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Thirty years later, Black reflects on pine tar incident

Thirty years later, Black reflects on pine tar incident


MILWAUKEE -- Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of the infamous pine tar incident that occurred during a game between the Royals and Yankees in New York.

That was the game, of course, when the Royals' George Brett lost it after his home run was disallowed after the Yankees complained that Brett's batt had an illegal amount of pine tar on the handle.

The starting pitcher that day for the Royals? Current Padres manager Bud Black, who was in the training room getting his arm wrapped in ice when Brett bolted from the dugout after umpire Tim McClelland ruled Brett out. Brett had to be restrained after the ruling.

The Royals played under protest, a protest that was eventually upheld. The game resumed Aug. 18 and finished with a Kansas City win.

"There were a lot of side stories to that story," Black said Wednesday.

One of Black's favorites was when the game resumed on that day in August in an almost-empty stadium, where the final four outs of the game were played, with the Royals winning, 5-4.

Based on the events that followed, Black essentially went from loss to no-decision to loss to no-decision. His pitching line that day saw him allow four runs on seven hits in six innings with no walks and two strikeouts. He also allowed a home run to Dave Winfield.

"That was so weird to go back to an empty ballpark to play four outs," Black said.

Because Brett had been ejected from the July game, he was not at Yankee Stadium for the completion. He and several teammates waited at LaGuardia Airport for the rest of the team to return to the plane after about an hour, Black said, before the team went on to Baltimore to open a series.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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