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The run out that wasn’t

At lunchtime yesterday, the BBC’s Test Match Special radio commentators held a most entertaining Q&A with former top cricket umpire John Holder, who was asked questions like: “If a batsman hits the ball, it hits the batsman at the other end, bounces off the teeth of the bowler onto the wicket and the stricken batsman is still out of his ground, is that batsman run out?” (yes); or: “If the batsman hits the ball into the air, and a bag blows across the ground and the ball goes into the bag, and a fielder catches hold of the bag before anything hits the ground, is the batsman out?” (yes again). “If the batsman hits the ball and it strikes the branches of a tree …?” “If a dog gets on the pitch …?” “If a passing bird of prey catches the ball …?” You get the idea. Ho ho, chuckle chuckle. Holder answered everything with utter confidence. Not once could anyone, as the cricket metaphor goes, stump him.

But, about two hours later, right at the very end of the immediately following session of test cricket between England and India, at Trent Bridge Nottingham, a question of just this complicated kind arose for real.

If a batsman hits the ball towards the boundary, and if the fielder stops the ball going to the boundary, but thinks he failed to stop it, and if the fielder then picks the ball up in a relaxed, casual manner, for all the world making it clear that he thinks it was a four, and if the fielders in the middle of the pitch receive the ball in the manner of people who also think that the ball went for four, but if then, as an afterthought, one of the fielders takes the ball and flicks off the bails, with no sense of celebration, just on the off chance, because the umpires haven’t signalled a four, or said that it’s now tea time, but nevertheless, one of the England batsmen has already concluded that it is tea time, and is walking off the pitch, and is thus out of his ground, the fielder who has removed the bails having appealed in a quietly interrogative rather than exultant manner … is the batsman out? That’s what happened, for real. The umpires asked the Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whether he was withdrawing his appeal. No, said Dhoni. Out, said the umpires. Ian Bell run out 137, off the last ball before tea. Bell bewildered and angry. The England team, and the crowd … not happy.

BellRunOut.jpg

Where, the commentators were all saying to one another during their frantic tea interval attempts to explain it all to us listeners, is John Holder when you need him?

But meanwhile, the two Andrews, Flower and Strauss, coach and captain of England, dropped by the Indian dressing room and asked the Indian team if they would withdraw their appeal, and India did. Boos turned to cheers and applause when the umpires (boo!), the Indian team (boo!!), and then … Ian Bell all emerged from the pavilion after the tea break. Hurrah!!!

BellRunOutNOT.jpg

We now live in an age when all sports fans and all players come to that, rather than just the official salaried commentators and newspaper hacks, can immediately say what is on their (our) minds. This fact may not yet have had very much impact on global politics, the banking system, etc., but it has already changed the atmosphere that surrounds international sport.

So who do I think was right? Were the Indians gents, or suckers? Spirit of the game, or letter of the law? I personally incline, ever more strongly the more I think about it, towards the suckers side of the still ongoing argument. Nor do I consider the Andrews to have been very gentlemanly either. Not cheats, you understand, any more than the Indians were, just tryers of it on. I agree with the likes of Geoff Boycott and Ravi Shastri who have said that Bell made a very careless mistake, the laws were correctly applied by the umpires, no Indian did anything remotely like cheating, so … out. These things happen. Nobody says a batsmen should be left off if he plays a silly shot and someone catches it. So, why should Bell, who made a different sort of silly mistake, have been any luckier?

I have since heard it argued that the umpires were wrong to accept the withdrawal by the Indians of their appeal. According to someone but I forget who, once they all walked off the pitch at the start of the tea interval, the decision was, or should have been, irreversible.

If Bell had stayed out, and if the England team and the crowd had seethed for a couple of hours until they could all sleep on it and realise the justice of what had happened, so what? Fecal matter transpires. If the England team had continued to gripe days later, then that would just have proved that they are not ready to be considered the true cricket Number Ones, whatever it may say in the ratings. Top teams blow off steam (in the manner of England’s Matt Prior chucking his bat around in the dressing room after getting stupidly run out in an earlier game this summer) and then move on. All of which is hypothetical. But I am enough of an admirer of this England cricket side to be convinced that they would have got over such an episode pretty much immediately.

I and Geoff Boycott are by no means the only Englishmen who think that the Indians not only would have been within their rights, but should have (politely) told the Andrews to take a hike and that the decision would stand. Contrariwise, many Indians agreed with the Indian team that Bell’s dismissal had a bad feeling about it, and that if something like that had happened to one of their top batters they wouldn’t have liked it, so it was right to withdraw the appeal. I respect such arguments, especially when you consider that it was the deeply-to-be-respected Rahul Dravid who was the designated putter of the argument yesterday evening on behalf of the Indian team, but I don’t agree, and I was already coming to this conclusion during the tea interval yesterday. I know this, because when Bell got out for a mere twenty two more runs than I now think he should have got, I was pleased rather than disappointed. I am glad that England are now playing like they’d have won this game by a mile, whatever had happened during the tea interval yesterday.

Here, interestingly, is an argument that is cutting through national divides rather than being confined by them. Rather than two simplistically nationalist positions being entirely defined by a handful of tabloid journalists whose stock in trade is goading people into insulting one another, this argument has quickly become not a nationalistic horror story, but a disagreement among friends about, well, sporting philosophy. (Will England soon decide that they need a sports philosophy coach to add to all their other coaches?)

And how do I know that this is not a nationalistic horror story? For that, I and the rest of the cricket-o-sphere can all of us thank the new social media. We can all now blog and tweet and comment about this little contretemps to our heart’s content. We are not now being told what we all think by lowest-common-denominator newspapers. We can hear and read what lots of others are thinking, and learn that the argument lines in this thing are not national battle lines.

When I write about sport here, I like to find angles on it that reach out from sport to beyond sport. I want not just to see sport, but to see the world through sport. The above paragraphs pass that test, I think.

As to the game itself, well, India are now certain, bar a total miracle, to go two down with two to play in this four match series. In the face of a Himalayan last innings target, they have already, as I finish this, lost six (that word kept having to be retyped) wickets. This series is not turning into the ferocious contest that we were all looking forward to, but instead more into a one-sided exhibition of the England team’s ferocious determination to be the top dogs, by utterly destroying an aging and ailing Indian team, now past its peak. In a week’s time that could all change, of course, but that’s how things now look.

Sachin Tendulkar is still batting away and battling away. An hour ago he was batting like there was no tomorrow, which there now almost certainly won’t be, but since then he has slowed down, as the wickets tumbled at the other end. I bet I’m not the only Englishman who would love to see him, today, get that hundredth international hundred.

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23 comments to The run out that wasn’t

  • Alsadius

    Interesting situation. My first thought is that this sounds more like a trick play than an honest mistake – I know nothing of the folks involved, but how exactly does a fielder not realize that the ball has stayed in at his feet, when the umpire hundreds of feet away can tell(but the fielder standing close to the umpire can’t)? And on the one ball where the batter’s likely to wander away once the play’s “finished”, no less?

  • I’m nationally a neutral on this, but I agree with you, Brian. If the ball didn’t go to the boundary, it was not dead until it was returned to the bowler. As the umpire had not signaled four, then the batsmen should have assumed it was at least possible that the ball was not dead, with the question of whether it was not to be resolved later. The batsmen should not have left their ground until the matter was resolved, As the matter was ultimately resolved to everyone’s satisfaction that it was not four and the ball was not dead, in my mind it was a fair dismissal. That some of the players were not concentrating on the game because they had not properly paid attention to what was happening seems beside the point.

    There seems some suggestion that the umpire may have called over or at least implied the end of the over by moving to return the bowler’s sweater to him, but this seems unlikely to me. The umpire would not call over until the ball is dead, which would have been after calling four or after the ball was returned to the bowler. If the umpire had called over prior to such events, then the batsmen would have been correct in then walking off and Bell should be not out. However, such a call of over would have been incorrect, and doesn’t seem to have happened, so we are really getting into hypotheticals.

    As I see it, out, and India were bullied into withdrawing the appeal. If there is any lack of sportsmanship here, it came from England, not India. (There seems to be little bad blood over the issue, though. It’s more a strange incident that a particularly controversial one, as I see it).

    Also, I love the fact that we are discussing the relevance of whether the umpire moved to return the batsman’s sweater to him. Cricket is the best.

    England have now won the game, very comprehensively. They have been very impressive in the game and the series so far.

  • rob

    With regard to the appeal being withdrawn, law 27.8 states that the captain must withdraw the appeal before the outgoing batsman has left the field of play – presumably why the batsmen were told not to leave the field until a decision had been made.

