39 years ago tonight

A 10-cent mistake at the Mistake by the Lake:  June 4, 1974

Aided by a poorly-considered purchase limit of six cups of beer at a time, many fans were already inebriated prior to first pitch, and a circus-like atmosphere prevailed. In the second inning, a woman jumped into the Indians’ on-deck circle and lifted her shirt. In the fourth, a completely naked man slid into second base while the Rangers’ Tom Grieve circled the bases after homering, and in the fifth, a father-son pair mooned the crowd after jumping over an outfield wall. Late in the game, fans climbed onto the field and pestered Rangers rightfielder Jeff Burroughs, some even shaking his hand.

Amid that chaos, Texas took a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but Cleveland rallied for two runs via four consecutive hits off reliever Steve Foucault and a sacrifice fly. With two outs and two men still on base, Indians’ slugger Leron Lee (uncle of recent major leaguer Derrek Lee) never had a chance to drive in the winning run, because Cleveland fans pelted the field with golf balls, rocks and batteries, and some fan swiped Burroughs’ glove. When the rightfielder chased him back to the stands, people began swarming into the outfield, surrounding the Rangers’ star outfielder and ending any hope for the completion of the game.

Dodging several flying chairs, Texas manager Billy Martin grabbed a bat and led his team on a rescue mission to rightfield. “The bat showed up later and it was broken,” recalled Rangers player Mike Hargrove. Umpire Nestor Chylak, hit by both a chair and a rock, ruled that the game should be forfeited in favor of the Rangers. “They were just uncontrollable beasts,” said Chylak later of the crowd. “I’ve never seen anything like it except in a zoo.”

rob_belloir_autograph

The 20 worst A-Braves players: #5 Rob Belloir

Rob Belloir was acquired from Cleveland in 1975, a bad sign, as the Indians were the AL version of the Braves. He was the PTBNL in a deal that brought Blue Moon Odom to Atlanta — a trade Eddie Robinson would’ve been better off not making. Blue Moon was 1-7 with a 7.07 ERA in his one season as a Brave. Belloir was just as bad.

What else would you expect from a lifetime .246 hitter in the minors?

Pretty much what Belloir produced — or didn’t — in parts of four seasons as a Brave. His was a career of attrition, as the utility infielder’s appearances dwindled with each year. By the time it was over, in 1978, Belloir had 167 MLB AB’s and only 36 hits — 30 of which were singles. He hit no homers and stole no bases.

You’d assume, then, that Belloir could pick it, but you’d be wrong. He appeared in 38 games at SS as a rookie, committing 12 errors. The Mercer alum retired with a .927 fielding percentage,