MLB | Mar 02, 2022

Biggest MLB Baseball Brawls in Sports History

By Harry Bazley

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As far as sports go, baseball is easily one of the tamest out there. It pales in comparison to the constant collisions of basketball, football and hockey - with fans spending most of the game eating hot dogs and drinking beer between a couple of home run highlights. Players likewise spend the majority of time in the dug-outs or waiting for a ball to come their way.

Regardless, Major League Baseball has had its fair share of bust-ups and brawls. From the viscous and provoked, to the wimpy and out-of-the-blue, benches have often emptied for full team-vs-team throw-downs. Each season we tend to see some kind of fight break out, whether it sparks from an exchange of words or simply an errant pitch and they are often a spectacle to behold.

So, without further ado, here are the biggest baseball brawls in Major League Sports History.

Mike Mussina v Bill Hasselman, 1993

Batting against Mike Mussina, Bill Haselman charged the mound after a high pitch hit him in the neck.

Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, Tino Martinez and Omar Vizquel were just a few to end up in side-scuffles that spun off from the main brawl. This bench-clearer saw more punches landed than most others with various 1-on-1 boxing matchings erupting from the chaos.

Chris Volstad v Nyjer Morgan, 2010

Nyjer Morgan was always known for his controversial smack talk and feisty attitude and this game showed why.

After Marlins starting pitcher Chris Volstad threw behind Morgan, he instantly threw his bat and charged from home plate. He attempted a left-hook but couldn't land a punch before Marlins first baseman Gaby, who was sprinting full speed towards the action, clotheslined Morgan to the ground. The brawl resulted in multiple ejections and most notably an eight game suspension for Morgan's role in the fight.

Marichal v Roseboro, 1965

In one of the craziest fights ever seen on the turf, more than just fists were used by Giants Hall of Famer Juan Marichal. After picking up a bat and getting a few hits in, he was dragged away from catcher John Roseboro who was left bleeding from the head.

All the action started with a routine throw back from Roseboro to pitcher Sandy Koufax, which was mistaken by Marichal for an attempt to hit him in the head. This was certainly one of the most surprising and nasty brawls in the Major League.

Pedro Martinez v Don Zimmer, 2003

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry reached its peak in the mid-2000s with Pedro Martinez throwing 72-year-old coach, Don Zimmer, to the floor - creating one of the most memorable moments in MLB history.

After a Martinez fastball hitting Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia earlier in the game, tensions were already high. Later, a high, inside pitch towards the head of Manny Ramirez led to the batter charging the mound and a bench clearing brawl ensued.

In the midst of the madness came the infamous moment, when Zimmer was grabbed by the head and flung to the floor by Ramirez.

Jose Bautista v Rougned Odor, 2016

This one earns a spot on our list with perhaps the greatest single punch in any of the brawls we've ever seen.

The classic Texas and Toronto feud returned in style as Rangers reliever Matt Bush plunked Jose Bautista with a 98 mph fastball. This led to a double-play ball and a hard slide by Bautista straight into the legs of Odor. After a heavy shove from the baseman, Odor landed what is likely the most vicious right hook ever struck on a baseball field. With Bautista's sunglasses sent flying along with his helmet, he was slow to get his hands back up.

I'd recommend checking this one out in slow-mo.

Bryce Harper v Hunter Strickland, 2017

Many of these feuds come with a long history, but very few have a 3-year span. This clash dates back to 2014 when Harper homered off Strickland in the 2014 NLDS. In 2017, the Giants reliever sought his revenge and threw a fastball at Harper's hip, setting off his charge towards the mound and a pretty dismal helmet toss.

Both got a few good hits in before the dugouts flooded the field. Strickland was hit with a six-game suspension, while Harper received four games

Robin Ventura v Nolan Ryan, 1993

In one of baseball's greatest showdowns, Robin Ventura walked away with a rather sore face and Ryan left with just a fond memory. The Hall of Fame pitcher drilled Ventura with a fastball and was able to secure a headlock and deliver a series of blows along with it. Not long after, the rest of the Rangers and White Sox arrived at the mound, to clear things up.

The head-lock battering Ventura received will remain in the history books forever.

Armando Benitez v Tino Martinez, 1998

After giving up a three-run homer, Benitez took out his frustration by hitting Martinez in the back - his second beaning of the night. This sparked an instant clearing of both benches with a brawl spilling into the Orioles' dugout.

Every player seemed to get involved in this one, but Darryl Strawberry was certainly the catalyst behind the dugout battle and went blow for blow with three different Orioles. After about 5 straight minutes of fighting, the brawl was eventually broken up by Joe Torre escorting Strawberry to the locker room.

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves, 1984

On Aug. 12, 1984, the longest, nastiest and most chaotic brawl in MLB history took place - now known as the 'Bean Brawl Game'.

It all started with a pitch from Braves starter Pascual Perez that hit Alan Wiggins in the back. Padres pitcher Ed Whitson then tried to hit Perez when he first stepped to the plate. Tensions rose as Perez wielded the bat to prepare for a fight, but only words were exchanged.

What followed were 2 more attempts to hit Perez that resulted in multiple ejections before Craig Lefferts finally drilled Perez in the elbow and the main brawl broke out. In fact, a total of three large-scale brawls took place along with numerous side-skirmishes. A total of 13 players and coaches were ejected, along with five fans who were arrested for jumping out of the stands to throw punches and drinks at the players.

After the dust settled, the Braves took the game 5-3, but this day will remain infamous only for all the boxing that occurred.

Honorable Mention - Mexico v Canada, 2013

This brawl had it all - from bats being hurled to fans fighting in the stands. It may not have been an MLB game, but this bust-up couldn't be missed.

Sparked by Mexico’s Luis Cruz encouraging pitcher Arnold Leon to “hit the next guy.” Leon threw the next pitch directly at batter Rene Tosoni, which never goes down well. Both benches emptied and gave us one of the craziest fights we've ever seen.