Hey, I got my magic bat off a piano! — Carl
My sister let me use her wooden leg! — Charlie, “Homer At The Bat”
Carl’s cudgel marks a fleeting reference to an incident that occurred in 1973, during the second of Nolan Ryan‘s seven career no-hitters. Bottom of the ninth, two outs, zero hits, and Norm Cash of the Detroit Tigers fails to appreciate the seriousness of the situation:
… the free-spirited Cash decided to walk to the plate without a bat, instead carrying what appeared to be a strangely-shaped piece of wood. Legendary Tigers play-by-play man Ernie Harwell described the item as a piano leg, but it was actually a table leg, taken from a piece of furniture in the Tigers’ clubhouse.
The umpire forced Cash to return to the plate with a regulation bat; he then popped up to end it.
Buncha pranksters these ballplayers are. And it gives us all an excuse to watch this timeless classic once again: