Chaz Scoggins has been the primary official scorer at Fenway Park for over 30 years. A long-time sportswriter for The Lowell Sun and a former president of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Scoggins sat down for this interview in December 2004.
[Editor’s note: This Q&A is excerpted from the book Interviews from Red Sox Nation, which was published by Maple Street Press in 2008, and is being reprinted with permission.]
David Laurila: You’ve been the team’s official scorer since 1978. How did you get started?
Chaz Scoggins: When the Baseball Writers Association of America was formed early in the 20th Century, the organization offered to provide official scorers as a courtesy to major-league baseball, and for the next three quarters of a century, members of the BBWAA did all the scoring. If you had an interest in official scoring and were a member of the BBWAA, after you had been in the organization for five years and were judged by your chapter to be qualified, you could become an official scorer. That’s how I became one.
DL: Tell us a little more of the history-both yours and the profession’s.
CS: At the time I started there were three other members who were scoring, so we divided up the 81 home games, getting about 20 each. Back then, scorers were paid $25 a game. Now the fee is $125, but when figuring in the Cost Of Living since then, I think we’re earning less than we were 30 years ago. Most fans (and even players) presume we’re hired and paid by the clubs, which is why they expect close decisions to go their way. We’re actually paid by the league. Shortly after I began scoring, there were some controversies over scoring decisions in no-hitters and near no-hitters. The first one, I recall, was in San Francisco, and the scorer, Joe Sargis, who worked for the old wire service United Press International, was forbidden to score by UPI after that. UPI’s argument was that their reporters were there not to make the news but to cover it. Not long after that there was another controversy in Pittsburgh, and the newspapers there forbade their reporters to score for the same reason. That prompted a national reassessment of the scoring duties by newspapers. One after another, citing a conflict of interest over being paid by the sport they were there to objectively cover, the papers began ordering their reporters not to score anymore, and by the mid-1980s the BBWAA told MLB it could no longer provide scorers. Naturally, almost overnight, there was a critical shortage of qualified official scorers.
DL: What happened?
CS: In some cities retired writers continued to score, but in many cities there was no one. While scorers continued to be paid by the league, the onus was on the clubs to find them. Some were amateur umpires or college coaches, but a lot of scorers came from unusual backgrounds. A couple of times my newspaper, The Lowell Sun, considered ordering me to give up scoring. The argument being used was pretty much the same at the other newspapers: If you tick off the players with a scoring decision and they won’t talk to you because of it, then you can’t do your job. Fortunately for me, the Red Sox in those days were a difficult club to deal with for all writers, and my argument was that sometimes the only time the players would talk to you was WHEN they were ticked off. Anyway, I always managed to convince them that by scoring I was devoting my full attention to the game, rather than walking around the press box chatting with other writers or hanging around the snack bar, and that guaranteed I was paying attention to my job. Also, I pointed out that many of the newspapers that stopped their writers from scoring had given them raises to compensate for the lost income. The Lowell Sun decided that ethics weren’t nearly as important as money. So the paper has continued to let me score, making me one of the few active members of the BBWAA still doing it.
DL: With fewer sportswriters doing the job, who is?
CS: In some cities these days, I think they just crawl out of the woodwork. Maybe they’re termites. But if you want to see really bad scoring, take a trip through the minor leagues. I really think MLB needs to start training scorers the way they train umpires. But I doubt that will ever happen because of the expense.
DL: Regarding any conflict-of-interest issues-do they exist?
CS: The editors think they do. I don’t. While I’ve had my differences of opinions with players, there has never been one who refused to talk to me because he was mad at me about a scoring decision. If anything, the opposite might be true. A player might think that if he’s nicer to me, he’ll get a scoring break next time. (He won’t.) I have always been able to separate the two duties and not let worrying about one affect the other. Whether or not they’re nice or not so nice to me about a decision will never affect my next decision involving them. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: If they want to think that way, it makes both my jobs easier, so I’m not going to tell them any different. Unless they read this, of course. Then the cat is out of the bag.
