As Halloween approaches and talk turns to ghosts and goblins, I wanted to take a look at some of the spookiest moments baseball fans and players have experienced.
Here are five spooky MLB moments to get fans in the Halloween spirit:
World Series Pre-Game Earthquake (San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A's, October 17, 1989)
This moment was one of the most frightening moments in baseball because it was all too real. As the teams took the field for the pre-game introductions in Game 3, San Francisco was rocked by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake. The spooky part was the timing of the quake; most of the fans were in the stands, not on the concourses where there was some damage. Also, many parts of the city were damaged, as were freeways, and those fans were safer being at Candlestick Park than in their homes or on the roads.
Milwaukee Brewers player Carlos Gomez scared by ghosts in haunted hotel in Milwaukee while playing for the Minnesota Twins (2008)
The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee is an old hotel that opened in 1893. Many players have complained about seeing and hearing strange things, and MLB outfielder Carlos Gomez experienced them personally. Gomez, who funny enough now plays for the Brewers, was staying at the Pfister as a visiting player in 2008 when he had some strange experiences. After getting out of the shower, he heard voices and his iPod began to play strange sounds and music, leading him to run down to the lobby.
Chicago Cubs incur the "Billy Goat Curse" (October 6, 1945)
If you've been wondering why the Chicago Cubs haven't won the World Series since 1908, it comes down to a spooky moment that happened before Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. A local tavern owner took his pet goat to Wrigley Field hoping to bring the team good luck. The owner was allowed to come in; his goat was not. He appealed to the team's owner himself, Mr. Wrigley, who refused to let the goat in, because, he said, "It stinks." The angry owner cursed the team, which lost the World Series, and the Cubs have been losing games ever since. The goat (or its descendants) has been invited back to Wrigley Field in subsequent years, but nothing seems to lift the curse.
Roberto Clemente predicts his own death (December 31, 1972)
Clemente, the first Hispanic major-league player to reach 3,000 hits, played 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, hitting 240 home runs with 1,305 RBIs and a .317 average. Clemente was tragically killed a little more than a year after the Pirates' 1971 World Series win. On New Year's Eve 1972, he died in a plane crash while bringing relief supplies to Nicaragua after an earthquake. The spooky part is that Clemente often told his wife he thought he would die young and that his son, then a small child, begged his father not to go on the trip, fearing that his plane would crash.
Carlos Ruiz scared by ghost at Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg (October 2008)
When Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was staying at the Vinoy Hotel, a classic grand Florida hotel built in 1925, he was practically scared out of his room. During the 2008 World Series when the Phillies were facing the Tampa Bay Rays, Ruiz and the team were staying at the historic property. He woke up to someone knocking on the door but when he checked, there was no one there and no one in the hallway. Ruiz left the TV and lights on for the rest of the night. Numerous other players have had similar experiences.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter -@thefredsherman.More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- World Series
- Milwaukee Brewers
- San Francisco Giants