Was an NBA Hall of Famer Ejected From an MLB Game Despite Never Actually Appearing in an MLB 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: Bill Sharman was ejected from a game in the Majors but never actually played a game in the Majors.

The late, great Bill Sharman is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (as a longtime star for the Boston Celtics) and as a coach (as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers when they set a then-record for the most wins in a single season with 69 wins – since surpassed by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls). I actually featured a basketball legend about Sharman’s early experiences coaching Wilt Chamberlain awhile back (you can read it here).

However, in his early years as a Celtic, Sharman also split time playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers’ minor league team. He was in the Dodger system from 1950 through 1955 (he was a Celtic from 1951-1961).

Sharman actually got called up to the Majors on September 27, 1951. That might have been the beginning of a new era in his life, except for a close play at the plate.

You see, in a game between the Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers on that date, a Brave was called safe on a close play at the plate. The Dodgers disagree vociferously, and the umpire ejected the catcher and the pitcher plus he insisted that the players who were giving him guff from the bench leave the dugout – Sharman included!

The tricky thing is that while they were all told to leave the dugout, they were not actually ejected. They just weren’t allowed in the dugout. For instance, one of the players who was exiled, Wayne Terwilliger, was allowed to return to pinch-hit later in the game.

Sharman did not get back into the Majors.

However, being a two-time Hall of Famer in Basketball, I think Sharman was okay with it all…

The legend is…


Thanks to reader Hugh O’Malley. I don’t recall if he suggested this particular story, but he did suggest I do more stories on Sharman, so close enough! Thanks, Hugh!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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