In baseball, it is very uncommon to get a confrontation worth talking about. It’s a sport bound mostly by their unwritten rules and traditions, most of which include giving off a very professional image. Sometimes, however, the events that transpired on the baseball diamond are just too extreme for any of that to matter. Baseball fights tend to be few and far between but can be very memorable when they occur. So, with out further adieu, let’s take a look back at the top 10 baseball fights of all time.
Honorable Baseball Fights:
To lead off, we start with the baseball fights that couldn’t quite crack our top 10 list but still deserve their due.
June 6th, 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks
- Officially licensed by the MLB
- Officially licensed by the MLB
This baseball fight all started when Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was hit in face with a pitch by Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy. As retaliation, Dodgers starter Zack Greinke hits a Diamondbacks batter in the back in the next half inning. As the last straw before the fight, Kennedy hits Greinke the on helmet, causing benches to clear. Punches are thrown by both teams and the fight spills over into the first base dugout where a Diamondbacks player is almost pushed over first base dugout railing. Baseball fights typically do not start so brutally, especially by only one team. Puig and Greinke being hit in the head is scary business and fighting the other team after that is understandable.
April 11th, 2018 Colorado Rockies vs San Diego Padres
Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo throws a pitch behind Rockies Third Baseman Nolan Arenado. This prompted Arenado to charge the mound. Perdomo sees this and throws his glove at Arenado who squares up and starts to throw punches at Perdomo. Perdomo and Arenado get tangled up with some other players and end up on the ground. After being seperated, Padres catcher AJ Ellis and Arenado angerly yell at each other while being restrained by their own teammates. As baseball fights go, this one starts with a bang. In the end, it’s mainly a dub due to the lack noticeable motivation from both teams with the exclusions obviously being Arenado, Perdomo and Ellis.
August 10th, 2010 St. Louis Cardinals vs Cincinnati Reds
After the game the night before, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips publicly stated to the media that he hated the Cardinals. This led to a verbal altercation between Phillips and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina at home plate. After words are exchanged and the animosity begins to show, both benches clear. The two teams managers begin to aggressively yell at each other. Then, Matt Carpenter and Scott Rolen begin to shove each other and the two teams end up against the screen behind home plate. A good amount of punches and kicks are thrown as each teams try to separate each other. This is how most baseball fights go when benches clear. However, the inclusion of being pushed up against the screen is unique and therefore lands this fight in the honorable mentions.
Best Baseball Fights: #10
April 12th, 2018 Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
To kick off our list of the top 10 baseball fights of all time, we venture to the best rivalry in sports, the Yankees and Red Sox. On this occasion, Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin slid into second base to try to break up a double play. When he slid, his spikes were facing upwards. This caused them to hit the Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt on his ankle. The two exchanged words but ultimately Austin went back to his dugout without any altercation. The next time Austin came to bat, Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly hits Austin with a pitch up on his elbow, which he tucked to protect his ribs. Austin slams his bat onto home plate before charging the mound, trying to tackle Kelly to the ground. Kelly counters with some punches before both players end up on the ground throwing punches at each other. Both benches clear and attempt to pull the two men apart. The rivalry these two teams share definitely added some fuel to the fire, but since the rule change that prevented players from sliding into a base to disrupt a throw, players take extra offense to actions such as those, as demonstrated in our next fight on the list
Best Baseball Fights: #9
May 15th, 2016 Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays
On a ground ball to third base, Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista slides hard into second base, taking out Rougned Odor’s legs. The throw from Odor to first base to try to turn two goes offline. Odor shoves Bautista which causes him to raise his fists. Seeing this, Odor throws a quick right cross onto Bautista’s jaw. He follows it up with a few more punches that don’t hit. Both men are then restrained by their respective teammates. Both teams exchange words and then retreat to their respective dugouts. This fight makes the list purely on the brutality of the punch that Odor landed and if it had escalated further could have easily found its way farther up the list.
Best Baseball Fights: #8
May 20th, 2006 Chicago White Sox vs Chicago Cubs
First up on our catcher collision entries is this incident. When a fly ball is hit to the Cubs left fielder Matt Murton, White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski tags up to home plate. The throw comes in and Pierzynski collides with the Cubs catcher Michael Barrett to score. Barrett takes exception to the attempt by Pierzynski and grabs him. Barrett then turns Pierzynski around and punches him square on the jaw. White Sox and Cubs players then rush the field. Two separate piles form, one around Pierznski and another around Barrett. Barrett threw a right cross to be proud of, but the scramble afterwards is more about keeping the two players off of each other and that keeps this fight where it is in our rankings.
