To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.


Skip to main content
A memorable night for Hatteberg
Below is an advertisement.
Division Series
10/04/2002 9:42 pm ET 
A memorable night for Hatteberg
By Jim Molony /

Scott Hatteberg and Mark Ellis collide while chasing Torii Hunter's fly ball.  (Tom Olmmscheid/AP)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Hatteberg was the picture of versatility Friday, providing plenty of action for both highlight and blooper reel editors during Game 3 of the American League Division Series at the Metrodome.

Hatteberg hit a home run in the first inning and reached base three times, but he also drew a few horse laughs for letting a popup fall to the ground while he waited somewhere in St. Paul for it to fall.

"It's been the subject of a lot of humor from my teammates," Hatteberg said after Oakland's 6-3 victory over Minnesota. "Since we won the game I'm sure it will be the subject of a lot of humor from these guys for a long time."

In the span of four pitches, the A's had become the first team in postseason history to lead off a game with back-to-back homers. The first, by Ray Durham, was the first inside-the-park homer in Division Series history. Durham hit a sinking liner to center, and when Minnesota All-Star center fielder Torii Hunter tried to make a shoestring catch and missed, the ball rolled all the way to the center-field wall. One pitch later, Hatteberg followed with a bomb to right field.

Back to Even stranger plays occurred when the Twins came to bat. Barry Zito's first pitch to Jacque Jones was popped up to the right side, but what should have been a routine out fell just inside the first base line and rolled harmlessly into foul territory when Hatteberg went MIA. Hatteberg was camped out looking upward as if he were waiting for the ball, when, as he put it, he "heard it hit the ground behind me."

"My teammates said it would be a good idea in the future, [if] the next time I lost the ball, I should give some sort of signal, like waving my arms, that I lost the ball. They thought I had it, but I didn't see it at all. It was a wild inning."

In the second inning, another popup went to the right side, but this time Hatteberg and Ellis collided and the ball, hit by Hunter, fell in fair territory. Hunter reached, as Ellis was charged with an error.

"It's funny now, because we won the game," outfielder Terrence Long said. "Fortunately, we can laugh about it now, and [Hatteberg] is going to catch some [grief]. But the important thing to remember is, we did get the guy [Jones] out and we did win the game."

    Scott Hatteberg   /   1B
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: L/R

More info:
Player page
Hit chart
Athletics site

They also provided plenty of blooper-reel material.

"I'm sure we're going to see it over and over again," Hatteberg said. "Thank God we won the game."

After Hatteberg's misadventures, Zito released one of the strangest pitches of the season: While trying to throw a curve, the left-hander lost his grip on the ball, and it floated toward the plate like a wounded snow goose. The ball fell several feet short of the batter's box, and as Hunter scampered to second base, the public address system played the song, "Wild Thing."

The capacity crowd roared at each miscue.

"It really seemed like the playoffs out there today," Oakland outfielder Jermaine Dye. "Something for everybody."

Jim Molony is a writer for based in Houston. He can be reached at This article was not sujbect to approval by Major League Baseball.

MLB Headlines