50 Dirtiest Moments in Baseball History
Baseball has had a number of outstanding moments throughout its history and it has as had a number of moments that we wish we could forget.
In looking at the dirtiest moments in the history of baseball, we need to take a look at the good and the bad. The word "dirty" has taken on new meaning in addition to the fact that it is used to describe moments that are illegal and frowned upon. It is also used to describe moments that are ridiculously awesome.
This list contains 25 of each of those moments. The structure is such that after every frowned upon moment there will be one that brought smiles to the faces of the fans that saw the play. This will paint a nice picture of some of the good and the bad from the history of the game.
Chan Ho Park Drop-Kicks Tim Belcher
The game of baseball is one that is not normally known for having fights. Every now and then one does break out.
One of these incidents occurred in a rivalry game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels. Chan Ho Park bunted the ball down the first baseline during this game and Angels pitcher Tim Belcher laid a hard tag on him. The two started jawing at each other, and after Belcher allegedly made a racist comment, Park drop-kicked him.
Willie Mays' over-the-Shoulder Catch
The catch that Willie Mays made in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series is considered to be one of the greatest defensive plays in the history of baseball.
Mays is one of the game's greats and this moment is one of the highlights of his career. New York would go on to sweep the Cleveland Indians in that series.
San Diego Padres-Atlanta Braves Brawl
There are few fights in baseball history that are bigger than the one that broke out between the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves in 1984.
After Braves starter Pascal Perez hit Alan Wiggins in the first inning, tensions rose. They erupted when Padres starter Ed Whitson threw a high fastball at Perez when he came to the plate. This eventually led to a brawl.
The game featured more fights that resulted in 13 players and both managers being ejected.
Derek Jeter's Flip
What would have happened if Jeremy Giambi slid? It is a question we will never know the answer to, but it also adds to the allure of the play that Derek Jeter made in the 2001 ALDS.
Jeter came all the way to the first base line to grab Shane Spencer's errant throw as Giambi was coming towards home. He then made an incredible flip to Jorge Posada, who tagged Giambi out. The moment had a huge impact on the momentum in the series.
Roger Clemens Throws a Bat at Mike Piazza
A whole city was captivated when the New York Mets and the New York Yankees faced off in the 2000 World Series. There was additional tension between the two teams after Roger Clemens had drilled Mike Piazza in the head during the regular season.
Piazza stepped to the plate against Clemens and he hit a foul ball. The pitch broke Piazza's bat and one of the shards landed near Roger Clemens. What happened next is still confusing. Clemens took the bat shard and threw it towards Piazza as he was going to first base.
Clemens would later say he thought it was the ball, but that does not explain why he would have thrown it at Piazza.
College Baseball Player Finds a New Way to Score a Run
It is not often that a college baseball player can find himself listed among a number of MLB stars. However, Brian Kownacki has earned that honor.
Kownacki had one of the dirtiest plays in baseball history when he was playing at Fordham University. There are not too many words that can describe this play.
Pete Rose Lays out Ray Foose
All-Star Games do not have much meaning. They are just exhibition matches where the best players in the game get to show off their skills against each other. Most players don't go all out during these games.
Pete Rose was not one of those players. He played his heart out in the 1970 All-Star Game. Rose was coming home in a tie game when Ray Fosse reached back to grab a throw from Amos Otis. There was a big collision at the plate and Rose scored the game-winning run.
There are a number of people out there that will argue that this play was clean and others will say that it is dirty. This controversy helps this play land a spot on the list.
Endy Chavez's Catch in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS
In 2006 the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals had played an outstanding first six games of the NLCS and Game 7 was even better.
With the score tied at one in the top of the sixth inning, Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen hit what looked like a home run. Endy Chavez chased the ball back to the wall and made an incredible leaping catch to keep the game even.
Unfortunately for the Mets, they would go on to lose the game to the Cardinals after they allowed two runs in the ninth.
Don Zimmer Goes After Pedro Martinez
Things always get intense when the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox face off. When they face each other in the playoffs, everything intensifies.
After Pedro Martinez hit Karim Garcia with a pitch in Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS, he got into a shouting match with the Yankees dugout. A brawl would ensue in the bottom half of that inning after Roger Clemens threw a fastball near Manny Ramirez's head.
