Now that takes balls
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - On this date in 1959 St. Louis Cardinal slugger Stan Musial was called out in one of the weirdest plays you could imagine. When nobody was looking two balls were in play at once during the Cubs-Cardinals contest at Wrigley Field.
According to Edward Prell's story in the next day's Chicago Tribune, Cubs' hurler Bob Anderson walked Musial. Ball four got away from catcher Sammy Taylor. Rather than go after the ball, Taylor argued with home plate umpire Vic Delmore that the ball hit Musial's bat. While this was going on Musial, who was already at first, darted for second. The ball that got away from the catcher was picked up by the batboy who was about to give it to field announcer Pat Pieper, who sat almost directly behind home plate and was in charge of the extra stash of baseballs. Before the batboy could give Pieper the ball, Cub third baseman Alvin Dark, who had raced after it, grabbed it.
By now home plate umpire Delmore produced a new baseball and gave it to pitcher Anderson who had the same idea as Dark and fired it to second. Anderson's ball sailed over the second baseman's head into centerfield. Dark's ball was caught by shortstop Ernie Banks on one bounce. Musial and stepped off the bag after seeing the first ball sail into center and was promptly tagged out by Banks.
After much consternation Musial was ruled out because the ball he was tagged out with was the one Bob Anderson threw for ball four and was never out of play. There would have been a protest no matter what the ruling was. As it turned out the call went against the Cardinals but St. Louis won the game, so that was the end of it.
Edward Prell, The Chicago Tribune, July 1, 1959
The Chicago Daily News, July 1, 1959
This story is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.