Top 5 Infamous Baseball Beanings
Nolan Ryan displayed his fiery nature during this 1991 brawl with Robin Ventura. Photo is credited to SBNation.com
With the recent Ubaldo Jimenez suspension after plunking Troy Tulowitzki, it brings to mind some of the most infamous beanings in baseball history.
While a brawl in hockey will barely grab headlines, a "base-brawl" will generally be the leading story on most sports outlets. Here are some plunkings that caused substantial attention.
5. Pedro Martinez/ Karim Garcia
Pedro has made a living intimidating hitters
The event everyone will remember is Pedro Martinez tossing bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground, which created even more animosity between the two clubs.
The event which led to it was Pedro hitting outfielder Karim Garcia with a pitch in the back. The clubs emptied benches and Jorge Posada made a gesture to Pedro Martinez and rambled off some insults in Spanish.
While the Pedro/Zimmer brawl did not occur on this play, it was caused by this beaning, and the benches cleared directly after Garcia began barking at Pedro.
4. Jack Hamilton/Tony Conigliaro
At 22 years old, Tony Conigliaro was a fan favorite but had his career threatened by taking a fastball to the eye. Photo credited to Bostondirtdogs.com
One event the die-hard fans will never forget is the downfall of phenom outfielder Tony Conigliaro. At 22 years old, "Tony C," as he was affectionately known, took a blazing fastball to the cheekbone which immediately sent him to the ground. He was taken off in a stretcher, and among the many injuries was a severely damaged retina.
While Conigliaro eventually made his improbable comeback and returned to his previous form, the beaning became memorable because it established the new rule requiring protective ear-flaps on the helmet, and the Red Sox were left without a championship for another season.
3. Carl Mays/Ray Chapman
Carl Mays is responsible for beaning Ray Champan in the head, which led to his death 12 hours later. Photo is credited to grafiklit.com
From a young age, hitters are taught not to be afraid of the ball. A coach may say "it wont hurt," heck, he might even show you this video to prove anyone can do it.
However, a baseball can cause damage. There has been one incident in baseball which has directly led to the death of a player, and it was in 1920.
Ray Chapman was a serviceable middle infielder for the Cleveland Indians for his nine-year career. It is unfortunate his career, and life, was cut way too short when a fastball by sidearmer Carl Mays struck him in the head and sent him to the ground. He was sent to the hospital and pronounced dead 12 hours later.
Although it was a horrific incident, the event did lead to the rule which mandated batters wear helmets to the plate. It is incredible to think batters were able to face pitchers like Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson without any protective gear. The event also forced the ban of the spitball pitch (although that did not stop some pitchers), which enabled pitchers to put a tremendous amount of movement on their pitches.
2. Roger Clemens/Mike Piazza
Roger Clemens had a reputation for being a 'head-hunter' due to incidents during this interleague game in 2000. Photo is credited to ESPN
The fact that Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza are two of the greatest players in MLB history make this match up worth the price of admission. Piazza previously had Clemens' number and hit multiple home runs off him in the previous year's match up.
It is no secret Clemens let his emotions get the best of him during the heat of the battle. This was no different.
Clemens, usually noted for his remarkable command, unleashed a high fastball which struck Piazza in the head. The All-Star catcher lied on the ground for several minutes motionless.
Piazza was diagnosed with a concussion and missed the Summer Classic in Turner Field.
The boiling point between the two was actually during the Subway Series when Clemens managed to pull off one of the most mind-boggling and dangerous acts on a baseball field.
The steroid allegations which have occurred in recent years have not helped his reputation, and perhaps explains his erratic behavior at times.
1. Nolan Ryan/Robin Ventura
Nolan Ryan pitched at an elite level for 27 years in the big leagues. He waited for his final season, however, to be involved in an all-out brawl on the diamond.
He drilled current White Sox manager Robin Ventura in the back with a pitch, and Ventura proceeded to charge the mound. Ryan, 26 years his elder, put him in a headlock and began violently punching Ventura.
While both players were bloody, it was the grizzled veteran, Ryan, who was the unanimous winner. Watching the video is the only way to appreciate the moment.