December 17, 2017

Rambling on About My Glory Days – Immortality

February 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

You may recall my last post when I wrote about how I ended up attending Murray State University, tried out and made the baseball team. While there, I was part of a most remarkable experience. It all began with one of my teammate’s box score: 3 At Bats 0 Hits 0 Runs 0 RBI and it ended with a “stay tuned - for the rest of the story” and a Paul Harvey, “Good Day.”

You old timers out there know who Paul Harvey was, of course. For younger readers, Paul Harvey was a newscaster who told stories about remarkable events. I am sure you are asking, “What is so remarkable about a player going 0 hits for 3 at-bats? Players go O for 3 all the time,” you say? Yes, but that was the Murray State player’s line for the 3rd inning of the game. Yes, a player on our team made all three outs in the same inning of a game. This was not a neighborhood pick-up game, little league, pony league or even high school ball. One player made all three outs in the same inning in a major-college, Division 1 baseball game.

It all started innocently enough with our infamous player leading the inning off with a line shot right at the short stop for the first out of the inning. Who could ever have predicted what would happen after that?  The next 8 Murray State batsmen reached base when our hero of this story came up to bat. Being on his game, he proceeded to hit a rope into right center field where the visiting team’s center fielder made a fine running catch for the second out. The buzz of what could happen began in our dugout a few players before our “out maker” was scheduled to bat again when our scorekeeper announced the situation. Our first thoughts were, “no way, that cannot happen.”  Needless to say, history was going to be tempted on this day as, once again, all eight batters reached base safely.

Here we go! In the past I have written about how great players have a sense of the moment and have a way of coming through at these times. This was no different. Why was that? The count on the two-out making player went to 3 and 2. This is one of those moments in one’s life when one has to decide to go for it, or play it safe. The deciding pitch was a little high and nobody would have blamed him for taking ball four and the easy way out. I am sure he realized that the chances of our team batting around again were impossible and that his destiny was at hand. He decided to seize the moment and go for it. With a mighty cut, he missed for the third out of the inning.

My fellow teammates and I were not sure how to act. Congratulations did not seem appropriate for such failure. However, we were quite sure we had witnessed a once in a lifetime occurrence and were proud of how our three-out-making celebrity went for it with “immortality” staring him in the face.

Many pats on the back and “hang in there” comments followed and much relief that the inning was finally over. Baseball is a funny game. A player hits the ball right on the “screws” two times in a row and ends up going 0 for 3 in one inning. Of course, back in that day and time, news did not spread like it would today but it did make the national news, including the Paul Harvey show, - and “that is the rest of the story.”

“Jack Perconte - Good Day.”

Former major leaguer Jack Perconte is the author of The Making of a Hitter (http://jackperconte.com) and has a baseball instruction blog that can be found at www.baseballcoachingtips.net. He has recently published his second book Raising an Athlete: How to Instill Confidence, Build Skills and Inspire a Love of Sport

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