February 10, 2010

Hal McRae Thought Racism Cost Him 1976 Batting Title: While looking through a 1976 issue of Sporting News, a blogger at Royals Review found a controversy that would receive wall-to-wall coverage today but was a footnote back then. Hal McRae believed that the 1976 batting title, which he lost on his final at-bat to teammate George Brett, was taken from him in a racist conspiracy by Minnesota Twins manager Gene Mauch. "I know what happened," McRae said after the game. "It's been too good a season for me to say too much, but I know they let that ball fall on purpose."

posted by rcade to baseball at 04:31 PM - 4 comments

That was a hell of an accusation. McRae was a bit nuts, so I don't know how seriously to take it.

What was the score in the game when Brett came to the plate?

posted by Steve-o at 05:10 PM on February 10

I'm perfectly willing to believe such things have happened. Of course, if it's true, it's karmically balanced by Ty Cobb getting screwed out of a batting title. But Occam's Razor suggests that either it's not true or Mauch just disliked McRae, racism be damned. I didn't like him when he managed the Royals, though I suppose that's a stressful job. If Mauch was a racist, McRae is definitely anti-phone.

posted by yerfatma at 05:51 PM on February 10

Given that the owner of the Twins at the time was a racist, might make it easier to believe that the coach was as well.

However, if Rod Carew is on record as stating that race was not involved, I'm inclined to go with that.

posted by dviking at 08:24 PM on February 10

What was the score in the game when Brett came to the plate?

Got to love baseball-reference.com. The score at the time that Brett came to the plate was 5-2 Twins.

For the game, Brett went 3-4 with 2 doubles in addition to the inside the park homerun. McRae was a not so shabby 2-4 himself.

posted by Demophon at 08:37 AM on February 11

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