    I suppose the umpires would now argue the withdrawal was accepted under law 43 – use common sense – but it wouldn’t convince me. I agree with your and Boycott/Shastri’s opinion that it was a silly mistake but still out.

  • David Roberts

    Brian, wow, this the first time in the years that I have been reading your articles that I disagree. The Indian Team insisting that their feeling that it was not right for Bell to be out, showed that whilst rules are a good servant to humanity, they are not our master. The sage Geoffrey said that common sense has prevailed. Or as another great man said, “What knows he of cricket , that only cricket knows”.

  • There are certainly precedents for appeals being withdrawn during an interval when something untoward has happened just before the interval, and the batsman being recalled at the end of the interval or even the next morning. I agree that this doesn’t seem entirely in keeping with what the laws say.

    I recall a recent incident in lower level limited over cricket (IPL? Don’t think so. Something) in which a batsman was given out by an umpire and commenced walking off. His teammates were watching the game on TV and realised from the TV replays that he was possibly not out. They then ran to the boundary to prevent him from crossing it and the dismissal therefore becoming final. He then went back to the centre of the ground, appealed the decision to the TV umpire, and was given not out.

    So in that instance the “When the batsman crosses the boundary the decision is final” rule was taken quite seriously.

  • On the other hand, running people out who are inexplicably standing out of their ground in the middle of the pitch while unsure what is happening in the outfield is historically one of the classic ways of dismissing Indian batsmen. That Indians have been prone to doing things like this for much of their cricketing history is one reason why many Indian teams have not quite been the sums of their parts. India in recent years have got over things like this, and if they are now going to inflict it on their opponents, this is good.

    Bell yesterday made a silly, careless error of this kind, and he deserved to suffer the consequences.

  • Antoine Clarke

    I was glad he didn’t go to score another 150.

    But in answer to this comment:
    how exactly does a fielder not realize that the ball has stayed in at his feet

    The fielder dives onto the ball and hits the rope that indicates the boundary.

    If he taps the ball (and is no longer touching it when his body reaches the rope) it is not a boundary (4 runs).

    But if he is in contact with the ball (hands, body, the sleeve of his jersey) and the boundary rope for a millisecond, it’s a four. I’m more inclined to believe a player who says “I don’t know” than someone who claims to always know the answer.

    I’ve seen cases where a fielder taps the ball short, gets up (in the process having a foot outside the boundary) and pick up the ball. Clearly unintentional as this is a four.

  • Jim

    I’m with Brian and Sir Geoffrey. I play cricket and its drummed into you from an early age – Dont leave you ground unless you are a) running or b) sure the umpire has called over or the ball is dead. Simple as that. Bell should know it, and if he didn’t he should have found out the hard way.

    I was involved in an incident once, as the bowler. I bowled the ball, the batman whacked it towards midwicket. The non striking batsman though it had gone passed the fielder so started to run. The fielder pulled off a great save, and threw the ball to me. The non striker did a desperate turn around and dive and just got his bat over the crease. However I continued to hold the ball by the stumps, threatening them, so the ball was not dead. As the batsman stood up he lifted his bat in the air and he was still out of his crease. So I took the bails off and appealed. The umpire said Not Out, on the grounds he thought the ball was dead. Not the correct decision IMO, but as they say, the umpires decision is final. (Unless it gets overturned by the DRS of course!!).

  • Ivan D

    On Saturday I watched a wonderful day’s cricket in a great atmosphere with fans of India and England. Ian Bell played scored one of the most delightful centuries I have ever seen and I found myself leaping to my feet and applauding wildly when he reached that milestone. I am normally not that demonstrative but the performance and mood warranted it.

    He may have made a schoolboy error but the run out was not a fitting end to such a performance and it is not a dismissal that could have given the Indian team any real pleasure. I am not convinced that the withdrawal was the result of the Indian team being bullied by anybody, and believe their explanation.

    I believe that in upholding the spirit of the game above the letter of the law, that the Indian showed themselves to be lions rather than suckers and to be frank, I find your post cynical and depressing.

