"I used the power of suggestion. I yelled at [the ball]," Mariners third baseman Lenny Randle (right) said of the ball hit by Kansas City's Amos Otis in 1981. MLB via YouTube

May 27 in sports history: 'Blown' call? You decide

Here's a look back at notable sports news on May 27 through the years:


1981: Leave it to baseball to give us high comedy. 

In an 8-5 loss to Kansas City in Seattle, Mariners third baseman Lenny Randle went to bizarre lengths in an attempt to make sure a ball hit by the Royals' Amos Otis went foul. 

Randle, who had a 12-year career in the big leagues, plopped on his stomach and appeared to blow the ball just over the foul line. Umpires signaled foul, but Kansas City manager Jim Frey protested, and Otis was eventually awarded a single. Randle had illegally altered the course of the ball, the umpires ruled.

"I didn't blow it," Randle insisted to reporters afterward.  "I used the power of suggestion. I yelled at it, 'Go foul, go foul.' How could they call it a hit? It was a foul ball." 

"The umpires didn't know what to do," Mariners manager Rene Lachemann said with a smile. "Lenny said he only yelled at the ball. The breath from his yelling must have moved it." 

"None of us had ever seen anything like it," umpire Dave Phillips explained. "I think Lenny did it to be funny. And it was funny. But you can't alter the course of the ball. You couldn't throw dirt at the ball and get away with it."

Thankfully, Al Gore invented the internet, and we have YouTube to watch this moment in all its glory. You be the judge.

NBA MAGIC

1985: With the NBA playoffs typically in full swing, this date is loaded with hoops happenings — none more stunning than an epic performance by reserve Scott Wedman and the Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Lakers.

In scoring 26 points on Memorial Day, Wedman made all four of his shots from three-point range and all 11 shots from the floor overall in Boston's 148-114 rout in the Boston Garden. The Celtics' points total and 62 field goals made are still Finals records.

"[Wedman] has been like that in the last three days in practice," Celtics star Kevin McHale told the Boston Globe. "He's been lighting me up. ... He must have been 20 for 20 against me."

Wrote Globe columnist Leigh Montville: "Explanations can be written in 'X's' and 'O's' and squiggly lines about what happened on the Garden floor, but the way the Celtics played was more than that. They were working a four-leaf clover day. They were good, they were lucky; they flat-out were anything they wanted to be."

Los Angeles trailed, 79-49, at halftime. Boston shot 60.8 from the floor for the game. Even seldom-used big man Greg Kite got in on the act —he made three of five shots.

"We were ready." L.A.'s Magic Johnson told reporters. "We were playing our style. We did our game plan, we doubled. ... You go with the game plan and if it didn't work, what can you do?"

The loss was a wake-up call, not a knockout punch, for the Lakers, who went on the win the title in six games. They wrapped things up at the scene of the Game 1 horror show. 

1982: Three years earlier, the Lakers had a much more pleasant Game 1 experience in the Finals. Despite an 11-day layoff, L.A. waxed the 76ers, 124-117, for their ninth consecutive win in the playoffs. 

Los Angeles trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but the Lakers cranked up their scoring machine in the second half. From the 5:46 mark of the third quarter to the 8:48 mark of the fourth, Los Angeles outscored Philly, 37-7.

"We're a team of spurts," Lakers coach Pat Riley told reporters. "We've been like that all year." All seven Lakers who played scored in double figures. Magic Johnson nearly had a triple-double, scoring 10 points, grabbing 14 boards and dishing out nine assists. Julius Erving led the overmatched 76ers with 27 points.

The Lakers lost Game 2, snapping their Finals streak, but Los Angeles went on to win the NBA title in six games. 

1981: On this date, Dr. J made history when he was named NBA MVP — he became the only player in basketball history to win the honor in the NBA and ABA. Larry Bird, whose Celtics won the NBA title and beat Erving's 76ers in the Eastern Conference finals, finished second in one of the closer MVP votes of all time.

