Twenty-five years ago today, baseball witnessed one of its stranger fights. It occurred in the middle of the game like most fights, but this one didn’t happen on the field. It happened under the stands, away from the fans, the press, and the umpires.
It occurred in Pittsburgh during a Pirates-Dodgers game. They key man in the drama was Pittsburgh’s rookie pitcher Pascual Perez. He threw inside—a little too inside as far as the Dodgers were concerned.
Leading off the top of the sixth, veteran LA shortstop Bill Russell got plunked on his hand by Perez. The Dodgers demanded a warning against throwing inside be issued, but the home plate umpire didn’t think that was necessary. A little later in the inning, Perez clipped outfielder Dusty Baker. Now the warning came—a little late as far as the Dodgers were concerned.
Reggie Smith, not playing due to a shoulder injury, was steamed enough to want a fight. Pirate third baseman Bill Madlock, the man closest to the Dodger dugout, noticed how irked Smith was and indicated he’d fight Smith if he wanted to go.
Perez, however, had no interest in having someone fight on his behalf. After ending the inning, Perez motioned to Smith he’d meet him under the stands—pronto. Smith and Perez both raced through their clubhouses and into the tunnels, meeting up behind home plate under the stands. Both dugouts emptied following them. Players came, coaches came, even managers Chuck Tanner and Tommy Lasorda came.
The fight, like most fights, wasn’t much of a fight. Some stadium officials said there was some shoving, but no punches thrown. By the time the umpires tracked everyone down, the incident was already over. There were no ejections, and Perez pitched one more inning.
The fight overshadowed what turned out to be a great game. The Dodgers were cruising at the time of the fight, up 6-1, but the Pirates scored four runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it, 7-7. The Dodgers hung tough and won 9-7 in 11 innings.
As for Perez, this was hardly the only time he’d find himself in the middle of a fight. He’s largely responsible for one of the nastiest beanball wars of all time. As a Brave in 1984, Perez plunked San Diego’s Alan Wiggins with the first pitch of the game, leading to a descending chaos featuring over a dozen ejections, multiple on-field brawls, fans throwing things at players, players entering the stands to go after fans, and the game ending with police in riot gear on top of both dugouts.
Aside from the Pirates-Dodgers 1981 fight, many other events have their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold for those that just want to skim:
3,000 days since Sammy Sosa collects his 2,000th hit.
7,000 days since Alvin Davis plays his last game
8,000 days since Rick Rhoden plays in his last game.
8,000 days since long-time Cardinals owner August “Gussie” Busch dies at age 90.
On a similar note, at some point today it’ll be 1,000,000,000 seconds since the death of Stan Hack, a Hall of Fame-caliber third baseman.
1887 Dick Rudolph, star pitcher on the 1914 Miracle Braves, is born.
1891 Harry Stovey, at one point the game’s all-time career home run king, hits the last of his 27 career inside-the-park home runs.
1893 Hall of Famer Sam Thompson hits an inside-the-park home run for the second straight day. It’s the second time he’s done that. Despite all that, he legs out “only” 13 inside-the-park shots in his career.
1897 Louisville Colonels sign Rube Waddell to a big league contract.
1902 AL President Ban Johnson announces the AL intends to put a team in New York City next year. Baltimore will move there, and Clark Griffith will manage them.
1905 The Detroit Tigers all-time franchise record bottoms out at 61 games under .500 (303-364). They’ll tie it twice later, but never fall more than 61 games under.
1908 Shoeless Joe Jackson makes his major league debut with the A’s.
1910 Bobby Byrne of the Pirates doubles in the 12th inning against Brooklyn and proceeds to steal third and home for a 4-3 win.
1913 The White Sox purchase future Hall of Famer Red Faber from Des Moines in the Western League.
1913 Former pitcher Red Donahue dies at age 36.
1914 Branch Rickey plays in his final big league game.
1915 The Giants send Rube Marquard to Toronto in the International League, but he refuses to go. Instead, they’ll work out a deal with the Dodgers.
1916 The Giants trade Fred Merkle to the Dodgers.
1921 Hitting streak by Babe Ruth maxes out at 26 games.
1922 It’s the highest scoring game since 1900: Cubs 26, Phillies 23. The Cubs led 25-6 but the Phillies have the tying run on when the game ends. The whole game takes 181 minutes. In comparison, on Tuesday night a 2-1 Tiger win over Tampa took 197 minutes.