Best Baseball Fights: #7
October 11th, 2003 Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees
Our first and only entry that took place in the playoffs! Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez hits Yankees left fielder Karim Garcia on the helmet in the top of the fourth. Words are exchanged between both teams as Martinez seems to make a gesture to his head as if saying he meant it. In the bottom of the fourth, Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez gets a high pitch up by his head from Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens. Ramirez and Clemens exchange words as Ramirez begins to approach the mound. Both benches clear in order to separate the two men. While this happens, 72 year old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer runs at Martinez who grabs him by the head and throws him on the ground. This simmers everyone’s emotions down as members of both teams are left in disbelief of what transpired. Despite this being one of the most infamous moments in recent baseball history, that is not enough to get this fight higher on the list.
Best Baseball Fights: #6
May 19th, 1998 New York Yankees vs Baltimore Orioles
This fight is started when Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez hit by Orioles pitcher Armando Benitez in between his shoulder blades. The benches empty as Martinez and Benitez exchange words. As both teams converge on each other, Martinez and Benitez throw punches at each other and move closer to the Orioles dugout, which has no rail. Benitez is taken down the steps into the dugout to create a buffer zone from Martinez and the other Yankees. Yankee thrid baseman Scott Brosius and Oriole right fielder Harold Baines get tangled up and throw punches at each other near the dugout steps. The fact that the Orioles had to put their pitcher down the steps and into the dugout just shows the ferocity this fight had despite the fact that not as much action initially happened.
Best Fights #5
June 6th, 1993 Baltimore Orioles vs Seattle Mariners
For the second slot in a row, the Orioles appear! In the top of the seventh, Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina throws a pitch that hits Mariners catcher Bill Haselman on is helmet. Haselman then immediately charges the mound. Mussina and Haselman try to tackle each other to the ground with two Orioles players jumping on top and throwing punches at Haselman. Two piles form as players from both teams try to stop the conflict. Another brawl breaks out amongst players just as the first one seems to be sorted out. This happens another three times before it is finally resolved. The pure number and duration of this fight is staggering in comparison to our previous entries. And yet, it is still just #5!
Best Baseball Fights #4
August 4th, 1993 Texas Rangers vs Chicago White Sox
Coming in at #4, we have the reason that every baseball fan knows who Robin Ventura is! Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan hits White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura on the elbow. After a moment of indecision, Ventura charges the mound. Ryan is waiting and puts Ventura in a headlock and proceeds to land multiple punches on Ventura’s face before they hit the ground. Then, A huge pile forms on top of the two players. Ventura gets free rather quickly. After everyone is seperated, words are exchanged and the fight starts again. Both teams shove each other until both teams retreat to their dugouts. The image of Ryan with Ventura in a headlock has become commonplace when searching up baseball fight, but the fact the teams go at it again after separating is why this entry is so high on the list.
Best Baseball Fights #3
June 30th, 1990 Seattle Mariners vs Milwaukee Brewers
An uncommon entry to this list, the fight here didn’t break out until after the benches all cleared. Brewers pitcher Bob Sebra hit Mariners outfielder Tracy Jones in his ribs. The two exchanged words with the home plate umpire stepping in front of Jones to lead him to first base as Sebra walked towards Jones. Jones and the Brewers catcher then exchange words and grab each others jerseys right as the two teams collide around them, creating a large dog pile. Two groups split off as the first pile got more heated. After a number of more pushes, shoves and exchanges of words, the teams are separated. This fight is unique in that the umpire actually stepped in quickly to try to stop the conflict but it did not help.
Best Baseball Fights #2
May 20th, 1976 New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox
The third and final entry on this list involving this storied rivalry is also the oldest. After rounding third base and coming home to try and score, Yankees left fielder Lou Piniella collides with catcher Carlton Fisk. Their legs get entangled and both players begin to throw punches. Then, benches clear and more players come in throwing punches and kicks at the pile forming around Fisk and Piniella. Next, the Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee ended up tearing the ligament in his pitching shoulder when he was tackled by multiple Yankees. The fact that someone got seriously injured helps to push this fight high on this list but not enough to take the top spot.
Best Baseball Fights #1
August 18, 1984 Atlanta Braves vs San Diego Padres
Taking the top spot is this brawl in Atlanta during which two fans got arrested! The Padres pitcher Craig Lefferts hits Pascual Perez on the forearm. The Braves bench charges at Lefferts, whose teammates jump in front of him to protect him. After that, a bunch of players cause a pile and started throwing punches. Than, a Padres coach Champ Summers runs at the Braves dugout, where Perez was at. This leads to two fans jumping off the top of the dugout onto the field to attack Summers. Those fans were arrested by the on field security. After the fans are taken away the players started fighting again, working back to the playing field. The fact that this fight was intense enough to have fans jump onto the field is both insane and unlikely to happen again.