Jose Guillen Can THROW - 7/27/98
Batting with two outs in the 3rd, Rockies IF Neifi Perez couldn't be certain that his cloud-scraping drive to right would A) go over the wall B) land in a glove, or C) other. Just in case ball met earth, the fleet Perez busted out of the box, guaranteeing himself a triple...or more.
Leaping Pirates RF Jose Guillen wasn't able to haul in Perez's drive, which hit off the wall. But he was able to void said guarantee with the power of his right arm—silencing a park full of fans in the process. In the end, all Perez got for his hustle was a few burned calories.
Not a bad inning for Guillen—he'd homered in the top half off Mark Brownson (making his second career MLB start/appearance.)
Notes: The Pittsburgh pitcher was...are you ready for this? Todd Van Poppel. No living soul could have known that without looking it up. Keith Osik, normally a catcher, was the 3B slapping the tag on Perez. Despite Guillen's efforts, Colorado still won 8-7 on a walkoff double by Jeff Reed in the 13th; the two clubs combined for 34 hits.
Shot Stuck On The Hoop - 4/30/13
When the common NBA fan thinks Tony Allen, he thinks of rugged D, tenacity, maybe his ugly knee injury or the Chicago incident early in his career. Whatever the thoughts may be, they usually don't elicit laughter.
Until the 2013 NBA playoffs.
In the 3rd quarter of Game 5 in Los Angeles, the 5th-seeded Memphis Grizzlies led the 4th-seeded LA Clippers 81-74 with just under eight minutes left. As the shot clock evaporated, Memphis F Zach Randolph heaved one up from the lane that rolled around and off the rim; Allen hauled in the rebound over Chris Paul and quickly flipped it back up.
The video shows what happened next...which is essentially nothing.
Notes: Despite Allen's "miss", the Grizzlies led for the final 27 minutes and won 103-93; they won again in Game 6 to advance (eventually losing to San Antonio in the Conference Finals). In the overhead shot, Clips C Ronny Turiaf is positioned to the far right, with Memphis' Randolph and Tayshaun Prince under the hoop.
Allen finished with eight rebounds and six points in 33 minutes.
Gabe Kapler Injured On Home Run - 9/14/05
Kapler spent 2003-04 with Boston before joining the Nippon League. But he rejoined the Sox in July '05—even starting 25 games for them thru September 14.
On that day, the veteran outfielder stood on first when teammate Tony Graffanino launched a 5th-inning bomb. Kapler—known in and out of baseball for a very impressive physique—rounded second base and quickly collapsed in a heap, unable to go any further. (This video is abbreviated, but the delay lasted 15 minutes.)
Kapler suffered a full rupture of his left Achilles tendon, and did not play again until June 2006. Alejandro Machado pinch-ran (?) for Kapler and was credited with the run scored.
Notes: Graffanino wound up missing the cycle by a triple; his homer came against Toronto's Josh Towers—a 13-win, 209-inning pitcher that year— and put Boston up 3-2. They eventually won 5-3 behind David Wells.
Red Sox 3B coach Dale Sveum stands with Kapler near the end; manager Terry Francona's whereabouts are unknown, based on this edited video clip. Machado's entire MLB career consisted of this game and nine others over the season's final month.
Ted Lilly, John Gibbons Mix It Up: 8/21/06
This video is special to me because I saw it live (on TV). Living in the Bay Area, I will indulge in the occasional A's game—especially when the Giants are idle and/or terrible, as was the case in 2006.
Blue Jays pitcher Lilly,10-11, 4.26 in 24 starts to this point, had been staked to an 8-0 lead against his visiting former club by the 2nd inning. Vernon Wells and Troy Glaus homered, and Lyle Overbay smacked a three-run triple in support of Lilly—who quickly surrendered much of it back in the 3rd.
Having watched seven of eight A's batters reach base (and five score), Jays manager Gibbons saw enough. Only Lilly wasn't ready to leave yet—he initially refused to turn the ball over. I remember reading Lilly's lips: "I'm trying to win the damn game!" It was clear this was no ordinary pitching change.
The fallout is explained in the video. (Sorry for the media splices; we could no longer access the game tape.)
Notes: Oakland went ahead 11-8 in the 6th and held on for a 12-10 miracle win; Bobby Kielty racked up four RBI for the A's. Even with the early beating, Oakland's Dan Haren went 5.2 IP for the win—with nine runs allowed. Neither Lilly nor Gibbons were suspended for their fracas.
Vlad Guerrero Hits A Bounced Pitch - 8/14/09
The short-hop is arguably the toughest defensive play in baseball. But if a batter can collect a base-hit on a short-hopped pitch, what excuse does a fielder with a glove have?
Guerrero, for whom there is no such item as a strike zone, reached new heights—or more accurately, a new low—on August 14, 2009.
Closing out the last of six seasons as an Angel, Bad Vlad faced rookie Oriole Chris Tillman at Baltimore. Looking to strand Maicer Izturis on first base, Tillman bounced a 1-2 curve to Guerrero. Press play for the outcome.
Notes: Pie more than made up for his run-scoring error—he wound up hitting for the cycle with four RBI! Baltimore scored six off Jeff Weaver in the bottom of the first and seven more off Shane Loux in the 7th en route to a 16-6 win (credited to Tillman, who went 6.2 IP).
The "34" patch on Guerrero's sleeve is in memory of teammate Nick Adenhart, killed by a drunk driver earlier in the season.
Omar Vizquel Wraps His Career - 10/3/12
A 22-year-old Vizquel committed a throwing error in his very first big league game, proving that first impressions aren't always accurate. Omar played in nearly 3,000 more games after that, rarely failing to do something special with the glove. It seemed like he would play forever—Vizquel was the last major leaguer to have played in the 1980's—even though we knew he couldn't.
The day finally came on October 3, 2012. Vizquel was a Blue Jay, 45 years young and a part-time player. He did it all that day for Toronto, playing his customary shortstop (he'd been mostly a 2B/3B that year), smacking a base hit and making an over-the-shoulder catch in the outfield look easy in a way only he could.
All Vizquel's final game lacked: a truly appreciative crowd. Toronto's assembly tried, but with only one season of an aging, part-time Vizquel to reference, they simply lacked the pedigree of the Seattle, Cleveland and San Francisco fanbases.
Notes: You'll hear the announcer say Brett Lawrie gave Omar his number. He didn't mean phone—Lawrie wore #13 all year but was "kind" enough to trade with Vizquel for this game. Of course, a nobody like Lawrie should have done that as soon as a legend like Vizquel signed with the Jays....but we digress.
Toronto won 2-1 behind eight strong innings from Brandon Morrow. To date, this was also the final game of Mike McCoy, the 4th-year infielder who subbed in for Vizquel.
50-Year-Old Will Clark Goes Deep
Sweet-swinging Will Clark hits a home run over the right field wall—nothing unusual about that headline.
That is, if it were written between the years of 1986-2000.
During the summer of 2014, Clark—now 50 and 14 years into retirement—took BP at AT&T Park. The Giants legend has a few more wrinkles and a few more inches around his waist than in his playing days, but as the video shows, he's still has some pop in his bat.
Notes: Clark never played at AT&T during his career. It opened during his final season, which was split between the Orioles and Cardinals.
At that time the AL East did not yet face the NL West during the regular season, so the O's never visited San Francisco. The Cardinals, meanwhile, made their only visit to SF well before Clark joined the team.
(TSR apologizes; we'd stated on Clark's recent 1990 Topps Card Of The Day that this video would be posted much sooner.)