Skip to content

The best (and worst) bench-clearing brawls of all time

Apr 12, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

Ryan Ventura

I was not at all pleased to see Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke go at it last night.  And I am on record as saying that throwing at guys is dumb. And that charging the mound is dumb. I am glad that fights are fewer and more far between now than they used to be back in the day, but I’d like to see them eliminated totally.

That said: some of these brawls can be kind of fun to watch if you put your hangups about such things aside.

Here are some of the more memorable ones, in no particular order:

Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura, 1993:

This one needs no introduction, for we’ve seen it a zillion times. It’s often called an epic beatdown by the elder, just-about-to-retire Ryan on the poor young Ventura. But in reality Ventura fought back fairly decently after weathering Ryan’s initial, famous assault:

OK, maybe Ventura still got totally owned, but history would have you believe that Ryan knocked him into next Tuesday. It was next Sunday at best.

Braves vs. Padres, 1984

Pascual Perez hit Alan Wiggins and it led to not just one, but multiple fights throughout the game. If this happend today the Internt would break:

Juan Marichal vs. John Roseboro, 1965

This one was scary. Marichal had thrown inside to two Dodgers hitters early. When he came to bat later in the game, the Dodgers catcher made a point to throw the ball back to pitcher Sandy Koufax in such a way as to have it sail close to Marichal’s head. Marichal flipped out, clubbed Roseboro with his bat and then a lengthy brawl ensured. Roseboro needed 14 stitches. Marichal was suspended for eight games. It coulda been way, way worse:

Orioles vs. Yankees, 1998

Armando Benitez threw one in Tino Martinez’s back. All hell broke loose:

Kevin Youkilis vs. Rick Porcello, 2009

First pitch plunk, a mound charge, a helmet throw and then a skinny ground ball pitcher does what he does best: buries Youkilis into the ground with a nice takedown. My girlfriend, a Tiger fan, has a picture from this one framed and displays it in our home.

Major League Baseball won’t let us embed this one, but you can see it all here.

Pete Rose vs. Bud Harrelson, 1973 NLCS

This one was more notable for the timing of it than the actual fisticuffs. You just don’t see fights like this in league championship series, as no one wants to risk a suspension or injury with so much at stake. But then again, when Pete Rose is involved, all bets are off:

Don Zimmer vs. Pedro Martinez, 2003 ALCS

Another LCS fight, this one with a much greater age difference than the Ryan-Ventura fight.  Since it occurred, Pedro has said that he really had no idea what to do with the then-72 year-old coach charging him — Pedro also claims Zimmer was going to punch him and was insulting his mother —  so he sort of did an ole-job. Zimmer’s response to that in 2009? “Pedro is full of crap … It’s what, six years later? If Pedro wants to be a big man, I don’t care what he says.” Let’s just agree to disagree, gentlemen, and agree that this was hilarious:

Tigers vs. White Sox, 2000

I couldn’t find video of this one but I remember it well from the SportsCenter clips that night. Tigers starter Jeff Weaver hit Carlos Lee with a pitch. The next inning Jim Parque hit Dean Palmer. Palmer charged the mound, threw his helmet, and the fight was on. Unlike today’s pushing and shoving, guys were really punching each other. There was blood and guts and everything.

Field:

Hey, not all of these get their own category. Sometimes you just gotta listen to some bad music and watch baseball fights in montage form:

Got a favorite I missed? Let’s talk about them in the comments. But please: let’s keep it civil. I don’t want to have to eject anyone.

Latest Posts
  1. Braves suspend Dan Uggla one game for being extremely tardy on Saturday in Chicago

    Jul 13, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

    dan uggla getty Getty Images

    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez refused to get into specific in his chat with the media before Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Wrigley Field, but second baseman Dan Uggla has officially been suspended one game without pay and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution hears that it was for tardiness.

  2. Cliff Lee on track to return to Phillies’ rotation July 21

    Jul 13, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT

    cliff lee shadow getty Getty Images

    Cliff Lee is on track to return to the Phillies’ starting rotation on July 21. The veteran left-hander has been out since the middle of May because of a muscle strain in his pitching elbow but could be an attractive name at this year’s trade deadline.

  3. Pirates activate Francisco Liriano from the disabled list for Sunday start against the Reds

    Jul 13, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT

    liriano getty Getty Images

    Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano has been activated from the disabled list after missing a month with an oblique strain and will start an important game against the Reds on Sunday afternoon.

