The World Series has an inventory of odd, strange incidents that have occurred with some regularity throughout its history. Baseball players, feeling the intensity and the magnitude of the moment, have been known to exhibit eccentric and unpredictable behavior.
Here is a look at the most bizarre of those moments.
Representing the tying run with two out in the ninth inning, the wide-bodied Yankee slugger—premier player of the known universe and owner of a lifetime 49 percent stolen base success rate—is easily thrown out at second base to end the game, as New York loses the series to the Cardinals.
Ruth owns the distinction of being the only player ever to end World Series by getting caught stealing.
The incident marked Detroit fans as violent lunatics, and the police’s inability to contain the riot left an impression of Detroit as a lawless concrete jungle.
SF Giant Kenny Lofton hit a triple with two runners on base in the seventh inning, and as the Giants players were rounding the bases, the tiny three-year-old son of Giants manager Dusty Baker, acting as bat boy, decided it was a good time to head out towards home plate to pick up Lofton’s bat.
As he crossed home plate, Giant J.T. Snow grabbed little Darren Baker by the scruff of his neck to avoid an imminent collision with the next baserunner who was barreling down the line. “His eyes were huge," Snow said. “I don't think he knew what was going on."
Notorious hardass Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals got into a fight with the Detroit Tigers’ Marv Owen after sliding hard into third base in the sixth inning of Game 7, which the Cards were getting blown out of.
Angry Detroit fans threw food, bottles and other garbage at Medwick for a half-hour straight when he took his place in left field the next inning. He was finally pulled from the game—for his own safety—on orders from commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis.
With his team losing 10-0, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar decided to pick a fight with home plate umpire Don Denkinger over their divergent views of the strike zone.
When Denkinger called a close Andujar pitch a ball, the screw-loose pitcher began arguing with him and had to be held back by teammates. After the next pitch was also called a ball, Andujar went ballistic and charged home plate, as fellow players again restrained him and ushered him off the field as he was ejected.
A group of eight White Sox players conspired to fix the 1919 Series for a total of $100,000, allegedly funded by Brooklyn gangster Arnold Rothstein. The players were subsequently tried and acquitted of criminal charges, but all were banned from ever playing professional baseball again.
It’s worth noting how woefully underpaid the players were at that time, and how susceptible that made them to the criminals who had bribed them.
Steinbrenner claimed he had broken his hand while mixing it up with a couple of Dodgers fans...in a hotel elevator. Supposedly, these lowlifes had called the Yankees chokers, so George had no choice but to punch them out.
“I clocked them," he said. “There are two guys in this town looking for their teeth who will probably sue me.”
Alas, there were no witnesses, and no one ever stepped forward to file charges, as it became clear the incident had actually occurred in Steinbrenner’s head.
Was it brain freeze? Or was it just a physically broken-down 39-year-old who failed to bend over far enough?
Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner let a slow ground ball off the bat of the Mets' Mookie Wilson roll under his glove to aid an extremely unlikely comeback by the NY Mets, who went on to win the championship.
Poor Buckner went on to live in infamy, as the Curse of the Bambino claimed another Red Sox team.
During an incident in the seventh inning when St. Louis pitcher Andujar held a ground ball just long enough to keep Milwaukee batter Jim Gantner running and piss him off, the two players traded heated expletives as Gantner left the field.
After the game, the mouthy Andujar recounted the exchange during an interview: "He tells me, 'you’re a hot dog, m*ther-f*cker,' “Andujar said. "I tell him 'F*ck you, m*ther-f*cker. F*ck you, I'm going to kick your *ss.' But we're friends. That's baseball. That's me. I don't take no sh*t from nobody."
It turned out the tirade was broadcast live over the stadium’s PA system, and the remaining fans were able to hear every filthy word.
This was one of the few times while watching baseball that you said to yourself, “Did that just really frickin' happen?!” And indeed it did.
Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens cemented his place in history by picking up a piece of NY Mets catcher Mike Piazza’s broken bat, and threw it at a clueless Piazza as he wandered up the first base line.
Clemens' explanation of what he was thinking? He was so amped up, that he thought the bat was the baseball. And of course, if you thought a broken piece of bat was actually the ball, then you’d instinctively throw it at the baserunner, no?