While many people celebrate professional baseball’s greatest home runs, or its best players, we choose to honor the wackiest, most ridiculous, or downright embarrassing things to happen during a game. Some of these, many would like to forget, but we won’t let them.
10. Plague of Midges
The Cleveland Indians baseball stadium, and much of Cleveland itself, is built by a lake, which often leads to some strange problems. In a playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, thousands of midges came out of the lake in huge numbers and affected the course of the game. Though they’re generally harmless, the sheer swarm seriously tweaked Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain to the point that he could not concentrate. The bugs ended up swinging the game for the Indians, who ended up winning their series against the Yankees. Talk about home field advantage.
9. A No-Hitter Pitched While On LSD
Dock Ellis was having a normal day, hanging out with a friend of his and doing all the drugs, especially LSD. Suddenly, his girlfriend read in the newspaper that Ellis was supposed to be pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates that day. Despite needing to catch an afternoon flight, and running late, Ellis made it to the stadium, and proceeded to light up the opposition. While lit up himself.
Ellis became the first (and, as far as we know, only) pitcher to pull off a no-hitter while tripping the light fantastic. In fact, Ellis was so high, he didn’t even know he was pitching a no-hitter, and interpreted his teammates’ silence as disapproval for his druggie life. In fact, they were simply observing an age-old tradition of not speaking to a pitcher during a no-hit bid, so as not to break the pitcher’s concentration.
8. Potato Baseball
Dave Bresnahan played for a minor league team, and was a bit of a practical joker. He stayed up all night, slowly and intricately carving a potato into a perfect replica of a baseball. Then the next day he put his plan into play; there was a runner on third, and he threw the fake ball into the outfield. The runner came home, and was tagged out with the real ball that Bresnahan still had in his hand. The umpire quickly figured out what happened, and was not at all pleased. He ruled the runner safe at home, and Bresnahan was fired from the team shortly after. While he may have lost his job as a baseball player, he still regularly gets mail from fans of his admittedly-clever potato gag.
7. Bird Interference
Legendary player Randy Johnson was pitching a preseason game, and what had to have been the unluckiest bird in history decided to get right in front of a pitch. If you see it right in front of you it’s astounding; the ball releases, and then a puff of feathers fills the air. But in the video below you can see it in slow motion, as the bird flies across the plate and then turns into a shower of feathers:
6. Player Starts A Riot With Heckling Fans
Normally, it’s the fans that start a riot with each other, or with the players. In this case, however, things took a turn for the bizarre. The Texas Rangers were playing against the Oakland A’s, whose fans are known for being extremely belligerent. The heckling from the A’s fans got so bad, that a Ranger pitcher completely lost his temper and went on the attack, throwing a metal folding chair into the stands, and launching himself at the fans. The unrest between the fans and the players was so bad, that the umpires were considering calling the game as a forfeit, and just clearing out the whole stadium to avoid any further trouble. The fan who was hit with the chair got a broken nose and an out-of-court settlement out of the deal.
5. Back-To-Back Home Runs Off The Same Foul Pole
In the same game, back in July 2012, so many odds were defied, that it is hard to calculate. First, one home run was hit off of a foul pole. And then later on in the game, another home run hit the exact same foul pole. Apparently the last time this happened was in the year 2000, which was when they first started recording home runs that were hit off foul poles. The odds boggle the mind; perhaps baseball is actually played by wizards.
4. Playing A Useless Game Through Serious Injury
It’s one thing to play through injury during an important game, but how about when it truly could not matter less if you played or not? Such was the case during an all-star game played by Red Sox legend Ted Williams. Being an all-star game, the outcome, and who contributed to it, didn’t matter in the least. Yet Williams, after breaking his left elbow during a catch early on in the game, still continued playing for seven innings after. Not only that but, even after he broke his elbow, he made an important catch, and hit a single that put his team ahead.
3. Rain Delay In A Domed Stadium
It doesn’t make sense that you should have a rain delay in a stadium with a retractable dome, but that actually ended up happening in Toronto, in the middle of a Blue Jays game, back in 1989. The stadium management was not prepared for the weather, expecting a mere light drizzle, and so they didn’t close the roof of the stadium. Then the drizzle turned into a torrential downpour, and they were left with a delayed game and a lot of angry fans who were not exactly expecting such an utterly avoidable snafu. It turns out that the dome cannot close safely if there are high winds, which happens to be a common thing during storms. Perhaps they should have closed it anyway, since they expected rain and all, but that probably would have been too simple.
2. Manager In Disguise
Bobby Valentine has been involved in baseball for a long time, and has always been a little eccentric, but during one game, whie he was manager of the New York Mets, he took it to the next level. It started with him getting ejected from a game for arguing with an umpire, which is a pretty normal occurrence in baseball. However, Valentine was not content sitting this game out, and decided that he still needed to be around to keep things going properly. While a sane manager might have tried to coach things using a phone, or perhaps some other clever trick, he had other ideas. Valentine put on a fake mustache, and returned to the dugout, which can be seen in the video below:
He was suspended and fined for his joke, but it definitely goes down as one of the goofiest moments in sports history. We can’t help but feel that he could have come up with a better disguise than a fake mustache. Like just about anything else.
1. Bill Veeck’s Entire Career
Bill Veeck was, by far, the most insane owner in the history of baseball, and was better than anyone at getting people out to the park. Among his antics, he brought midgets in as a gimmick, and sometimes held weddings on the field. He offered prizes of live animals, and once awarded a 200-pound block of ice, which hopefully the recipient had a use for. He also once gave his team manager a gigantic birthday cake except, instead of the usual pretty lady you would expect to pop out, a new player made an appearance instead. Thankfully, said new player was not wearing a sexy bikini.