Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Remembering the Last Time the Yankees Had a Pitcher Play in the Field


Over the weekend the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles played extra innings in two of their three games causing both bullpen’s to run a little short-handed. While in many cases we see positional players take the pitcher’s mound and pitch, which is always entertaining, very rarely do we ever see a pitcher take the field and man a position. We did on Sunday though when Bryan Mitchell manned first base for the Yankees with the thought process that he would come back out for the 10th inning to pitch again. The last time the Yankees saw a pitcher man a position in the field was on July 24, 1983 inside Yankee Stadium against the Kansas City Royals.

If the date didn’t immediately jump out at you then let me explain. This game will forever be known as the great Pine Tar Incident in Major League Baseball. The controversy came in the ninth inning with two outs when George Brett hit a two-run home run to put the Royals ahead of the Yankees, well until Yankees manager Billy Martin came out and argued the call. Martin noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett’s bat and asked the umpires to rule on the matter. The rule is the amount of pine tar on the bat cannot exceed the width of home plate, Brett’s bat did and he was called out at home thus ending the game and the rally. Brett stormed out of the dugout furiously after the umpires and after pleading his case to no avail. The game was over, the Yankees win.

Now long story short the game was protested and the Royals eventually won the protest. The game was restarted and Brett’s home run was allowed and the Royals hung on to their 5-4 lead for the victory but that’s not the point of this post. The point of the post is who was playing in center field that game. Maybe you have heard of him, Ron Guidry?

Martin was furious about the game being protested and then continued so in an act of protest the Yankees manager moved Guidry to center field. Guidry replaced then center fielder Jerry Mumphrey who has since been traded to the Houston Astros while Martin also moved left-handed throwing Don Mattingly to second base after then second baseman Bert Campaneris was injured. Martin, like Joe Girardi over the weekend, did not want to potentially lose a pinch hitter, runner or pitcher which accounted for the decisions.


And now you know. 

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