Bob McClure, a former longtime relief pitcher who was named Twins bullpen coach this year (but who later had to step aside due to COVID-19 concerns), fell victim to a prank in the 1970s while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. McClure got his revenge by dishing out an all-timer after he released a dung-covered pig in a hotel room. The pig proceeded to go bonkers.
That’s according to the “The Baseball Codes,” a 2010 book by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca about the unwritten rules of baseball, including a chapter about clubhouse rules and pranks. Former Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven is talked about at length in the chapter for his well known use of the “hotfoot.”
But it’s McClure who gets top billing after he was locked in a long, cinderblock outhouse, just on the other side of the outfield fences at Milwaukee County Stadium. That’s where he liked to relax and catch up on the Sunday paper. And the day it happened, the Twins were in town to play the Brewers.
The book doesn’t mention the specific date of the prank or game, but it does mention this: it happened in the 1970s on a Sunday prior to a day game in Milwaukee versus the Twins. The two players who locked McClure in the outhouse are revealed to be Brewers pitchers Mike Caldwell and Reggie Cleveland.
Taking all of that into consideration, and using the always amazing Baseball-Reference.com, I think I have found the date in question: Sept. 23, 1979. The Twins lost to the Brewers that day despite cranking out 16 hits. Bombo Rivera and Roy Smalley both had three hits, but it doesn’t help when you leave 15 men on base and go 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. The final was 8-7, Brewers.
McClure, by the way, finally freed himself from the outhouse, and decided to play it cool as if nothing had happened. After he released the pig in the hotel room, Caldwell and Cleveland played it cool, too. When McClure went to check on them and the pig, it was all cleaned up, it had a new red collar and they were feeding it French fries.
-Well, I think I’m done writing about the Twins of yore now that the 60-game season is about to start. The Twins open on the South Side this year to take on the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field Friday night. Ace Jose Berrios will take the mound for the Twins, while the South Siders will counter with their own ace, Lucas Giolito. Berrios pitched the home opener last season and was excellent, striking out 10 over seven-plus inning for the shutout victory over Cleveland.
The long wait is over.