Most Unethical Bobblehead EVER

The vile bobblehead

In Game two of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Altanta Braves, Brave outfielder Ron Gant singled and rounded the bag, drawing a throw to first base. He appeared to beat the throw to the bag, but the Twins’ jumbo first baseman, Kent Hrbek,  wrapped his arm around Gant’s leg and lifted him off the base as he applied the tag. First base umpire Drew Coble managed to completely miss Hrbek’s illegal tactic, and called Gant out to end the inning. The Twins went on to win that game by one run, and in one of the closest Series of all time, also won the World Championship, 4 games to 3.

Hrbek’s muscling of Gant off of first base has been widely regarded as one of the most egregious examples of cheating by a player in baseball’s 130 year history. So, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Minnesota World Series triumph, the Twins will hold a special “1991 World Series Champs Reunion Weekend” promotion featuring members of the 1991 team at the August 5 game, and the first 10,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Kent Hrbek/Ron Gant bobblehead, depicting the infamous play.

A new low, I’d say. Braves director of public relations Beth Marshall (no relation) told the Minnesota Star Tribune that “we begrudgingly gave our approval [to the design] because, although it wasn’t a great moment in Braves history, it was for the Twins!”

Really, Beth? The organization’s official positions is that a Twins player cheating in the World Series is “a great moment,” presumably because the Twins benefited and he got away with it thanks to poor umpiring.  What a rotten message to convey to young Twin fans, and baseball fans generally. The 1991 Series had many memorable moments of excellent play, and just one that sullied the integrity of the team, the game, and the outcome. That play, the dishonest one, the unethical one, is the play the Twins chose to feature in its promotion.

Of course, it is also guaranteed to make Atlanta Braves fans feel sick to their stomach all over again. The bobblehead glorifies cheating, and represents bad taste, bad sportsmanship, and bad ethics.

Booooooooo.

[Cheers to Craig Calcaterra for the heads up.]

20 thoughts on “Most Unethical Bobblehead EVER

  1. Irrelevant: Hrbek? How exactly is that pronounced?

    Perhaps it was fated that he would cheat, thus why he was already cursed with a name that telemarketers would always get wrong.

  2. I remember that play; I especially recall Tim McCarver’s apparently unironic on-air commentary that “It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught.” Needless to say, McCarver’s career didn’t suffer in the slightest.

  3. Another irrelevancy: Was it Casey Stengel who said “I have never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight, yes?”

  4. If I were a Braves fan, I would be thrilled that this is the play the Twins chose to recognize. While the Twins could have forgotten about their transgressions, I think Braves fans would be happy to remind the world that their loss wasn’t without controversy. Shitty plays hurt a lot when they happen, but they are the ammunition that fans use later to judge whether others were paying attention.

  5. I think the Braves ought to create their own bobblehead, with the same play depicted but a third figure included: a blindfolded umpire. Then the Braves ought to sent 6,000 of these to the Twins.

    Also, “but it’s for the Twins?” Gee, it boggles the mind about the number of cheating/lying/miscreant/felonious people who could have bobbleheads made for their (however few) fans. Serial killer bobbleheads, a Stalin bobblehead? A Qaddafi bobblehead? (Though there probably is one.) The list is endless. I hope the Twins know that they may have started a trend they’ll regret.

    • I’d buy most of those bobbleheads, and I’m not a fan of any of those people. As it is, I have a Jesus action figure in my fridge. He blesses my food.

  6. Wow, you all need to chill out. It is a GAME. It is a game in which yes, sometimes umpires get things wrong. What would have happened if a baserunner knew he didn’t make it to the base but the official said he did? Would the baserunner be obliged to tell the official that he was wrong and take the out? NO! That would be RIDICULOUS!

    Also, it was 20 YEARS AGO! The fact the Braves signed off on it proves that they can laugh about it now. CHILL OUT.

    • 1. The fact that it was 20 years ago is a tautology—they are bring back the memory now, and that makes it fresh.
      2. Honoring a moment of cheating is displaying the worst of a sport, not its best. Terrible taste.
      3. The fact that a victim consents to something inherently wrong doesn’t make it right.

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