“Remarkable Baseball Stunt”

15 Jan

In the 1890s, there was a “baseball puzzle” that was said to have confounded Baltimore Orioles catcher Wilbert Robinson for days.  How could a team hit two triples and four singles in an inning and not score a run?

His confusion probably says more about Robinson than the complexity of the puzzle.  The answer was the first two hitters tripled and were out trying to stretch them into home runs.  Three players hit singles to load the bases.  The fourth hitter singles, but the ball strikes a runner ending the inning.

Wilbert robinson

Wilbert Robinson

In 1912, a sportswriter in The Toronto Globe claimed that a similar inning had actually occurred in a minor league game in 1890.

The Pittsburgh Gazette-Times called it a “Remarkable baseball stunt.”

While there’s no proof the story isn’t apocryphal, both papers said it took place on May 30, 1890, in an Indiana League game and the members of the Anderson, Indiana team mentioned in the articles all did play for Anderson in 1890. (Although Baseball Reference doesn’t list statistics or rosters for the 1890 Indiana League, all the named players are confirmed as having played for that team in a variety of contemporaneous sources.)

According to the story Benjamin Ireland led off the inning with a triple.  With Ed Wiswell at the plate, the ball got away from the catcher, Ireland was out trying to score.  Wiswell tripled, but was tagged out trying to stretch the triple.  Rush Shumway followed with the third triple of the inning.

With Shumway on third Gene Derby bunted down the third base line that the third baseman waited to roll foul, “It stayed (fair) and (Derby) pulled up at second.  (Shumway) did not try to score.”

The fifth batter, Charles Faatz, also bunted.  The runners held as Faatz beat out the bunt.  Frank Fear was the next batter and “hit a vicious liner to right, but the ball struck Faatz on the arm.”

Three triples, two singles, no runs.

A remarkable inning.

6 Responses to ““Remarkable Baseball Stunt””


  1. Jot Goar | Baseball History Daily - May 15, 2013

    […] pro teams in that state during the early 90s.  In one version of a story I told in January (“Remarkable Baseball Stunt”), “Baseball Magazine” identified Goar as the pitcher who gave up six hits in one […]

  2. Lost Advertisements–”Kid” Gleason for Cat’s Paw Rubber Heels | Baseball History Daily - November 22, 2013

    […] Walter Johnson, John J. McGraw, Edward G. Barrow, James Burke, Miller Huggins, W.R. Johnston, Wilbert Robinson, Walter J. Maranville and many others who appreciate the comfort and protection which Cat’s […]

  3. 11,297,424 | Baseball History Daily - September 12, 2014

    […] witnessed was pulled off on the old Baltimore grounds along in 1896, and it was good-natured, happy Wilbert Robinson who made the blunder that resulted in the defeat of the Orioles when they might have won the […]

  4. “Random Notes on the Leading Members of the Brotherhood.” | Baseball History Daily - September 29, 2014

    […] “Faatz is the most expert poker player in the United States.  He has a passionate love for diamonds and always carries in his shirt bosom and cuffs $1,500 worth of these gems…He also has a snug sum in the bank.  Faatz always takes in the prize fights and the dog disputes which occur in his vicinity.  He is a level-headed, clear thinker, and the orator o the Brotherhood. […]

  5. Jennings “Hurled an Unmentionable Epithet at him” | Baseball History Daily - February 2, 2015

    […] “Wee Willie” Keeler was allegedly “choked and beaten,” five other Orioles, Joe Kelley, Wilbert Robinson, Steve Brodie, Bowerman, and Jennings “were more or less […]

  6. Baseball's weirdest inning | MLB.com - Ball & Bells - November 6, 2020

    […] does something this ridiculous happen? Well, according to this snippet from The Toronto Globe, this is how. As Samuel L. Jackson might say, hold onto your […]

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