George Brett and MLB's 7 Biggest Blowups of the Past 30 Years
It was 30 years ago today, on July 24, 1983, that Royals Hall of Famer George Brett turned in one of the most memorable moments in baseball history in what has become known only as the "Pine Tar Incident."
The clip has been shown thousands of times on lists of the greatest meltdowns in sports history and the like, and there is now question it is as angry as any professional athlete has ever been with a single call.
In honor of that infamous moment, here is a look at the seven biggest blowups over the past 30 years, including the aforementioned Brett moment.
7. Lou Piniella
Date: Entire career
Few managers in the history of the game have been capable of blowing up the way Lou Piniella could during his 23 seasons as a manager.
With 1,835 wins and the 1990 World Series title under his belt, he goes down as one of the best managers of his era. He'll be best remembered, however, for his outbursts that often resulted in base throwing, dirt kicking and everything in between.
He was not quite as animated during his four seasons with the Cubs, as he was 63 years old when he first took over the team. He was still capable of a solid blowout though, evidenced by the above video.
6. Milton Bradley: Throws Bag of Baseballs on the Field
Date: June 4, 2004
Perhaps the biggest headcase in recent baseball history, Milton Bradley has provided some of the more memorable meltdowns in the history of the sport.
This one in particular was a doozy, as he dropped the bat and took off his batting gloves after a called third strike. He then promptly grabbed a bag of balls from the dugout and threw it all over the field.
The stunt earned him a four-game suspension. This was just one in a series of ridiculous episodes for the talented but volatile slugger.
Legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully had the call, and nailed it as usual, saying, "Milton Bradley has thrown baseballs like rice at a wedding. Boy, that is not a good sign."
5. Roberto Alomar: Spit on Umpire
FULL DETAILS HERE (courtesy of Time.com)
Date: September 27, 1996
A 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, Roberto Alomar was one of the best players of his era and one of the best second baseman to ever play the game.
However, an incident while he was playing for the Orioles in 1996 put a black mark of sorts on his storied career, and may have been at least part of the reason he was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
After getting thrown out of the game for arguing a called third strike, Alomar got into it with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck. Things reached a boiling point, and Alomar spit in the umpire's face.
Alomar argued that Hirshbeck had used a racial slur. The second baseman then went way off-base by bringing up the umpire's deceased son.
"He had a problem with his family when his son died. I know that's something real tough in life, but after that he just changed, personality-wise. He just got real bitter."
When Hirshbeck found out about the comments he went after Alomar in the clubhouse the next day. Eventually the two made up and the incident has been put behind them, but it was one of the uglier all-around incidents in recent memory.
4. Frank Francisco: Throws Chair at a Fan
FULL DETAILS HERE (courtesy of CBSSports)
Date: September 13, 2004
It's not quite the Malice at the Palace, but any time a player attacks a fan, it tends to send waves across the sports world.
Currently a member of the Mets, Frank Francisco was just a rookie in the Rangers bullpen back in 2004, and a good one at that as he posted a 3.33 ERA and 10.5 K/9 in 45 games.
However, his rookie season will be remembered not for his play on the mound, but for an incident that occurred in the bullpen. Fed up with a heckling fan, Francisco threw a chair in the stands, but wound up hitting the woman sitting next to him instead, breaking her nose.
Francisco was eventually arrested on assault charges and was suspended the remainder of the season. Teammates claim the fan made racial slurs against him and heckled fellow Rangers reliever Doug Brocail about his stillborn child. The incident was not completely unprovoked, but it was still a scary moment.
3. Milton Bradley: Tears ACL Arguing
VIDEO HERE (courtesy of Red Balcony)
Date: September 23, 2007
Appearing on this list for the second time, Milton Bradley was known as much for his ability to get on base and offensive potential during his career as he was for his penchant for blowups.
The most notable of those blowups came late in the 2007 season, while Bradley was playing for the Padres. San Diego had acquired him from the A's in late June for prospect Andrew Brown as they looked to make a push towards the playoffs.
After arguing a called third strike earlier in the game, then colliding with center fielder Mike Cameron and stepping on his hand later on, it had already been a eventful game for Bradley.
After singling up the middle, Bradley called time and got in the face of the first base umpire. As manager Bud Black attempted to restrain him, Bradley wound up tearing his ACL struggling to get free, and wound up missing the rest of the season.
2. Don Zimmer: Thrown Down by Pedro Martinez
Date: October 11, 2003
Notorious for throwing at hitters, and his overall intimidation on the mound, Pedro Martinez had already plunked Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia earlier in the game, and tempers were flaring between the two rivals.
When Yankees starter Roger Clemens threw a fastball up around the head of Manny Ramirez, shouts were exchanged before the benches eventually cleared.
Then, in one of the strangest moments in baseball history, 72-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer charged at Pedro Martinez and was promptly thrown to the ground by the 32-year-old right-hander.
It looked awful for Martinez, but perhaps even worse for an embarrassed Zimmer, who clearly let his emotion get the best of him.
1. George Brett: Pine Tar Incident
Date: July 24, 1983
With the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead with two outs and one on in the top of the ninth, George Brett hit what looked like a go-ahead home run off of Yankees relief ace Goose Gossage.
However, following the play, Yankees manager Billy Martin called into question the amount of pine tar on Brett's bat, and after a lengthy umpire huddle, Brett was ruled out and the game was over.
Infuriated, Brett sprinted out of the dugout and had to be restrained from attacking home plate umpire Tim McClelland.
The rest of the game was played under protest, and the call was eventually overturned, but it still goes down as the biggest in-game blowup in baseball history.
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