- Hidden ball trick
In the game of
baseball, the hidden ball trick is a play in which the runner is deceived about the location of the ball, in an effort to have him tagged out.
Typically, the hidden ball trick is tried when the runner has beaten the throw to second base. There are a number of ways that this play can be executed:
second baseman mimesthrowing the ball to the pitcher, or goes to the mound and appears to give the ball to the pitcher, but actually hides the ball on his person. When the runner takes his lead off second base, the second baseman tags him out.
* The second baseman,
shortstopor other nearby fielder will pretend to drop the ball into the outfield for an apparent error (after hiding it on himself). If executed correctly, the runner will begin running for third, setting up the easy out.
However, the hidden ball trick is illegal (and a
balkis called) if the pitcher is standing on or astride the pitcher's rubber. This makes the hidden ball trick far more difficult to successfully pull off. Third basemanMatt Williams used a different technique; on more than one occasion, he asked the runner to step off the bag so that Williams could sweep the dirt off it, then tagged out the runner when the runner complied.
There have been fewer than 300 successful executions of the hidden ball trick in
Major League Baseball. Fact|date=June 2007 On June 8, 2007 shortstop Julio Lugoof the Boston Red Soxcaught Alberto Callaspoof the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, teammate and third baseman Mike Lowellclaims it was not a true hidden ball trick since the pitcher did most of the work "selling" the trick. [ [http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2007/06/10/lowell_isnt_hiding_his_feelings_on_trick_play/ Boston Red Sox - Lowell isn't hiding his feelings on trick play - The Boston Globe ] ] The previous successful hidden ball trick was August 10, 2005, when Lowell (with reliever Todd Jones on the mound), then of the Florida Marlins, caught Arizona Diamondback Luis Terrero, who represented the tying run, taking a lead off third base in the eighth inning, with Florida leading 6–5. Florida won the game, 10–5. The previous victim was Brian Schneiderof the Montréal Expos, who was caught in 2004, also by Lowell.
Bill Coughlinwas reputed to have been the maestro of the hidden ball trick. Although not verified, Coughlin reportedly pulled it off seven times. [ [http://forums.nyyfans.com/archive/index.php/t-87848.html Hidden ball trick [Archive - NYYFans.com Forum ] ] [ [http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/dialed_in/discussion/august_18_2005/ BBTF's Dialed In Discussion :: August 18, 2005 ] ] He pulled it off on May 12, 1905against Hobe Ferrisof the Boston Red Sox. [ [http://www.soxsuck.com/loss1900.html Boston Red Sox Tickets, Red Sox History, Red Sox Baseball Tickets ] ] He did it again on September 3, 1906, catching George Stone in the first inning. In Game 2 of the 1907 World Series, Coughlin caught Jimmy Slaglewith a hidden ball trick, the only one in World Series history. The play went from Germany Schaeferto Coughlin [ [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Bill_Coughlin_1877&page=chronology The Ballplayers - Bill Coughlin | BaseballLibrary.com ] ] .
A hidden ball putout is scored as an unassisted putout for the fielder making the play.
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