The 10 Most Shocking Game Day Events In MLB History
The beauty of watching a baseball game is that there is always the chance that you could see something that has never been done before, or that may never be done again.
What follows are what I feel are the 10 most shocking game day moments in baseball history. That is not to say that these are the 10 most impressive moments, but instead the 10 moments that made people say "wow, I can't believe that just happened".
There may be no better demonstration of someone being shocked than the expression on George Brett's face in the accompanying picture, but the pine tar incident is not No. 1.
My list almost certainly has excluded some "wow" moments, so I encourage you to suggest anything and everything I may have left off.
No. 10: Glenallen Hill Hits Wrigley Rooftops
This one is admittedly added with a bit of bias, as I am a Cubs fan and Glenallen Hill was one of my favorites.
That said, his home run onto the rooftops down the left field line is the most impressive home run I have ever seen hit, and is a thing of legend among Cubs fans.
The estimates put the shot at roughly 500 feet, but the rooftop got in the way of the ball, more than the ball landed on the rooftops, so I think it could have easily been longer.
Glenallen Hill Rooftop Shotlesscan | MySpace Video
No. 9: Vince Coleman Is Rolled Up In Tarp
In the tarp's defense, Vince Coleman was a stupid, stupid man. This is the same Vince Coleman that injured Mets ace Dwight Gooden when he was swinging a golf club in the clubhouse. The same Vince Coleman that got 200 hours of community service after he threw a firecracker into a group of autograph seeking kids.
That said, it's not everyday that you see a player significantly injured by an automatic tarp machine.
Prior to Game Four of the NLCS, on October 13th, 1985, Coleman was warming up in the outfield when he failed to notice that the mechanical tarp roller had been deployed as it had begun to rain.
The machine rolled right over Coleman's leg, chipping a bone in his knee and badly bruising his leg. Coleman was out for the season, and the Cardinals went on to lose the World Series in six games. Chalk another one up in the stupid file for Coleman.
No. 8: Randall Simon
On July 9th, 2003, the Pirates took on the Brewers at Miller Park, and if you've ever been to Miller Park you know that once the bottom of the sixth inning rolls around, it's time to pick your favorite in the legendary Sausage Race.
The race began like any other, but when the sausages reached the Pirates dugout, first baseman Randall Simon was waiting at the fence, and he proceeded to club the Italian Sausage over the head with his bat, in what he later called a joke.
Simon was arrested and paid a $2,000 fine. The wearer of the sausage suit, Mandy Block, was unharmed and asked only that Simon sign the bat and give it to her.
He did, and upon returning to Milwaukee, this time as a member of the Cubs, Simon purchased Italian Sausages for an entire section of the stadium to make amends. Nonetheless, it was still one of the more shocking moments you'll ever see at a baseball game.
No. 7: Pedro Martinez vs. Don Zimmer
The Yankees and Red Sox have one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, and tempers have boiled over on more than one occasion. There may be none more memorable, however, than the one that took place during the 2003 ALCS.
Martinez, notorious for throwing inside on guys and never afraid to hit a batter, had plunked the Yankees Karim Garcia earlier in the game. Not only that, but a fight had broken out in the Yankees bullpen with a Red Sox grounds crew member.
So when benches cleared later in the game, Zimmer, in a sudden daze of Hulk like rage, ran at Martinez, and the 32-year old pitcher promptly threw the 72-year old coach to the ground.
Obviously this was the talk of the baseball world for a short time, with everyone weighing in on who was more at fault. In the end, it doesn't matter who was more wrong, because it provided us with one of the oddest moments in baseball history.
No. 6: Ten Cent Beer Night
With attendance slumping, the Cleveland Indians came up with what was almost certainly the worst idea of all-time to lure in fans: a 10 cent beer night.
So on June 4th, 1974, a whopping 25,134 fans made their way to Municipal Stadium in Cleveland for an Indians-Rangers game, well over the average attendance of about 8,000.
To make matters worse, the two teams had had a bench clearing brawl a week earlier in Texas during a similar cheap beer night.
It was more of the same in this game, as the benches cleared once again in the eighth inning after a batter was thrown at. Only this time, it turned into a full on brawl between the two teams.
