CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Wezen-Ball: Chipper vs... (08/21)
Next Column >>
Wezen-Ball: Tommy West... (08/24)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/22)

August 22, 2012

Wezen-Ball

Paul O'Neill Promises Two Home Runs

by Larry Granillo

In 1995, the New York Yankees, under screwball owner George Steinbrenner and lame-duck manager Buck Showalter, played a late-season game against the Cleveland Indians. Unknown to the general public, some interoffice shenanigans involving the assistant-to-the-traveling secretary and a birthday card for the Boss (whose actual birthday was on July 4, so who knows) set up one of the most memorable games for one of the Bronx's most popular players of the era.

Rightfielder Paul O'Neill, who will be the first to admit that he is not a home run hitter, went into the game with a weight on his shoulders: someone had promised a little boy in the hospital that O'Neill would hit two home runs in that night's game and Paul was going to do his best to meet that promise.


For the video, click here.

He got the first one out of the way early, depositing a 2-1 pitch into the Yankee Stadium grandstands in his first at-bat. This, no doubt, made little Bobby a happy boy. By the time the eighth inning rolled around, however, O'Neill had yet to make good on his promise. That all changed on another 2-1 pitch. The deep fly ball didn't look big enough to meet his promise, but the ball got over the head of leftfielder Albert Belle and rolled to the wall. O'Neill, not the fastest guy in baseball history, kept chugging away. From what we can hear from the game's broadcaster (sadly, there is no available video of this play), O'Neill rounded second base about 7.5 or 8 seconds into his trot. He got to third base a few seconds later and headed for home. This is where things got funny.

Twelve seconds into this trot, O'Neill had already rounded third, putting him perfectly in line with the league-standard 15.5 second inside the park home run. As he made his way home, however, the Indians misplayed the ball. Someone named Martinez relayed the ball into catcher Sandy Alomar, Jr., but missed badly, with the ball sailing over Alomar's head. O'Neill was safe at home, the Yankees took the lead and, best of all, Bobby had his promised second home run.

Except the ruling on the field changed everything, giving O'Neill a triple on the play with an error on the throw from Martinez. That means that, technically, Paul O'Neill was not able to make due on his promise to little Bobby because he no longer had the inside-the-park home run. Just a measly triple. Reports are that Bobby did not take the scoring decision well.

Even more baffling is O'Neill's trot time. Going by the audio descriptions of the play—which, admittedly, aren't always perfectly timed with the play on the field, but it's the best we can do—O'Neill finally scored 21.09 seconds after he made contact with the ball. That's roughly nine seconds after he touched third base. Maybe the Yankees were using Olympic-style hurdles on the basepath at that time?

We all know that pretty much every inside-the-park home run in existence can be called a triple-plus-error if the official scorer was so inclined. It's our dirty little secret about the most exciting play in baseball. I just find it sad that, this one time, the scorer couldn't make O'Neill, little Bobby and his friend Cosmo Kramer that much happier by giving O'Neill the home run. Really, what harm could it do?

Related Content:  Inside The Park

3 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Y... (08/21)
<< Previous Column
Wezen-Ball: Chipper vs... (08/21)
Next Column >>
Wezen-Ball: Tommy West... (08/24)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/22)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Live That Fantasy
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Brandon McCarthy and the ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bringing the Band Back...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Best and Worst Mechanics: NL W...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Martin in Miami, Nate ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Padres Wish Upton a St...

MORE FROM AUGUST 22, 2012
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Shame of Your First Big-...
The Lineup Card: Nine Memorable Late-Season ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: San Diego Excises Bart...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Relievers for 8/22/12
Premium Article Collateral Damage Daily: Wednesday, August 2...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, August 2...
What You Need to Know: Wednesday, August 22

MORE BY LARRY GRANILLO
2012-08-27 - Wezen-Ball: Neil Armstrong & the Landing of ...
2012-08-24 - Wezen-Ball: Tommy Westphall's Baseball Unive...
2012-08-24 - Tater Trot Tracker: Trot Times for August 23
2012-08-22 - Wezen-Ball: Paul O'Neill Promises Two Home R...
2012-08-22 - Tater Trot Tracker: Trot Times for August 21
2012-08-21 - Wezen-Ball: Chipper vs. Cal
2012-08-20 - Tater Trot Tracker: Trot Times for August 19
More...

MORE WEZEN-BALL
2012-08-30 - Wezen-Ball: Capturing the Photo Finish
2012-08-27 - Wezen-Ball: Neil Armstrong & the Landing of ...
2012-08-24 - Wezen-Ball: Tommy Westphall's Baseball Unive...
2012-08-22 - Wezen-Ball: Paul O'Neill Promises Two Home R...
2012-08-21 - Wezen-Ball: Chipper vs. Cal
2012-08-17 - Wezen-Ball: Crime and Punishment
2012-08-14 - Wezen-Ball: The Giants' Shark Killer
More...