As this series of blog posts about baseball’s dumbest plays shows, it is not just about dusting off the archives of baseball’s long history. If you watch enough games it is only a matter of time before you encounter a head-scratchingly dumb bit of baserunning or an inexplicable bit of misjudgement in the field.
In fact, it was only last year that we witnessed what some observers have called the dumbest play in major league history. This video speaks for itself. Stay tuned for the reaction of the Cubs bench after the play.
It was the top of the third inning. The visiting Cubs had a 1-0 lead with a runner on second with two outs when Javy Baez hit the fateful ground ball to third. The Cubs would go on to win the game 5-3. One could make the case that this was a harbinger of what was to come for the Pittsburghers who would end up being one of only two National League teams to lose 100 games and finished dead last in the National League Central Division.
Writing in Golf Digest (off all places), Alex Myers offered this assessment: “Will (Craig) was responsible for the dumbest play in Major League Baseball history. This is not an exaggeration. You’d have to go to a tee ball game to find something dumber. And even then, this might still be the dumbest play you’d see.”
Interviewed by AP baseball writer Will Graves, Pirates manager Derek Shelton tried to break down what he saw: “We have to make sure we get the force. That’s just where it’s at. I mean if Baez runs all the way back home or runs into their dugout or runs down to the Strip District we can walk down and touch first.”
Graves called it “40 seconds of madness that will likely follow Baez and Craig no matter where their careers take them.”
Craig agreed: “”I guess I’m going to be on the blooper reels for the rest of my life.” His analysis: “It all boils down to me losing my brain for a second.”
Shelton assured reporters that you don’t cut a player just because he makes a mistake. But a week later, that’s exactly what they did, in baseball parlance, designating Craig for assignment. He ended up on the Pirates Indianapolis minor league team.
Will Craig had been an All-American third baseman at Wake Forest. That led to him being drafted in the first round in 2016 by the Pirates. He made his major league debut in August of 2020, playing one game and going 0-4.
In 2021 he got into 18 games, batting .217 in 60 at bats. Shortly after he was relegated to Indianapolis, he headed to Korea looking for a reset on his career. He signed with the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO. He hit .248 in Korea, with 6 home runs. They chose not to resign him.
At the time of writing, Craig is a free agent.
Baseball’s dumbest plays:
Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants, Sept. 23, 1908
New York Giants vs. Washington Senators, Oct. 10, 1924
St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees, Oct. 10, 1926
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, July 4, 1976
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Francisco Giants, May 27, 2003
Pirates have a wonderful ballpark. Their fans deserve a better team.
The Pirates haven’t won a division title since 1992.
The Pirates have lost 100 games in a season 3 times since 2001, but they haven’t won 100 games in a season since 1909.
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It’s one of my favorite places to watch a game. Beautiful view of the city.
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Fun to watch that one!
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