BASEBALL HYPOTHETICALS #4

by John Burgeson

Last week's puzzle read:

The situation: None out, Eric Reeser on 1st and Ken Hazen on 2nd.

The batter, Derek Levy, attempts to sacrifice but pops it up near the mound. The runners hold their bases. The pitcher allows the ball to drop, then picks it up and fires it to the shortstop. He steps on 2nd, tags Hazen, who is standing on the bag and throws to 1st. Levy has arrived at first ahead of the throw, and both he and Reeser are on the bag. The first baseman tags both.

Of the three runners, who is safe and who is out?

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Hazen and Levy are safe, Reeser is out.

Hazen is safe because the shortstop touched second base before tagging him. Touching the base removed the force and gave Hazen the right to remain on second. It did, however, complete a force play on Reeser and he is out. Levy, of course, reached first base safely. The umpire properly did not call the infield fly, as it does not apply to bunts.

Had the shortstop tagged Hazen before touching the base, both he and Reeser would have been out.

Here is a question. Nolan Ryan was one of the really great pitchers. Yet in one game, a player got three hits off hime in a single inning! Sounds unlikely, but true. How?

The player was Robin Ventura. Ryan pitched him too far inside (accordng to Ventura)and Robin charged the mound, fists chenched. Ryan, no patsy, wrestled him to the ground and delivered three punches before the ump broke them up. So -- Robin Ventura can fairly say he got three hits off Ryan.

Now for puzzle #4

Flip O'Doul once came to bat three times in one inning -- yet his team scored no runs. How is this possible?

For the answer, see ANSWER


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