On August 15, 1926, in a game at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves. the Brooklyn Dodgers had the bases loaded. Babe Herman (1903-1987) hit a ball that the runners thought would be caught. Hank DeBerry on third base scored. Dazzy Vance on second base rounded third, but the throw came home, so he went back to third base. Chuck Fewster on first base went to third base. Babe Herman ran with his head down and slid into third base. Three Brooklyn baserunners were on third base and two were called out, ending the inning.
A popular Brooklyn joke became:
“The Brooklyn Dodgers have three men on base.”
Wikipedia: Babe Herman
Floyd Caves “Babe” Herman (June 26, 1903 – November 27, 1987) was an American right fielder in Major League Baseball who was best known for his several seasons with the Brooklyn Robins (later the Brooklyn Dodgers, now the Los Angeles Dodgers).
During a game on August 15, 1926, at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves, he tried to stretch a double off the right field wall into a triple with one out and the bases loaded; Chick Fewster, who had been on first, advanced to third base – which was already occupied by Dazzy Vance, who had started from second base but was now caught in a rundown and was dashing back to third. All three of them ended up at third base, with Herman not having watched the play in front of him, and the third baseman, Eddie Taylor, tagged all three just to be sure of getting as many outs as possible. The slow-footed Vance had been a major contributor to this situation, but according to the rules, Vance (as the lead runner, not forced to advance) was entitled to the base, so umpire Beans Reardon called Herman and Fewster out. Thus, Babe Herman was said to have “doubled into a double play.” He would later complain that no one remembered that he drove in the winning run on the play (Hank DeBerry was on third when Vance was on second and Fewster was on first; when Babe got his hit, DeBerry scored). This led to the following popular joke:
“The Dodgers have three men on base!”
“Oh, yeah? Which base?“
21 December 1941, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Clearing the Bases” by Tommy Holmes, pg. 4C, col. 1:
“So Mickey (O’Neil, the Brooklyn Dodgers third base coach—ed.) went out there and darned if that wasn’t the inning when Babe Herman hit one up against the exit gate and arrived at third base with Vance and Chuck Fewster already there. Two of them were tagged out and the crowd lit into O’Neil and gave him a terrific ride, although it wasn’t his fault.”
19 February 1943,
His favorite yarn was about an overflow crowd for a Dodger-Card game in the pennant drive. The gang outside the park judged what was happening by the cheers from inside. After one mighty outburst, someone on the outside asked what had happened.
“The Dodgers just got three men on base,” was the answer.
“Which base?” shot back the anxious fan.
29 May 1950, State-Times (Baton Rouge, LA), “Sportsfolio” by Bill Williams, pg. 4-B, col. 1:
It was Herman, Fewster and Vance who all met at third base in the midst of a Dodger rally. With Fewster and Vance on first and second Herman hit a ball that appeared to be another out but fell for what would have been a double. Herman never looked, but put his head down and ran. He ended up at third but unfortunately Fewster and Vance had held up on the blow and they were on third base, also. A double play retired the side.
It led to a classic remark. A motorist leaned out of his car window and asked a fan sitting in the back of the grandstand, “What’s the score?”
The unidentified fan said, “We’re losing two to one, last of the eighth but we got three men on base.”
With genuine horror in his voice the motorist inquired, “Which base?”
OCLC WorldCat record
Three men on third : a book of baseball anecdotes, oddities, and curiosities
Author: H Allen Smith; Ira L Smith; Leo Hershfield
Publisher: Halcottsville, NY : Breakaway Books, 2000, ©1951.
10 August 1952, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Taxi Drivers Make Up Unseen Dodgers Audience” by Harold C. Burr, pg. 21, col. 1:
NATURAL QUESTION.—It was shortly after the famous episode when Dazzy Vance, Chuck Fewster and Herman held their meeting at third base. It was Fewster who finally decided that the bag was a little overcrowded and left for the outfield, refusing to suffer the ignominy of being tagged out at third.
A driver picked up a fare before a subsequent game was over and the customer was at once engaged in conversation.
“How’s the game going, mister?”
“When I left,” reported the man in the back seat, “the Dodgers had three men on base.”
“Yeah?” intrigued the chauffeur. “Which base?”
Google News Archive
24 February 1960, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “Home of Daffy Dodgers Comes Tumbling Down” (New York Times News Service), pg. 2, col. 8:
It was here (Ebbets Field—ed.) that a fan once exclaimed, “We got three on base”—and his neighbor asked, “which base?”
Guns of the Regressive Right;
The Only Reconstruction of the Kennedy Assassination That Makes Sense
By Morris A. Bealle
Washington, DC: Columbia Pub. Co.
“And a taxi driver became famous when a fan, listening to the cab radio said, ‘Ray, Brooklyn’s got three on base’.
“The cab driver growled, ‘Which base?’”
Pull Up a Chair:
The Vin Scully Story
By Curt Smith
Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, Inc.
In 1926, Floyd Caves “Babe” Herman batted with Hank DeBerry, Dazzy Vance, and Chuck Fewster on base. Herman lined off the right-field screen, DeBerry scoring. Nearing third, Vance turned the bag. THe outfielder threw home. Retreating, Vance met Fewster, sliding into third, who met Babe, head down. Three Dodgers now shared a base. Three Dodgers now shared a base. Leaving, Fewster and Herman were tagged out.
Line: “The Dodgers have three on base.”
Punchline: “Yeah, which base?