30-30 hindsightOne stolen base. Three news conferences.The...

Off the beat

October 03, 1991

30-30 hindsight

One stolen base. Three news conferences.

The New York Mets' Howard Johnson, with a stolen base that was at once the easiest and toughest of his career, Tuesday night became only the second player in baseball history to compile as many as three seasons with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Bobby Bonds did it five times.

"They made me work for it," said Johnson.

Not the Pittsburgh Pirates, mind you. The official scorer. Johnson, after doubling, was at second base with Kevin McReynolds on first and two out in the third inning of a 2-1 loss in Pittsburgh. Johnson broke for third and went in standing up, as the Pirates made no play.

Official scorer Tony Krizmanich denied Johnson the stolen base, ruling that the Pirates had demonstrated defensive indifference. The decision set off a storm in the press box, with Mets broadcaster Rusty Staub railing at Krizmanich, screaming that it was a "bush call."

After the game, Pirates manager Jim Leyland convinced the official scorer that the strategy was to try to throw out McReynolds at second on any double steal, and that the Pirates had thus been caught off guard when McReynolds remained at first.

The call was changed, and Johnson conducted his second meeting with reporters.

What happened next was silly. Word filtered into the clubhouse that Krizmanich had again reversed his decision. Within minutes, it had been changed again, Johnson had the base delivered to his locker and the final comments into the microphones were recorded.

The shot heard 'round the world

Forty years ago today, the Giants won the pennant, the Giants won the pennant. Here's how Bobby Thomson's home run sounded in Dick Young's story in the New York Daily News:

"Never again will they mention George Stallings' 'Miracle Braves' of 1914 when alluding to incredible comebacks. From now on, it will be Leo Durocher's 'Miracle Giants' -- the Giants of 1951 who drove with a killing pace from 13 1/2 lengths back of Brooklyn to force a pennant playoff, and then battled unbelievably from behind yesterday to take the 5-4 rubber game of the postseason set in a fashion that makes pulp fiction writers look like rank conservatives."

The quote

Former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden, complaining about a former player: "I told him, 'Son, I can't understand what it is with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.' "

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