With the sun starting to set on the final Saturday in April 1933, the Yankees seemed poised to drop a second straight game to the Washing Senators. The deficit was 6-2 heading into the bottom of the 9th, but as they often did, the Yankees began to rally. With one out, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Dixie Walker all singled, narrowing the gap to 6-3 and bringing Tony Lazzeri up as the tying run. As Gehrig lead off second and Walker took his lead from first, Senators pitcher Monte Weavers delivered a pitch that Tony Lazzeri ripped into right center. Gehrig got a late start from second and Senators’ outfielder Goose Goslin quickly retrieved the ball. As he fired into the cutoff man, Joe Cronin, both Gehrig and Walker were on their way to the plate. Cronin’s relay found a waiting Luke Sewell, who upon catching the ball tagged Gehrig and then Walker, who was just behind. All of a sudden, the Yankees rally was dashed. The ballgame was over on one of the oddest plays anyone could remember. The next day, the New York Times headline blared “GAME HAS THRILLING END Gehrig and Walker Nailed in One Play at Plate After a Lusty Drive by Lazzeri”.
Sewell’s twin killing at the plate was the first recorded putout of two runners trying to score on the same play. Interestingly, of the six times the event has happened in the regular season (the Dodgers made the same blunder against the Mets in the 2006 NLDS), the Yankees have been the victims on three occasions.
- On August 2, 1985, Dale Berra and Bobby Meacham managed to turn a Rickey Henderson double into a rally killing double play as both runners took their turn bouncing off a Carlton Fisk tag at home plate. After the game, Yankees manager Billy Martin fumed, “I’ve never seen a play like that in grammar school, let alone the major leagues.” Of course, the play was almost identical to what happened in 1933, except it came in the bottom of the 7th inning . Still, the gaffe proved costly as the Yankees wound up losing the game 6-5 in extra innings. More than that, the play epitomized a particularly futile stretch in which the team lost 8 of 11 and plummeted from 2.5 games out of first all the way to 9.5 games behind.
I’ve never seen a play like that in grammar school, let alone the major leagues. – Billy Martin
- On September 28, 2000, with the Yankees stumbling toward the playoffs, Jose Canseco was thrown out trying to score on Tino Martinez’ second inning double. It was a close play at the plate, and Canseco attempted to argue. The only problem was the play wasn’t over yet. Devil Rays’ catcher Mike DiFelice followed up his tag of Canseco by throwing wildly in an attempt to nail Martinez as he was taking third on the throw. Seeing the ball bounce away, Martinez made a dash for the plate, but before he could make it, DiFelice was once again waiting with the ball to tag out another Yankee trying to score. All the while, Canseco stood by patiently, waiting for his chance to protest the original call. Everyone lingered on the field before dazedly wandering off. Needless to say, the Yankees didn’t clinch the division that night.