Manager Mickey Callaway had an embarrassing moment when the Mets batted out of order because of a lineup-card gaffe in the first inning of Wednesday’s game in Cincinnati and lost an Asdrubal Cabrera double because of it.
“It probably cost us the game,” Callaway said after the Mets’ 2-1 loss to the Reds.
The last time the Mets did this was in 1977 during a game in San Diego. The good news for then-manager Joe Frazier was that Padres manager John McNamara didn’t notice the Mets batting out of order until the seventh inning. McNamara informed the umpires and a single by Roy Staiger was negated. But the Mets were leading 8-1 at the time and went on to a 9-2 win.
McNamara has another place in Mets lore. He was the Red Sox manager who didn’t replace Bill Buckner for defense at first base in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
The Mets were the beneficiary when the Reds batted out of order on May 12, 2008. Or at least they should have been.
Mets manager Willie Randolph noticed the Reds sending up the wrong hitter in the ninth inning after a double-switch, but he brought it to the umpires’ attention after incorrect batter David Ross lined out. A manager is supposed to wait until the incorrect batter reaches base to get a free out for his team.
Instead, Ross’ lineout was changed to a putout for the catcher and charged to Corey Patterson, who was supposed to be the batter.
(Why was it charged to Patterson? Because that’s the rule. The same thing happened to poor Jay Bruce on Wednesday. “I’m not really in a position where I just want to be giving away 0-for-1s, you know?” said Bruce, who is batting .235.)
Anyway, Ross came up again and singled. So there was no net gain for the Mets, but they won, 8-3.
This and other batting-out-of-order facts are courtesy of the good folks at Retrosheet.org, who compiled a list of these incidents dating all the way back to Sept. 15, 1881. The first entry reads: “Davy Force of the Buffalo Bisons was called out in a game at Worcester. No further details are known.”
The second entry the following season also involved the Bisons batting out of order. What was going on in Buffalo? Player/manager Jim O’Rourke did make the Hall of Fame in 1945 — but as a player, not a manager.
Callaway’s mistake was the sixth time this century a team has been caught batting out of order because of an incorrect lineup card.
The previous four managers who made the mistake all saw their teams go on to win the game.
The last time was on July 4, 2016, when Brewers manager Craig Counsell gave out an incorrect lineup card and cost Ryan Braun a first-inning single. But Milwaukee won, 1-0, and Counsell is still their manager.
It was Nationals manager Dusty Baker who pointed out the mistake.
“I’ve been a victim of that a couple times on the manager side and once on a hitter side,” Baker said.
On May 4, 1980, Baker batted out of order for the Dodgers and grounded into a forceout. Phillies manager Dallas Green brought it to the umpires’ attention (as with Randolph, he should have waited until the incorrect batter reached base without making an out). Correct hitter Ron Cey was called out and Baker hit again.
This time Baker hit a three-run homer. Green saw red and was ejected from the game even though the umpires got it right.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has three World Series titles on a possible Hall of Fame resume, made the mistake with Buster Posey on July 6, 2013. It was noticed by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and cost Posey an RBI double.
Bochy offered a novel explanation: He was busy trying to finalize the NL roster for the upcoming All-Star Game and didn’t spend the usual amount of time looking at his own lineup card.
“I got a little tied up with the All-Star stuff,” Bochy said. “And when he was getting up there to hit, I realized. I looked. I said, ‘We just hit out of order,’ hoping they don’t notice it. But they picked it up.”
Posey hit again and made an out.
Astros manager Cecil Cooper committed the gaffe on May 20, 2009, in a win over the Brewers. It cost Houston a single by Michael Bourn — until Bourn came up again and walked.
“We have three or four safeguards, two or three coaches and myself,” Cooper said. “And today no one checked it. So we’re all at fault, but I take the blame ultimately because it’s my responsibility. That should be the end of it.”
It was the end of it a few months later when Cooper was fired. But not because of the lineup-card thing. The Astros were 70-79.