George Howard Brett (born May 15, 1953 in Glen Dale, West Virginia), nicknamed “Mullet”, is a former Major League Baseball third baseman, designated hitter, and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Kansas City Royals. Brett’s 3,154 career hits are the most by any third baseman in major league history, and 15th all-time. Brett is one of four players in MLB history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 300 home runs, and a career .300 batting average with the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Pine Tar Incident
On July 24, 1983, the Royals played the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the ninth inning with two out, Brett hit a two-run homer to put the Royals up 5–4. Upon Brett crossing the plate, Yankees manager Billy Martin cited to the umpires a rule that stated that any foreign substance on a bat could extend no further than 18 inches from the knob. The umpires measured the amount of pine tar, a legal substance used by hitters to improve their grip, on Brett’s bat; the pine tar extended about 24 inches. The home plate umpire, Tim McClelland, signaled the player out, ending the game as a Yankees win. An angry Brett charged out of the dugout and was immediately ejected. The Royals protested the game, and American League president Lee MacPhail upheld the protest, reasoning that the bat should have been excluded from future use but the home run should not have been nullified. Amid much controversy, the game was resumed on August 18 from the point of Brett’s home run and ended with a Royals win.