Just when you think you’ve seen about every possible scenario in a baseball game, something like this comes up every once in a blue moon; a bizarre way for a batter to either reach base or an unusual tactic a pitcher uses to retire a hitter.
This week’s Flashback Friday focuses on the latter of the two; a trick play orchestrated by the Cleveland Indians from 1996 in which John Olerud got called out on strikes on a fake intentional walk.
The game in question was July 30th, 1996. It was the top of the fifth inning, and the Blue Jays held a 3-1 lead over the Indians. With a man on second base, Tony Pena and Dennis Martinez resorted to an unorthodox play to get John Olerud out.
On a 3-2 count to John Olerud, Tony Pena called for the intentional walk, but instead, Dennis Martinez looped in a breaking ball over the plate which got Olerud called out on strikes.
The incredible thing is this wasn’t the first time Martinez and Pena had gotten away with this trick; they did the very same thing to Chili Davis one season prior. Not surprisingly, Davis wasn’t pleased with the way in which he was retired.
Hat tip to Courtside Tweets for the video. Image via Patti Gower/Toronto Star/Getty Images.