Friday, January 23, 2009

More On The Ladder

Let's review: Shaughnessy writes book, mentions two occasions in which the ladder on the Green Monster was hit by a fly ball, resulting in an inside-the-park home run. People in turn use this story to state, when talking about the ladder, that it's been hit by fly balls "at least twice" in history.

Recently, John Beamer writes a piece that says "In fact, the ladder has only been hit twice."

This is so very wrong.

Stand at the base of The Wall, and you'll see the incredible amount of dents in it. It's blanketed with them. This alone should tell you that in all these decades, the ladder has to have been hit more than twice. Line to attract people using search engines: The ladder on the Green Monster at Fenway Park has been hit numerous times over the years.

Here's what I found doing a quick news search:

James Shealy ball in 2006 that hit the ladder and went for a triple--this was on my birthday, I saw this play live.

April 28th, 2004, Manny hit a double off the ladder.

Todd Walker hit it in September 2003.

Mo Vaughn did in in April '94.

Wade Boggs claimed in an article he only hit it once in his career.

Ty Wigginton said in his first game playing left at Fenway, a ball hit the ladder. (Funny thing about that one--this story about that game mentions that he bobbled a carom off the Monster without mentioning the ladder, yet it also talks about the term "climbing the ladder," which Curt Schilling apparently did to him that day. That's a pretty crazy coincidence.)

So obviously this is something that happens now and then. Not just twice. "At least twice" is technically correct, but even that implies only two instances have been recorded.

Beamer's piece was written to try to solve another myth, which is that a ball off the ladder is a ground rule triple. He writes: "It simply isn’t true. Or if it is it certainly doesn’t make it into MLB’s official ground-rule list." Why does he say "if it is"? The rule about the ladder is right there on the list he links: A ball hitting the ladder and going out of play counts as a double. Not that I had to look that up--I've only read that Fenway ground rules list with its talk of yellow lines a million times since 1979.

I contacted Beamer about the ladder stuff--he has yet to respond or change his article, but maybe he just didn't get the email. He wrote a really good piece, but just must of been a little high for that one section about the ladder. It happens to the best of us.

As for Shaughnessy's two inside the park homers--I've written about them in the past. While I never did find proof of them, Jim Lemon's son (!) commented on my piece confirming his dad's homer.


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