From Chicken Soup for the Baseball Fan's Soul

That’s Why God Made Tall Infielders

I’ve always felt that the difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination. Of course, a well-timed prayer every now and then never hurts either.

I discovered this early in my professional baseball career when I was pitching what turned out to be my last Triple-A game against Buffalo. It was the first inning and I had walked the first three batters I faced, loading up the bases with no outs. Now I was 2-and-0 to the next batter and in danger of walking in a run.

I thought there might be some concern on the bench, so I looked over to the dugout and saw the manager with his foot on the top step. I knew what that meant—he was ready to make the walk out to the mound to pull me out of the game.

I grabbed the rosin bag, stepped off the mound, turned completely away from the plate, and put in a request of my own for “relief” on the mound.

“Dear God,” I said, “please get me out of this mess.”

Well, after a few minutes of standing there with my back to the plate, the umpire, Billy Williams, came out to the mound to see what was up.

“What are you waiting for?” he asked.

“I’m talking to God,” I told him.

“Talking to God?” Billy just shook his head—probably something he did quite often around pitchers. “Let’s go,” he said. “Play ball.”

I took a breath to settle myself and threw the next pitch, and the batter hit a screaming line drive down the third-base line, and I thought, It’s all over now.

But all of a sudden the third baseman made this incredible leap—it seemed like he jumped five feet off the ground—and he snagged the line drive. Then he fired it to second base and got the runner before he could get back to the bag, forcing him out. Then the second baseman whipped the ball over to first base and caught that runner before he could get back, and boom, it was a triple play— and just like that I was out of the inning.

In all of my professional baseball years, including twenty years managing the Los Angeles Dodgers, I’ve prayed many times—often with good results—but I’ve never seen another triple play like that one.

Tommy Lasorda
As told to Ernie Witham

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