Among the more commonly known unwritten rules in baseball is allowing the players to police themselves. Now it’s pretty evident in some capacity in all sports, but it’s pretty well-documented on the diamond. It doesn’t happen too often but it sure gets enforced when the moment strikes.
With baseball starting back up this week, we thought that we could look back at some more memorable bench-clearing brawls in baseball history or at least ones that certainly caught our attention.
9. TIGERS/INDIANS – 09/19/08 | TIGERS/RED SOX – 08/11/09
How often do you see the Detroit Tigers get into it with opposing teams? In recent years, probably not so much. Here are some recent instances where the Tigers bench cleared. See how many faces you can recognize on either side in each video.
That’s the most I’ve seen any Tigers team really get into it in quite a while. But let’s take a look back at some other memorable bench-clearing scrums in Major League Baseball.
8. WHITE SOX at RANGERS – AUGUST 4, 1993
Former Chicago White Sox player (and now former manager) Robin Ventura gets plunked by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and immediately took exception. Ventura charges the mound and Ryan gets him in a headlock and lands a few punches to the head. Amongst the fray are former Tigers Kenny Rogers and Ivan Rodriguez, former White Sox manager and current Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont, and two-sport All-Star athlete Bo Jackson.
7. MARINERS at ORIOLES – JUNE 6, 1993
This is just two months before the Ventura-Ryan bout, and this fight just kept going. Just when you thought order was restored and both teams would return to their benches, a scrum would break out. At one point, the play-by-play commentator suggests that the police should come in and break out the ruckus.
It is all topped off by another classic hat-throwing, dirt-kicking reaction by former hot-head manager Lou Piniella.
6. RED SOX at WHITE SOX – SEPTEMBER 6, 1993
I think Tigers fans remember George Bell, going back to those old American League East days in the 1980’s. Bell did spend the final two seasons of a rather impressive major league career on the south side of Chicago and for some, his lasting image may be of him getting trucked by former Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn.
Bell not only faces one, but two pitches around the head from Red Sox pitcher Aaron Sele. Brushing off the first one, Bell was not having it on the second one. Sele manages to dodge a Bell-thrown punch, then all we see is Bell getting taken down from someone out of no where. Mo Vaughn to the rescue!
5. EXPOS at PHILLIES – SEPTEMBER 24, 1996
First off, I’d like to begin a petition to bring a baseball franchise back to Montreal.
The fire that Pedro Martinez displayed when he was pitched stems all the way back to his days as a young Expo. Martinez hits Gregg Jeffries square in the ribs, Phillies pitcher Mike Williams retaliates to defend his player and throws at Pedro not once, but twice. Not only does Pedro charge the mound, but what he does when he finally gets to Williams is just pure gold.
4. CARDINALS at REDS – AUGUST 10, 2010
Here’s a more recent skirmish. This is in the bottom of the first inning, so you can imagine how the remainder game and the series went as far as emotion.
These two teams flat out don’t like each other. Apparently, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips said some things about the St. Louis Cardinals the night before, and the Cards became aware of Phillips’ words. The first one to take exception is Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, and then the gloves come off.
Also, something you don’t see every day, the two managers were jawing at one another, then-Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and then Reds manager Dusty Baker.
3. ORIOLES at YANKEES – MAY 19, 1998
So this one got a bit ugly… A good rule of thumb back then during the Yankees’ heydays of them winning titles left and right, don’t mess with Tino Martinez. Orioles reliever Armando Benitez learned that the hard way.
At first it appears things will calm and everyone will disperse… then the bullpen gets involved. Yankees reliever Graeme Lloyd goes right after Benitez when he gets to the fiasco and s*** hits the fan from there. Multiple skirmishes in the dugout, smaller fights dispersed throughout.
Like I said, it was ugly.
2. BREWERS at MARINERS – JUNE 30, 1990
How about some more old school American League action? This is when the Brewers were still a part of the junior circuit, and both them and the Mariners were donning uniforms that, in my opinion, they should be wearing today.
So this is another one that lingers on for some time. Brewers pitcher Bob Sebra plunks Tracey Jones and a fight breaks out. Things calm down, only to start back up again. It’s like clockwork in the Kingdome.
1. DIAMONDBACKS at DODGERS – JUNE 11, 2013
Two division rivals + Vin Scully on the call = good fight commentary
There is a lot going on here. Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy throws at a Los Angeles Dodgers player, Dodgers starter Zack Greinke returns the favor and plunks a D-Backs players, warnings are issued. Ian Kennedy apparently did not get the message, and hits Greinke of all people, and gets tossed.
A lot of extracurricular activity between coaches in this brawl too.