Don Zimmer took a run at Martinez and he threw the Yankees coach to the ground.
Babe Ruth's Called Shot
It has never been completely confirmed that Babe Ruth called his shot in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, but that ambiguity helps the story live on.
If Ruth actually did actually call his shot, then it is an incredible moment. Hitting a home run is hard enough, but putting it in a particular spot is even more impressive.
Ducky Medwick Gets Pelted with Garbage
This is actually the dirtiest moment on this list as it is the only one that involves actually garbage.
Ducky Medwick was a star for the St. Louis Cardinals and he infuriated fans of the Detroit Tigers after his hard slide into third base during Game 7 of the 1934 World Series. When Medwick went into the field the next inning he was pelted with fruit, vegetables and any other garbage that Tigers fans could find.
Kevin Mitchell Doesn't Use His Glove
Baseball gloves make it much easier for players to snag balls out of the air. Kevin Mitchell decided he did not need his glove during a game in 1989.
Mitchell just stuck his hand up as he was running and in a stroke of luck he was able to grab the ball with his bare hand.
Juan Marichal Goes After Johnny Roseboro
Tensions began to flare when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants faced off in 1965 and Juan Marichal threw a few pitches that were up and in.
Sandy Koufax did not want to retaliate when Marichal came to bat, but Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro did. Each ball he threw back to Koufax came very close to Marichal's face.
Marichal decided that he had enough and he turned around and swung his bat at Roseboro. This resulted in a two-inch gash on Roseboro's head that required 14 stitches to close.
David Wright Doesn't Need His Glove Either
Just as Kevin Mitchell did years earlier, David Wright was able to make a bare-handed catch in a game.
Wright's catch is arguably more impressive then Mitchell's because he made a diving grab. This moment occurred during Wright's second year in the major leagues.
Babe Ruth Attacks an Umpire
Since there were so many great moments in Babe Ruth's career, the mistakes that he made are not often heard. Ruth has one moment that he probably would have liked to take back.
When he was pitching as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Ruth got angry with an umpires balls and strikes calls at the beginning of the game. Ruth's response to this was to run up to the umpire and punch him in the face.
Ron Swoboda's Diving Grab
No one expected the New York Mets to reach the 1969 World Series, and when they did get that far, no one expected them to beat the mighty Baltimore Orioles.
Frank Robinson hit a liner that looked like it would drop in and give the Orioles a lead during the ninth Game 4. Swoboda made an outstanding catch on the hit was only a sac fly which tied the game. The Mets would go on to win the game in the 10th.
Ty Cobb Punches a One-Handed Heckler
While Ty Cobb was an outstanding baseball player, no one will ever accuse him of being able to control his temper.
One of the moments when Cobb's temper got the worst of him was during a game in 1912. Cobb got angry at a heckler, ran into the stands and punched him.
Jim Edmonds' Outstanding Catch
There were few, if any center fielders in baseball during the past few decades that were better defensively than Jim Edmonds in his prime.
He was known for making a number of incredible catches and his best play came against the Kansas City Royals in 1997 when he ran back and made a diving catch of a line drive that was over his head.
Yorvit Torrealba Hits an Umpire
There are certain lines that should not be crossed in baseball. One thing that players are not supposed to do is make contact with an umpire.
Yorvit Torrealba forgot about this during a game in the Venezuelan League in 2011. He struck the umpire in his mask after the two were involved in a heated exchange.
Devon White Makes a Huge Grab
There is something about the World Series that is able to bring out the best in some players. Devon White made the play of his career in the 1992 World Series.
White made an incredible catch and the Toronto Blue Jays were almost able to turn a triple play after his sick grab.
Royals' First-Base Coach Is Attacked
Tom Gamboa was doing his job as the Kansas City Royals' first-base coach during a game against the Chicago White Sox in September 2002 in what was a fairly uneventful game.
That all changed when two fans ran onto the field and started viciously attacking Gamboa. He only suffered minor injuries, but the attack was disturbing.
Sandy Amoros' Big Play
There were very few outfielders that could have made the play that Sandy Amoros made during Game 7 of the 1955 World Series.
