How replay could change baseball history

In Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63, Jake Epping travels back in time in an effort to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Imagine if you could take instant replay back 100 years or more and influence baseball history.

Think of the possibilities: Steve Bartman is absolved and the Cubs win the World Series. Armando Galarraga gets his perfect game. The Curse of the Bambino never happens.

Here’s 10 ways:

1908 – In a bizarre finish, New York Giants’ baserunner Fred Merkle is initially ruled out on a ninth-inning force at second base when he fails to run out a play where the winning run scored. But since the baseball, which is thrown into the stands, cannot be located, and Merkle returns to the field to touch second base before it can be recovered, replay overrules the call. The Giants, not the Cubs go on to win the National League pennant and the World Series.

RESULT: The history of baseball’s most star-crossed franchise goes from bad to worse, as the Cubs are denied their 1908 championship. Merkle’s Boner never happens.

1926 – Tony Lazzeri’s bid for a grand slam home run in the seventh game of the World Series against Grover Cleveland Alexander is originally ruled foul. However replay shows the drive into the left field stands at Yankee Stadium is fair.

RESULT: “Poosh em Up” Tony becomes a hero, old Pete Alexander’s heroics are forgotten, and the Yankees, not the Cardinals, win the Series.

1969 – When Baltimore relief pitcher Pete Richert’s throw on a bunt attempt hits J.C. Martin in the 10th inning, the ball bounds away and Rod Gaspar scores the winning run for to give the Mets a 2-1 win in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. The umpires go to the replay, which shows Martin was running inside the baseline when he was hit. He’s out, and the runners return to their bases.

RESULT: There’s no Miracle with these Mets, as the Orioles rally and go on to win the World Series.

1975 – The Reds score the winning run in Game 4 of the World Series, as Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, bumped by Reds’ batter Ed Armbrister, left, on a bunt attempt, throws the ball away and Cincinnati goes on to win. Instead the play is reviewed, interference is called, and the Red Sox rally for a big win.

RESULT: Boston wins the World Series, ending a 57-year title drought. Curse of the Bambino – never heard of it. Umpire Larry Barnett is reviled in Cincy instead of Beantown.

1985 – Don Denkinger calls Royals baserunner Jorge Orta safe at first, sparking a ninth inning comeback win by Kansas City in Game 6. Replay is conclusive, Orta is out

RESULT: The Cardinals retire the Royals and hold on to win the World Series. Kansas City is still searching for its first World Championship.

1996: Derek Jeter’s home run to right field in the eighth inning ties the score in Game 1 of the ALCS, and the Yankees go on to beat the Orioles in extra innings. However replay clearly indicates that umpire Richie Garcia has missed fan interference by a 12-year-old kid named Jeffrey Maier who reached over the wall to touch the ball, and Jeter is ruled out.

RESULT: The Orioles hold on to win, then take the ALCS and World Series, denying the Yankees their first World Series win in 18 years.

2001: That man Jeter again. His signature flip play, right, catches Jeremy Giambi at the plate, and the Yankees survive to win Game 3 of the divisional playoffs. But replay shows that catcher Jorge Posada has missed the tag.

RESULT: The A’s win, ending New York’s three-year championship run. Oakland goes on to beat Arizona in the World Series.

2003: The life of Cubs fan Steve Bartman, top right, is about to change. From his seat on the left-field foul line, Bartman reaches out for a foul ball, preventing Chicago left-fielder Moises Alou from making the catch. Alou protests, the umpiring crew goes to replay, fan interference is called, and the batter is ruled out.

RESULT: The Cubs go on to beat the Marlins for their first National League pennant since 1945, then defeat the Yankees for their first World Series win in nearly 100 years. Bartman is absolved.

2010: Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga is one out away from a perfect game and baseball immortality. But umpire Jim Joyce rules Cleveland baserunner Jason Donald safe at first, and Gallarraga loses both the no-hitter and a perfect game. However, replay shows the runner is out.

RESULT: Galarraga gets his perfect game, and Joyce is off the hook.

2012 – Mets pitcher Johan Santana is working on a no-hitter when Cardinals’ outfielder Carlos Beltran hits a hard line drive down the left field line. It is initially ruled foul, but the camera shows the ball kicked up chalk when it hit the line. Fair ball.

RESULT: No no-no. Santana loses his no-hitter, which would have been the first in Met history.


2 Comments on “How replay could change baseball history”

  1. Jim Porell says:

    Great job. I came here to see if you had my Cardinals beat Kansas City – Yes. Jeffrey Maier and Steve Bartman “steals” – Yes and then was pleased to see Armando Galarraga’s no no lost to the “silent glove catch” at first base. Great list!
    Never read anything controversial, but it would be cool to see Harvey Haddix get his extra inning no hitter.

    • SportsLifer says:

      Thanks Jim. Afraid there’s no controversial “silver lining” for Hard Luck Harvey. But then again, he’s probably remembered more for losing his perfecto in 13 innings than if he had won it in nine.

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