Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Great Moments in Baseball History: Rabbit Takes Field; Wins Game Single-handedly

The baseball world was stunned in 1946 when a previously unknown jackrabbit from Flatbush entered a game at the Polo Grounds and, while playing all nine positions, simultaneously, defeated the always tough Gashouse Gorillas.

The Gorillas were running away with the game, displaying their powerful offense which included a literally-screaming liner hit into the seats and consistent hitting and base running that resembled a conga line going around the bases.

With the home team trailing 95-0, the rabbit was inserted into the game to stem the tide. The rabbit shutout the Gorillas with his pitching over the rest of the game. Particularly impressive was a single slow pitch that struck out three batters (establishing a new major league record). The rabbit mounted a steady comeback at the plate and pulled ahead by one run. Most old timers agree that his miraculous catch for the final out of a tremendous blast off a bat the size of a tree trunk, in which he took first a cab, then a bus and finally an elevator before climbing the flag pole on top of the Umpire State Building, deserves a place in the top ten greatest defensive plays in baseball history.

After the game, the rabbit voiced what most fans felt about the questionably rule-bending play of the losing team when he said, "The Gashouse Gorillas are a bunch of doity ballplayers."

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While most observers predicted future stardom for the rabbit after his impressive debut, unfortunately his career fizzled--done in by a rotator cuff injury as well as, it was rumored, being chased out of the clubhouse by his gun-wielding manager who shouted, "Forget baseball, it's wabbit season."

Contacted years later, the manager expressed remorse about his role in possibly causing the rabbit's injury by pitching him too much. "I'm sincerely wegwetful about this," he explained. "Golly, I weally wiked that wascal. We could have wun away with the pennant wace if he hadn't gotten hurt."

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