New Astros Coach Bobby Meacham Victim of Memorable Base-Running Blunder

Richard ZowieCorrespondent INovember 3, 2009

Let me preface this piece by saying that Bobby Meacham, the new Houston Astros first-base coach, is described as a very classy guy and a respected coach. They say that those who can, do and those who can't, teach. Baseball's filled with successful managers who were mediocre players (Tommy Lasorada had a lifetime pitching record of 0-4 while Earl Weaver never even made it to the big leagues).

That being said, when I read that Meacham will be first-base coach and has even been a baserunning coach , it made me chuckle.

Here's why:

Meacham's in an elite club when it comes to baserunning immortality. He's one of only six pairs of runners in Major League history who were tagged out at home plate on a double play.

Back on August 2, 1985, the New York Yankees were hosting the Chicago White Sox at Yankees Stadium. In the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied 3-3, Meacham was on second while Dale Berra (Yogi's son) was on first.

Rickey Henderson cracked a 400-foot drive to deep left center. Easy two-run double and a 5-3 lead, right?


It was one of those long drives that looked like it might be caught, so Meacham (understandably) held up to see if it would be caught and prepared to tag up. Berra didn't.

When the ball dropped, Meacham stumbled and raced to third and was waved home by Yankees third-base coach Gene Michael. As the story goes, Berra assumed that if it was good enough for Meacham, it was good enough for him.

On this day, of all days, White Sox outfielder Luis Salazar threw a strike to Ozzie Guillen, who in turn threw a strike to catcher Carlton Fisk. Fisk then tagged out Meacham, then spun around and tagged out Berra.

As The Baseball Hall of Shame described it, "It was your typical 8-6-2-2 play."

Michael reportedly wanted to hold Meacham at third , but with Berra right behind him, had no choice but to send him home.

This is not to conjure up a bad memory or to say that Meacham will be a flop with the Astros. But it is amusing to think of the infamous play and realize that one of its perpetrators is now with Houston.