1973 No Doubter Questioned

STATE TOURNAMENT STORIES: 1973 tourney sees no-doubter home run called into question

It seems each state tournament has a bit of controversy and the 1973 tournament featured a memorable one.

Dassel-Cokato met reigning champion Dick’s Place in the quarterfinals that year. Dick’s Place beat Marshall the night before 2-0 with Jerry Wickman throwing a no hitter where he struck out 15 hitters. But Wickman wasn’t the story the next day against Dassel-Cokato.

Former Dundas Dukes manager Bill Nelson played with Dick’s Place that season and recalls the incident. In the fifth inning, Jim Botten came to the plate as a pinch hitter, according to Nelson. Botten hit a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw … so some thought. Dassel-Cokato protested that Botten did not report to the umpire as a pinch hitter.

The public address announcer called Botten’s name over the loud speaker as a pinch hitter, but umpire Maurice Potter, a legendary amateur baseball umpire, said he didn’t hear Botten report, Nelson said. A newspaper account from 1973 wrote that Botten announced himself to the official scorer but not the umpires.

Though deaf, Potter established an impressive career in baseball. He entered the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 after 44 years of umpiring across the state. He attended school at the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in Faribault and the football field bears his name, He was inducted into the American Athletic Association of the Deaf Hall of Fame in 1969, the Minnesota School for the Deaf Hall of Fame in 1977 and the MSAD Aces Hall of Fame in 1999.

But that day in September in 1973 he became part of a controversy that lasted 45 minutes with the Minnesota Baseball Association Board of Directors intervening. Eventually, they deemed Botten out and made the runner on first at the time return to the base.

Dick’s Place lost the game 9-4 to Dassel-Cokato in a sloppy game. Dick’s Place committed five errors and Dassel-Cokato made two of its own. Plus, there were wild pitches, balks and passed balls mixed in during a memorable game.

Nelson recalls the MBA established a new rule for reporting the following season. The rule as it stands now is that managers must report all changes to the umpire and the press box.

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