In lieu of actual baseball, I’ll be posting snippets that were cut from The Baseball Codes as a way of amusing myself and, hopefully, you. Today’s theme: Talking during a no-hitter.
Brooklyn’s Rex Barney had just finished his seventh no-hit inning against the Cubs in 1949 when he bragged on the bench to Ralph Branca that he was going to complete the task.
Branca was incredulous that he’d even mention the event, at which point Barney explained that the only stout hitter he’d have to face over the final two frames was Phil Cavarretta. “If I get him out, they’re dead,” he said.
Cavarretta led off the eighth. Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella signaled for a first-pitch curveball, but Barney, figuring that Cavarretta would be taking, shook the catcher off and threw a fastball. Cavarretta rifled it through the right side for a clean single.
Barney finished the inning (and the game) without further incident, but as he was walking off the mound after the eighth, Campanella approached him. “Don’t ever shake me off again,” he said, “You know I’m smarter than you are.”