July 10, 2013


George Brett recalls Pine Tar Game (Mike Vorkunov, 7/10/13, The Star-Ledger)

"It's really the greatest thing that ever happened to me," Brett, now the Royals' hitting coach, said Tuesday in remembering the moment one more time.

It began with another potent swing by Brett. After hitting what would have been the winning home run off Yankees closer Goose Gossage, he returned to the dugout. At the same time, Yankees manager Billy Martin asked that Brett's bat be inspected.

Confusion abounded among the Royals, all trying to figure out why the bat was now being looked over. Because he did not wear batting gloves, Brett had applied pine tar to his bat, a 34-inch, 32-ounce T-85 model, before every at-bat. But he did not suspect that might be the reason.

When a teammate told Brett it may be because of too much pine tar, he began to fume.

"If they call me out for using too much pine tar, I'm going up there and I'll kill one of those SOBs," he remembers saying.

Then off he went -- an angry rush to home plate to argue, nostrils flaring, with the plate umpire. It was to no avail and, ultimately, only for posterity. The home run was revoked and the game ended a Yankees victory.

In the middle of it all, teammate Gaylord Perry stole the bat from the umpires. Some say it was because he feared the bat might be sent to the AL office for further inspection. Brett said Perry took it because he was a memorabilia nut who thought it would be a good addition to his collection. Perry was also ejected, along with Royals manager Dick Howser.

When Brett returned to his hotel room, he called his brother to tell him what happened. But his brother already knew because the broadcasters had cut into the game he was watching.

"I thought it was just going to be over this, but it's amazing how much play this one at-bat -- or this one hit -- has gotten over the years," Brett said. "I guess it's unprecedented."

...do you recall who played 2B and CF for the Yanks when the game resumed?

Posted by at July 10, 2013 5:37 AM

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