Baseball Records Registry|
by Joseph J. Dittmar
McFarland, 1997 | Buy the book
Search for a Stopper
TEAM USES SIX PITCHERS IN ONE INNING
Cleveland Indians (13) at Oakland Athletics (6)
Saturday, September 3, 1983, Oakland Coliseum
Although Oakland didn't hit many home runs this season, they did lead the major leagues in stolen bases; and in the seven-team AL Western Division, only Kansas City had a higher team batting average. It wasn't their offense that had been keeping the Athletics in second place, 11.5 games behind the White Sox, but rather a feeble pitching staff. Only Minnesota and Cleveland absorbed a higher team ERA, and California and Cleveland were the only clubs whose top closer had fewer saves than Oakland's ace, Dave Beard. Despite an innocuous 5-5 log and a team-leading 10 saves, Beard labored under a corpulent 5.37 ERA, not exactly what a manager might look for in a critical situation. The Athletics' team weakness was never more pronounced than in this game when a record-setting six pitchers hazarded the mound in one inning while attempting to save a much needed win-and all failed.
Oakland's competition this day was the lowly Cleveland Indians. Last in the AL East, the Tribe also brought up the rear in team batting average, home runs, runs scored and RBIs. It wasn't expected to be a high scoring contest, but the Oakland staff made it such.
Cleveland was first to break into the scoring column on Toby Harrah's bad-hop single in the third inning. Oakland countered with four unearned runs in the fourth on a Dwayne Murphy grand slam (15 rows deep into the center field bleachers) and tacked on a single run in the seventh on Wayne Gross's bunt single.
Oakland starter Mike Warren was unable to hold the 5-1 lead as he departed in the eighth with the bases loaded and no outs. Beard then entered the fray, walking one run home on four pitches and allowing a sacrifice fly for another. Both markers, however, were charged to Warren as the A's held a 5-3 advantage after eight innings.
Beard's wildness continued into the Indians' 45-minute, record-setting ninth:
Bake McBride walked.
Pat Tabler walked, and manager Steve Boros made his first trip to the mound to speak with the enigmatic Beard. Having decided to leave Beard in to pitch to the next batter, Boros received vigorous disapproval from 15,196 fans.
Gorman Thomas, batting .195, doubled to left center, driving home McBride, sending Tabler to third and Beard to the showers. It was then 5-4.
Left-hander Tom Underwood assumed the mound duties for Oakland, and Cleveland countered with a switch-hitting pinch hitter, Chris Bando. Bando singled to center, scoring Tabler, with Thomas stopping at third. It was then tied 5-5, and still there were no outs.
With left-handed Broderick Perkins as the next scheduled batter, Cleveland manager Pat Corrales elected to use his secret weapon-right-handed Andre Thornton. The club's leading RBI man, Thornton had been on the bench nursing a pulled muscle. Athletics' skipper Boros countered with a right-hander, Ed Farmer, but Thornton singled to drive home Thomas with the lead run (6-5). As Bando rounded second, he became a victim of the right-field rifle of Mike Davis. It was Davis' second assist of the contest and the first out of the inning.
Farmer, having faced just his first batter while in an Oakland uniform, joined Beard and Underwood in the showers. Curt Young then stopped by the mound just long enough to throw a wild pitch (Thornton to second) and hit a batter (Ron Hassey).
Manager Boros was wearing a path to the mound as he sent Young packing. The next Oakland victim was Bert Bradley, making his major league debut. Bert was greeted by Alan Bannister with a sharp single to center on which no one could score, so the bases were loaded.
Harrah cleared the sacks with a double to left center making it 9-5. Oakland fans were losing their faith and began chanting, "We want Gross!" They didn't realize that Wayne Gross, the infielder, who in May had tossed 2 1/2 scoreless frames, had a sore shoulder and was unavailable for pitching duty.
Julio Franco became the second out, but the first batter to be retired, when he grounded out third to first. Bradley thus became somewhat of an Oakland pitching hero, but it didn't last long.
McBride was intentionally passed.
Tabler then doubled over Murphy's head; Harrah and McBride both scored making it 11-5. Now, with the game virtually lost, Boros felt pity for his rookie hurler and made one more trip to the mound. In came the sixth Athletics hurler, Jeff Jones.
Each of the five former Oakland pitchers in this inning had allowed the first batter he faced to reach base safely. Jones joined the club when Thomas welcomed him heartily by driving a pitch over the left field barrier and scoring behind Harrah. That made it 13-5, but Cleveland still wasn't through.
Bando, who earlier had singled as a pinch hitter, singled again. Unlike Dick Cox (see 9-09-26), however, recent scoring rules awarded Bando just one pinch hit.
Thornton also had singled earlier as a pinch hitter, and he too continued the rally with another single.
Hassey, the 15th batter, mercifully grounded out to end the unsightly Cleveland orgy.
All totaled, manager Boros made seven trips to the mound during the half inning, and each time he was booed lustily. It was heartless treatment for a man celebrating his birthday (47th).
Oakland continued to fall in the standings as the season waned, losing 17 of their last 25 games to finish fourth in the AL West. Cleveland, meanwhile, maintained their last place position in the AL East, finishing 28 games off the pace of the World Champion Baltimore Orioles.
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From Baseball Records Registry by Joseph J. Dittmar.
Copyright © 1997 by Joseph J. Dittmar. Reprinted with permission.