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Thread: Player Refuses Home Run

  1. #1
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Player Refuses Home Run

    Here's an old story from the April, 1954 issue of Baseball Digest, written by Shirley Povich, long time sports writer for the Washington Post (his final piece was published posthumously at age 92 in 1997). This story recounts a game in 1887 in which future HOF'er hit the ball over the fence, but refused to advance beyond third base. The reasoning, which backfired, is given in the story. It was the Nationals first shutout.

    I came across this story when I came across this issue searching for info on my sister-in-law's uncle, Tommy Umphlett, who played for the Red Sox and the Senators for a few years in the 50's, then played out the remainder of his career as a minor league player and a short stint managing in the minors. The region where they come from is home to a considerable number of major league players, including HOF pitchers Jim "Catfish" Hunter & Gaylord Perry (along with his brother, Jim). My sister-in-law's dad used to drive Hunter to his Little League games, and he always says, "we just call him "Ji-im" in his southern drawl). The day I found this story & posted it on Jill's FB wall, she called her Mom to read it to her and her mother said she'd just gone across the road to the farm owned by the grandson of the scout who signed her brother for a bushel of kale. Now that's really ironic.

    Anyone enjoy this story and any of the others you see there since you can see the entire issue.

    Can you imagine the meltdown here on RZ if a player eschewed a home run?


    http://books.google.com/books?id=HjM...%20run&f=false
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  3. #2
    We Need Our Myths reds1869's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    I love stories like this. The history of baseball never fails to deliver new gems if we keep digging.

  4. #3
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    One of the things I need to remind myself about someone recounting a story like this is that from their vantage point (1954), this was something that happened 67 years before. For us, it's like hearing about a game back in 1944, while still a long time ago, it doesn't seem quite as ancient as 1887.

    I'm not sure if baseball would allow a runner to do that now and obviously, the catching situation is not applicable at all today.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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  5. #4
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Chris Welsh, if you lurk here, here is the proof, dating back to 1887, that the "rally-killing homer" in practice doesn't work any better than your theory does today
    Can't win with 'em

    Can't win without 'em

  6. #5
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    It's too bad they had to suffer the mortification of being shut-out. Ha!

    GL

  7. #6
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    I may have the details a little off on this, but at one time, it was normal for a keg of beer to be kept at third base, and you would see a lot of guys refuse home runs (as well as try to stretch out doubles) just to stay at third base and drink.

  8. #7
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    I may have the details a little off on this, but at one time, it was normal for a keg of beer to be kept at third base, and you would see a lot of guys refuse home runs (as well as try to stretch out doubles) just to stay at third base and drink.
    What concerns me is that might be a living memory for you...
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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  9. #8
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    What concerns me is that might be a living memory for you...
    Don't you have to remember it for it to be a memory?

  10. #9
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    I may have the details a little off on this, but at one time, it was normal for a keg of beer to be kept at third base, and you would see a lot of guys refuse home runs (as well as try to stretch out doubles) just to stay at third base and drink.
    That never happened, but drinking in the dugout yes.

    Also back in that day a shutout was often considered bad luck (early on it was called being Chicagoed due to the White Stockings being shut out a few times in the era that shutouts were rare) Often a pitcher would allow a run when the lead was comfy to eschew that bad luck

  11. #10
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    This is an amazing story. There is no sport in North America that has so many quirky things in its history than that of baseball. I'm sure there has never been an Eddie Gaedel character in the NFL, unless you count Doug Flutie of course
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

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  12. #11
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    This is an amazing story. There is no sport in North America that has so many quirky things in its history than that of baseball. I'm sure there has never been an Eddie Gaedel character in the NFL, unless you count Doug Flutie of course
    The best part of Gaedels story in today's game is the uniform he wore was current Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt Jr.'s.

  13. #12
    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    The best part of Gaedels story in today's game is the uniform he wore was current Cardinal owner Bill DeWitt Jr.'s.
    Yeah, I read that somewhere. Very funny stuff. Bill Veck may have not known how to put a winning team on the field but he was a damn good promoter.

    Speaking of which, I don't think the NHL has ever had a Disco Demolition Day
    “Our next home stand follows this road trip.”

    “I just want to tell everyone Happy Easter and Happy Hanukkah.” says on the day before Easter

    Mike Shannon

  14. #13
    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    great story redsmetz, thanks for sharing.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

    Nov. 13, 2007: One of the greatest days in Reds history: John Allen gets the boot!

  15. #14
    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by REDREAD View Post
    great story redsmetz, thanks for sharing.
    I noticed that you can check on Google Books for any issues of Baseball Digest, just putting that title in and choose a year and it will bring up all the issues for that year. Of course, I suspect it makes it hard to be productive while doing that.
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

    The Baseball Emporium - Books & Things, that's Rallyonion.com

    The Baseball Bookstore

    http://tsc-sales.com/
    http://tscsales.blogspot.com/
    http://silverscreenbooks.com/

  16. #15
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Player Refuses Home Run

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    I noticed that you can check on Google Books for any issues of Baseball Digest, just putting that title in and choose a year and it will bring up all the issues for that year. Of course, I suspect it makes it hard to be productive while doing that.
    http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=6i4DAAAAMBAJ


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