  • Ivan D

    Yes, I agree with you that “suckers” is too strong. When I used that word, I was trying to sketch out the extremes of the debate as it was developing, and as I was following it. (I wrote an earlier version of the first half of this posting yesterday afternoon, when the arguing was at its fiercest.) There are far less extreme versions of the argument that the Indians, like Bell, made an error, and I should probably have expressed my preferred version of the argument more accurately, and more respectfully.

    Because I do respect the Indian cricket team in general, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in particular, a lot. I think they have done wonders for the morale of millions of their fellow countrymen, e.g. by winning the World Cup, and with all their various exciting contributions to the IPL

    I also, like you, entirely believe the Indian team when they (in the person of Rahul Dravid) said that they weren’t happy about how Bell was run out, that it felt bad, and that this was why they withdrew the appeal.

    But dismissals in cricket often fail to give pleasure either to some spectators, wanting, like you, a “fitting end” to a brilliant innings (such as Bell’s innings unquestionably was, until he made what you and I and he all agree was that error), or to the opposite side, who might also have preferred a brilliant catch or a snorting delivery that splattered the stumps everywhere, rather than a freakish blunder by their hitherto dominant opponent. Tough. Sometimes, as a sportsman, you have to be content with a messy result, in rather the way that Kevin Pietersen was content to make a lot of “dirty runs” in his first innings double century at Lord’s, before finally cutting loose. Okay, the Bell run out would have been a very messy success indeed for the Indians. But the Indians, I believe, owed it their supporters to take whatever bits of messy success (aka dumb luck) that came their way.

    My feeling about this is influenced by seeing enraged and deeply unhappy comments from Indian cricket fans raging against Dhoni for being so damned “sportsmanlike”, instead of scrapping (by which they absolutely did not mean cheating) like he should have, and by reading and hearing similar arguments from non-Indians. Many frustrated Indian fans definitely saw this decision as evidence of a general lack of toughness on the part of their team in this game, certainly towards the end of it. I entirely see where such Indian fans are coming from. I think I agree with them.

    However – and I hope this doesn’t sound patronising – let me repeat that I respect, even though I happen to disagree with, opinion like yours on this matter, and I can well imagine myself changing my mind about this at some point in the future. I am not a cynic about cricket, or about what it means to people in many different parts of the world. It’s not that I think that the “spirit of cricket” doesn’t count for anything. Rather do I think that this idea was misapplied, in this particular case.

    The serious, Samizdata-type point in all this, for me, is not: whether or not the Indians were right to withdraw their appeal, and still less what I personally think about that. It is: how the new social media have changed the setting in which arguments like this one now take place, and changed it greatly for the better.

  • To that I will add that the word “bullied” (as used by me) was too strong, too. It appears more that Dhoni was asked politely to withdraw the appeal, and that he then did so.

    That said, I don’t think it was appropriate for Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower to have gone into the Indian dressing room in the tea interval to ask Dhoni to withdraw the appeal, unless at the invitation of Dhoni. As I saw it, it was a fair if somewhat unusual dismissal, and was due to a bit of a mixup and confusion (that included a clear error on the part of Bell) rather than skill. But dismissals due to mixups happen all the time. It was ultimately a fair dismissal, and I don’t think England had huge cause to complain. If Dhoni wanted to withdraw the appeal on his own volition, he was well within his rights to, but if he didn’t I think Strauss, Flower and Bell should simply have copped it.

  • Alan Little

    > an aging and ailing Indian team, now past its peak.

    … that very recently won the world championship [in a different form of cricket]

    ???

    I know very little about cricket, but am having difficulty reconciling this. I don’t doubt that you know what you’re talking about, though.

  • Jim

    @Alan Little: India recently won the World Cup of cricket, which is a shortened version of the game. Each side bats for 50 overs and the winner is the one with the most runs. There are restrictions on all sorts of things – how many overs each bowler can bowl, and where you can place the fielders for example. This tournament took place in India so they had home advantage, and the shorter version saps the players energy less, so India, with its contingent of ageing superstars can continue to perform to a high standard.

    Test cricket on the other hand takes place over 5 days, and you need to be on top form both mentally and physically for the entire match to compete and win. India have just come straight from a long series in the West Indies. Their players are a) tired, b) playing in conditions they don’t experience that often (as shown by the way they capitulated against the quick short pitched bowling yesterday) and c) ageing – probably half the team are close to retirement.

