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This was the most frightening Yankees moment I can remember… (Tim Kabel)

This was the most frightening Yankees moment I can remember…


The writers at Start Spreading The News have been asked to contribute articles in honor of Halloween. The theme is: This was the most frightening Yankees moment I can remember:

I originally considered writing about the day last week when the Yankees re-signed Aaron Boone. However, I am attempting to adopt a different approach. I’m trying to be patient, optimistic, and benevolent. In the words of President George H. W. Bush, I am trying to be kinder and gentler. There is a new breeze blowing. I am sipping herbal tea and listening to Katherine Jenkins CDs as I type. I am following my friend Luca’s advice and will be acquiring an emotional support animal to assist me in this process. Therefore, I decided to write about the most frighteningly bad play I have ever seen as a Yankees’ fan.

On a night in early August 1985, the Yankees were playing the Chicago White Sox. The game was tied at three in the 7th inning. Dale Berra was on first base and Bobby Meacham was on second. Rickey Henderson lifted a ball to deep left center field. Louise Salazar, the Chicago center fielder, chased the ball to the fence but, it eluded his grasp. Meacham, thinking Salazar might catch the ball, was ready to tag up and go to third. Berra, who believed the ball would fall, was prepared to score. However, Meacham slipped.

“I started halfway toward third but, as he got closer to the ball, I headed back toward second so I could tag. When I saw him miss it, I pushed off the bag and slipped,” Meacham recalled.

Berra was already near second as the ball fell, a few feet behind Meacham. When they reached third, Gene Michael, the third base coach, waved Meacham home. Berra sprinted around third behind him. Michael threw his arms in the air in confusion. Carlton Fisk, the White Sox catcher, was waiting at home plate. He received a perfect throw from the shortstop, Ozzie Guillen. At that point, all he had to do was hold on to the ball and make two tags. Fisk was expecting a different outcome.

“I anticipated more of a crush at the plate. I was just fortunate I didn’t stand in Meacham’s way. If I had and he ran into me, Berra could have walked over the plate.”

So, instead of the Yankees scoring two runs, or even one, they didn’t score any. All they achieved was two outs on the same play. The Yankees manager, Billy Martin was predictably apoplectic.

“I’ve never seen a play like that in grammar school, let alone the major leagues.”

Martin directed his fury at Berra, saying,

“He just ran Meacham down. When he saw the man slip, he should have stayed at second.”

The Yankees eventually lost the game 6-5 in 11 innings. The play went down in Yankees’ lore as one of the most boneheaded ones in their history. It was truly frightening, and sadly, it was the highlight of both Meacham’s and Berra’s careers.

Now that I have unburdened myself of this memory, I am off to purchase my emotional support timber wolf, Cyrus, who will help me enter the second phase of the Boone era with a cheerier mindset.

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Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

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