Friday Flashbacks: The Unwritten Rules of Baseball


We will dust off the Friday Flashbacks and write about unwritten, unspeakable things. Like expressing joy at a baseball game. With all the nonsense about which fanbase is better or which team is the arbiter of the true way to play baseball, I thought it would be fun to look back at when that rarest of the birds, the unwritten rules of baseball, was randomly spotted in print. I went through archives in both Lexis and Google News Search to find references to “baseball” and “unwritten rules”. This search runs through 1993, because if it didn’t happen before then, I am going to assume it is a made up unwritten rule (I also assume many of these were made up).

We know that Dixie Walker was a central figure in the most famous unwritten rule, no black players, when he was not happy about Jackie Robinson becoming a teammate. Well, in 1913, a different Dixie Walker (unless he was playing at three years old) was at the center of the first reference I could find. The umpire would call a player out on a slide into first base, even if rules didn’t prohibit.

Let’s just go through a list of other things covered by the written about unwritten rules of baseball, always recognized in the breach.

Since that was the Cardinals, and it was an incident involving the Cardinals protecting the game against violations by Latin American players, it is appropriate to close with Rex Hudler’s quote of the incident: “If you’re the enemy and you come into the enemy foxhole, most of the time you don’t get out of it,” Hudler said. “He’s lucky he got out without serious damage.”

Oh, and Go Dodgers.