Today in 1995, one of the most unusual endings to a big league baseball game ever: an umpire called a forfeit after the fans showered the field with souvenir baseballs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals, and there was a big crowd on hand, more than 53,000 people.

At this point the Dodgers were in a tight race to win a spot in the postseason, so every game mattered.

Also: this happened to be one of those games where everybody who had a ticket got a souvenir baseball.

During the seventh inning stretch a few fans who may have had a few beers threw their free baseballs onto the field.

But the real trouble started during the eighth inning.

That’s when the home plate umpire called a pitch that might not have been in the strike zone as strike three.

The batter got mad at the ump and got tossed from the game.

So now the Dodgers’ players were mad, and a lot of fans were mad.

And then in the ninth inning, another Dodgers batter struck out thanks in part to a questionable called strike.

That batter also told the umpire that he’d messed up and the umpire ejected him too.

Out came Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, never the calmest, quietest voice in these situations, and the umpire ended up throwing him out of the game.

At which point the Dodgers fans start heaving tens of thousands of souvenir baseballs onto the field in protest.

By one account, 35,000 balls came flying out onto what was still an active baseball game.

Both teams had to pull their players off the field while the grounds crew cleaned up the mess.

Almost as soon as they returned, someone in the bleachers threw another ball onto the field, which was one ball too many for the head umpire.

He signaled that the ball-storm meant that the game couldn’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t continue, and that meant the Cardinals beat the Dodgers in the first forfeited game in four decades.

The loss didn’t slow the Dodgers down; they did end up making the playoffs.

But once they got there, they lost to Cincinnati – in non-forfeit games.

Starting tomorrow in Williston, North Dakota, it’s the 2023 North Dakota Chokecherry Festival, in honor of the official state fruit.

There will be lots of live music, entertainers and stunt dog shows, plus, free ice cream and pancakes with chokecherry syrup.

The crazy story behind MLB’s last forfeit (

2023 North Dakota Chokecherry Festival

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Photo by Sean Winters via Flickr/Creative Commons