On Saturday, in the process of trying to reel back a home run, Yankees outfielder Chris Young lost his glove over the center field wall at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Brett Gardner leaped into action, literally, scaling the fence to go get it. Joe Girardi was not pleased (“We’ve seen guys hit a home run, jump up and land on the plate and break an ankle,” he said in a Newsday report), but all’s well that ends well.
Girardi, of course, had the downside of such an action in mind. There is immeasurable upside to such a plan, however, as Rex Hudler—who was seeking a ball, not a glove—related in The Baseball Codes.
In 1996, Angels utility man Rex Hudler viciously lit into rookie teammate Todd Greene for boarding the team plane ahead of some veterans. It didn’t make much difference to Hudler that Greene couldn’t have been greener—it was his ﬁrst day as a major-leaguer—but the following evening, when the young catcher connected for his ﬁrst-ever home run, Hudler atoned. The game was at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, and as soon as the inning ended, Hudler—out of the game and with a baseball in each hand—dashed to the outﬁeld fence near the bleachers where the ball landed and offered a two-for-one deal to whoever caught Greene’s homer. Before he could get a response, though, the inning break ended and Hudler found himself urged back to the dugout by center ﬁelder Jim Edmonds. Rather than give up his quest, however, the player vaulted into the stands and watched the Tigers’ half of the inning from the bleachers. It was more than enough to win over the locals, and Greene’s ball was offered up in short order. “When I came back in, everyone was going, ‘What the hell were you doing out there?’ ” said Hudler. “I went up to Greene and said, ‘Greenie, I got your ball for you, man!’ You’d have thought I gave him a ten-carat diamond. And now every time I see him he tells someone, ‘Hud went out into the center-ﬁeld stands and got my ball for me.’ He never forgets—it’s a form of love.”
[HT/Big League Stew]