Well, ruined it if you were a Red Sox fan. Yankees fans probably dug it.
It happened 20 years ago today, and Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times gives us the blow-by-blow. The upshot: after Mike Greenwell caught what should have been the 27th out securing a Red Sox win, the umpires told everyone that they had to do it all over again due to the fact that a drunken Yankees fan had ran out onto the field just as the pitch was being delivered. Even though the pitcher, batter and the fielders had gone ahead with the play, time had been called so the fly out didn’t count. With one more out and new life, the Yankees rallied.
This was 1993, of course, and in 1993 a late September Yankees-Red Sox game didn’t much matter. And of course barely anyone had the Internet yet and there certainly was no Twitter, Facebook, blogs or that many well-trafficked message boards on which people could register their collective outrage and/or glee.
I can only imagine if something like that happened today. The fan would be a celebrity. Everyone and their brother would offer their takes on what this means for the Republic and stuff like that. People would argue and fight and names would be called which could never be taken back.
In short, it would be glorious.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.