Was Lou Piniella Once Thrown Out at Every Base in a Single Game?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about baseball and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the baseball urban legends featured so far.

BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: Lou Piniella was the first major league baseball player to be thrown out at every base/plate in a single game!

Lou Piniella was originally drafted in 1962 when he was just 18 years old (he turned 19 a couple of months later).

He spent a good long time in the minor leagues for a few different clubs. Piniella has the interesting distinction of being drafted by two different teams in the Major League Expansion Draft.

The Los Angeles Angels took him in the 1962 Expansion Draft and the Seattle Pilots took him in the 1969 Expansion Draft.

In both cases, the teams then traded him to another team.

The Pilots traded him to the Kansas City Royals and finally, in 1969, Piniella became a regular major league player. He went on to win the 1969 Rookie of the Year Award.

Piniella was noted in how aggressive he played the game, but at times, that aggressiveness did not always pay off, noted by an early game in the 1970 season (April 16, 1970 to be precise) in Milwaukee that the Royals played the Brewers.

With two outs and two men on in the first, Piniella (batting fifth, natch) reached on a error by Brewers shortstop Ted Kubiak.

The next batter, Luis Alcaraz, smacked a double to left field that scored the lead runners, but Piniella was nailed at home plate trying to score.

In the third inning, Piniella hit a three-run home run, putting the Royals up 6-1.

In the fifth inning, Piniella hit a single to right field but was forced out at second base on a ground ball by Alcarez.

In the seventh inning, Piniella hit a single to right field. Alcarez followed with a single that sent Piniella to third base. Then, inexplicably, Piniella was picked off third base by a snap throw by Brewers catcher Jerry McNertney!

Finally, in the ninth inning, with a man on first base, Piniella hit a ground ball and was thrown out at first.

So somehow, Piniella managed to get thrown out at every base on the field, plus home plate!

Luckily, though, the Royals won the game by two runs (8-6) and Piniella DID hit a three-run home run, so he shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

Amazingly enough, the next season, Piniella almost topped this feat in a game in August of 1971 against the Oakland Athletics in Kansas City!

In that game (a K.C. loss, 7-5), Piniella was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple TWICE!!! And he ALSO thrown out at home trying to score from second base on a single! THREE base-running outs!! That’s amazing.

Piniella was traded by the Royals in 1973 to the New York Yankees, where Piniella played the rest of his career, eventually managing the team, as well (Piniella went on to become an especially acclaimed manager, still noted by his aggressiveness!).

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is [email protected]

2 Responses to “Was Lou Piniella Once Thrown Out at Every Base in a Single Game?”

  1. Two things: first, I submit that MLB should adopt a term for this infamous feat. I suggest ‘shitting for the cycle’. Anyone want to start a petition? 😉
    Second (responding to kc royals comment), I almost never call anyone out (so to speak) for unkind remarks on blogs, which often stem from their personal bias, subliminal anger, jealously or a lack of knowledge about what they’re weighing in on. This one was just too hard to resist, though. In two short sentences, eleven words total, ‘kc royals’ managed to use ‘bad English’ TWICE while criticizing the authors writing! @kc royals: proper grammar would be ‘You write terribly badly’ or ‘Your writing is terribly bad’. Also, ‘I hope it will be better next time’ or ‘Next time I hope it will be better’ is correct – NOT what you wrote. I think the writing is fine. It’s cogent, informative and entertaining; even the punctuation is correct. Actually, the author is way out of your league, as it were…

  2. Thanks, Paul, but that was actually a spam-bot comment. I think spam-bot creators think general comments, even insults like “Your writing is terrible,” will be less likely to be deleted. Heck, it got past me the first time, but your response made me look at it closer and realize that it was a spam-bot.

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