Bonura Steals Home In 15th

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in 1975 Baseball Research Journal

The Chicago Tribune described it in a bold, banner headline. Zeke Bonura, the ponderous power-hitting first baseman of the White Sox, stole home with two out in the bottom of the 15th inning on August 26, 1935, to give Chicago a 9-8 victory over the Yankees. The large type was needed to document the unusual achievement, for Zeke was no gazelle. It was the fourth theft of his CAREER, and he was considered the American League counterpart to Ernie Lombardi when it came to running the bases. He still holds the major league record of hitting into five double plays in two consecutive games.

To get back to the game, the White Sox racked up Lefty Gomez for a 5-0 lead in five innings, aided by a homer by Al Simmons. But the Yanks came back with a homer by Lou Gehrig, and Red Rolfe tied up the game with a 2-run single in the 9th. In the 13th, the New Yorkers went ahead 7-5 on a 2-run single by George Selkirk; but in the bottom of that frame Appling singled and Bonura doubled and both scored on a throwing error by Selkirk. In the top of the 15th, the Yankees again went ahead 8-7 when Gehrig hit his second homer of the game, this one off reliever Whitlow Wyatt.

In the bottom of the 15th, with Jimmy DeShong pitching for New York, Appling walked, Bonura singled, and Manager Jimmie Dykes sacrificed them along. Rightfielder Jocko Cordon, later an umpire, was walked to set up the double play.  Luke Sewell hit to Rolfe at third, who forced Conlon at second, but the relay to first was late. Appling scored to tie the game at 8-8 and Zeke sneaked to third. DeShong was obviously rattled and gave Wyatt three straight balls before he could get two strikes over. As he prepared for his next pitch, Bonura startled the throng by rumbling in from third. He slid in under DeShong’s errant toss and the White Sox won 9-8. The home crowd went wild. It was enough to take your mind off the Great Depression.