Log Cabin Democrat Sports: McGwire tossed in first 8/29/98

Published Saturday, August 29, 1998

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Saturday, August 29, 1998McGwire tossed in first

Umpire's move causes uproar with large crowd in St. Louis

Last modified at 1:22 a.m. on Saturday, August 29, 1998


AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Mark McGwire was ejected for arguing a questionable called third strike in the first inning of St. Louis' game against Atlanta on Saturday, missing a chance to add to his total of 54 home runs and drawing a noisy demonstration from a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.

Manager Tony La Russa also was thrown out by home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook, and pitching coach Dave Duncan was tossed by Holbrook after the Braves batted in the second.

After a foul ball by Ryan Klesko on the first pitch of the second inning, a fan, at the urging of those around him, heaved the ball back on the field.

Other fans followed by tossing debris on the field and then chanted ''We want Mac!, We want Mac!,'' halting the game for about 10 minutes. Ushers lined the field during the delay, and were later joined by police officers to prevent further disturbances.

Two more foul balls were thrown on the field the next two innings, each time drawing a big ovation.

Joe Walsh, the Cardinals' director of security, said a few fans had been escorted from their seats but that the team was more interested in calming everybody down. The team called in police to help return the situation to normal.

''You can understand the emotions when 48,000-plus are here to see one guy,'' Walsh said. ''This was definitely a tense situation.''

McGwire, 4-for-27 against Atlanta this year (.148) with just one homer and one RBI, became incensed after getting called out on a low 3-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate. At one point he fought his way around third-base coach Rene Lachemann, who was trying to act as a shield.

When McGwire was finally led off the field by Lachemann, he angrily tossed his batting helmet onto the infield.

It was McGwire's first ejection since he joined the Cardinals July 31, 1997.

Crew chief Harry Wendlestedt conferred with La Russa and Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty after the first and second innings.

Holbrook is in his first year as a regular umpire.

The Cardinals read a statement on the public address system warning that fans throwing objects on the field could cause the team to forfeit the game. The fans responded by booing.

McGwire was replaced at first base by John Mabry, who left Friday night's game after fouling a ball off his right knee in the fourth inning but said after the game he felt fine.

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