Thursday, July 24, 2008

George Brett and umpire recall Yankee Stadium Pine Tar Game

George Brett must be held back from mauling
Tim McClelland after ump calls him out
for excessive pine tar on bat
25 years ago Thursday.


Wednesday, July 23rd 2008

Even with Hall of Famer, World Series champion and 13-time All-Star forever attached to his name, George Brett will never be able to live down one memorable blowup he had at Yankee Stadium 25 years ago Thursday.

It's hard to forget the July 24, 1983 image of an infuriated Brett charging out of the visitors' dugout with arms flailing wildly, sprinting and screaming at home plate umpire Tim McClelland, who had called Brett out after he had a homer for having pine tar too far up the handle of his bat.

Wednesday, Brett said that despite all of his accomplishments, he can't get away from that one incident, even in his own household.

"I probably watch it at least once a year with my boys," Brett said on a conference call set up by the Kansas City Royals Wednesday. "They just want to watch the aftermath of when the umpire threw me out."

It all happened 25 years ago in the top of the ninth inning at the Stadium, when Brett came to bat against Goose Gossage with two out and hit a two-run homer to give Kansas City a 5-4 lead. But after Brett rounded the bases, Yankees manager Billy Martin approached McClelland and alerted him about the amount of pine tar on Brett's bat. Upon inspection and measuring the bat against home plate, McClelland noted that Brett's pine tar exceeded the 18-inch limit from the tip of the handle and called the Royals star out the game. A red-faced Brett darted toward the then first-year ump, having to be held back by other umps and teammates.

"I knew he wasn't going to hit me or run over me and if he did, I'd probably own the Kansas City Royals right now," said McClelland, before manning third base in Wednesday's matinee between the Yanks and Twins. "We had done what we had to do - administer the rules."

The Royals protested, and their appeal was upheld by AL president Lee MacPhail. What was left of the game was played out on Aug. 18, with the Royals hanging on, 5-4.

Brett didn't realize how enraged he looked until viewing the tape. "I remember saying, 'If they call me out for having too much pine tar, I'll run out there and kill one of those sons of bitches," Brett said. "Actually, when I ran out of the dugout I had no idea I looked like that. When I saw my reaction I said, 'You've got to be (kidding) me.'

"That's the one at-bat you're remembered for and it was an at-bat in July. I never thought it would be that big a deal. Only in New York."

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