With MLB Opening Day upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on one of the most beloved features of America’s first love – baseball. Now I know many people don’t have the stomach to watch a full 9 inning ballgame, however every so often, if you are lucky, you will be blessed with a bench clearing brawl that will make all those viewing hours worth the boredom. All it takes is an inside pitch, a dirty takeout slide, or a devious stare from a hitter toward the mound and it’s on. Join us as we sift through the annals of MLB history and serve our list of the most memorable basebrawls of all-time.
August 22, 1965 – Juan Marichal is Batman
The Giants and the Dodgers were bitter rivals engaged in a pennant race when Juan Marichal came up to bat against Sandy Koufax. When Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro threw a ball back to Koufax that nicked Marichal’s ear, the San Francisco ace struck the catcher with his bat, setting off a melee and opening a two-inch gash on Roseboro’s head. Marichal was suspended nine days and fined $1,750.
October 8, 1973 – Charlie Hustle throws down
The Mets were routing the Reds 9-2 in Game 3 of the NLCS when Pete Rose slid hard into Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson at second base to try to break up a double play. Rose was upset about comments Harrelson had made in the press and shoved Harrelson, who swung his elbow. Fists started flying as both benches emptied. Pedro Borbon of the Reds and Buzz Capra of the Mets also went mano a mano, with Borbon ending up with the wrong cap — a Mets cap — on his head. When he realized what he had done, he bit a chunk out of it.
August 4, 1993 – The Ryan Express serves up knuckle sandwiches
Robin Ventura had a decent career, but most people will remember him for getting a bunch of noogies from Nolan Ryan, who, at 46, was 20 years his elder. Ventura was ejected from the game and Ryan stayed in. The Rangers won 5-2.
May 19, 1998 – Benitez blows up
After giving up an eighth-inning, three-run home run to Bernie Williams, O’s reliever Armando Benitez drilled Tino Martinez in the back with a pitch, setting off a 10-minute brawl that included a wild sucker punch on Benitez by the Yanks’ Darryl Stawberry. ”It was the worst brawl I’ve seen in 25 years,” George Steinbrenner said. The Yankees ended up trading for Benitez in 2003.
April 22, 2000 – Let’s play two!
One brawl wasn’t enough for the Tigers and White Sox, who fought in the seventh and ninth innings of a 14-6 Chicago victory. Final tally: five hit by pitches and 11 ejections. “Bottom line is, we won the game and we killed them,” Chicago pitcher Jim Parque said. “I hope they have enough guys so we can beat them again.”
August 28, 2000 – Pedro throws a gem, and some punches
Pedro Martinez’s bid for a no-hitter began with a brawl. Martinez began the game by hitting the leadoff hitter, Devil Rays outfielder Gerald Williams, who charged the mound and floored Martinez with a punch. Umpires ejected Williams but allowed Martinez to remain in the game. He ended up allowing a single in the ninth inning that broke up his no-hit bid.
Step back into the batter’s box with The Campus Socialite on Wednesday as we finish up our list of classic brouhahas.