by John Burgeson

Puzzle #8 read:

The situation: Two outs. Two strikes on the batter, Jake Boyer. Paul Benson on third base. The pitcher winds as Benson breaks for the plate, stepping on the plate just as the pitch, a strike, hits him.

Is Benson out? How about Jake?

Answer. Benson is safe and the run counts because he touched the plate before the pitch hit him. Jake is called out on strikes to end the inning.

Note that this is a hypothetical situation. As far as I know, it has never happened and thus, never been tested. Jake, it would seem, has a valid protest in that he never had a chance to swing at the ball. But balls and strikes are umpire judgement calls, and as such cannot be appealed.

The longest major league game is the 1920 contest between the Dodgers and Braves in 1920, which ran 26 innings to a 1-1 tie. But the 25 inning struggle between the Brewers and White Sox at Cominski Park, Chicago, in 1984 may have been stranger. The game lasted eight hours and six minutes, a record, starting Tuesday night, May 8 and ending Wednesday night, May 9. There were 753 pitches thrown, 44 players. Tom Seaver of the White Sox became the winning pitcher on a home run by Harold Baines. The teams were tied 3-3at the end of 17 innings when the game was suspended. When it resumed Wednesday, the Brewers scored three runs in the 21st inning to take a 6-3 lead. Then the Sox rallied to tie the game at 6-6. Two innings later, Baines hit a 420-foot home run off Chuck Porter and the game was over. Carlton Fisk set a record by catching all 25 innings.

Puzzle #9

J Rumbleton Bagpipe and Derfloss Spode are two rookies in the lineup of their first game. In the game, Bagpipe never appears at the plate yet his MLB record shows one at bat, no hits. Spode, in his only chance at the plate, hits a legal pitch fair and winds up on first base. Yet his MLB record shows 0 at bats.

OK. Explain that!

For the answer, see ANSWER

John Burgeson

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