  4. Drew Pomeranz allows just one hit in rehab debut

    Jul 13, 2014, 10:59 AM EDT

    drew pomeranz getty Getty Images

    A’s starter Drew Pomeranz made his minor league rehab debut on Saturday night with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. And it was promising. The left-hander struck out seven, walked none, and yielded only one hit — a solo home run — over four strong innings.

  5. MRI shows biceps strain, no structural damage, for Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann

    Jul 13, 2014, 10:17 AM EDT

    jordan zimmermann getty Getty Images

    An MRI taken Saturday on the right arm of Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann showed a biceps strain but no major structural damage. He is expected to avoid the disabled list.

  6. VIDEO: Yasiel Puig ejected for second time in his career

    Jul 13, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

    yasiel puig getty Getty Images

    Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was tossed out of Saturday night’s game against the Padres in the bottom of the third inning for arguing an iffy strike call on a low and inside pitch …

  7. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Jul 13, 2014, 8:48 AM EDT

    adam wainwright getty Getty Images

    The tide continues to change in the NL Central. Playing with heavy hearts in the aftermath of shortstop Jean Segura losing his nine-month-old son, the Brewers were blown out 10-2 by the visiting Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.

  8. Indians acquire Nick Maronde from the Angels

    Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Nick Maronde Nick Maronde

    The Indians and Angels made a small deal on Saturday, swapping a lefty reliever for cash.

  9. Fernando Rodney replaces David Price on the American League All-Star roster

    Jul 12, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    Fernando Rodney Fernando Rodney

    The American League has added a reliever rather than a starter with David Price giving up his spot on the roster for the All-Star Game.

  10. Play of the Day: Brian Dozier gets the out at home

    Jul 12, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

    Brian Dozier Brian Dozier

    Brian Dozier made a nifty play at Coors Field to get an out at home plate on Saturday.

  11. Dexter Fowler hopes to return to the Astros on Friday

    Jul 12, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Dexter Fowler Getty Images

    The Astros may get their center fielder back on Friday if all goes according to plan.

  12. Carlos Ruiz aims to begin rehabbing next week

    Jul 12, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Carlos Ruiz Carlos Ruiz

    Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will take batting practice and work on blocking baseballs. The hope is to begin a rehab assignment by the weekend.

  13. Pirates sign Rafael Perez to a minor league deal

    Jul 12, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

    Rafael Perez Getty Getty Images

    The Pirates added some relief depth, signing Rafael Perez to a minor league deal on Saturday.

  14. Nolan Reimold is hurt again

    Jul 12, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Nolan Reimold AP AP

    A pair of neck surgeries limited Nolan Reimold to just 56 games between 2012-2013 and now he’s dealing with a calf strain.

  15. Alexei Ramirez exits game with back stiffness; considered day-to-day

    Jul 12, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    Alexei Ramirez Getty Getty Images

    White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was forced to exit this afternoon’s game against the Indians in the top of the fourth inning due to back stiffness.

  16. Reds hope to get Joey Votto back for the “stretch run”

    Jul 12, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

    Votto Getty Getty Images

    Reds first baseman Joey Votto has received platelet-rich plasma injections in an effort to get past his lingering quad injury.

  17. Henderson Alvarez replaces Jordan Zimmermann on NL All-Star roster

    Jul 12, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    Henderson Alvarez Getty Getty Images

    This is the first All-Star selection for Henderson Alvarez.

  18. The Pirates could be interested in Huston Street

    Jul 12, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT

    Huston Street Getty Getty Images

    The Pirates are focused on adding pitching in advance of the July non-waiver trade deadline.

  19. Jean Segura leaves Brewers following the death of his nine-month-old son

    Jul 12, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

    Jean Segura Getty Getty Images

    Jean Segura has returned to his native Dominican Republic following the death of his nine-month-old son yesterday.

  20. Skip Schumaker placed on concussion disabled list

    Jul 12, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

    Skip Schumaker Getty Getty Images

    Brandon Phillips underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and now the Reds will be without one of the potential options to fill in at second base.

Featured video

Yanks, Cards and Reds hit with injury bug
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Nelson (2651)
  2. M. Tanaka (2529)
  3. C. Gonzalez (2495)
  4. M. Trumbo (2399)
  5. A. Alcantara (2311)
  1. J. Votto (2274)
  2. B. Hamilton (2265)
  3. V. Martinez (2222)
  4. C. Lee (2140)
  5. C. Beltran (1977)