Royals bat boy tells of his unknown role in Pine Tar Game

From Daniel Barbarisi at the Wall Street Journal on July 9, 2013:

On Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, George Brett will hold a news conference to talk about the most famous moment in his Hall-of-Fame career: the Pine-Tar Game.

Yet absent from that news conference will be a 47-year-old New York cop named Merritt Riley, who feels personally responsible for the pine-tar debacle.

“I really believe the Pine-Tar Game would never have happened if I hadn’t done what I did,” said Riley.

Speaking publicly for the first time ever about his role in the Pine-Tar Game—which took place 30 years ago this month—Riley said, “I remember it happening like it was yesterday.”

On that day—July 24, 1983—Riley was a 17-year-old Yankee Stadium bat boy assigned to serve the visiting Kansas City Royals. His job: When a Royal hit the ball, grab the bat immediately, run it back to the Kansas City dugout and toss it in a rack among the other bats.

But in the top of the ninth, with the Royals trailing 4-3 and down to their last out, George Brett came to bat.

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Originally published: July 9, 2013. Last Updated: July 9, 2013.