The Pine Tar Incident
July 24, 1983 - It was the top of the 9th, and the Kansas City Royals were down 4-3 to the Yankees. George Brett cracked a 2-run homer to take a 5 to 4 lead at Yankee Stadium. New York's manager, Billy Martin, approached the umpire and requested that he take a closer look at Brett's bat. Thus began the infamous pine tar incident.
The officials determined (by measuring the bat against homeplate) that the amount of tar exceeded the maximum allowed (18 inches from the top of the handle). The ump pointed to Brett in the visitor dugout and signaled that he was "out!"
Brett freaked out and pitched a fit. As one commentator noted, he was the first player in baseball history with a game-losing home run. As arguments ensued, security had to chase the Royal's bat boy into the locker room as he tried to run off with the disputed bat.
When the smoke cleared the Royals filed a formal protest and won! The league ruled that the umpire had overstepped the intent of the rule - and instead of tossing Brett out, the proper ruling should have been to let the home run stand and resume the game. And that's exactly what they did. 25 days after the game started it picked up where it left off. In front of 1200 fans the Yankees struck out the next hitter and went to bat down 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th. They struck out in order and the Royals won.
The bat now resides in the Hall of Fame.