34 years ago today, the iconic George Brett Pine Tar Incident happened at Yankee Stadium
It was one of the wildest scenes to ever take place on the diamond. On July 24, 1983, Royals star George Brett stepped up in the ninth inning against Hall of Famer Goose Gossage and hit a home run to right field, putting Kansas City up, 5-4.
And then ... it happened. Yankees manager Billy Martin asked the umpiring crew, led by Tim McClelland, to review Brett's bat for a potential pine tar infraction. After a conference, it was upheld, Brett was retroactively ruled out, and ... well, you know the scene:
Today marks the 34th anniversary of that fateful day at Yankee Stadium, one that led to the Royals protesting the ruling. MLB would uphold their protest, ordering the game to be resumed a few weeks later. Kansas City won the suspended game, 5-4, and Brett's controversial homer stood -- but his ejection from the game also stood, as well.
It was obviously a sequence of events nobody will ever forget, and the image of an irate Brett storming out of the dugout to protest the call is among the game's most iconic. In the years since, Brett has accepted the incident as one of his career highlights, and maintained a pretty honest and open take on it:
"It's a positive thing. It wasn't a ground ball that went through my legs or a strikeout ... I hit a home run off one of the toughest relief pitchers in baseball," he said a few years ago when looking back on the day:
The Pine Tar Incident is even the subject of a book from Filip Bondy, a publication that offers up this fantastic quote from Brett, speaking further about the moment:
"McClelland starts looking for me and he points to me and calls me out and I'm heading out there," Brett said. "I blanked out. I still got a sore neck from Brinkman's headlock, though it's getting better. To hit a home run off Goose was a big thrill, and then to have it taken away off a trivial portion of the rule book, I just lost it. I looked like my father chasing me around after I brought home my report card."
McClelland, who retired before the 2015 season after more than three decades in the game, also offered up some candid recollections from the day.
"I knew he really wasn't going to hit me or run over me. If he did, I'd probably own the Kansas City Royals right now."
The frustration on Brett's face after his game-changing homer was taken away is universal -- who hasn't felt that type of emotion for one reason or another?
And it's only fitting that the 34th anniversary of that special afternoon in New York, falls on a Monday. If you find yourself sitting at work today, frustrated about this or that, just remember: Brett also felt pretty frustrated at his job on July 24, 1983, but in the end it's only good memories that last.