The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry has always been full of fire and passion – that much is clear. But when you throw a *little* bit of an “Ump Show” into the mix, things start to take off in a major way.
Enter the following insanity.
Let’s set the scene: The date was Sept. 22, 1974, and the Cardinals had Al Hrabosky on the mound and Ted Simmons behind the plate. At the plate, the Cubs had Jose Cardenal … and Bill Madlock.
There is so much going on here, but the thing I keep coming back to is the fact that I can honestly say I have never seen a more egregious strike call ever in baseball. Follow me here for a minute.
Let’s take a look at where all the player are when the ump puts the game in motion:
This is the moment when the Mad Hungarian decided to throw a pitch (in the general vicinity of home plate) at umpire Shag Crawford’s request … so that he could call it a strike, regardless of where the ball wound up:
Not only is that pitch nowhere near the strike zone, there isn’t even anyone in the batters box! The closest Cubs representative to the plate is actually manager Jim Marshall – Cardenal has his hips turned towards third base while standing well outside the batters box.
How does this even happen? What kind of hijinks are going on here?
And that’s not even the end of it, because there is still a second pitch to be delivered. But before we go there, let’s note that there are two Cubs in the general area where a hypothetical batters box would be with Bill Madlock joining Jose Cardenal:
What chaos! And yet, there is more because here comes the second pitch:
That pitch was juuuuust a bit inside — and perhaps a bit high.
What followed was a good old-fashioned basebrawl (TM) – and not the kind you see now-a-days where five players stand between a batter and pitcher who clearly have beef. This was a serious skirmish.
Somehow, all that noise resulted in was Marshall being tossed from the game. Meanwhile, Simmons — the catcher in the middle of everything — was allowed to continue and eventually knocked in ex-Cub Lou Brock for the walk-off win in the ninth.
If that isn’t #CardinalsDevilMagic, I don’t know what is.