DL: You work for the American League rather than for the Red Sox. Do official scorers have a boss they report to, and do they get performance reviews? And do they ever get reprimanded-or fired?
CS: Actually, since the offices of the two leagues combined a few years ago, I work for Major League Baseball now. My nominal boss is one of the VPs, Phyllis Mehrige. She handles the administrative chores, making sure we get paid and have scoring forms and get new rulebooks every year, but she doesn’t look over our shoulders or evaluate us herself. There is no fixed system for reviewing the performance of official scorers. But if she starts hearing too many complaints about someone, she’ll look into the matter. If the feedback is that the scorer is incompetent… well, I’ve never heard of a scorer being overtly fired. But there are ways to keep an incompetent one from being rehired. Sometimes even a competent one.
DL: Can you give any examples?
CS: One of the scorers I trained in Lowell, an outstanding scorer in my opinion, with six years of minor-league experience, finally got a chance to score a couple of Boston Red Sox games back in 2001. Wouldn’t you know it: In his very first game as a major-league OS, Hideo Nomo, who had thrown a no-hitter earlier in the season, takes a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Then right fielder Darren Lewis breaks the wrong way on a fly ball, rushes back in, and has the ball hit off the end of his glove as he tries to make a diving catch. The OS correctly rules it a base hit because Lewis committed a mental error by breaking the wrong way, not a physical error. Naturally, because he’s a rookie OS, the play is even more controversial than it should have been. Red Sox GM Dan Duquette even puts pressure on him to change it to an error, but to his credit he sticks to his guns. But after finishing his two-game assignment the next night, he never works at Fenway again. A couple of years later, after he had been fired, I learned that Duquette had ordered his PR department, which is technically in charge of assigning official scorers, to never let him score another game. For all intents and purposes, he was fired for making the right call.
DL: Do official scorers ever get overruled?
CS: Until a few years ago, officials scorers were rarely overruled, and then only in their interpretation of the rules. A fellow named Seymour Siwoff is MLB’s scoring guru, and has been ever since I’ve been around, and he overruled me a couple of times, illegally in my opinion. For example, I once credited Lee Smith with a save after he entered the game with a 2-0 count on a batter and walked him, a walk that was charged to the previous pitcher under the rules. It hadn’t been a save situation until that batter walked, but because the walk was charged to the previous pitcher, and there was nothing in the rulebook that addressed this situation, I ruled that Smith had not created his own save situation and was entitled to the save. Seymour overruled me, even though the rule in question states that “The scorer shall have the authority to rule on any point not specifically covered in these rules.” I was not happy. There are some other scoring rules quirks that Seymour and I have disagreed on.
DL: Is there a process for questioning rulings?
CS: Now that almost every game is on TV and videotape of almost every play can be obtained for review, clubs and players can protest a scoring decision and ask for a review from MLB. A committee of four or five people will look at the videotape and either uphold the decision or recommend it be overturned. The OS, however, can refuse to go along with the recommendation. Until 2004 I had never had a play submitted to MLB for review. There are at least three that I know of from last season, one of which was recommended by a 4-0 vote that it be changed. I was adamant, however, believing I still had the play right, and refused to let it be overturned. MLB has to protect the integrity of its scorers, just as it has to protect the integrity of its umpires, and while the panel disagreed with me, MLB backed up my original decision. The other plays I assume MLB agreed that I got it right.
DL: With hindsight being 20/20, how many times have you been wrong?
CS: I can only remember one decision that I regret as being absolutely wrong. A couple of years ago a runner should have been doubled off second base on a line drive, but the second baseman dropped the ball. He should have been charged with an error, but since there had been one out on the play, I applied the GIDP rule, and let the error slide. It was wrong.
DL: Do you have a reputation, either for your judgment (hits versus errors, etc) or approachability? If so, do you think it’s accurate?
CS: MLB asks that its scorers be willing to review plays when their decisions are challenged. As long as the request is made in a civilized manner, I’m always willing to do so. But if I receive uncivilized treatment, that person forfeits any future appeals with me unless I get an apology. MLB wants scorers to report such incidents of incivility, and transgressors can be reprimanded or fined. But I have never reported such an incident to the league, preferring to handle it in my own fashion.
