Albert vs Fernando. Ichiro. Billy gets spiked. George vs Graig. Lenny gets creative.
May 30th, 1996. Cleveland Indians hot-headed slugger Albert Belle absolutely leveled Milwaukee Brewers Second Baseman Fernando Vina by hitting him in the face with his forearm and therefore starting a brawl between the clubs. Belle said Vina was standing in the baseline but was still fined and suspended 5 games for the incident. This photo pretty much captures Belle’s career in a nutshell: An angry dude who did not give a fuck what anyone else thought. I can respect that but from what I remember of this collision, it was still a cheap shot on Belle’s part. I wish I can find this video online somewhere, I’ve looked everywhere but to no avail.
Ichiro Suzuki chasing down a Robert Fick line drive in Right Field during a 2003 interleague game between the Mariners and Braves. Ichiro can do no wrong on a Baseball field as far as I’m concerned and this incredible photo represents that perfectly. Oh yeah, he definitely caught that ball.
Billy Martin’s Oakland Oaks Pacific Coast League Baseball card. Martin spent parts of the 3 seasons (1947, 1948, 1949) with the Oaks in the PCL before joining the New Yankees AAA affiliate Kansas City Blues in 1950. I have always envied the way Martin played Baseball, which was hard nosed with a “do anything to win” frame of mind. While he was a rookie with the Oaks, the following happend:
Billy Martin, covered in blood, was carried off the field in a game against the Stars. A baserunner spiked Billy in both legs at second base. In the dressing room, a doctor called in from the stands gave Billy a shot of whiskey, and trainer Red Adams and teammates held him down while the doctor stiched up the wounds without the benefit of any anesthetic.
Something tells me that Martin got up and was ready to play again the next day and was probably bummed that he couldn’t get back in the game he was just taken out of. Not many ball players in this day and age have the fire in the belly that Billy Martin did but then again that could have been just a mixture of his violent temper and alcoholism for all I know. By the way, I got this excerpt from this Sports Hollywood page which has some good information on the Hollywood Stars of the PCL. They have a great photo of Martin literally being carried off the field by teammates HERE but it is very small. I want a large version of VERY bad. If anyone has this please hook it up please!
October 9th, 1977. During the American League Playoffs between the Yankees and Royals. George Brett got into a nice little scrap with NY Third basemen Graig Nettles. Below is a nice little wrap-up of what went down that fateful October day, borrowed from The Baseball Page:
In the 1978 AL Playoffs, Brett hit a triple and crashed into Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles. “I came up and gave him an elbow, and he stepped back and kicked me in the face,” Brett said.
“We came to blows right there, but that was the kind of rivalry we had. Unfortunately, we didn’t win many of the games.” Three straight playoff losses to the Yankees, 1976-1978, were especially frustrating. “In 1980, finally winning, for us it was like winning the World Series,” Brett said.
It was Yankee Thurman Munson, though, who was a hero to Brett in that ’78 fight with Nettles in KC. “Craig and I are throwing haymakers at each other, and the next thing I know I’m on the bottom,” Brett recalled. “And Thurman is lying on top of me with his catching gear on and saying, `Don’t worry, George. I won’t let anybody hit you when you’re down.’ And they didn’t.”
I love Baseball fights and I love Thurman Munson.
At a May 27th, 1981 Mariners & Royals game at the Seattle Kingdome Amos Otis hit a slow roller down the Third Base line where Lenny Randle got down on his knees and tried to blow the ball foul. He was unsuccessful in the attempt as the ball stayed fair and Otis reached First Base. From that point on Randle was now known as the “Blowing the Baseball foul guy” on Sports blooper TV shows & movies for eternity. Sucks for him but hey it was worth the attempt due to the zero wind factor in the Kingdome, right?