Friday, May 19, 2006

Editor's Note: Hitting sixth in my line-up of guest writers is my friend Evan Drellich, who normally plies his trade as the "typist" for Mister Met, over at Mr. Met's Words of Wisdom. Today he reaches into the wayback file with the sort-of weird story I love.

May 19th, 1893

Billy Nash "Triples"

Robin Ventura's not the only one.

No, Boston Beaneater thirdbaseman Billy Nash didn't stop circling the bases after clearing the fence because a backup catcher who used to be a linebacker nicknamed "Tank" intercepted him, rather, Nash had a more devious (and dubious) plan in mind.

He remained on third base so he could "bother the pitcher." He did eventually score.

The contest between the Beaneaters and the Brooklyn Grooms had been a tight, scoreless affair until that ninth inning, when both teams scored three runs to send the game to extras. Nash homered again in the 10th, fully circling the bases this time, but the Beaneaters would not win until the 12th by a final of 5-4.

Luckily for Nash, he did eventually cross home, but the logic that his distraction on thirdbase was more valuable than a run is just priceless. Who knows, perhaps in that time pitchers could be shaken more easily. After all, 1893 was the first year that 60-feet 6-inches was estalished as the distance from the mound to home plate--it was a whole different ballgame.

Nash's Beaneaters would go on to an 86-43 record, tops in the National League.

It was three years down the road, however, when Nash would make his most profound impact on baseball: in 1896 he took a brief leave from his Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he was a player-manager, to travel to Fall River, Massachusettes, home of the Fall River Indians, a minor league team. Nash returned with Nap Lajoie.

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