I think I have a reputation for being a fair scorer. Frequently I have had players complain to me that they don’t get favorable scoring decisions on the road so they have to get them at home the way other home team players do. I tell them I can’t be concerned with the scoring practices in other cities, that it’s my job to be fair to both teams. Several times I’ve had visiting players express their surprise to me that I’ve approached them to talk about a play, that they’ve never had scorers in road cities solicit their input.
While I know a lot of Red Sox players would disagree, I think I’m perceived as a generous OS when it comes to giving players hits. But it’s not generosity. In Rule X, the Rules of Official Scoring, the words “ordinary effort” appear nine times, and I’m big on interpreting ordinary effort. Nothing in Rule X says to hold major-leaguers to a higher standard of fielding than minor-leaguers or amateurs. So even though a major-league player might be capable of making a tough play nine times out of 10, I’m not going to stick him with an error the one time he doesn’t make that play. Sure they can-and often do-make those plays look routine. That’s why they’re in the major leagues. But that doesn’t mean they should be expected to make them every time. So the rule of thumb I use for determining hits and errors is this: When a play isn’t made, I ask myself: “If he had made that play, would I have silently said to myself ‘Nice play.'” If the answer is yes, then it would have taken more than ordinary effort to make it, and I’ll rule it a hit.
DL: How often do players complain about your decisions, and has that changed much over your 27 years on the job?
CS: On average, I would guess my decisions are challenged about four times a year. I probably change half of them. Usually the challenges come early in the season, and usually from new players who don’t know where I’ve drawn my line in the sand. Once they learn, the complaints dwindle. I have found that when the Red Sox are contending, players pay less attention to their personal stats. Some of the worst years I had were years when the Red Sox were losing, and players became more selfish. The ’92-93 seasons were particularly difficult. The 2004 Red Sox were the exception to the rule. Almost every ruling I made was challenged, not just by players but by the manager and even the GM. That was baffling.
DL: Can you elaborate on that?
CS: Here was a team that was a contender all year long, even during a mystifying three months of mediocrity, yet some of the personnel were consumed by personal stats that are usually all but ignored when a team is in a pennant race. I think that might have been a reflection on the manager, Terry Francona, who seemed to be at the forefront of every question. If a player doesn’t approach me directly, I assume I got the call right. When the manager contacts me instead of the player, I have to wonder if he’s getting involved on his own, perhaps because he feels a happy player will play better for him. I don’t know what Francona’s reasoning was. I know when Butch Hobson was managing the Red Sox a decade ago, he wanted all the players who disputed a scoring decision to go through him first. I tried (unsuccessfully) to talk him out of it, explaining there was no reason for him to get involved. I preferred to deal with the players involved directly. That way nothing could be lost in translation. Theo Epstein even lobbied for a change on at least one occasion. He’s a young GM, though, and maybe he doesn’t yet realize that getting involved in scoring decisions is not within his purview.
DL: Over the years, which players have been the most notorious questioners of rulings?
DL: Who are some of the others who have complained?
CS: Twice I had Roger Clemens ask me to change calls … and both times he wanted me to change errors to hits that wound up costing him earned runs late in seasons in which he was battling for the ERA championship. (He went on to win the ERA title both times anyway.) Clemens is one of only two players I’ve ever had ask me to change rulings that damaged his own stats. “It was a tough play,” he would tell me. “It should be a hit.” I may have disagreed, but how can you argue with someone who knows he won’t benefit from a scoring change? Johnny Damon asked me this year to change a double to an error after he dropped a ball that he ran a long way for, leaped to catch at The Wall, and couldn’t handle.
DL: I understand you have a good Jim Rice story.
