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Famous Mistakes In Baseball History

Updated on April 3, 2011

Famous Mistakes

Baseball has a long and rich history. From Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose through today, Baseball is rich in tradition and nostalgia. With this long history comes a rich tradition of horrible mistakes that have cost games and even careers. The following are just a few of these huge blunders.

The Error Heard Around The World
The Error Heard Around The World

Video of Buckner's Infamous Mistake

Red Sox Fans Welcome Bill Home

Buckner

Perhaps the most infamous mistake in Baseball history is the mistake made by Bill Buckner in game Six of the 1986 World Series.

Boston led the best of seven series 3 games to 2. The teams were tied in the bottom of the tenth inning. New York had just scored two runs to tie the score. Boston reliever Bob Stanley faced Mets Centerfielder Mookie Wilson. Mookie Wilson hit a routine groundball to Buckner at first base. Buckner reached down to field the ball, missed, and the ball rolled under his legs into shallow right field. Ray Knight scored from second and the Mets won the game. The Mets went on to win the World Series in seven games.

The oddity of the play is that Bill Buckner was a major reason why the Red Sox were in the World Series that year. He hit eight home runs in September and drove in 22 runs. He was also a very good fielder. Yet despite this, and a solid overall career, Buckner will always be remembered as the man who let the ball go between his legs.

On Opening Day 2008, Bill Buckner returned to Fenway Park to throw out the first pitch. The Boston faithful welcomed Buckner home with a long standing ovation. Buckner threw a strike.

Little Left Pedro In A Little Too Long
Little Left Pedro In A Little Too Long

Grady Little And Pedro Martinez

It was Game 7 of another epic battle between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. With the Red Sox leading 5-3 in the eighth inning Boston Manager Grady Little allowed his starting pitcher Pedro Martinez to continue to pitch. Martinez had been dominant in the game and was one of Baseballs best pitchers.

Martinez got the first batter out. Then Martinez game up a double to Derek Jeter and a single to Bernie Williams to bring the Yankees within two. Little then stepped out of the dugout and headed towards the pitcher’s mound. Left-hander Alan Embree was warmed up in the bullpen and ready to face Hideki Matsui. Little decided instead to stick with Pedro Martinez and Matsui followed with a run-scoring double. Jorge Posada then hit a bloop double to center to tie the game. Little then took Martinez out of the game.

The Yankees won the game in extra innings with the historic home run hit by Aaron Boone.

Grady’s mistake was so big he lost his job.

Rose's Mistake Ruined A Hall of Fame Career
Rose's Mistake Ruined A Hall of Fame Career

Pete Rose

For years, Pete Rose was considered one of the best players in Baseball History. Known as “Charlie Hustle,” Rose was an excellent hitter and base runner. Rose still holds the record for most career hits in baseball history.

However, Pete Rose is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why? Because Pete Rose bet on baseball why he managed the Cincinnati Reds. In fact, Pete Rose bet on his own team why he managed the Reds. After Baseball Commissioner Bart Giomatti concluded his investigation, Rose was found to have bet on Baseball.  This was an illegal act by a current player or manager.  Rose voluntarily accepted a ban from Professional Baseball but refused to apologize for his mistake.  Rose will never be in the Hall of Fame and the Reds will never officially be able to retire his number.  However, no Red has worn number 14 since Rose.

Rose's mistake ruined the legacy of a truly great player.

Cubs fans claim that this cost them a World Series
Cubs fans claim that this cost them a World Series

They Blame It On Bartman

Cubs Fans Were Not Happy

Bartman

It was October 14, 2003. The Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins were playing Game 6 of the National League Champioinship Series. The Cubs were only five outs from winning the game and playing in the World Series for the first time since 1945. However, the Cubs ended up losing the game and went on to lose the deciding game of the NLCS the next night. The reasons: Bartman.

