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The secret and long forgotten unwritten rules of baseball

I’d bet you’ve never heard of any of these

San Diego Padres v Texas Rangers Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

We might have lost 102 games of the 2020 season but we sure didn’t lose the annual opportunity to be outraged by the outdated/dumb/useless unwritten rules of baseball. Late Monday night, Fernando Tatis Jr. spat in the face of old man baseball heads across the universe by smashing a 3-0 fastball (located on the low outside corner btw) into the opposite field seats in the 8th inning of a 10-3 ballgame. This act of war against the purity of baseball sent social media into a frenzy, mostly in support of Tatis’ savagery.

You know the drill, the Rangers needed to police the young buck so they threw at the next hitter, Manny Machado.

So that got me thinking about the other unwritten rules of baseball and boy did I find some doozies in my research. So I gathered up the craziest ones and packaged them together for you here along with the last time the rare occurrences happened.

Rule #1: If a pitcher attempts to pick off a runner six consecutive times without success, he must remove his athletic supporter from his pants and wear it around his neck for the remainder of the game.

Last time this was seen: August 1, 1924. Washington Senator’s second baseman, Bucky Harris, led off the 4th inning with a bunt single (old school small ball!!!) and his speed was no secret, especially when he had just told reporters prior to the game that he was going to steal four bases that day. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Leo Dickerman, heard those reports and decided to keep Harris honest with six consecutive throws over. Once Harris made it back successfully the 6th time, he jumped up in celebration as the Cardinals’ veteran catcher, Mike Gonzalez, helped Dickerman to remove his jock strap and cup and securely fashion it around his neck. Despite the added accessory, Dickerman threw over a seventh time and successfully picked Harris off. After, Dickerman finished the day with a complete game shutout of the Senators after throwing 178 pitches on the day.

Rule #2: In a bases loaded, full count, and two outs situation, if the batter has seven consecutive foul balls, he must put the babies of the entire team to bed that night. One night is added for every foul ball after seven.

Last time this was seen: June 17, 1962. Kansas City A’s catcher, Haywood Sullivan, stepped to the plate with a full count, two outs, and the bases juiced. Sullivan proceeded to fight off six consecutive spit balls from Yankees reliever, Tex Clevenger. Knowing the unwritten but super official and in no way dumb rules of baseball, the Yankees began crying like babies to get into Haywood’s head. The gamesmanship worked as Sullivan crushed a seventh consecutive spit ball 480’ from home plate, but just outside the foul pole. Haywood would go on to strike out in the at bat and send an, unheard of, fifteen unfamiliar infants to bed that night.

Rule #3: If a team is caught illegally stealing signs through the use of technology, the team must throw the manager/general manager under the bus and act like they had nothing to do with it and that it didn’t actually help them. In return, the players should serve no formal punishment.

Last time this was seen: I think you know this one.

Rule #4: If a pinch hitter is injured during an at bat, the player he was pinch hitting for must marry the closest single female relative of the pinch hitter.

Last time this was seen: September 10, 1914. Backup catcher for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops, Yip Owens, pinch hit for regular backstop, Grover Land, and was struck by a pitch, injuring his elbow and missing the rest of the season. Yip, being the traditionalist that he is, married Grover’s mom, Gertrude, as she had been a widow for the previous five years. Yip was said to have reenergized “GiGi” with youth and the two were married for the next 35 years. Sometimes baseball is so romantic.

Rule #5: If a batter strikes out with the bases loaded, that player but immediately be thrown into a lake after the game.

Last time this was seen: August 18, 2020. Down 1-0 in the 4th, the St. Louis Cardinals managed to load the bases against Cubs starter, Yu Darvish. Dylan Carlson grounded into a fielder’s choice before Dexter Fowler struck out in five pitches. After losing the game, a small group of Cardinals veterans allegedly snuck Fowler out of the team hotel (breaking COVID protocol but in the name of baseball purity so it’s fine), and threw him into Lake Michigan.