He made an outstanding snag of Yogi Berra's slicing line drive that would would have allowed Joe DiMaggio to score from second base. This was a huge play as the Dodgers would only win Game 7 by a score of 2-0.
Jose Offerman Goes After an Umpire
Jose Offerman had a pretty good MLB career, but his reputation was severely tarnished by an event that occurred when he was coaching in the Dominican Winter League.
Offerman was angered by an umpire and the two started to argue. He then threw a punch at the umpire, which knocked him over.
Joe Rudi's Jumping Catch
Oakland Athletics fans have likely not seen a better play than the one that Joe Rudi made in Game 7 of the 1972 World Series.
The Athletics took a one-run lead into the ninth inning of Game 2 and it appeared the Cincinnati Reds would tie the game up on a Denis Menke hit, but Rudi made his famous catch.
Izzy Alcantara Kicks the Catcher
Izzy Alcantara played parts of three seasons in the major leagues, but his most memorable moment does not come from any of those games.
Alcantara got angered during a minor league game and he kicked the catcher and then went after the opposing pitcher.
Rodney McCray Goes Through the Wall
It is hard to find the proper words to describe how great of a play this was by Chicago White Sox minor leaguer Rodney McCray.
The running catch his nice, but the most impressive part is that McCray was able to hold onto the ball after he plowed through the wall.
Alex Sanchez Tests Positive for Steroids
It was known that steroids were a problem in the major leagues for years, but the first positive test result from a player did not come until 2005.
Alex Sanchez revived the dubious honor of being the first player in major league history to fail a steroid test and he was suspended for 10 games.
Brooks Robinson's Incredible Play
Brooks Robinson's Hall of Fame career had a number of memorable moments, but it is hard to think of one that is better than his play in Game 1 of the 1970 World Series.
Robinson snagged a hot shot off the bat of Lee May behind the third-base bag and in foul territory and then turned and made a great throw to first.
That Was a Cheap Shot
Because of the lack of physical contact in baseball compared to other sports, there are not many opportunities for there to be cheap shots.
That was not the case in a game between Scottsdale Community College and Yavapai Community College. An outfielder was running in to join the brawl and he absolutely laid out the runner standing on second base.
Amaya Souichirou Climbs a Wall
The song lyric "anything you can do, I can do better" comes from the musical Annie Get Your Gun, but it can be applied anywhere.
In Japan, these set of teammates tried to outdo each other with outstanding grabs. Masato Akamatsu makes the first catch and Amaya Souichirou makes the second.
Bud Harrelson Goes After Pete Rose
Even though Bud Harrelson gave up more than 50 pounds to Pete Rose, that was not going to stop him from fighting him after what Harrelson thought was a dirty play.
Rose had his hands up high when he slid into second base and took out Harrelson. The two ended up in a wrestling match and a 10-minute fight resulted from their little spat.
Ichiro Steals a Home Run
Garret Anderson thought that he had a home run against the Seattle Mariners in 2006, but he apparently did not account for the fact that Ichiro Suzuki was in right field.
Ichiro ran back to the wall and then used it to launch himself up to make an outstanding grab which took away a home run from Anderson.
Scott Cousins Lays out Buster Posey
Buster Posey had his 2011 season cut short after he was taken out in a collision at home plate by Scott Cousins.
Runners are allowed to make contact with catchers as they are trying to score, but Cousins lowered his shoulders like he was a linebacker trying to make a tackle.
Aaron Rowand Gives Up His Face to Make a Grab
It is a catch that we have seen many times before—a player is running full speed toward the wall and he makes a great grab.
That is not what makes the Aaron Rowand catch stand out. He was able to hold onto the ball after he had a vicious collision with the wall.
Ty Cobb Sharpens His Spikes
Throughout his career Ty Cobb would sharpen his spikes so that he could gain an advantage over his competitors. He had no problem sliding in hard with his sharp spikes.
This would also give Cobb a psychological advantage as other players would not be as aggressive if they knew Cobb was going to come in hard.
Kenny Lofton Brings One Back
Kenny Lofton was an outstanding player during his career and he won four Gold Gloves.
It is catches like this one that helped Lofton bring home this hardware. This grab came during a game in 1996 against the Baltimore Orioles.
