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Brent Mayne's pants are on fire

Feb 10, 2010, 10:25 AM EDT

Brent Mayne.jpgUPDATE: Mayne has corrected the record.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was lovin’ former catcher Brent Mayne’s blog. And I still am, but I just discovered that he’s tellin’ lies.

In his latest entry he decides to come clean and admit that he once told a hitter what pitch was coming. It was J.T. Snow.  Here’s Mayne’s story:

It was my second year in the Bigs and we were playing the Yankees in
Kansas City towards the end of the season. Neither team had much to
play for and JT was one of the expanded roster call-ups for the Yanks . . . I wandered out to talk to the pitcher (I can’t remember who it was.) On
my way back, as I past JT to squat down, I mumbled at him “fastball
outside.” He promptly drilled a double to left field and that was that.
Like I said, that’s probably not why he got his first hit, he may have
been too nervous to even hear me. Then again, maybe that IS how he got his first hit and maybe I’M responsible for his whole career.

I love stories like that!  Sadly, however, it appears to be a complete and total fabrication.  Well, maybe that’s overstating things. J.T. Snow did make his major league debut with the Yankees against the Royals at the end of a season.  It’s just everything after that which is wrong.

  • Snow did hit three doubles against the Royals in his career, but none of those fit Mayne’s descriptions either. The first one came in 1993 while he was with the Angels. But Mayne
    didn’t catch in that game
    , Mike MacFarlane did. The second came in 1996, but Mayne wasn’t on the Royals anymore. He was on the Mets.

  • Snow did eventually hit a double against the Royals while Mayne was catching. It happened during an interleague game in 2003 while Snow was with the Giants.  Sadly, it doesn’t fit Mayne’s description either. The double came on the third pitch, not the first, and it was pulled down the right field line, not hit the opposite way like he says.

  • Snow’s first hit of any kind against the Royals with Mayne behind the plate came on June 24, 1993. It was a single on 2-0 count with the Angels down 6 runs in the 9th inning. Given the score I suppose that could have been a tipped pitch, but we’re getting pretty far afield from Mayne’s story here.

Look, I’m not trying to embarrass Mayne here. His blog is a blast, and this particular post is almost 100% redeemed by the reference to “The Jerk” at the end.  But still, one of the things that makes it hard to make any progress in analyzing and commenting on baseball is that there’s 150 years of accumulated baloney floating around that everyone takes as gospel.

Stuff like Mayne’s story is harmless, but how much of the rest of it isn’t, and how much history and insight have we lost because people have chosen to believe the myths instead of the facts, even if it’s understandable that they’ve done so?

  1. Ryan - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Spring Training?

  2. jonny5 - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Thank goodness!!! I thought you were revealing he was a flamer at first.

  3. Matt - Feb 10, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Maybe he misremembered the opposing player as JT Snow and it was really someone else?
    Someone get on that 😉

  4. BC - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    He sucked wind as a Met. Maybe he was so ‘roided up that he thought he was Crash Davis.

  5. Dan - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some truth to the story. People can change the facts in their heads very easily without even trying to. Didn’t necessarily need to happen, but it seems like a weird thing to make up. Maybe it wasn’t even Snow.

  6. Matty - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    Is it lying, though? Thinking back on games I played in high school/college and games I’ve seen through the years, I’m sure I’ve gotten facts mixed up. It’s not lying. It’s just not remembering exactly what happened. Fortunately with baseball databases, we can go back and get these things right. But is it really that big a deal? Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Legends is outstanding because of how stories get passed down, not in spite of it.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    I totally agree, Matty. The “pants on fire” thing is meant with tongue in cheek. While Mayne’s level of specificity is a bit much, it’s totally possible he’s just mixed up. It’s not a federal offense, and to the extent I imply otherwise, I apologize.
    I loved Neyer’s book. I think looking at old stuff like this is a great exercise even if the facts don’t exactly pan out. Put differently, I’m happy Mayne wrote this even if it isn’t true, because it gives us an excuse to do things like go back and read box scores from 1992.

  8. Jamie - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    It’s entirely possible it was just a dream he had. We’ll see if his next post is about showing up at spring training in his underpants.

  9. Charles Gates - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    ATH, pleeeeeeeeeese?

  10. Motherscratcher - Feb 10, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    I’ve got to thank you, Craig, for introducing me Mayne’s blog. I love it, even if it isn’t always dead on balls accurate. It’s a laugh riot. Best player blog I’ve run across since Club Trillion.
    I think it’s no coincidence that the best stuff usually comes from marginal players and not the superstars, with Bouton being the doppelganger.

  11. Matty - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Nothing but love for Shysterball.
    As a side note, from talking to friends who met Mayne during his time with the Royals, he’s a great guy. No surprise after reading his blog.

  12. IdahoMariner - Feb 10, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    re: awesome player blogs — try disco hayes’ blog on — hopefully he’ll do it agin this year. It won’t give you insight into the majors, but it’s excellent and funny and actually quite intelligent.

  13. cosmic charlie - Feb 10, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    It seems very unlikely that he’s confusing Snow with another player. The whole reason he supposedly tipped him off was that they had grown up together in SoCal (which apparently does check out).
    My guess is it’s either something he thought about doing but never really did, or that he told him the pitch but Jim Eisenreich ran it down (Snow’s first two AB’s that day were flyouts to left). Interesting how our minds create “memories” of things as we wish they could have been.

  14. Pitchers Hit Eighth - Feb 10, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    You’re welcome, Craig. :)

  15. moeszys - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:17 PM

    Isn’t this the story of how Rogers Hornsby got his first major league hit off of Grover Cleveland Alexander?

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