It was a noteworthy publicity stunt. With the White Sox in Washington, D.C., catcher Ray Schalk caught a ball tossed off of the top of the Washington Monument from pitcher Ed Walsh.
It took 23 tries before Schalk was able to grab the ball, traveling at well faster than 100 mph, into his glove. The ball fell 555 feet.
One thing White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski had going for him was his brain. A.J. was always thinking, always trying to get into the heads of the opposition, and always willing to try something to gain an advantage.
On this day, his quick thinking directly led to the Sox winning a game — in the middle of a pennant race — that perhaps they shouldn’t have.
The Sox were tied with Tampa Bay, 5-5, in the bottom of the 10th inning when A.J. led off with a single. He was on second when Jermaine Dye hit a ground ball to Tampa’s Jason Bartlett. Pierzynski made a poor read and broke on contact, only to be caught in a rundown. However, obstruction would wind up being called on third baseman Willy Aybar by umpire Doug Eddings when A.J., caught in a pickle, stuck his arm out and made contact with Aybar after Aybar had already made a throw. The ruling was that even though Pierzynski initiated the contact, it was the responsibility of Aybar to get out of A.J’s way.
A.J. was awarded third base, and eventually scored the winning run on a single by Alexei Ramírez.