July 17, 2010


On this date in 1978, Yankee outfielder Reggie Jackson ignored instructions from manager Billy Martin and tried to lay down a bunt in the 10th inning of a tie game against the Royals. Jackson popped out, the Yankees lost 9-7 in 11 innings, and Martin suspended Jackson for five days without pay.

Six days later, Jackson returned to the lineup and Martin was asked about Reggie and George Steinbrenner. "The two deserve each other. One's a born liar; the other's convicted." Martin was forced to resign the following day.

Larry Keith, SI:
When Munson led off the 10th with a single, Martin flashed the bunt sign to third-base coach Dick Howser. Howser duly relayed the message to Jackson. That was fine with Reggie. Never mind that he had not executed a successful sacrifice since 1972 or that he had felt insulted when Martin had asked him to lay one down in the past -- this time he wanted to bunt. ... So, after taking the first pitch for a ball, here was Jackson trying to bunt and failing.

In the dugout, Martin changed his mind. Third baseman George Brett had moved in. Martin to Howser to Jackson: hit away. But Jackson, who later said he misread the sign, tried to bunt again. Foul ball. Howser walked in toward the plate and summoned Jackson to him. "Billy says to hit away," said the coach. "I want to bunt," said Reggie. "Billy says to hit away." "I want to bunt," said Reggie. Al Hrabosky threw his next pitch, Jackson's hand slipped up the bat and he popped a bunt into foul territory for an automatic out.

Martin was furious. "That's the maddest I've ever been in my life," he says. ... After Kansas City won in the 11th inning Martin went into a rage, smashing a soft-drink bottle against his office wall and heaving his clock radio into the hall. ...

Afterward, Jackson pleaded innocent to outright defiance, and after coming off suspension he detailed his reasons for bunting. "I had not been playing regularly and I wasn't swinging the bat very well," he told a mob of reporters in Chicago. "I thought under the circumstances that bunting was the best thing I could do. Even after Howser spoke to me, I didn't realize exactly what the consequences would be. I didn't consider it an act of defiance, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. I would even do it again if I didn't know what the consequences would be."
Other July 17s:

1903 - Rube Waddell of the Philadelphia A's is arrested for assaulting a fan who had criticized his pitching. Manager Connie Mack bails him out of jail.

1914 - The Giants beat the Pirates 3-1 in 21 innings at Forbes Field. Pittsburgh's Babe Adams goes the distance without issuing a walk, the longest non-walk game in history. Giants outfielder Red Murray is knocked unconscious by a bolt of lightning after catching a fly ball for the final out. He is not seriously injured.

1990 - Minnesota turns two triple plays, but Boston wins 1-0 at Fenway Park. Tom Brunansky (fourth inning) and Jody Reed (eighth inning) are the unfortuante batters; both plays go 5-4-3.

1991 - Baltimore's Sam Horn strikes out in six consecutive plate appearances. Browns pitcher Carl Weilman did it on August 25, 1913. After walking in the first inning, Horn strikes out in the second (swinging), fourth (swinging), sixth (looking), eighth (looking), tenth (swinging), and thirteenth (swinging). He doubles in the 15th.

1993 - Spokane (Northwest League) pitcher Glenn Dishman retires the first 26 Yakima batters. The 27th batter hits an easy grounder to the second baseman who tosses to first baseman Jason Thompson. In his rush to celebrate, Thompson pulls his foot off the bag before the out is recorded and is charged with an error. Dishman retires the next batter for a no-hitter. (SI says Thompson "mishandled a throw".)

1996 -
Yankees - 002 000 324 - 11 19  0
Red Sox - 100 143 003 - 12 12 0


L-girl said...

I went to a lot of games that summer - the summer after I graduated high school - and yelling BUNT! at Reggie was the thing to do.

L-girl said...

Hey JoSers, did you know our team will never be the Yankees? It's true! I have it on good authority that the Boston Red Sox will not be the New York Yankees!

WHEW! Thank goodness for that.

nutballgazette said...

That pretty much buried the Yankees for that season, You knew there was no way the Yankees could make the playoffs, That helped set up the 1978 World Series champion Boston Red Sox,
(Oh Wait)

L-girl said...

Whoa, they're crawling out of the woodwork. Check your Statcounter, some MFY site must have picked up this post.

redsock said...

Nothing out of the ordinary.

I guess they simply love me and visit often.

redsock said...

I do not recall the J.R. Richard stuff at all, but I sure do remember this. (And the 1977 dugout altercation is even more vivid.)

The Bunt Game was on a Monday night. I wonder if it was on Monday Night Baseball.

The SI article is pretty good. And then in early August, it was announced that Martin will return as manager -- in 1980! He ended up returning early, in mid-June 1979.

L-girl said...

That helped set up the 1978 World Series champion Boston Red Sox,
(Oh Wait)

It's weird that some NYY fans can only see a post like this in the context of standings. Baseball history means nothing to them except who the World Series.

No, not even that. Baseball history means nothing to them UNLESS the Yankees won the World Series that year. Talk about an egocentric view of the universe.

That was one of many reasons for my defection.

nutballgazette said...

Lighten Up Red Sox Fans, I am having a little fun, The Red Sox Recent history is tremendous and they have had a great tradition of great players, I for one realize winning the world series is one of the most difficult things to do, especially before 1969 when only 1 Team made the playoffs.
Looking back in History, if there was a playoff format back in history the Red Sox could have easily won somewhere from 4 to 8 Tittles and maybe more during the time they did not win.
Now maybe most Yankee fans under the age of 40 will mock the Red Sox but any Yankee fan or for that matter any Baseball fan should appreciate the History of the game and the players of the past.

L-girl said...

Lighten Up Red Sox Fans, I am having a little fun

You are having a little stupid. I understand, you can't help yourself.

nutballgazette said...


L-girl said...

Oo, clever!

L-girl said...

Ah, moderation, how we love ye.

L-girl said...

Off-troll topic here...

Does anyone agree that it was more difficult to win a WS before there were playoffs? I think the opposite is true - it's much more difficult now.

Pre divisional play, a team only needed to stay on top of the league - no small feat - but that was it, you were WS bound. Now after winning the most games, that team has to go through 2 more series, and no matter what the records, anything can (and does) happen.

I actually think the NYY's 3 consecutive championships in the era of divisional play is more impressive than anything the franchise did in earlier eras that didn't have playoffs.

And of course 2004 is the most impressive thing, ever. :)

What do others think about this? Is this true

I for one realize winning the world series is one of the most difficult things to do, especially before 1969 when only 1 Team made the playoffs.

Or is it the opposite?

nutballgazette said...

The only thing is there were many years that a team capable of winning a World series did not get in. I do agree that it is tougher to win now,
I have not done the research, I wonder how many times the top teams in the each league even made the WS
and Yes 2004 was the most impressive run ever. (Darn It)
Now that you have me thinking about it I am going to have Nightmares tonight.
(I hope you are Happy) lol