Clipping:A proto-infield fly rule triple play

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Date Wednesday, August 24, 1887
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[Chicago vs. Pittsburgh 8/17/1887] [Pittsburgh at bat, bases loaded, no outs] Coleman hit a line fly to Pfeffer. The latter accidentally muffed it, but at once picked up the ball and tossed it to Williamson at second. Every man on the bases had started for the next base. Whitney crossed the plate, but Powers [umpire] promptly declared the side out, Coleman on fly catch, and Carroll and McCormick for running on fly catch. Of course, there was an awful howl. Before time was called Coleman started for second, and the Chicago men tried to catch him, but he landed safe. Just then Carroll, who had left the diamond [from first base] walked past the plate, and Daly, to whom Williamson had thrown the ball, touched him with the ball. Time was now called and the kicking began in earnest. … Powers' decision surprised everybody. Of course under President Young's decision in a play on the Washington-Detroit game of June 23d:--{“The batter was out no matter whether the muff was accidental or not, and no double play could be made.” But in this case the players, through ignorance of the rules, instead of holding their bases left them and gave an opportunity for a quadruple play if needed, Coleman was put on the fly catch (?), McCormick out for running to third, and Carroll out for leaving first. The ball was not put to first base and for this reason the Chicagos touched Carroll when he left the field, they forgetting to do so when the play was made. … Powers may be right in his decision, but if so, it is one of the most inconsistent rules in existence. It was gotten up to protect base-runners but it certainly does not. Probably not a man in this city except Powers, even to the Chicago team, knew what the play meant until it was explained over and over again. Had not a rain set in Powers might have been mobbed for a decision, to all appearances correct. President Young should be more definite in his decision. He says the batter is out, no matter if muff is accidental or not, but he does not say a man on base cannot run on the out. [N.B. The game was halted on account of rain after the second inning.]

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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