Steve Bartman was sitting in the front row along the left field corner wall behind the bullpen. Castillo hit a pop foul towards Bartman's seat. Cubs left fielder Moises Alou drifted over to catch the foul ball. When Alou reached up with his glove, Bartman reached out to try to catch the ball. Bartman knocked the ball away. Alou slammed his glove down in disgust and shouted at Bartman. The Crowd booed the earphoned man. The Cubs argued for an interference call but the umpires ruled that ther ball was in the stands and therefore no fan interference.

The Aftermath is the stuff of legends. Following Bartman's intervention, Castillo drew a walk, Ivan Rodriguez singled to drive in a run and Alex Gonzalez misfielded a routine ground ball. In all, the Marlins scored 8 runs in that fateful eighth inning and went on to win the game. The next night, the Marlins won the series and went on to win the World Series.

As for Bartman, he was led away from Wrigley Field by security (for his own safety). Cubs fans shouted obsenities and threw debris on the field and at Bartman. The police protected his home for weeks. Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum.

Bartman's mistake very well could have cost the Cubs their chance to win the World Series. Some say Bartman is a continuation of the Curse of the Billy Goat allegedly laid on the Cubs after Billy Sianis and his pet goat were ejected from Wrigley Field during the 1945 World Series. The Cubs have not been as close since.

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    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      what about that cubs fan that interferred with the play in the divisional series, remember that?

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 8 years ago from san diego calif

      BARRRTMANNN ! The guy had to leave Chicago !

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      You got it Tony!!! where's that guy at I wonder, he's as infamous as monica lewinsky

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      you are so right, I will add him now.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 8 years ago from san diego calif

      No doubt Buckners error will be the all timer . What Is rally ashame though overall In his career he was actually a pretty decent player .

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Totally agree. Just added his return to Fenway and finally found video of the error. Much harder than I thought it would be.

      Thanks for reading.

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      good add bgpappa!

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      thanks

    • profile image

      jacobt2 8 years ago

      interesting!

    • Onusonus profile image

      Onusonus 8 years ago from washington

      When I was a kid I traded a Pete Rose for a Jose Canseco, my Dad was furious. Less than a month later the betting thing happened, and the card was worthless.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      And now Canseco's card is worthless. I have about twenty of them.

      Thanks for reading.

    • SCStrat profile image

      SCStrat 7 years ago from Seattle

      I remember watching that Bartman catch happen, it was crazy!!

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Yes it was. Yet, as a Cubs fan, it was like we were expecting it to happen. And Red Sox Fans think they have it bad.

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Great hub, BGPappa! The night of Buckner's boner was my wedding. I got married outside of Boston. The groom's family was all from New York. In fact, his cousin was the manager of Shea Stadium! Alas, I missed watching the game and only heard about it the next day-- including the almost riots that ensued in the hotel bar between the Mets fans and the Red Sox fans. Speaking of the Sox (my team -- always will be), how about the tragedy of Tony Conigliaro being hit in the face and losing his vision? Bummer. And, while not on par with these actual game errors, I would have to add Johnny Damon's defection to the NY Yankees and Manny Ramirez going to LA. Is there no loyalty left in baseball???

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Great comment MM. Conigliaro was a horrible thing. Would have been great.

      The only loyalty left in baseball is to the almighty dollar. My two favorite teams are the A's and Cubs. The A's develop great players and then they leave. Sad to see former great A's playing in the playoffs for other teams.

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Solid hub, job welldone here mr. virtuoso.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      thanks for reading

    • nj2k9_8 profile image

      nj2k9_8 7 years ago from Minnesota

      Bartman was merely the Cubs scapegoat during that playoff game. The Cubs fell apart during that inning and deserved to lose the game. It was a foul ball anyways, the Cubs should have regrouped and went after more outs, but instead sulked and blamed Bartman for the rest of the inning while the Marlins tacked on the runs. I really feel sorry for Steve Bartman, if anyone would have been in his situation they would have went for the ball too.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      nj2k9

      Agreed.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • chrismo profile image

      chrismo 7 years ago

      There will always be discussions about who´s to blame.

