Most protests of games are not upheld. There are many reasons for this, with the most frequent two being:
1. The protest had an incorrect basis, such as a disagreement with an umpire's judgment, which cannot be protested.
2. The team lodging the protest won the game, so it was never formally filed.
There have been some games when the protest has been upheld, even when the umpires correctly enforced the rules. Perhaps the most famous case is the George Brett pine tar bat homer on 7/24/83. In that case, the umpires were following the existing rules to the letter when Brett's homer was negated and he was called out. However, AL President Lee MacPhail ruled that the penalty was not within the "spirit of the rules" and reversed the call. Brett was awarded the home run and the game was resumed from that point (with some interesting substitutions by Yankee manager Billy Martin).
When a protest is upheld, the game is supposed to be played from the point of the protested play as corrected. However, there have also been times when the protest has been upheld, but the game has not been resumed. One infamous example was the Cardinals at Dodgers game on 7/20/47 where both teams batted in the ninth, but neither made three outs! There is a brief description after the list of resumed protested games.
Jim Smith has provided a number of protested games that were picked up from the point of protest at a later date, and we have received others from helpful visitors to our web site. The list likely is not complete. Please let us know if you can add to it. The more recent ones have links to their boxscores and play-by-play descriptions.
Latest additions and changes:
(on 12/11/2020): 7/2/1934, correction of base thrown to by Cards catcher
(on 8/21/2014): 8/19/2014
(on 6/2/2010): 8/30/1913 Giants at Phillies restored due to research showing game was resumed
(on 12/28/2008): 6/5/1943, 6/12/1943, details for some other games
(on 3/25/2008): 8/30/1913 Giants at Phillies removed; protest was upheld, but game was never resumed
(on 2/14/2007): 8/21/1979
(on 10/16/2005): 8/1/1971
(on 10/11/2005): 5/15/1975
(on 12/17/2005): 8/17/1947
July 20, 1947, St. Louis at Brooklyn: In the top of the ninth with the Cards ahead 2-0, Ron Northey hits a high fly deep to the wall in right center. The Dodgers CF Pete Reiser leaps but can't catch it, and after a couple of seconds the ball drops back on the field where RF Dixie Walker fields it, relays it to 2B Eddie Stanky, whose throw nails Northey at home. The first base umpire (there was a three man crew in those days) immediately ruled the ball in play, but the other base umpire signaled to Northey that it was a homer, so Northey slowed up. He was ruled out at the plate, and the Cards protested the game saying Northey had been deceived by the umpire and would have scored if he had not slowed down.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers scored three runs to win the game before the protest by a 3-2 score. NL President Ford Frick, who later became Commissioner, upheld the protest and awarded Northey a home run. However, he did not order the game resumed in the top of the ninth with the Cards ahead 3-0, which would have been the normal procedure called for by the rules. He allowed the Dodgers' runs to stand and ruled the game a 3-3 tie. (We can only speculate on what he would have decided if the Dodgers had hit a homer in the bottom of the ninth and scored four runs.) All the records counted except for the pitchers' win and loss. The game was replayed in its entirety as part of a doubleheader on August 18 that the Dodgers won.
Retrosheet's Dave Smith wrote an article about this game, which has more details, in the Society for American Baseball Research publication The Baseball Research Journal, Number 33, (2004).