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A Mystery/Correction...Who Scored The Last Senators' Run? A Challenge For DC Baseball Fans.

There could be an easy answer to's profile of former Washington Senator Dave Nelson could be wrong when it reports, and I quote:

"In 1971, (Dave) Nelson finally began seeing regular time in the field, coming to bat over 300 times for the first time in his career. At the end of that season, Nelson scored the last run ever for the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium."

Now I realize I violated one of the uh, the principle, or fundamental rules of journalism here...the, uh, the one about multiple corroborating sources for facts, or uh, assertions, but, uh, well, I'm not a journalist...really, and in my most recent edition of the continuing series, "This Day In Washington Baseball History", I decided to follow the usual approach to finding out more about the history of baseball in DC by simply googling the words, "Washington Senators December 5", and the first result linked to a page of Washington Senators' Offseason moves for the year 1970, which started with the December 5th, 1969 deal that sent Senators Dennis Higgins and Barry Moore to Cleveland in return for Horacio Pina, Ron Law and Dave Nelson. Where would this lead...?

...Dave Nelson's name linked to his wikipedia profile, which I quote above and which I used as the source of the fact I quoted at the end of this "This History", where I wrote about how Nelson scored the go-ahead run to give Washington a 6-5 lead in the eighth, which became a 7-5 lead after his Senators' teammate Tom Ragland scored...and then a 9-0 loss when the DC fans stormed the field in the top of the ninth and caused the Senators to forfeit their final game in DC before they moved to Texas, becoming the Rangers...Wait? Ragland or Nelson scored the last run?

...Now I pulled up the box score of the game at and stared for a good twenty minutes at the bottom of the eighth inning where Nelson and then Ragland score after both reaching on errors, and pulled up the Nelson profile again, where it says that Nelson scored the Senators' last run in RFK...and concluded, in error, apparently, that the unearned runs in the eighth...I don't know? ...must not have been counted, uh,...because they were unearned?...(What was I thinking with that? Not sure, it was late?)...The runs didn't count after the forfeit?...(Though I wrote, again in error, only that they weren't counted because they were unearned)...either that, I thought, or since the Yankees never got to finish the last inning, the top of the ninth, the Senators' runs from the eighth are wiped out? That it might go back to the run that Washington scored to tie the game at 5-5...which was in the 6th, when Nelson scored on a double by Elliot Maddox with two outs and two on, with an out on the basepaths after Nelson had crossed ending the inning in a tie...(That must be it? No, but that's the theory I went with...ugh!?)

...At that point I probably should have pulled up the MLB Rulebook - Forfeit chapter, (but it was late, and I was tired, my internet connection was spotty, I'm lazy...etc...), but instead I printed the conclusion I thought must have been behind the wikipedia profile's claim, that the late unearned runs, for one reason or another, didn't count...I posted hesitantly, I admit...and when I had posted the article, I tried to go back and take a look, fact check, edit, and didn't even hit the "Submit for Distribution" button we have, because I felt uneasy about my conclusions, but that's when my internet connection really did go out...So I waited a half hour and when it didn't return I went to bed (passed out?)...and woke this morning to a comment from a reader with the name, VladiHondo, who wrote:

"a run is a run is a run

whether it is unearned or not. 


“...leaving Dave Nelson, acquired by the Senators on December 5, 1969, as the player with the last Senators’ run scored in RFK Stadium…”


So Tom Ragland scored the last Senator to score a run."

...So, since I was unable to access my computer all day...don't ask...I just pulled the article down until I could look into the situation, and see if I couldn't find out whether the article was simply wrong, and VladiHondo right, or if there was not some other explanation...and after some fruitless googling...(ex. "Who scored last Senators' run?" "Last run scored in RFK by Senators"...etc...) I decided to finally, actually consult the MLB Rulebook...and here's what it says about Forfeits:


"RULE 10.3 (e) (2), Official Score Report (Additional Rules):




(2) If a regulation game is forfeited, the official scorer shall include the record of all individual and team actions up to the time of forfeit. If the winning team by forfeit is ahead at the time of forfeit, the official scorer shall enter as winning and losing pitchers the players who would have qualified as the winning and losing pitchers if the game had been called at the time of forfeit. If the winning team by forfeit is behind or if the score is tied at the time of forfeit, the official scorer shall not enter a winning or losing pitcher. If a game is forfeited before it becomes a regulation game, the official scorer shall include no records and shall report only the fact of the forfeit.


Rule 10.03(e) Comment: The official scorer shall not consider that, by rule, the score of a forfeited game is 9 to 0 (see Rule 2.00 (Forfeited Game)), notwithstanding the results on the field at the point the game is forfeited."


So what applies here? The official scorer has added "all individual and team actions up to the time of the forfeit" as evidenced by and the's box scores, which both have the final score 7-5 and credit Tom Ragland with a run scored, and the only run Ragland scored (period, with Washington) was the seventh Senators' run in the home half of the eighth...(and Frank Howard's 26th HR, hit in this game, is counted in his career stats) the scorer has counted everthing up to the forfeit, awarded no decision either way in accordance with the rule, "If the winning team by forfeit is behind or if the score is tied at the time of forfeit, the official scorer shall not enter a winning or losing pitcher." The Yankees were down 7-5 but awarded the win, and no pitchers are credited in either box score...and since it was already a "regulation game" when it ended by forfeit in the ninth...Tom Ragland should be credited with having scored the last run in Washington Senators' history in the bottom of the eighth to take a 7-5 lead...Right? Even though they eventually lost...(the score in both box scores is 7-5, not 9-0)...


But wait?...Shirley Povich's definitive account of the final Senators' game in RFK Stadium, a Washington Post article entitled simply, "The Senators' Final Game" (poss. apostrophe, yeah!!)...reports, in the final paragraph, after the fans have stormed the field, that:

"The mad scene on the field, with the athletes of both teams taking refuge in their dugouts, brought official announcement of Yankees 9, Senators 0, baseball's traditional forfeit count almost since Abner Doubleday notched the first baseball score on the handiest twig at Cooperstown. But by then the crowd-mood was philosophical, "So what?" Or more accurately, "So whatha hell?" The Senators were finished, even if the ball game wasn't."

9-0? That would mean...what?...according to the MLB Rulebook...? must just be wrong right, about Dave Nelson scoring the final run?? Someone just tell me already? Who knows the answer? Does Tom Ragland, with his only run as a Washington Senator, go down in history as the last Senator to score a run? Who wants to tell wikipedia they're wrong? Back it up with facts?...and we can write them and correct their take on Senators' history? Consider it a challenge, DC baseball fans...