    England on the other hand are on the way up – they have a squad of players now such that (particularly in the bowling department) when one is injured a replacement of equal (or arguably better) quality is available. Tremlett was injured after Lords, and was replaced by Bresnan who scored 90 and took 5 wickets. Steve Finn who is the youngest Englishman to take 50 Test wickets can’t even get in the team at the moment.

  • Alan

    Jim described it all well. Although, in my very next sentence, I said that all this could change in the next game. Everyone is now saying India were smashed at Trent Bridge, and in the end they were, but until tea time on the second day, they were ahead.

    India now remind me of England about a decade ago, when they too used to suffer from injuries to key players. I seem to recall England losing a young but injured and, even when not injured, rather unfit Flintoff for an entire Ashes tour.

    One of the reasons that the IPL, with its ultra-short, twenty overs each way format is such a great pension scheme for cricket stars who are, as test cricketers, past it, is that a great but aging player can indeed still offer short bursts of true brilliance, either with bat or ball. Hayden, Warne, Malinga, Gilchrist, Brett Lee, and several more whose names I can’t now think of, have done very well in the IPL, after retiring from test cricket. Chris Gayle looks like he could be another, unless the Windies get him back into their fold. The trick seems to be to stop playing test matches before the effort of playing tests injures you badly and permanently, and stops you playing in the IPL either.

    It all rather reminds me of a movie I saw a while ago, about Babe Ruth. Assuming the movie had it about right, the Babe, by the end of his career, could hardly walk, but he could still hit home runs.

    Botham would have loved the IPL.

  • And yes, that recent tour of the West Indies has clearly not helped India in this series. I was a little critical of Tendulkar for missing it, but he may have had a point. Since October, India have hosted Australia for tests and ODIs, hosted NZ for ODIs, toured South Africa for tests and ODIs, played the World Cup (an incredibly stressful event for them although at home), their players have played in the IPL, then they have toured the West Indies for tests and ODIs and then they are now on this tour of England. England on the other had had a tour of Australia, followed by a World Cup in which they fell apart and went home relatively early, then a relatively low stress home series against Sri Lanka. So England were certainly fresher for this series. On the other hand, India’s best batsmen are tired and their best bowlers are injured.

  • Isn’t this a much nicer discussion than the ones we had after the News of the World exposed the Pakistanis taking bribes last year?

    Although I suppose that won’t happen again.

  • Alan Little

    Thank you all for the informative responses. I recall Brian blogging during the World Cup about England underperforming because they went into the tournament tired. Sounds like India are now in a similar situation whereas England are not.

    Your points about one day cricket being easier for the older player are interesting and, for me, counterintuitive. A priori I wold have expected a “sprint” version of the game to favour youthful speed and strength, whereas the longer format would allow more scope for years of accumulated tactical and technical cunning to shine through. But I suppose one can only bring tactical and technical cunning to bear if one also still has the physical stamina to keep performing the whole time.

  • Jim

    @Alan Little: I was thinking about that yesterday and came to the conclusion that cricket is a balancing act between youthful exuberance and experience. Generally speaking, yes, experience is the way to bet. An experienced team will beat (more times than not) an equally talented but less experienced team. But there comes a tipping point (and I discovered this myself in my own cricketing career, even at the low level I play) when the desire to win drops off, usually coinciding with the ageing process giving you a few big nudges. Then all your experience counts for little if you have become jaded and blase about the game. It is very difficult to keep a high level of intensity, both mental and physical, when you can see the retirement post up ahead.

    But that’s why the shorter format of the game allows the older player to continue – if you only have to bowl 10 overs per game, and field for 50 maximum, and you can bat in an attacking way without having to worry too much about the result, you can maintain intensity for those short periods. 20/20 is just the natural progression of that – the IPL has been a pension fund for numerous otherwise retired international cricketers.

    Sportsmen should really retire the moment they first consider it seriously. Once you say ‘I’ll retire at the end of next season’, it makes it very hard to concentrate as well for that last period, and keep the physical efforts up too. Far too many great cricketers keep going well past their peak, somewhat sullying their reputations as a result. Botham was a classic case. Far better to go out at the top – I thought the way Nasser Hussain retired was perfect – won a game for England with an unbeaten hundred, and retired completely from all cricket, making way for Michael Vaughan to take his place as England captain.

