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10 Worst Calls in Sports History


5
The Case of the 'Phantom Tag'
Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch (L) drops the ball as he takes the throw in the top of the 10th inning from Derek Jeter; yet, the umpire ruled that Red Sox second baseman Jose Offerman was out. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch (L) drops the ball as he takes the throw in the top of the 10th inning from Derek Jeter; yet, the umpire ruled that Red Sox second baseman Jose Offerman was out. Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Red Sox fans have a particular reputation for taunting players from the opposing team. During game four of the 1999 American League Championship Series, their victim was Chuck Knoblauch, the Yankees' loose-armed second baseman.

As Knoblauch warmed up between innings, he threw a ball 20 feet (6 meters) to the left of his first baseman that ricocheted off of the photographer's booth. Red Sox fans howled, but it was Knoblauch who would have the last laugh.

In the eighth inning, the Yankees were up 3-2, but the Red Sox had a runner on first and only one out. Red Sox second baseman John Valentin chopped a grounder to Knoblauch, who bobbled the ball before reaching out to tag the passing Red Sox runner Jose Offerman. Offerman evaded the tag, and Knoblauch tossed a looping throw to first for the second out of the inning.

Or was it the third? The second base umpire called Offerman out, even though Knoblauch missed the tag by a yard! I'll let The New York Times describe the fan reaction:

"When the replay was shown on a television about 50 feet [15 meters] from the Red Sox clubhouse, the angry and ornery fans groaned as if they had just witnessed a car accident."

The Red Sox lost the game and eventually the series, extending the "Curse of the Bambino" for another long year.