George Brett’s pine tar incident hits 30-year anniversary

FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2013 file photo, Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer George Brett catches a ball as he bats to infielders during a spring training baseball workout in Surprise, Ariz. Brett has been appointed the Kansas City Royals' interim hitting coach as part of a shakeup aimed at pulling the struggling team out of its skid. The team announced the move before Thursday night's, May 30, 2013 game in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The image of George Brett racing out of the dugout at old Yankee Stadium and jabbing his finger in the face of umpire Tim McClelland remains one of the most iconic in baseball history.

Indeed, it’s hard for Brett to imagine it happened 30 years ago on Wednesday.

The eventual Hall of Famer had just hit a go-ahead homer for the Royals in the ninth inning, and Yankees manager Billy Martin ambled out of the home dugout. He asked McClelland to check the pine tar on the bat, and sure enough, the umpire decided the bat was illegal.

Brett raced onto the field and the legend of the “pine tar game” was born.

American League president Lee MacPhail overturned the umpire’s ruling four days later, and the game resumed nearly a month after that with the Royals closing out a 5-4 win.

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