The broken-bat Scutaro skip? It's happened before

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
12:46
AM ET
BOSTON--Yes, it was bizarre, Yes it was rare. But a broken bat and ground ball converging on an infielder at the same time, the way they diid for Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro on Thursday night? It's happened before, and to someone currently wearing a Red Sox uniform.

Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan was playing first base for the New York Mets on June 1, 1991, against the St. Louis Cardinals. We'll let the great Marty Noble, then working for Newsday, describe what happened in the 10th inning of a 6-5 Cardinals win, on the last play of the game.

"With Gerald Perry on third base and two out, Milt Thompson hit a weak, broken-bat ground ball to the right side. No problem. Dick Stuart or Bill Buckner could have handled it. But as the ball traveled toward Dave Magadan, so did the barrel of Thompson's severed bat. And they arrived simultaneously.

"Although he had every intention of making the play, Magadan fell victim to his reflexes and involuntary sense of self-preservation. He ducked. The ball glanced off his leg and bounced away. Perry scored.

"You can't make a better or nastier pitch than Johnny did," David Cone said. "And that's what you get? Mags would have lost his jugular [vein] if he hung in there . . . There's just no way that can happen."

"No one in the Mets' clubhouse could recall anything remotely close to it. "Yeah, leave it to me to come up with a first," Magadan said. "I didn't see the bat at first, I saw the ball. It would have been a pretty routine play even though Milt can run. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the bat. I thought I could handle the ball and then get out of the way, but they came at the same exact time. I'm not sure where it would have hit me, but it was right there. The guys said it would have got me in the head or the neck."

"If he doesn't duck, we've got another Steve Yeager," Cone said, recalling the injury the former Dodgers catcher suffered when struck by a piece of bat while kneeling in the on-deck circle.

Franco approached Magadan in the clubhouse and, with a straight face, said, "C'mon Mags, you've gotta take that one in the neck for me." After a brief pause, he laughed. And so did Magadan.''

My thanks to ESPN crack researcher Mark Simon for his phenomenal memory.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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