Thursday, July 24, 2008

The backstory of the Pine Tar Game

Sorry I've been so bogged down today but I couldn't let the day pass without posting this, from ESPN's Tim Kurkjian:

During the confusion, Brett said, "[teammate] Gaylord Perry wrestled the bat away from McClelland and started running toward the dugout. He handed it off to [teammate] Steve Renko, who said, 'What the hell am I doing with this?' He handed it off to someone else, who was running with it through the dugout, then up the runway to the clubhouse. Security people were running after him. They yelled into their radios, 'Don't let that bat out of your sight!' The policeman who guarded the visiting clubhouse wouldn't open the door for the guy who was carrying the bat. The umpires confiscated the bat, and, by courier, sent it to [American League president] Lee MacPhail's office [in New York]."
"About two weeks later, I got the bat back when we were in Detroit," Brett said. "I took the pine tar down to the limit, 18 inches. And I drew a red line on my bat [so never to put the pine tar above it]. I used it for two games. Gaylord came up and said, 'Why are you using that bat? That's a historic bat. If you break it, it won't be worth anything.' So I put it in the bat bag, and now it's in the Hall of Fame.

"Originally, I sold it to a collector [Barry Halper] for $25,000. But a week later, or six months later, I didn't think that was the right thing to do. So I bought it back for $25,000. And I gave Barry the bat that I used when I hit three home runs in one game off [Yankees pitcher] Catfish Hunter in the playoffs."

Now the bat is in Cooperstown, on display, for everyone to see.

I had no idea of the story of the bat, after the incident.


And for those who don't know, Halper had the largest memoribilia collection anywhere, after the Hall Of Fame. We had a family friend who was friends with Halper. Supposedly, he had one of those mechanical moving racks in his basement that they have at the dry cleaners for all the jerseys and uniforms he had accumulated. After Halper passed away, I think it was noted that he had a jersey or uniform from nearly ever HOFer.
Halper amassed some 80,000 items, including uniforms of many Hall of Famers, an original ticket from the first World Series in 1903 and the jersey Lou Gehrig wore in his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium in 1939. Halper also owned oddities such as the false teeth worn by Ty Cobb, baseball's all-time leading hitter.

Also in Halper's collection were uniforms worn by Cobb, Walter Johnson, Cy Young and Mantle, during his rookie season of 1951. Halper also had the contract finalizing the sale of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the Yankees, and a Honus Wagner baseball card.

1 comment:

Ron Rollins said...

Oh, such sweet revenge. After Chris f!@#$%^&*( Chambliss, you Yankees deserved that game.

That made the second time that Brett took the cooked goose deep for a game winner.

Ha ha. Ha ha. Ha ha.

Royals!!! Royals!!! Royals!!!

And I already know every counter argument you're going to make, so you can save them.

Hooray Royals!!!!!