Get a clue, Blue! The most controversial calls in MLB postseason history
Wednesday's ALDS Game 5 between the Blue Jays and Rangers got pretty heated -- and it all started with a questionable call by the umps in the seventh inning. Let's take a look back at the most the most controversial calls in MLB postseason history.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY SportsDan Hamilton
1970 World Series: Elrod Hendricks' hidden-ball tag
In Game 1 of the 1970 World Series between the Orioles and Reds, Cincinnati's Bernie Carbo tried to score on a chopper in front of the plate, but was called out by plate umpire Ken Burkhart. However, though Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks tagged Carbo with his glove, Hendricks was holding the ball in his throwing hand. But Burkhart had gotten entangled with Hendricks and made the call with his back to the play.
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1978 World Series: Ball deflects off Reggie Jackson to score run
It was Game 4 of the 1978 World Series and the Dodgers had a 3-1 lead over the Yankees in the sixth. New York had runners on first and second when Lou Piniella hit a line drive right at Dodgers shortstop Bill Russell. Russell dropped the ball, picked it up and stepped on second for the force out. He attempted to turn the double play by throwing to first. The ball ended up in right field when Reggie Jackson, running from first to second, stuck his hip out to deflect the throw. A run scored on the deflection play, and the Yankees eventually won the game in 10 innings.
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1985 World Series: Umpire Don Denkinger's blown call
In Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, the Cardinals were three outs away from winning the title. Jorge Orta of the Royals led off the bottom of the ninth by hitting a ground ball to Cardinals first baseman Jack Clark. Clark threw to pitcher Todd Worrell, who was covering first. Worrell beat Orta to the base, but first base umpire Don Denkinger ruled him safe. Replays clearly showed that Orta should have been ruled out. The Royals scored two runs that inning and ended up winning the game as well as the series in Game 7.
Sports Illustrated/Getty ImagesRichard Mackson
1991 World Series: Kent Hrbek pulls Ron Gant off the bag
In Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, the Braves trailed the Twins by one run in the top of the third when Ron Gant came to the plate for Atlanta. Gant hit a single into left and after rounding first, the Twins relayed the ball to first baseman Kent Hrbek to try to throw Gant out. As Gant stepped back on first, Hrbek pulled Gant's leg off the base and Gant was ruled out.
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1996 ALCS: Fan helps Derek Jeter's home run
During Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, an overeager Yankees fan became a hero in New York thanks to a hard-hit fly ball by Mr. November himself. With the Yankees trailing the Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Derek Jeter stepped up and hit a long flyball to right, just over the head of Tony Tarasco. But the Orioles right fielder never stood a chance of catching the ball, because Yankee fan Jeffrey Maier reached out and grabbed it, interfering with the play. The Yankees went on to win the series and another World Series title, while Maier became a minor celebrity in New York, appearing on numerous TV talk shows.
AFP/Getty ImagesTIMOTHY CLARY
1999 ALCS: Chuck Knoblauch phantom tag
It's known simply as 'The Phantom Tag,' and it's one of the worst calls in MLB playoff history. During Game 4 of the 1999 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees, Jose Offerman was running from first to second, hustling to beat out a double-play ball. But he didn't. Or at least that's what the umps said. Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch was covering the bag and reached out to tag Offerman, but he clearly missed. The umpires blew the call and said Offerman was out. The Yankees went on to win the game, the series and their 25th World Series title.
The 2012 NL Wild Card Game between the Cardinals and Braves was overshadowed by the infield fly rule, of all things. The rule, which was created to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup to force a double play, was called on Andrelton Simmons when his popup landed between Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday. Umpire Sam Holbrook made a delayed call on the play, stranding runners at second and third base. The Braves were unable to rally and were eliminated from the playoffs in what ended up being Chipper Jones' final game.
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2013 World Series: Walk-off obstruction call
The Cardinals won Game 3 of the 2013 World Series in the most unlikely way -- due to an obstruction call. The call came in the ninth inning, when Cardinals baserunner Allen Craig tripped over Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks while trying to score on an errant throw. The third base umpire ruled obstruction on Middlebrooks, negating the tag on Craig at home and sealing the victory for the Cards.
APDavid J. Phillip
2015 NLDS: Chase Utley's dirty slide
In Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS, Chase Utley of the Dodgers broke up a double play with a late slide into Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who was covering second base. The slide caused a violent collision between the two, resulting in a broken fibula for Tejada and a two-game suspension for Utley. While Utley was originally ruled out on the play, replays showed that neither player ever touched second base. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged the play and umpires reversed the call, ruling Utley safe at second.
Getty ImagesSean M. Haffey
2015 ALDS: Rangers score on crazy controversial play
Things got crazy in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS between the Rangers and Blue Jays, and it all started with a controversial call. With Rougned Odor at third base, Jays catcher Russell Martin tried to throw the ball back to pitcher Aaron Sanchez, but the ball hit the bat of Rangers batter Shin-Soo Choo, who was standing in the batter's box in the process. Odor took off for home and scored. After multiple reviews by the umpires, they determined that the run counted. After the ruling, the Blue Jays declared that the game was being played under protest and Toronto fans began showering the field with beer cans and signs and general garbage. The play ended up being a moot point, as the Jays went on to win the game, 6-3, and the series.