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The Pine Tar Game

With Yankees manager Billy Martin looking on, the umpiring crew gauged the pine tar on Brett's bat against home plate which measures 17 inches across.- Getty Images

This image captures one of the most famous capers in baseball history -- The Pine Tar Game. George Brett leaps from the Royals dugout to vehemently dispute the umpires calling him out for using an "illegal" bat. - Royals


The 'Pine Tar Game' which began on July 24, 1983 ended on August 18, 1983 when the Royals returned to Yankee Stadium to play four outs. This is the Royals lineup card from that final chapter in the saga. - Royals

This official press release from the American League announced Lee MacPhail's decision to reverse the call and reinstate George Brett's home run. - Royals


Former President Richard Nixon penned this note to George Brett foreshadowing the disputed call being overturned. After the "Pine Tar Game," George Brett had the support of at least one New Yorker. Former President Richard Nixon, then living in New York, wrote a letter to George after watching the incident on TV. It reads: "Dear George, As one who roots for the home team I am a Yankee fan. As a long time George Brett fan I thought you got a lousy deal. I'll wager they change the rule in the future. In the meantime - Keep slugging." With warm regards, Richard Nixon.

- Royals

Royals general manager John Schuerholz lodged an immediate protest to the American League after the call was made. Page 3 of his very lawyer-like presentation provided his less varnished conclusion and concluded with the flourish: "In conclusion, it is our position that the combination of Billy Martin's incomplete knowledge and comprehension of the official baseball rules (stated above) and his foreboding and intimidating manner, created confusion in the minds of the umpires who misinterpreted the intent and spirit of these same rules." - Royals


Here is the infamous bat itself on display in the Royals Hall of Fame (2009). Notice the red line at the fateful 18-inch mark. The inscription in George Brett's own hand reads, "This is the Pine Tar Bat 7-24-83." - Royals

One thing to notice about the Pine Tar Bat as we can see it today is the lack of pine tar on it. That fact is mainly due to the fact Brett used the bat again the following weekend in Cleveland. He is shown here kissing the bat after its return from the American League office. - Royals