CS: A couple of years ago, when Jim Rice was the hitting coach for the Red Sox, he called me after a game and asked me to change a call that would give John Valentin a hit. I immediately told him I would. “Don’t you want to know the reason I’m asking?” he asked. “No,” I replied, “and I’ll tell you why. I was the official scorer here during the last 11 years of your career, and not once in those 11 years did you ever ask me to change a call. There are always balls that are in gray areas, and many nights I came down here expecting that would be the night you’d ask me to change my call, and you never did.” “That’s right. I never did, did I?” he chuckled. “You never did,” I said, “So you have a lot of credibility in the bank with me. So if you think that’s a hit, it’s a hit.”
Later it occurred to me that if Rice had asked me to change one or two calls a year during those 11 years, and I had done so, he would have hit .300 lifetime instead of .298. Those two points might have made the difference whether or not he gets into the Hall of Fame.
DL: How about players from visiting teams?
CS: Somewhere around 1980, I think, Toronto’s Dave Stieb and Baltimore’s Mike Boddicker were dueling for the ERA title. Stieb was ahead when he made his final start of the year in Fenway. He pitched something like five scoreless innings, then gave up six of the ugliest runs you’d ever want to see in the sixth. The Red Sox did not hit a ball out of the infield, and they were all choppers and rollers with a walk or two thrown in. But there were no errors, and all the runs were earned. Stieb called the press box after the game, furious that none of the balls had been errors. I didn’t change anything, and Boddicker wound up winning the ERA title.
A year or two ago I called an error on Anaheim third baseman Troy Glaus, who called after the game to tell me the ball hit the lip of the grass and took an unnatural hop before it got to him. I reviewed the play on videotape, saw that he was right, and changed the call to a hit. Glaus was grateful … for 15 minutes. Then he called me back when he realized the hit had cost his pitcher two earned runs and asked me to change it back to an error. I had to laugh. He got me to change a bad call to the right one, and then wanted the bad one back. Couldn’t do it, of course. He should have thought of the consequences before he asked me to review it.
DL: What are the biggest controversies you’ve been involved with?
CS: The most infamous was in 1992, Wade Boggs’ last year with the Red Sox and his most miserable year as a hitter when he batted only .259. Late in that season Detroit’s Tony Phillips, a switch-hitter batting left-handed against Clemens, slapped a ball toward third base that was mishandled by Boggs and ruled an error. After the game Boggs asked me to change it to a hit. I thought the request was rather strange. The Red Sox were in last place, and he was having a brutal year. But Clemens was going for the ERA title, and changing it to a hit would make two unearned runs earned. But it wasn’t my duty to tell him that; he, like the aforementioned Glaus, should have known and just eaten the error. I asked him why I should change it, and he said he couldn’t pick up the ball initially because he lost it in the white shirts of the Saturday afternoon crowd. I had not seen the play all that clearly myself, the TV replay had been useless, and now Boggs had given me a compelling reason to change the call. So I did, even though I suspected it would ignite a firestorm. For the next two days, that’s all anyone talked about. Clemens was furious, though not with me. He knew I was just doing my job. And I already knew, as explained previously, that whether the runs were earned or unearned was irrelevant to Clemens. He was only upset by Boggs’ selfishness, and the rest of the team sided with him. ESPN had a good time ridiculing me for the next few days. They had some stock footage of me in the press box, and every time on SportsCenter that there was a play that was remotely controversial, they’d show that clip and ask “Is it a hit, or is it an error?”
And for some reason, almost 20 years later, the wild pitch charged to Bob Stanley in Game Six of the 1986 World Series remains controversial. A lot of people believe Rich Gedman should have been charged with a passed ball. I still get grief about that, although I can’t understand why it’s a big deal. The ball got by the catcher and a run scored. Why does it really matter if it was a wild pitch or a passed ball? All I can say was that I was one of three official scorers working that World Series, and it was unanimous among all three of us that it was a wild pitch. There wasn’t even any discussion among us before we made the ruling.
DL: A player once threw a beer at you. What is the story behind that?