"Since I’d been in the NBA just two things had not happened — being named MVP and winning a championship,” Erving told reporters. "Now there's only the one, and I feel it could happen soon. 

"I think the 76ers were the best team in the league this year, but we just didn’t prove it in a seven-game series,” he added. "Boston did, and that's why they were the champions and we watched the finals on television." 

In 1980-81, Erving — who got his lone NBA title in 1983 with Philly —averaged 24.6 points and five rebounds. In his second season in the NBA, Bird averaged 21.2 points and 10.2 boards.

2015: It wasn't their prettiest performance, but the Warriors beat the Rockets, 104-90, to win the Western Conference title. Golden State was eager to earn its first NBA title since 1975.

"Why not us?" Warriors superstar Steph Curry shouted to the home crowd after the win. Golden State went on to beat the outmanned, LeBron James-led Cavaliers in the NBA Finals in six games.

IT'S ABOUT TIME

1968: George Halas' NFL coaching resume was uber-impressive: 318 regular-season wins and six NFL titles in 49 seasons. But the 72-year-old Bears leader — who had stepped down three times previously as Chicago coach — decided he was done for good.

Halas, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player, said he could no longer race up and down the sideline berating officials.

“I would like to have been on the field in 1969 rounding out 50 years as a player and a coach, but I can no longer keep up with the physical demands of being on the sidelines,” said Halas, who first coached the Bears as 27-year-old in 1922. “My arthritic hip has made it so I can’t move around quickly enough.”

Halas named his replacement, 38-year-old Jim Dooley, who never had a winning season in four seasons as Bears coach.

CHEESE STEAKS FOR 'EM ALL

1975: In Buffalo, the Flyers shut out the Sabres, 2-0, to win their second straight Stanley Cup. "I think we'll do it again," a champagne-soaked Flyers coach Fred Shero shouted in the locker room afterward. Philly made it to the finals the next season but was swept by Montreal.


Happy 23rd birthday, Daniel Jones.  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Happy birthday ...

  • Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones, chosen in the first round of the 2019 draft.  (23)
  • Former NFL kicker Nick Lowery, who ranks 16th all time in points scored and 13th in total field goals made. He remains the Chiefs’ all-time leading scorer. (64)
  • Former NFL quarterback Danny Wuerffel, who won the Heisman Trophy after leading the Florida Gators to the national championship. He was drafted by the Saints and also played for the Packers, Bears and Redskins. (46)
  • Pat Cash, former Australian tennis pro who beat No. 1 Ivan Lendl to win the 1987 Wimbledon championship. Cash started the tradition of the “Victory Climb” of going into the stands after a Wimbledon win. (55)
  • The “Big Hurt” Frank Thomas, two-time American League MVP and first-ballot Hall of Famer. Thomas spent 19 years in MLB, racking up 521 homers, 20th all time, and 1,704 RBI, 25th all time. Thomas holds several records for the White Sox, who honored him with a statue. (52)
  • Jeff Bagwell, NL Rookie of the Year in 1991 and NL MVP in 1994. The four-time All-Star first baseman, a Hall of Famer, spent his entire 14-year career with the Astros. (52)
  • Four-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer Jill Sterkel, who dominated the East Germans at just 15 years old at the 1976 Games. (59)

R.I.P.:

2019: Bill Buckner, who, as Boston Red Sox's first baseman, will always be remembered for his 10th-inning gaffe in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets. Buckner, who finished his MLB career with 2,715 hits, died of dementia at age 69.

2006: Former NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward. His son Cameron is a standout D-lineman for the Steelers. Heyward died of brain cancer at 39.

2000:  Maurice “Rocket” Richard, the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a season, which he did in just 50 games. Richard played 18 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens, where he won a Stanley Cup and a Hart Trophy. He died of cancer at 78.


May 26: The greatest game ever pitched

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