Who was the last MLB lefty to play 2nd Base?

On August 18, 1983, NY Yankee lefty first baseman Don Mattingly was pressed into action as the second baseman for one out in the resumption of a game successfully protested by the KC Royals. It went into the books as game played on July 24, 1983.

On August 18, 1983, NY Yankee lefty first baseman Don Mattingly was pressed into action as the second baseman for one out in the resumption of a game successfully protested by the KC Royals. It went into the books as a game played on July 24, 1983. – It was part of the fall-out from the George Brett pine tar incident.

If you know the history of the George Brett pine tar incident intimately, you already know the answer to this sort of bogus-sounding, but technically accurate question. It was Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees, who played second base for the last Kansas City Royals visitor out in the resumed-by-protest game from July 24, 1983 at Yankee Stadium that finally was played to a new finish on August 18, 1983.

In brief, the original game was one of those contests that baseball history will never forget, especially if you are the now Hall of Fame 3rd baseman and slugger George Brett, his Kansas City Royals teammates, or the Kansas City fans.

In the original game, Brett had just banged a two-out, two-run homer off Yankee reliever Goose Gossage in the top of the 9th to give KC a 5-4 lead over the Yankees.

And that’s when the caramel corn hit the fan!

Yankee manager Billy Martin protested the home run, claiming that the pine tar on Brett’s bat went too far up the handle to be legal – and citing the rule that under these circumstances, the batter should be declared out. Not too much later, it came out in the media that Martin had been holding this information to himself about Brett’s heavy pine tar bat for quite a while, just waiting for the best time to use this protest to an umpire.

And what better time to use it? George Brett had just given his club a one-run lead in the 9th with a two-run homer?

The home plate umpire carefully measured the pine tar on Brett’s bat and ruled in favor of Martin. Brett was declared out, erasing the HR and ending the game as a 4-3 Yankee win. What happened next was unforgettable. As soon as George Brett got the news from his sitting position in the Royals dugout, he jumped to his feet with all the ire of the Incredible Hulk.

In a New York favorable minute, George Brett became the all-time moving picture of pure unadulterated rage!

For an animated version, see You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4442NQclanM

For an animated version, see You Tube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4442NQclanM

The Royals quickly protested the game to American League President Lee MacPhail, who explained that the rule was there to keep pine tar from ruining game use balls – and essentially not there to punish batters who may inadvertently used too much, but with no intent of creating an unfair hitting advantage for themselves. The game was rescheduled for resumption with the Brett homer again reinstated as legitimate for a 5-4 KC lead with two outs in the top of the 9th. Because of their behavior in the original game aftermath, however, Brett and KC manager Dick Howser, were both retroactively ejected from further play or presence in the game’s continuation, as was KC teammate Gaylord Perry for his efforts to hide the pine tar bat from the umpires and protect it from further inspection.

A lot of hi-jinx behavior from NY Manager Billy Martin and the Yankees occurred as a result of the MacPhail decision, but the bare 4-outs-to-go dribble of the contest finally occurred on August 24, 1983, an original off-day for both clubs when the Yankees already were home and the traveling Royals were in the neighborhood, on their way to Baltimore. Yankee Stadium was virtually empty, except for the few fans who could present ticket stubs from the original date for free admission on the conclusion.

As a symbolic protest, Yankee manager Martin played pitcher Ron Guidry in center field and left-handed 1st baseman Don Mattingly at 2nd base for the one-out they still needed to bag to finish the top of the 9th for the Royals.

As it turned out, neither Guidry nor Mattingly had to face a challenge in the field. Yankee reliever George Frazier struck out KC’s Hal McRae to conclude the top of the 9th and Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry took out the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th, 1-2-3, to end the game that will never stay quiet in the history of baseball mind-gaming.

For further details, check out this Wikipedia report:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Tar_Incident

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2 Responses to “Who was the last MLB lefty to play 2nd Base?”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    In the original youtube video that was sent, George Brett says, “If they call me out for using too much pine tar, I’ll run out there and kill one of those SOBs.” When he was called out, his reaction could easily be characterized as “temporary insanity.” Fortunately, he did not kill an umpire, so it never got to a courtroom, where that plea is rarely successful.

  2. Shirley Virdon Says:

    I had forgotten what led up to the controversary with the pine tar on the bat! I should have known that Billy was involved! He was always doing something to make “headlines” during those years. 😀

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