The intrepid fan racing across the field as the chubby stadium security guy tries vehemently to run him down is an indelible image that nearly every baseball fan can attest too. And while most of these instances are minor and innocent they can, at times, turn ugly as in the recent taser incident at a Philadelphia Phillies game.
But that is for another article.
I tried to find a few memorable moments in MLB history where the fans raced the field in a positive manner, rather than negative. I have excluded postseason celebrations because that is technically a different subject. So please enjoy this short slide, and feel free to add your own story.
Who could forget one of baseball’s classic images when Yankee fans mobbed Chris Chambliss at Yankee Stadium following his pennant-clinching home run in Game 5 of the 1976 American League Championship Series.
"They're still asking me today, did I touch home plate?" he says. "How could I? Fans were all over the field and they were stealing everything. I avoided third and home and went right to the dugout. Craig Nettles and Willie Randolph were running interference for me."
It is said that once Chambliss was in the dugout, he thought about going back out and touching home plate…just to be safe.
You know you’re a well respected guy when a fan leaps over the oppositions dugout, races out onto the field, drops to his knees and bows down in front of you and that is exactly what Marlins Manager Fredi Gonzalez (then an assistant for the Braves) recalls.
That incident ended peacefully, with security hauling the fan off and handing him to police before he was charged with a misdemeanor for criminal trespassing, along with a fine. One of the latest Phillies fans to act foolishly wasn't treated so nicely.
My only problem was the fact of not being able to find one single picture of the guy who did this.
Sometimes, stories about fans on the field are simply one-sided as in the case of this Red Sox fan. While attending a game, the fan (Charles Gendron) raced onto the field, pilfered Robinson Cano’s hat, and tried to make his getaway, which you can see didn’t go too well for him. Yankee fans may not like the story, but that day, the fan had the overwhelming support of the Red Sox Nation.
Gendron was arrested, and Cano's cap was swiftly returned. Cano told the New York Post, "I was scared a little. I didn't know what it was." The Red Sox's Jason Varitek agreed, "That was a little freaky." All we can say is at least he was from Maine and not Boston.
Better known as the kissing bandit, the sultry damsel would comes traipsing along onto the field and plaster bright red lipstick kisses on a myriad of players faces including Nolan Ryan, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, George Brett (twice), Steve Garvey, and Cal Ripken, Jr. She has been described as "baseball's unofficial mascot" and "the grand dame of baseball".
In a time where racism was still very much heightened, two young lads raced onto the field and ran with Hank Aaron after his record-setting 715th home run. Aaron had been receiving death threats as he came closer and closer to breaking babe Ruth’s record that same year, so you can imagine just how scared he was when this happened, albeit innocent.
The two young men were 17 year old high school seniors, Britt Gaston and Cliff Courtney, both of Waycross, Georgia. As they attempted to leave the field, they were arrested by Atlanta police and charged with disorderly conduct. Both were bailed out and paid a small fine for their run.