You'd have thought that Texas manager Doug Rader would have been thrilled with his team's dramatic victory over Oakland. Doug, however, was still fuming in the clubhouse after his Rangers plastered the Athletics, 16-4, with a record-setting 12 runs in the 15th inning. It was the most runs ever scored by a major league team in an extra inning.
The reason for the Texas skipper's displeasure was that he had been forced to watch the second half of the contest on the clubhouse television after being ejected in the seventh. In that inning, with two outs and pinch runner Dan Meyer on second, Rick Peters hit a chopper toward the hole between first and second. Ranger first baseman Pete O'Brien fielded it and tossed to pitcher Charlie Hough covering the bag. The toss was in time, but umpire Bill Kunkel ruled that Hough missed the bag. Adding insult to injury, Meyer, who had moved to third on the play, later scored on a passed ball.
Rader's ejection carried an additional plot.
It seems that the Rangers had drafted a college shortstop named Jeff Kunkel a month earlier. Jeff's father, umpire Bill, had said he would likely retire if his son ever made it to the majors. During the argument over the close call at first, Rader reminded umpire Kunkel of his promise. "I'm going to call up your kid tomorrow to get you the hell out of here," (Randy Youngman, "Rangers rout A's with record inning," Dallas Times Herald, 4 July 1983, section B, p. 3, col. 2.) were among Rader's last words of this game.
The Rangers should have won the contest in regulation. They had a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and Rickey Henderson on second. But successive singles by Wayne Gross, Carney Lansford and Bill Almon had sent the game into extra innings. Once into overtime, however, the advantage shifted to Texas as the Oakland pitching staff was in sad shape, sporting plenty of overworked arms. In 79 games this season, A's starters had completed only seven games.
Each team had scoring opportunities during the overtime, but neither could cross the plate until the 15th. Here's how the Rangers' record setting inning evolved (run number in parentheses):
With Oakland's Dave Beard toiling in relief for the second consecutive night, Bucky Dent led off with a walk.
Buddy Bell lined a single to left.
Larry Parrish bounced out to the pitcher, advancing both runners.
George Wright was walked intentionally to load the bases and create a force play at any corner.
Bobby Jones, a 33-year-old journeyman minor leaguer, had joined the club eight days earlier when both Ranger left fielders, Billy Sample and Bill Stein, had become hobbled with injuries. It was Jones' first start of the year in the field, having been primarily a DH at Oklahoma City. Nevertheless, Bobby cracked out his fourth hit of the game-a double over the right fielder's head, scoring Dent (1) and Bell (2).
A wild pitch by Beard enabled Wright (3) to score and Jones to advance to third before Bobby Johnson walked.
Beard was relieved by Ben Callahan, but it was like pouring gasoline on a fire. Callahan, who had been pounded for seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings on Friday night, was promptly greeted by a Larry Biittner single. That scored Jones (4) as Johnson moved to second.
Jim Anderson walked, loading the bases again.
Mickey Rivers hit a routine grounder toward Davey Lopes, but the second baseman threw wildly toward the keystone sack. Biittner (5) and Johnson (6) scored, Anderson moved to third, and Rivers was safe at first on a fielder's choice.
Batting for the second time in the frame, Dent singled to right, scoring Anderson (7) as Rivers took third.
Bell singled for the second time in the inning, this one to right-center, driving home Rivers (8) and moving Dent to second. At this point, there was little reason to relieve Callahan. The contest was virtually over, and the A's staff had little left to offer-Chris Codiroli, Tom Bergmeier, and Beard all having hurled in successive games. Even mop-up reliever, utility-man Wayne Gross was unavailable, having left the game for a pinch-runner in the tenth.
Both runners scored (9 & 10) when Parrish doubled to right-center. Larry's hit marked the ninth consecutive Ranger to reach base.
The second out came as Wright flied out to left.
Jones, who had spent 1979 and 1980 playing in Japan, connected for his second double of the frame. This one was hit to right-center and it drove home Parrish (11). Jones' two doubles tied the major league standard by one player in an inning (held by many). The smash also marked the left-hander's fifth hit of the game. For the balance of the season, Bobby collected only nine hits in 61 at-bats.
Johnson singled to right, scoring Jones (12).
Biittner terminated the carnage by flying out to left.
Sixteen batters had appeared at the plate, scoring twelve runs on eight hits, four walks, and one error, leaving one left on base. The dozen tallies sent to the baseball dustbin the existing extra-inning mark of 11 first established by the 1928 Yankees.
In the bottom of the 15th, the dazed Athletics submitted meekly as Jeff Burroughs and Mike Heath fanned followed by Rickey Henderson's fly out. It marked the Ranger's seventh consecutive victory over Oakland this year.
With roster limits at 25, each club had strained the limits of its bench. Of the non-pitchers, only Marshall Brant (Oakland) and Billy Sample (Texas) failed to see action.
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From Baseball Records Registry by Joseph J. Dittmar.
Copyright © 1997 by Joseph J. Dittmar. Reprinted with permission.