CS: Jerry Remy hit a ground ball with the infield back and a runner on third, and the first baseman threw the ball home anyway instead of taking the obvious out at first. He threw the ball away, and I charged an error. Remy thought he should have gotten a hit because the first baseman couldn’t have gotten him anyway, which may have been true, but I ruled a good throw would have gotten the runner, who wasn’t running hard, at the plate. He threw a can of beer past me that hit the clubhouse wall. (I really don’t think he was trying to hit me.) He apologized the next day, and we’ve always gotten along since then. He likes to joke that my scoring decisions kept him from getting 3,000 hits and into the Hall of Fame. Darned if I can figure out how I cost him 1,774 hits, though.
DL: Who has most surprised you by questioning a call, and why?
CS: Clemens, of course, as outlined above. But a couple other incidents come immediately to mind. Two nights after the Boggs-Clemens incident, Danny Darwin was pitching for the Red Sox, called the press box after the first inning, and asked to speak with me. I told the PR person that I did not talk to players while a game was in progress and that I’d see him afterward, although I couldn’t figure out why. A ground ball had sneaked through the infield that I had called a hit, but no runs had scored. After the game I went to see Darwin, and he stunned me by giving me grief about the Boggs error/hit that had cost Clemens two earned runs on Saturday. He was furious and grabbed the sleeve of my shirt (the only time I’ve ever had a player get physical with me). I listened to his diatribe and, because of the ambush, determined that he had forfeited all future right to discuss scoring decisions with me. Butch Hobson, the manager, found out about it and said he would have Darwin apologize to me. But Darwin never did.
Another one was more humorous. Between games of a day-night doubleheader with the Royals, Mike Greenwell called me down and asked me to change an error (not his) that would give Kevin Seitzer of the Royals a hit. I asked why, and he said that Seitzer was a good friend of his and that he, Seitzer, thought it should be a hit. I told Greenwell I would talk with the principals involved. I did and wound up changing it to a hit. The kicker was the Red Sox were playing in KC a few days later, a city where the scoring was notoriously bad, and Greenwell hit a ball that should have been a hit and was egregiously ruled an error. After the Red Sox returned home from the trip, I asked Greenwell if he had asked Seitzer to intercede with the scorer on his behalf the way Greenwell had interceded with me. “Yeah, I asked him. The so-and-so wouldn’t do it!” Greenwell griped. I think that was the end of a beautiful friendship.
Another incident I recall was Red Sox reliever Tom Burgmeier, who had impeccable control, asking me why I had charged him with an earned run when a batter he had intentionally walked had scored. “The rule book says to treat an intentional walk as an unintentional one for scoring purposes,” I explained. “That’s ridiculous,” he said. “You know I wouldn’t have walked that guy if I hadn’t been ordered to.” I shrugged. “I know that, and you know that. But that’s the way the rulebook says to score it.” “That rule is stupid,” he complained.
DL: Switching from players to the plays, what are some of the oddest ones you’ve seen from a scorer’s perspective?
CS: Fortunately for me, by the time players reach the majors they have been pretty well schooled to avoid making bonehead plays. I have seen plenty of unfathomable plays in the minors, however, that I wouldn’t begin to know how to rule on them. Official scoring is a thankless task at that level. The aforementioned Remy play was one of the few dumb plays I’ve seen in the majors. Probably the most confusing play I had to rule on was one I had seen in highlights (or lowlights) from other ballparks but never happened in Fenway until 2003. That’s when Trot Nixon forgot how many outs there were and tossed the ball into the stands after making a catch while two Anaheim players ran around the bases. I initially ruled it a two-run sacrifice fly, because, to me, it was obviously more of a mental mistake than a physical error. But before the end of the game, Seymour had overruled me and said it should be an error. And I guess he was right, since the umpires treated it as an overthrow. But there was nothing in the rulebook that dealt specifically with what is becoming a common event.
