Joe Torre was told by MLB officials that the suspended game rule that affected Thursday's Orioles-Yankees game was not new, but rather on the books since 1980, according to a New York Times report.
“I like the new rule, although I guess it’s hardly a new rule,” Torre said.
The rule was supposed to be put into place for the 1979 season, but a dispute with the MLBPA delayed the adoption until 1980.
And what was Torre doing in 1979 and 1980? He was managing the Mets. Good to know he was paying attention. Torre's Mets did play two game that were suspended in 1979. The first one was suspended because of a preset curfew. The Mets needed to catch a 7:30 pm flight to Houston and before the game, the Mets and Braves agreed to not start any innings after 6 pm.
The second was very weird. The Mets appeared to have beaten the Astros 5-0 on August 21, 1979. With two outs in the ninth, Jeffrey Leonard of the Astroes seemingly flied out to center. But the umpires ruled that time had been called. So Leonard went up to bat again, and this time he singled. However, it turned out that Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool was missing from the field as he thought the game was over after Leonard's fly out.
So Torre protested that Leonard's hit didn't count because there weren't nine players on the field. And the umpires bought that argument and made Leonard bat again. And this time Leonard flied out.
Out comes Houston manager Bill Virdon to complain that the do-overs were wrong and he protested the game.
The next day, NL President Chub Feeney ruled that Leonard's single should have counted because the ball was in play and if the Mets didn't have nine guys on the field, that was their problem.
So the game resumed on August 22 with Leonard on first with two outs and Jose Cruz at bat. Kevin Kobel came in to pitch for the Mets and got Cruz to ground out to second.
After those two weird events in 1979, a team managed by Torre never played in a suspended game.
As far as I can tell, the first time the suspended game rule involving the visitors tying or taking the lead in an inning without the home team getting a chance to bat was first invoked on May 11, 1990 in a game between the Indians and Rangers in Arlington. The Indians scored twice in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Then rains hit and the action was halted an eventually suspended. The Indians would end up winning the game when it was completed the next day by a score of 5-4.