Former reliever Schilling gets save of ball for Morandini after triple play

September 22, 1992|By Frank Fitzpatrick | Frank Fitzpatrick,Knight-Ridder

MONTREAL -- The newest member of what might be baseball's most elite club thought the ball that had earned him membership was lost forever.

"I can't believe I just tossed it away," Mickey Morandini said on the Philadelphia Phillies' flight from Pittsburgh on Sunday night, just a few hours after he had become only the ninth player in big-league history to pull off an unassisted triple play.

"What are you talking about?" pitcher Curt Schilling asked. "I've got it right here."

After he had converted Jeff King's line drive into the first solo triple play since 1968, the first in the National League since 1927 and the first ever by a second baseman in regular-season play, Morandini casually flipped the ball toward the mound and headed toward the dugout.

"I didn't realize at the time that so few guys had done it," he said.

But Schilling, thinking Morandini had failed to tag Barry Bonds for the third out, started screaming for him to retrieve the ball and throw it to first. The pitcher ran for the rolling ball, and as he grabbed it he realized the inning had indeed ended that quickly.

"I was so happy to get out of the inning that I forgot to tell him I had the ball until I heard him talking about it on the plane," Schilling said.

Morandini wasn't sure whether or not to believe him, but televised replays confirmed Schilling's story.

Schilling, a memorabilia collector, said that as much as he'd like to have the ball, he'll give it to Morandini.

"I was just happy to get three outs on one pitch," said Schilling, a former Oriole.

Morandini, who has been one of this struggling team's better players in recent weeks, said he spent much of yesterday morning fielding phone calls from reporters around the country.

"I had calls from Oregon, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh. I even got a call from Jim Lampley [who hosts a radio sports show] in L.A.," he said. "It was unbelievable. I finally had to take the phone off the hook."

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