      That´s human, it seems.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      fair point

      thanks for the comment

    • profile image

      Andre Gardiner 7 years ago

      What about Rivera throwing the ball into center field in the 9th inning of the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thats a good one. Thanks for reading.

    • Tom T profile image

      Tom T 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Really sad thing about the Buckner thing was that everybody forgets that Schiraldi gave up 3 straight hits with 2 outs and were it not for a WP by Stanley, Ray Knight would not even have been in scoring position...but poor Buckner gets the blame. Great Hub

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I agree, it waw a sad sequence of events that led to the error. Thanks for reading

    • Tucci78 profile image

      Tucci78 7 years ago from New Jersey

      Critical mistakes in championship series games are one thing, but there are plenty of famous baseball blunders - some of them utterly hilarious - in regular season play, and it'd be good to see a hub on these.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Good idea

      Thanks for the comment

    • profile image

      That guy 6 years ago

      All of these teams made these errors because they knew that they could not match up to the Yankees so they had to just give up and let the errors take place yyankees will and always win and don't ever forget 27 time champs no arguments no not 24 no not 25 not even 26 but 27 BEST EVER TEAM the NEW YORK YANKEES

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      ok, a Yankee fan.

      THanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Gravy Train 6 years ago

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for reading, but you shouldn't link you own hubs like that

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

      Hi bgpappa- I enjoyed your article and linked it to my hub and poem: atbat. TY

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for reading

    • bogerk profile image

      bogerk 6 years ago from Midwest

      You may have to add Jim Joyce's blown call in Armando Gallaraga's near Perfect Game. That call could be the tipping point for wider replay in baseball.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Ya, I have considered it, but the way Joyce came out and and did the mea culpa, said he screwed up, I have troubling writing something calling him out

    • 10aeinhorn profile image

      10aeinhorn 6 years ago from West Chester PA

      Buckner was an ALRIGHT fielder. rather good yes. problem is, red sox manger replaced him defensively late in the game throughout the whole season. but he didn't that night, because he wanted him in the field to celebrate the world series title.

      talk about backfire.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Major backfire.

      Thanks for reading

    • 4yearstrong profile image

      4yearstrong 6 years ago

      Great hub! I found it very amusing! Love baseball history

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks 4yearstrong

    • profile image

      Baseball Training Bat 6 years ago

      Quiet interesting to read about the mistakes in baseball game. Thanks for this post.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      thanks for reading

    • profile image

      Bob 5 years ago

      the Buckner gaffe should be listed as the most over-rated mistake in baseball history. I just watched the show on ESPN about game 6 of the Sox/Mets series. I was always under the impression that if Buckner makes the play, the Sox win the series. I hadn't realized that the Sox had lead by 2 going into the inning, and had ALREADY blown the lead on numerous 2 out 2 strike hits AND a wild pitch/passed ball. If Buckner makes the play, it merely extends a game that the rest of the team had ALREADY blown. Why not highlight the two strike wild pitch that tied the game. I already did not like Sox fans for the way they treated Buckner over the years. Now that I have the full story, I REALLY don't like them. May be the most overblown story in the history of baseball.

    • profile image

      Bob 5 years ago

      oh...and they blew game 7 also...

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I think you make some good points Bob. Buckner got tied into the curse, somehow, and therefore he was always remembered. Of course, my friend is a die hard Sox fan and always says that the reason they lost was because Stanley the relief pitcher was in the game. According to my friend, Stanley always meant a loss. Not sure, but sox fans are brutal.

      Thanks for the comments

    • als05072 profile image

      als05072 5 years ago from Vermont

      the Pedro Martinez incident still hurts a little. I love the Red Sox, but that was pure stupidity. They were right to let Grady go.

    • bgpappa profile image
      Author

      bgpappa 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Agreed als, but Pedro was Pedro back then, hard to take him out. But, things went well after Grady left that is for sure.

      Thanks for reading.

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