Player: Len Randle
Card: 1978 Topps # 544
Errors: It appears the first baseman went out of his way to tag with the non-glove hand. Randle may have been a more effective defensive player if he had two hands.
And so it came down to this. The past. The future. The world.
Full count. Bases jammed. Tie game.
If Randle drives in this run, then the Mets win. Then Randle will not be released by the team. Then he will be there to stop the Commies from placing The Bomb in Lee Mazzilli's locker. Then Shea Stadium will not collapse. Then democracy will be saved.
And all that Randle had been through - the DeLorian repairs, kissing his mom, shooting Doc, punching Bump "Biff" Wells - will not be in vain.
Randle pushes his left cleat into the deep dirt of San Diego Stadium, like a farmer pulling up a soybean.
Above him, the stadium's P.A. cranks out Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode.
"Randle you can do this," he says to himself. "It is your density."
Butch Metzger, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound Indiana boy who isn't afraid of anybody, snarls and huffs on the mound. He rears back.
"It's the heat," Randle mutters. "Fastball. Fastball. Fastball. Fas..."
The pitch is inside. Randle pulls his hands in defensively.
The baseball hits off the knob of his bat.
A dribbler down the third base line.
Randle freezes. Would a gust of wind push the ball foul? No one has time to find out. Randle looks in the stands. Half of the fans already vanished.
Randle tears down the line. Each step eats a yard of real estate.
He notices his right hand.
Why had Randall listened to Christopher Lloyd? That guy was driving a taxi last week. Now he was supposed to be a scientist? He was a buffoon! They should have never believed they could mess with this stuff. Changing the past only changed the future. Unlike the basepaths, time is not a straight line.
Randle screams and dives toward salvation, even though it is legal to run through first base in Major League Baseball (as long as you turn toward foul territory after passing the bag) and sliding reduces a player's momentum, essentially slowing him down at the critical instant.
A cloud of dust.
The umpire throws up his arms.
Randle celebrates. His hand - it's back! The Mets will not release him and the bomb will never be placed. The world is back on track. Everything will be fine.
As his teammates rush the field, Randle tosses his batting helmet into the air. The Mets bench piles on to today's hero, unaware just how much he saved.
Meanwhile, the helmet careens toward the stands, catching a Hawaiian baseball fan on the side of his head. It's a violent collision.
Young Barry Obama would never hear again.