MAy 4, 1937, at Cleveland League Park, the Washington Senators, and Cleveland Indians, were tied 5-5 in the 11th inning. Carl Fisher, came in to pitch the top of the 11th, it was his first appearance for the Tribe in 1937 after missing all of the 1936 season, Fisher walks Ben Chapman and Buddy Lewis singles to start the inning. Fisher gets the next two batters including a strikeout of John Stone.
Tribe manager Steve O’Neill decided to replace Fisher is replaced by Whit Wyatt to face Al Simmons. Simmons, the fading superstar is hitting about .125 at the time, although he did have a key hit earlier in the game doubling in Lewis to tie the score in the 7th. Wyatt pitches carefully to Simmons and walks him to load the bases. Wyatt feeling confident he could get John Mihalic out vs the future hall of famer, Mihalic light-hitter steps in.
Chapman was standing 90 feet away from home, Chapman at the time was considered one of the fastest men in baseball had led the league in steals 4 times and ironically caught stealings 4 times. He was a fiery player who was known mostly for his verbal attack on Jackie Robinson in 1947.
The Senators aware of their odds with Mihalic and the speedy Chapman aboard attempt to pull off one of the rarest plays in baseball, a triple steal, Chapman successfully steals home and both Simmons and Lewis advance. As it turns out, they didn’t have to make this move, the Senators will go on to score 6 more runs with 5 straight hits capped off by Chapman doubling in the final 2 runs off the Indians 3rd pitcher of the inning.
Jimmie DeShong had come on to pitch in the 4th for the Senators in the 4th, he pitches 8 scoreless innings in relief and finishes off the Indians, when Hal Trotsky bounces into a double play. The final score, Senators 12, Indians 5.
Chapman will be traded the Red Sox a month later and have a good run with the Red Sox including hitting .340 in 1938 and bounced around with several other teams until his retirement at age 36. Chapman as the manager of the Phillies in 1947 will attack Jackie Robinson unleashing the single worst verbal attack in Robinson’s career. This would later be known as the incident that would unite the Dodgers as a team. Chapman would hardly make it through half the 1948 season as the Phillies manager before he was fired and would never manage again.
Carl Fisher will only pitch one more game for the Senators and be released.
Whit Wyatt will miss the 1938 season and come back to pitch for Brooklyn Dodgers and have a fantastic run, including coming in 3rd in the MVP race in 1941. Wyatt went 1-1 in 1941 World Series and was the hard-luck loser in game 6 vs the Yankees.
Al Simmons, for his part, would go on to have one more good season in 1938 hitting 302, before closing out his Hall of Fame career playing bit roles through parts of the next 6 seasons.
O”Neill won’t last long in Cleveland as the Manager, he was part of the 1920 Championship Indians team and would manage the 1945 Detroit Tigers to a World Series title.