Commentary

Baseball's top 10 baserunning blunders

Updated: October 14, 2009, 5:14 PM ET
By Rob Neyer | ESPN.com
With the Minnesota Twins putting on their nationally televised baserunning clinic in Games 2 and 3 of their American League Division Series against the Yankees, we thought this might be a good time to revisit some of the more infamous baserunning blunders in major league history. Here's a top 10 list in chronological order:

1908: Merkle's Boner

Most baseball fans today don't have the foggiest idea who Fred Merkle was, but for some decades he ranked among the game's most famous players. You probably know the story, though. In the closing stages of the 1908 season, the New York Giants' Merkle, just a 19-year-old rookie, was on first base with two outs when a teammate singled to (apparently) drive home the winning run from third base. But Merkle, eager to avoid a swarm of fans, headed for safety before touching second base. The Cubs' infielders -- in the middle of a heated pennant race with the Giants -- eventually tracked down a baseball and touched second base, arguing to the umpires that the force on Merkle was still in effect, and thus the game was still tied. The umpires and eventually the league president agreed, and the game was declared a tie, to be replayed if relevant. It was, and the Cubs beat the Giants in the replay to advance to the World Series (which they won).

1926: Babe Ruth

The seventh game of the 1926 World Series has always been (and will always be) remembered for Pete Alexander's relief work … which was (and is) a good thing for Babe Ruth, who walked with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, only to get thrown out trying to steal second base with power hitter Bob Meusel at the plate.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider