Brenly Goes From Goat to Hero in ’86

From SABR member Mark Simon at on September 14, 2011:

Current Chicago Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly knows well that baseball is a game in which one moment of greatness can make up for earlier futility. It was on this date, 25 years ago, that Brenly came through with the standard-setter for redemption.

It was 15 minutes prior to the start of a nondescript, non-impactful game between the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves that Brenly, ready to catch that day, was approached by his manager, Roger Craig. Third baseman Chris Brown was unable to go, so in a last-second switch, Craig moved Brenly to third base.

Brenly wasn’t foreign to third base (he’d played the position before, but did have to borrow a glove from teammate Brad Wellman), but in the fourth inning, he played like he was.

“I think I booted one to my left, one to my right, and one straight at me,” Brenly said, able to speak cheerfully about the memory 25 years later. “I mixed in a throwing error for good measure. I blame [pitcher] Mike LaCoss. A good pitcher knows how to keep the ball away from guys playing out of position. In retrospect, I wish I’d gotten a fifth error. Then I could have stood alone in the record books.”

Brenly’s four miscues tied a major league record and led to four runs, all unearned, and a 4-0 deficit.

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Originally published: September 14, 2011. Last Updated: September 14, 2011.