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The batboy who provided an unwitting assist in the infamous Pine Tar Game

Jul 9, 2013, 11:39 AM EDT

Pine Tar Game

The infamous Pine Tar Game — in which the umps overturned a George Brett home run against the Yankees which led to pandemonium — took place 30 years ago this month. Today the Wall Street Journal has a take on it that I’d never heard before: the batboy who kinda helped unleash the pandemonium.

The batboy’s name isĀ Merritt Riley. He’s 47 now, but at the time he was a huge George Brett fanboy and, after the home run, rather than take the illegal bat back to the dugout where it would have blended in with all of the others, he waited at home plate in order to give Brett a high-five. Rick Cerone took the bat from him, Billy Martin pointed it out to the umps and the rest was history.

The story catches up with Riley and Brett, each of whom have a pretty good attitude about it now. Nice stuff.

  1. rickdobrydney - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    The real heroes of thet day are the guys that restrained Brett, and kept him from committing murder on a baseball field. I NEVER saw a player go as bonkers as Brett did that day, and he charged that ump as if he would indeed have tackled him . Lucky for him he was stopped.

    • paint771 - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Lucky for Brett you mean. :) He did an interview at last year’s All Star Game where somebody asked him if he’d have punched him. He said (paraphrased) “Well, Tim McClelland is like 6’2″, and was holding a baseball bat at the time, so no, heh, I was making sure guys were holding me back…for my own safety.”

      McClelland, for his part, said “I knew he wasn’t going to hit me or run over me and if he did, I’d probably own the Kansas City Royals right now.”

      • paperlions - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:48 PM

        Too bad for Royal’s fans, McClelland would be a major upgrade over Glass.

  2. joestemme - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Ah, the good ole days of baseball when a ‘scandal’ was about tar on a bat handle and not players flying down to Miami to drug up or shooting each other’s butt in the locker room with ‘Roids………..

  3. whitdog23 - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Calc….you ever have a good story idea? or you just rewrite stuff

    • 0fahrvergnugen - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      I noticed this as well…. explains stance on PED’s.

  4. psuorioles - Jul 9, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    That’s a pretty cool story…

  5. sportsdrenched - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Great story. We need more characters in MLB these days.

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