  • It depends on the type of player, too. Fast bowlers are amongst the most glamorous of cricketers, but fast bowling takes a tremendous toll on the body. Fast bowlers break down a lot with all kinds of horrible back (and to a lesser extent leg and neck) injuries. In a test match, they may be asked to bowl as many as 100 overs. Do this, have stress fractures of the back, and make a recovery, and you will not have the stamina you did before. You may well not be able to bowl 100 (or even 50) overs in a match, and if you try it you will just break down again. On the other hand, bowl four overs in an IPL match and you probably won’t.

    There have been fast bowlers (Dennis Lillee and Richard Hadlee come to mine) who have had serious injuries, have come back from them, have completely redesigned their actions so as to bowl in such a way that the bowling applies less strain to their bodies and have made up for the loss of raw pace by having more control, more knowledge of their art and more tactical skill, but such players are rare. Those two in particular are amongst the greatest bowlers of all time, at least partly because they did this. It would be a shame for these players in particular to have just gone off and played 20 over cricket, but I suspect that they wouldn’t have, even now.

    Similar arguments apply to other types of bowler and other types of player, although in a less extreme way. (In truth though, Shane Warne wasn’t much less extreme. He had a number of serious injuries and operations on his bowling hand and wrist, and came back a different but no less effective bowler).

  • Johnathan Pearce

    As an Englishman who has played cricket a bit, it is my embarrassing note to say that I am totally baffled by this whole saga. I’d need to watch it on video to work out what everyone is on about.

  • Ivan D

    @ Michael and Brian,

    I rarely comment this late after a post but I would like to take the time to thank you both for responding to my original comment. Much appreciated. In response:

    Although India did nothing wrong, bearing in mind that players on both sides felt that the ball was dead and it was tea interval, did the fielder really need to remove the bails? He had a choice. Personally I would have out of sheer joyful mischief but I would probably have withdrawn my appeal.

    Whatever the online reaction, I was sitting with supporters of both teams and I know that the Indian fans were not entirely comfortable with the decision at tea. The Indian team’s subsequent decision was greeted with respect by all around me at the ground and a section of England fans launched into a hearty three cheers for India.

    Take your points from the Samizdata perspective but you cannot beat a bit of local colour from an “on the spot reporter” On the ground it felt right and I remain convinced that India’s discomfort was a more significant factor than the Andrew’s intervention. Maybe that is because I am a big softy who likes to believe the best of people.

    One thing that I did find puzzling was the decision not to announce the withdrawn appeal until both sides were on the pitch which led to the Indian side having to take the field to loud booing.

  • Pat

    I have no idea whether the Indians were suckers or not, but by your account they clearly acted as gentlemen. It is arguable thet they calculated a reputation as gentlemen to be worth more than one wicket- so perhaps they were not suckers and were led to act as gentlemen by their long term self interest? Whatever led them to act as gentlemen, let us be grateful that they did.

  • Rich Rostrom

    This incident is reminiscent of the “hidden ball play” in baseball.

    A runner has reached first base, and takes a short lead toward second base. The pitcher throws to first, forcing the runner to return to the base, or be tagged out. The firstbaseman then fakes throwing the ball back to the pitcher, leaving the ball hidden inside his glove. A careless runner may be fooled by the firstbaseman’s motion, and take his lead again, allowing him to be tagged out.

    Another relevant incident was Merkle’s Boner in 1908, in a game between the New York Giants and Chicago Cubs.

    It was the second half of the ninth (last) inning, with the Giants at bat. The score was tied with two outs. Rookie Fred Merkle was on first base, and another runner was at third. The batter drove a hit into the outfield, allowing the runner at third to score the winning run. Jubilant fans swarmed onto the field, and Merkle went directly to his team’s dugout. He did not tag second base.

    Because the batter was advancing to first base, Merkle was forced to go to second base. If a fielder holding the ball touched second base before Merkle did, Merkle would be “forced out.” It would be the third out, ending the inning, and an inning-ending forceout pre-empts any other action on the play, including any runs scored.

    That’s what happened: the Cubs saw Merkle go off the field, took the ball to second for the forceout, and appealed to the umpires. The umpires ruled that Merkle was forced out, and cancelled the run. The game was terminated for darkness as a tie.

    The incident was especially poignant because the Giants ended the season in a tie with the Cubs for first place, and lost the replay of that game.

    Merkle later became a star player for the Giants, but he was forever known as “Bonehead” Merkle.