I like watching people get thrown out of places, especially if they really deserve it. There’s sort of a special thrill in seeing a jerk who’s causing a ruckus get the old heave-ho, isn’t there? Haven’t you experienced the satisfaction of cheering while somebody who’s totally asking for it gets escorted from the premises? It’s both schadenfruede and relief, a potent mix.
This is why baseball ejections are so good. Sure, every sport gives the officials some sort of authority to boot someone for acting up or doing something dangerous. But baseball ejections are special, particularly when it’s a manager getting thrown. The theatrics are incredible: the manager stomping out of the dugout, ready to defend his team, making his way to the umpire, getting on his toes so he can get over the chest protector and scream in the umpire’s face until the umpire winds up like he’s physically throwing the guy out and points to the clubhouse, spit everywhere, the whole crowd going nuts … I love all of it. It’s like professional wrestling. Every now and then you’ll get a spicy one where some dirt gets kicked up or the first base bag gets hoisted off the field.
And with baseball in the unique position of having regular-ish double-headers throughout the season, it would stand to reason that, on occasion, a particularly riled-up manager or player would be thrown out of not just one but both games of the day. And reason would be right! The double ejection has indeed happened a bunch!
According to a wonderful short paper on the history of ejections by the late baseball researcher David Vincent, published by Retrosheet.org in 2017, five players have done it, and nine or ten managers. I say “or ten” because although Mr. Vincent has Fred Tenney listed as the first to have done it, as a player/manager for the Boston Rustlers back on September 4th, 1911. one newspaper from the next day only reports that Tenney was ejected in the first of the two games. The New York Times, however, does note he was chased twice:
The McGraw mentioned here is John McGraw, an OG Angry Manager who once stood his ground for so long after an ejection that his team forfeited the game. So trust me, this joke killed back in 1911!
From 1924 to 1946 in the NL, and from 1907 to 1952 in the AL, if a player or manager was ejected from the first game of a double header, they were automatically ejected from the second as well. After that rule was lifted in the NL, New York Giants manager Mel Ott got right to work, getting himself ejected twice on June 9th, 1946. In the first game, Mel wasn’t crazy about a call by base umpire Tom Dunn, and made his displeasure known by “kicking at” Dunn on the field. Newspapers the next day ran a perfectly-timed photo that captured the moment, an image I’m certain would have been a meme by end of day if Twitter existed in 1946:
See what I mean? What an incredible tableau. With a different caption, that’s a Far Side cartoon.
Likely running hot from his encounter with Dunn, Ott got himself tossed again in the second by going after umpire George Magerkurth. Ott’s boys had his back this time and the Giants’ bench got in Magerkurth’s face so fiercely that he turned around and instantly sent eight more Giants players to the clubhouse with one god-like wave of his finger. More than a couple newspapers gleefully noted that Ott was “the first” manager to earn the distinction of getting thrown out of both games of a double header, adding more confusion as to who actually got there first, Tenney or Ott.
Here’s the full list of doubleheader double ejections:
- Sep. 4, 1911: Fred Tenney (Boston Braves)
- Jun. 9, 1946: Mel Ott (New York Giants)
- Jul. 27, 1946: Frankie Frisch (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- Jun. 6, 1954: Jimmy Dykes (Baltimore Orioles)
- Aug. 3, 1958: Paul Richards (Baltimore Orioles)
- Jul. 21, 1963: Walter Alston (Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Aug. 4, 1963: Johnny Keane (St. Louis Cardinals)
- Jul. 14, 1974: Billy Martin (Texas Rangers)
- Aug 15, 1975: Earl Weaver (Baltimore Orioles)
- Aug. 29, 1985: Earl Weaver (Baltimore Orioles)
As you can see Earl Weaver is the only manager to appear on the list more than once, in a surprise to nobody who’s seen his delightfully expletive-laden rants on YouTube. Weaver’s antics have helped the Orioles to a record total of four double ejections, with no other team managing more than one.
Vincent’s paper isn’t just about ejection in both halves of a doubleheader. It also has a ton of other great ejection trivia. For instance, there’s this:
The most ejections in one day occurred on August 12, 1984, when 18 different people were ejected. Jim McKean threw out Orioles manager Joe Altobelli that day for arguing a fair/foul call. The other 17 came in the game between the Braves and Padres in Atlanta on that Sunday afternoon. The two teams participated in a bean ball war which saw both managers (Dick Williams and Joe Torre), two Padres coaches (Jack Krol and Ozzie Virgil Sr.), 4 Braves players and 9 Padres players tossed from the contest.
What a cornucopia of delight! I likely would have left that game at that point, knowing it wasn’t going to get much better than that. Managers, get thrown out more! Baseball needs you! We need you!