Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Dick Stuart Born
"Stuart's a beauty. I remember a game we played against him in Boston with Earl Wilson (then with the Red Sox) pitching. On the first pitch of the game, somebody hit a foul pop fly between the catcher and first base and Earl ran over to call who was supposed to catch the ball and he made a tragic mistake. He called Stuart. The ball dropped to the ground in front of him with a sickening third.
Earl picked up the ball and stormed back to the mound. The next pitch was another pop fly, this one in foul territory. Earl ran over screaming at the top of his lungs, "I got it! I got it!" He wasn't taking any chances. At the last second guess who ran into him and spiked him. Dick Stuart. The ball went flying and the runner got two bases.
Now Wilson's got a spiked left foot and a man on second and he's steaming mad. The next pitch is a groundball on the first-base line and Earl runs over, picks it up, whirls to throw to first and Stuart isn't on the bag. First and third.
Wilson slammed his glove down and walked toward the dugout like he was quitting right there, but he thought better of it and came back to the game. And Stuart? Stuart was his usual jovial self. He knew he had bad hands and there was nothing he could do about it."
~Jim Bouton, Ball Four
[This is about par for the course as conversation's about Stuart's defense go, he was nicknamed "Dr. Strangeglove" for his defensive struggles. Incidentally, there is no perfect match for the situation Bouton describes in the Retrosheet game logs, but enough incidents that are close enough that I would mark the story as credible.]