This one wasn’t especially odd, but it illustrates how scorers and players can sometimes be handcuffed by the rules. A few years ago in a game against Oakland, the Athletics‘ left fielder scooped up a single and tried to throw out a Red Sox runner at the plate. The throw was perfect, but the ball and the runner arrived at the plate at the same time, and the runner took catcher Brent Mayne out of the play while the ball went to the backstop. Because another runner went from second to third while the ball was being retrieved, and the rules require that I account for every base, I had to charge an error and gave it to Mayne. The next day I was told that Mayne wanted to see me. “How can you give me an error on that play?” he complained. “I had no chance to catch the ball.” “I absolutely agree,” I told him. “But I have to give an error to somebody, and it’s gotta be either you or the left fielder. Was the throw good?” “Yes, it was perfect,” Mayne said”. “Well, then, neither you nor the left fielder deserve the error, but one of you has to get it. That’s the rule. If you want to talk it over between the two of you and decide that the left fielder should get the error, I’ll change it. But the reason I gave it to you is that while none of you is really to blame, I feel it’s the catcher’s primary job to catch the ball first, even if it means stepping away from the plate.” Mayne said he would eat the error, however unfair. And he thanked me for coming down to talk about it with him.
There has been some discussion for several years about giving team errors to deal with situations that involve giving unfair errors to players (such as balls hitting seams on artificial turf and taking a crazy bounce, or pop flies falling between fielders). I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think official scorers would use it as a crutch and a copout to avoid giving tough errors to individuals. Yes, some errors in baseball are unfair. But the very nature of the game is unfair.
DL: [Red Sox play-by-play announcer] Joe Castiglione likes to talk about a play in Detroit where two runners came into home plate, one right after the other. Rich Gedman tags out the first on a close play, and an instant later the second barrels into him, sending everyone, including the home plate umpire, flying. Mistaking a ball that fell from his pouch as the game ball, the umpire calls the second runner safe (he should have been ruled out). My question is: assuming that an error isn’t charged on the play, would you credit the batter with an RBI?
CS: Although I wasn’t at that game, I saw the play on TV and remember it reasonably well. Kirk Gibson, one of the fastest men in the game, was the second runner and was running right up the shirttail of the runner in front of him. (I think he may even have hit the ball and was trying for an inside-the-park homer.) Indeed, Gedman got the ball in time to tag both runners and should have been credited with one of the most unusual double plays in baseball history had the umpire not been upended and become confused by the loose ball from his bag. Nowadays, as we saw in Game Six of the ALCS, the umpires probably would have huddled and overturned the plate ump. But umpires were reluctant to challenge each other in those days. As for scoring such a play, this one isn’t covered specifically in the rules. I would credit the batter with an RBI.
DL: I was at a game this summer that featured a near scoring oddity. With runners on first and second, a Tampa Bay batter swung and missed a 3-1 pitch from Tim Wakefield that eluded Doug Mirabelli. The runner on second was going on the pitch, and was credited with a stolen base. My question regards the trail runner, who was also credited with a steal. This makes sense if he was also going on the pitch, but what if he wasn’t? Would you have scored both a stolen base and a passed ball on the same play?
CS: Yes, it is possible to have a stolen base and a passed ball (or wild pitch) on the same play, although I don’t recall ever having made such a ruling. It could also happen if a runner stealing second got such a tremendous jump, saw the ball get away from the catcher, and then took third.
DL: Do you have a fascination with oddities, like six consecutive 4-3 outs, or ten putouts in a game by a left fielder-or are they just numbers and part of your job?
CS: I have noticed-but can’t prove this scientifically-that the fly ball-to-ground ball ratio goes up significantly in the last three innings of ballgames. I suspect this is because hitters whose team is behind are trying to hit home runs in the late innings. Any sabermetricians out there who would like to undertake the task of proving or disproving my theory?
DL: What can you tell a fan about official scoring that he, or she, probably doesn’t know?
CS: The Official Baseball Rules are divided into 10 major rules that cover a total of 97 pages in the rulebook. The first nine rules govern how the game is played, and how umpires should call plays are covered in 72 pages, or an average of eight pages per rule. Rule X, the rules of official scoring, need 25 pages to be explained. More than one-quarter of the pages in the rulebook are devoted to official scoring. The scoring rules can be highly complicated.
DL: Where is the official scorer located at Fenway Park?