Mark McGwire Sets the Single-Season Home Run Record
This is the second steroid entry that makes the list. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were involved in a great home run race in 1998, but it was a bit tainted.
McGwire had androstenedione in his locker and he admitted to using steroids during the 1998 season. One of the greatest baseball moments in recent history was tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.
Trayvon Robinson Shows off
It did not take long for the Seattle Mariners to find out what Trayvon Robinson could do after they traded for him in 2011.
Robinson made one of the best catches of the year and robbed Torii Hunter of a home run at Safeco Field.
Barry Bonds Hits 756
Hank Aaron held the major league career home run record for years with a total of 755 long balls. He saw Barry Bonds break his record.
Bonds was not exactly clean as he had used "The Clean" and "The Clear" during his career and it is suspected he used other performance enhancers as well.
Bo Can Throw
There are certain outfielders that players did not want to run against and Bo Jackson was one of those players.
He was known for being an incredible athlete and his best throw likely came when he gunned out Harold Reynolds as he tried to score during a game in June 1989.
Roberto Alomar Spits on John Hirschbeck
Baseball players and umpires often are able to get along well, but occasionally there are instances which draw a lot of attention.
One of these moments happened when Roberto Alomar spit on John Hirschbeck. Alomar said Hirschbeck used a racial slur and mentioned Hirschbeck's personal life. Upon hearing this the next day, Hirschbeck almost went after Alomar.
Walter Carlisle's Triple Play
A triple play is a rare feat in baseball and an unassisted triple play is even rarer. One feat that likely will never be matched is the triple play pulled off by Walter Carlisle while he was in the minor leagues.
Carlisle is an outfielder and he was able to turn an unassisted triple play. He is the only outfielder in baseball history to have done this.
Rafael Palmeiro Tests Positive
If not for the fact that Rafael Palmeiro went in front of Congress and wagged his finger at them when he told them he never did steroids, then he would not be on the list.
Palmeiro saw a great career essential end as a result of a positive steroid test during the 2005 season.
Ozzie Smith's Impressive Play
The fact that he was an incredible fielder earned Ozzie Smith the nickname "The Wizard of Oz." He is remembered for his defense and his back flips.
While Smith spent most of his time with the St. Louis Cardinals, his best play likely came when he was a member of the San Diego Padres. During his rookie season Smith ran behind second base to grab a Jeff Burroughs bouncer and he adjusted himself in mid-air to grab the ball with his bare hand and then made the throw to first.
George Moriarty Tries to Take on the Chicago White Sox
Players are normally the ones that go after umpires and not the other way around. That was not the case for George Moriarty.
A former player turned umpire, Moriarty was accused by the Chicago White Sox players of intentionally making calls against them during a double-header against the Cleveland Indians in 1932. He then challenged the team to a fight and a brawl ensued.
Gary Matthews, Jr. Makes One of the Best Catches in MLB History
In a game against the Texas Rangers in 2006, Mike Lamb hit a long drive to center field that looked like it would be a home run.
It would have been if not for an incredible catch by Gary Matthews, Jr., who climbed the fence to make a catch that can be seen here.
Disco Demolition Night
Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck was willing to do anything to get fans in the stands for games. One of his promotion ideas was Disco Demolition Night.
After a local DJ blew up some records in between games of a double-header between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, the fans got a bit too rowdy. The White Sox had to forfeit the second game of the double-header.
DeWayne Wise Keeps Mark Buehrle Perfect
The catch that DeWayne Wise made in the ninth inning of the Chicago White Sox's game on July 23, 2009, was outstanding in its own right.
What made it even better was the circumstances behind it. Wise's outstanding grab allowed Mark Buehrle to keep his perfect game. A video of the catch can be seen here.
The Black Sox Throw the 1919 World Series
There have been a number of players that have been banned for baseball for throwing games, but only the 1919 Black Sox scandal occurred during a World Series.
The outcome of the series was tainted and eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball as a result of the incident.
Curtis Granderson Shows off Some Glovework
Curtis Granderson has made a huge impact with his bat recently, but he can also make some great plays in the field.
One of Granderson's best defensive moments came when he robbed Grady Sizemore of a home run by reaching up and over the wall at Progressive Field.