Most football fans love a good trick play. In baseball however, they’re quite rare.
On this day 15 years ago, the Florida Marlins absolutely fooled the Arizona Diamondbacks with the old “hidden-ball trick”. On Aug. 10, 2005, the Marlins had a big offensive night in a 10-5 win over Arizona at Dolphins Stadium, but it was a play in the field that had everyone talking after the game.
The Marlins were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning as Arizona threatened to draw even. The Diamondbacks had runners on the corners with one out as Craig Counsell, a World Series hero with the Marlins in 1997, stepped to the plate.
A pinch hit single by Tony Clark had just moved Luis Terrero from second to third. Left fielder Miguel Cabrera threw the ball in quickly to Florida third baseman Mike Lowell to help prevent Terrero from scoring. Rather than tossing the ball to reliever Todd Jones, Lowell held onto the baseball.
Jones was, however, wise enough to play along. As Jones walked around the mound, his foot never touched the rubber. As Terrero took his lead, Lowell tagged him with the ball for the second out of the inning. Jones would strike out Counsell to end the threat.
The Marlins essentially put the game away in the bottom of the inning with four runs. After a Luis Castillo RBI single doubled the lead, Alex Gonzalez unloaded the bases a few batters later with a three-run double.
For most of the night, the contest looked like it would be a laugher. Florida raced to a 6-1 lead, thanks largely in part to a two-run home run from Cabrera and a two-run double from Lowell. Arizona climbed to within a run during a four-run seventh. Like Gonzalez an inning and a half later, Troy Glaus had a three-run double for the Diamondbacks during the frame.
Gonzalez was 3-for-3 on the night for Florida while Juan Pierre scored three runs. Pierre, Cabrera and Lowell all had two hits in the contest. Glaus had two of the eight hits for the Diamondbacks. Starting pitcher Jason Vargas allowed just a run on four hits in five innings to earn the win for the Marlins.
Despite a big night at the plate, it was Lowell’s masterful hidden ball trick that stole the show. It happened on this day a decade and a half ago.