Excerpts from a story by Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle on Bob Brenly making four errors in one inning in a game for the Giants on September 14, 1986:
Brenly: Four Errors, Then Winning Homer
It had to be seen to be believed. Heroics beyond compare. And when the Giants’ 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves was complete yesterday, Mike Krukow put it all in perspective.
“That wasn’t a ballgame,” Krukow said, “it was a novel.”
It was Walter Mitty stuff; so thoroughly unlikely that it couldn’t have really happened. But Bob Brenly did make four errors in one inning at third base. He did bring the Giants back to a 6-6 tie with a solo homer and a two-run single.
And he did hit the game-winning home run. In the bottom of the ninth. With two out. On a 3-2 pitch.
“That,” manager Roger Craig said, “was the greatest Hum-Baby performance of all time.”
13 years later, with the Giants about to leave Candlestick, Jenkins looked back on Brenly’s day again. Brenly said: “Most infielders say they want every ball hit to them. Not me. I was thinking, ‘Keep it away from me,’ right from the outset.”
Mike Krukow: “Bob was a notorious helmet- slammer. A thrower of things. When he retired, they gave him the door to the dugout bathroom, full of spike marks and bat gouges from his tantrums. But when he came off the field that day, I didn’t even recognize him. He just sat there in the dugout, stupefied. Totally numb. We all knew this was the most embarrassed he’d ever been in his life. It was like he’d screwed up this game so badly, it was beyond repair.”
And Jenkins added some more details on Brenly’s offensive feats:
First he homered in the fifth, breaking up Puleo’s shutout. Then he delivered a two-run single off reliever Gene Garber in the sixth, tying the game at 6-6. He was now back behind the plate, thanks to a nice assist from Craig — and when Brenly came up against left-handed reliever Paul Assenmacher in the bottom of the ninth, two out, nobody on, everyone in the ballpark felt the same sensation.
“Right then, I couldn’t tell you who was pitching, what he was throwing,” Brenly says. “It was like an out-of-body experience. Somebody was pushin’ the buttons, and I was just responding.”
It came down to a 3-and-2 count. Of course it did. Brenly, connecting with his higher calling, absolutely knew that Assenmacher would try the big, sweeping curveball he’d thrown two pitches earlier. It came right down the pipe, and Brenly’s blast down the left-field line would have left two Candlesticks. It was one of the longest, hardest-hit homers he’d hit in his life.
By the way, the Associated Press reported on the Royals 10-3 win over the Mariners in Kansas City on the same day, September 14, 1986:
Jorge Orta drove in four runs and Bo Jackson hit the longest home run in Royals’ Stadium history for his first major league homer for Kansas City. Royals officials said Jackson’s home run, which hit near the top of a grassy embankment in left-center field, was the longest ball ever hit at the stadium. Jackson’s drive off Seattle’s starter, Mike Moore (10-2), carried approximately 475 feet, about three feet farther than a ball hit by Dick Allen of the White Sox in 1974.