To make matters worse, 25,000 heavily intoxicated fans, having drank an estimated 60,000 beers, began storming the field and throwing everything that wasn't bolted down onto the field and at the players.
Fist fights broke out between players and fans, and at one point, the Rangers players grabbed bats in an effort to protect themselves.
This was not the fans first disruption of the game, as a woman had flashed the crowd from the Indians on-deck circle, a man had streaked to second base, and two men had mooned the crowd from the outfield all before the seventh inning stretch.
The brawl was the last straw though, as WJW-TV had to suspend their live broadcast of the game, and the Indians ended up having to forfeit the game. Needless to say, such promotions have since been banned.
No. 5: Rick Monday Saves The Flag
Rick Monday had a solid MLB career, but he will always be remembered for two things: He was the first overall pick in the first ever MLB Draft, and he saved an American flag from being burned on the field at Dodgers Stadium.
On April 25th, 1976, two protesters ran onto the field during a Cubs-Dodgers game, and attempted to set fire to an American flag that they had brought with them out in left field.
Monday, playing center field, saw what was going on and sprinted over, grabbing the flag off the ground before it was ignited. The two were arrested, and Monday received a standing ovation from the Dodgers fans in his next at bat, while the scoreboard read "Rick Monday...you made a great play."
No. 4: The Pine Tar Incident
On July 24th, 1983, the Royals took on the Yankees at Yankees Stadium. The Yankees held a slim 4-3 lead with two out and one man on in the top of the ninth when George Brett came to the plate against Yankees relief ace Goose Gossage.
Brett promptly delivered a home run into the right center field bleachers, and seemingly gave the Royals the lead.
However, 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. Infuriated, Brett sprinted out of the dugout and had to be restrained, in one of the most frequently played clips in baseball history.
The Royals played under protest, and the league decided that since the pine tar rule is used to keep the sticky substance off of the ball, and is of no real advantage to the hitter, and also because of the fact that it was called into question after the at bat, to award Brett the home run.
The game was resumed on August 18th, and Martin played pitcher Ron Guidry in center field and left handed first basemen Don Mattingly at second base to show he was still upset with the ruling, and the Royals secured the win.
This may be the only time fans will ever see a game losing home run, even though it was overturned, and it was certainly a shocking moment, especially to Brett as you can see in the video.
No. 3: The Earthquake Series
With the Oakland A's taking on the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series, it was quickly billed as the "Battle of the Bay." However, the Series would have a significantly different nickname after Game Three.
With Game Three scheduled to start at 5:15 PM on October 17th, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck at 5:04 PM in San Francisco, with the stadium already filled with thousands of people.
Because of how close it was to the start of the game, this became the first earthquake ever televised on live television, and because so many people were watching the game, only 42 people died when the freeways collapsed from the quake.
There was a 10-day layoff between games, and the A's went on to win the series in four games, but the earthquake will forever be what fans remember about the 1989 World Series.
No. 2: Randy Johnson Disintegrates A Bird
On March 24th, 2001, Randy Johnson took the mound for the Diamondbacks in what was seemingly just another start.
However, in a freak accident that still shows up on sports shows, a dove flew in front of home plate, just as Johnson uncorked a 95 mph fastball, and Johnson landed a direct hit on the bird.
An explosion of feathers ensued, and as the bird was killed instantly and sent to the backstop.
Sort of puts into perspective what it's like to be hit by a major league fastball doesn't it. This will forever be one of the more shocking moments you'll ever see on a baseball diamond.
The video is not the best, but with MLB restrictions it was the best I could find, and it gets the job done. Fun fact: the pitch was ruled a dead ball.
No. 1: Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura
I think it is safe to say that this was not how Robin Ventura saw things unfolding when he charged the mound against a man old enough to be his father.
After the 46-year-old Ryan plunked the 26-year-old Ventura during what was one of the last starts of Ryan's illustrious career, Ventura charged the mound, and was almost immediately put in a headlock by Ryan.
Ryan then proceeded to wail on Ventura's face, landing a solid six punches before Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez finally pulled Ventura out of Ryan's grip.
Ventura and White Sox manager Gene Lamont were both ejected from the game, but Ryan, who never even left the mound, was allowed to remain in the game. He held the Sox hitless from that point forward.
The man, the myth, the legend...Nolan Ryan.