Ed. note: I wrote this a few weeks ago, though it seems very appropriate today considering the ball-in-the-catwalk incident from last night’s game in Tampa Bay.
May 4, 1984
With two outs in the fourth inning, Dave Kingman of the Oakland A’s hit a towering pop fly off of Frank Viola. Viola looked up and waited for the ball to come down. He, and 10,155 fans at the Metrodome that night, are still waiting for the ball to drop.
The ball managed to find its way into one of the seven-inch diameter holes in the 186 foot high Metrodome roof. Kingman was awarded a ground-rule double. Fortunately for the Twins, he was out at third on a fielder’s choice the very next play.
The Twins went on to win the game 3-1, thanks mostly to Viola’s 7 2/3 innings of four-hit baseball.
On the next night, the team staged a pre-game ceremony in which a stadium worker would drop a ball from the roof into the waiting glove of Mickey Hatcher, perhaps to bring some closure to the bizarre play. That closure wouldn’t come, however, as Hatcher dropped the ball.