without retiring a batter. How? With two outs in the top of the ninth and trailing, 6-5, Andersen threw a wild pitch to Cincinnati's Bo Diaz. Buddy Bell, who had reached third, broke for home plate to add an insurance run but Mark Bailey retrieved the ball and threw to Andersen covering home who tagged Bell out. A two-run homer by Glenn Davis in the bottom of the ninth gave Houston - and Andersen - the 7-6 triumph.
08-02-2008 - Mark Loretta and Hunter Pence slid into home together to tie a game in the ninth against Billy Wagner and the Mets. The lead runner, Loretta, collided with the catcher while Pence, trailing a few feet behind, crashed into the pile and touched the plate. Houston would add the winning run in the tenth.
08-13-2008 - Houston produces six runs on just two hits and leave the bases loaded in a wild sixth inning where eight straight Astros complete their plate appearance without an official at bat. Between Miguel Tejada's single off Barry Zito of the Giants and his fly out against Barry Sadler to end the frame, the Astros had a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly, an intentional walk, a sacrifice fly, a hit batter, a bases-loaded walk to pitcher Randy Wolf, and two more hit batters with the bases full. Those were the only Houston runs in a 6-2 victory.
08-23-2010 - With two outs and Jayson Werth at second in the bottom of the seventh, Brett Myers pitched out for ball four of an interntional walk to Carlos Ruiz. Catcher Humberto Quintero, from that position, threw down to second and picked off Werth with shortstop Angel Sanchez alertly applying the tag to end the inning. Houston took a 3-2 victory.
Miller: Not this time
(c) Houston Astros
There are three other odd moments that I'm aware of but can't pinpoint the date. Video may still exist for these. In the 1980s, a ball hit back to pitcher Bob Knepper got lodged in his glove so he flipped the glove, with the ball still inside it, to first for the out. Again, in the 1980s, a Phillies outfielder failed to glove a hit to right that he thought had just plated the winning run. In anger, he kicked the ball, sending it back into the infield, holding the runner at third. The Astro runner did score on the next play. In 2004, a Houston batter in Los Angeles was served ball four but neither did he take his base nor did any umpire advise him to go to first. So, he stayed there and fouled off another pitch before fouling out. Up in the booth, Dodger announcer Vin Scully wasn't fooled, describing "here comes the 4-2 pitch".
If there are other odd or rare moments you think I've overlooked, write me at email@example.com.
Thanks to Retrosheet for some of the information contained on this page.