CS: The scorer’s station is in the front row of the press box, the last seat on the third base side. It used to be at the other end, which was better for me because I could see into the left-field corner (but not right field). The seat was moved about three years ago because it was next to the Red Sox PR station, and MLB doesn’t want its scorers in a position to be (possibly) intimidated by club personnel. (It never happened to me.) The new seat is terrible. I do get a terrific view of the right-field corner now but can’t see anything that happens in the left-field corner and have to rely on replays to make calls sometimes. It also takes an extra 45 seconds to get to the bathroom and back, making it extremely difficult not to miss the first pitch or two of an inning. There’s nothing that can be done about the blind spots because of Fenway’s configuration. But the biggest problem is that I’m so high up, I can’t see bad hops. It was much easier to score in the early days when we were down where the luxury suites are now.
DL: How much interaction do you have with people in the press box during the game?
CS: I chat with the writers around me during the game, but I’m careful about making jokes or complaints about players. I don’t want to create the impression that I have it in for a particular player. Back before I started scoring, I remember one of the official scorers, who we all knew hated Carlton Fisk, joking before a game that anything Freddie Lynn hit was a hit and anything Fisk hit was an error. Sure enough, Fisk hit a ground ball to shortstop that could have been ruled either way. It was called an error, and it may have been the right call. But can we be sure? No. So my personal rule is to enjoy the banter but don’t say anything that could be misconstrued as prejudicial. I also used to get asked to participate in no-hit pools during games when a pitcher had a no-hitter going. I always refused because I could be in a position to make a call that could end or continue the no-hitter, and I couldn’t afford to have that decision being characterized as being made for personal profit. I don’t get asked anymore. I’ve also avoided joining Rotisserie Leagues for the same reason, because my decisions can and will affect players’ stats. The most important thing for an OS is to protect and preserve his integrity.
DL: What are some of the oddest things you’ve seen in your job-not on the field, but in the press box?
CS: How about two writers getting in a fistfight in the press box after a game in Cincinnati during the 1975 World Series? I also saw Record-American columnist Larry Claflin throw a notebook belonging to a writer from the Boston Phoenix out of the press box onto the screen in the middle of a game because he didn’t like a question the reporter had asked. One time a foul ball came screaming back into the old press box, and struck the computer a shocked Peter Gammons was typing furiously on. The word “Error” flashed on his computer screen. Usually the media is well-behaved, but there have been a lot of funny lines thrown around that none of us would dare put in the paper. You might know that cheering in the press box is strictly forbidden, although ripping ballplayers is not. The only time I ever saw the cheering rule ever universally ignored was after Fisk won Game Six of the 1975 World Series with that 12th-inning homer. Almost every writer in the press box got to his feet and gave both teams a standing ovation because it was-and to many of us still is-the most dramatic ballgame we had ever seen.
DL: What are the most memorable moments and events in your career as an official scorer?
CS: One I’ve never had is scoring a no-hitter. I thought for sure I had scored a perfect game a couple of years back when Mike Mussina was pitching for the Yankees and was one strike away. Carl Everett ruined it with a pinch single. That’s the only time I’ve even scored a potential no-hitter into the ninth inning. Roger Clemens’ first 20-strikeout game in 1986 is the most memorable game I’ve scored. I’ve never been much for collecting memorabilia, but I kept the lineup cards from that game (one of only four sets that could possibly be in existence), had Clemens autograph them, and have them framed and hanging on a wall in my house. I also scored the 1,000th game of Cal Ripken’s playing streak and planned to have him autograph those lineup cards. But I asked him first if he wanted them for a keepsake, and he did, so I gave them to him. (Now the scorers don’t even get copies of the official lineup cards anymore.) Scoring three All-Star Games and getting rings for them has also been a thrill, particularly the 1999 game in Boston. I also scored the 1982 All-Star Game in Montreal (the words on the ring are in French) and the 2000 All-Star Game in Atlanta.
I hope to keep official scoring long after I’ve retired from the media because it’s also something I enjoy, I’m proud to do, and even though a lot of people don’t agree, I know I’m good at it.
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