The Story Of Mike Morse's Home Run Without A Bat

Nicknamed the "Beast," Michael Morse started playing professional baseball after graduating from Nova High School in Davie, Florida, in 2000 (via Major League Baseball). He spent the first few years of his career in the minor leagues before getting his first taste of the majors in 2005. Morse joined the Seattle Mariners for that season, but an array of problems had him bouncing between that team and the minor leagues for the next few years.

Morse went through many ups and down in his career. While with the Mariners, he got suspended for 10 days for taking steroids back in 2003 while in the minor leagues, according to ESPN. Morse also experienced a series of injuries over the next couple of seasons, taking him out of the game several times to heal. But perhaps one of the oddest things that Morse encountered during his baseball days came when he was with the Washington Nationals.

Was Morse's hit out or in?

In 2009, Morse played for two AAA teams before returning to major league play with the Washington Nationals. He quickly won over fans with his quirky moves and love of 80s music, according to the Washington Post. Morse had a pre-batting stretching ritual that involved a series of moves he called Samurai Cobra Snake. He also got the song "Take On Me" by the Norwegian pop group A-ha as the go-to tune for the 7th inning.

During the 2012 season, Morse played in 102 games for the team (via MLB). He scored 17 doubles and 18 home runs during this time, but one of those home runs almost didn't happen. The Washington Nationals faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 29, and Morse was in the outfield, per Baseball Reference. Both teams were in the running for the National League East Championship. Morse went up to bat, hitting a fly ball so far that it hit the back fence of the stadium, according to USA Today. The ball ricocheted off the wall, and the umpire allowed play to continue. Morse got tagged out at first base. It seemed like a straightforward play, but it quickly turned a bit weird.

Umpires' call led to athletes playacting

After the umpires reviewed the situation, they overturned the earlier call that allowed the ball to still be in play after it hit the wall (via USA Today). Striking the wall meant that play should have stopped. This decision transformed Morse's out at first into a home run. The umpires had all the players return their original positions from the start of that play. The bases had been loaded so his teammates Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam LaRoche went back to their placse (via Society for American Baseball Research).

Morse stood at home plate, reenacting his home run swing –- this time without his bat. After his pretend swing, Morse strode around the bases as his teammates also scored runs as well. In this instance, baseball became more like theater than sports. Even the announcers got into the act, reporting on the details of the invisible ball making a grand slam. This was such a strange sports moment that it took home the award for Oddity of the Year from MLB.