1924 Babe Ruth belts the seventh of his 10 inside-the-park homers.
1924 Walter Johnson allows no hits in a shortened seven-inning game. It’s his 107th career shutout: Washington 2, St. Louis 0.
1926 Danny MacFayden makes his major league debut.
1929 The New York Yankees finally score after 32 consecutive scoreless innings. The Browns shut them out three consecutive games. Babe Ruth homers in the fourth inning to end the drought, but the Browns hold on to win, 3-2.
1930 Detroit’s Tommy Bridges walks 12 but gets the win anyway, one of only six times that’s happened since 1920.
1932 Pie Traynor gets his 2,000th hit in just 1,582 games.
1932 Babe Ruth gets his 2,000th RBI.
1932 Lou Gehrig belts the first of three career walk-off home runs.
1933 Hack Wilson plays two games at second base. Over the next two days he plays another three games there, all he ever plays at that position.
1933 Heinie Manush’s batting streak peaks at 33 games. His line in that time: .362/.413/.486.
1934 Hack Wilson plays his last game.
1934 Muddy Ruel plays his last game.
1934 Tiger rookie Schoolboy Rowe wins his 16th straight decision and even drives in the winning run in the ninth inning.
1935 Paul Waner makes it to 2,000 hits in 1,468 games, one of the fastest guys ever to get there.
1937 Teenager Bob Feller fans 16 in a complete-game win over Washington.
1938 Joe DiMaggio hits his 100th home run.
1938 George McQuinn of the Browns has his hitting streak snapped at 34 games.
1939 In a doubleheader, Red Rolfe scores in his 17th and 18th consecutive games, an AL record. He also has a 30-game hitting streak.
1940 Red Ruffing loses his 200th game: 226-200. He was 53-100 at the 100-loss marker.
1942 A then-record St. Louis crowd of 33,260 sees the Cardinals beat the Dodgers 2-1 (14). It’s scoreless through 12 innings, and both teams score one in the 13th.
1945 The Tigers beat the Browns 1-0 thanks to a rare home/third triple steal. Joe Hoover, who has 19 career stolen bases, scores.
1946 Rollie Fingers is born.
1947 Rocky Nelson marries at home plate in Lynchburg City Stadium.
1952 Pirate farmhand Bill Bell tosses his third no-hitter of the year. The first two were consecutive ones, but this one is only seven innings long.
1952 Virgil Trucks tosses his second no-hitter on the season, a season in which he’ll go 5-19.
1958 The Giants sign amateur free agent Jesus Alou.
1959 For the second consecutive game and third time in 11 days, Ken Boyer ends a game by striking out with the bases loaded.
1959 Nellie Fox gets on base via catcher’s interference for the only time in his career.
1959 The Pirates trade Ted Kluszewski to the White Sox.
1962 Hank Aaron’s best hitting streak peaks at 25 games.
1962 Oddibe McDowell, the guy people thought would be the big star from the 1984 Olympic team, is born.
1962 The Pirates players call off a threatened strike as the team objected to a rained out game being rescheduled as a night game before a doubleheader.
1965 Moonlight Graham dies.
1966 Albert Belle is born.
1966 Baseball owners approve a 55 percent raise in their contributions to the player pension fund, with the money coming from TV, World Series, and All-Star Game contracts.
1967 Dean Chance throws no-hitter, his second. Twins 2, Indians 1.
1967 The Royals release Ken Harrelson.
1968 Outfielder Rocky Colavito is the unlikely winning pitcher in a Yankees-Tigers game.
1970 LA releases veteran pitcher Camilo Pascual.
1970 The Twins-Red Sox game is delayed for 43 minutes by a bomb scare.
1971 Frank Robinson gets his first sacrifice hit in almost 14 years (9-5-57); 8,522 PA without one.
1972 Felipe Alou gets his 2,000th hit.
1972 Jimmy Wynn belts his 200th home run.
1972 Harry Walker manages his last game.
1972 Phillies pitcher Ken Reynolds sets a dubious mark. A loss today gives him a record of 0-12, the worst season start in NL history.
1973 Ken Griffey, Sr. makes his big league debut.
1975 Cliff Johnson homers in his sixth straight game for Houston.
1975 Hank Aaron experiences his fifth consecutive game without a hit. He’s never done that before, but he’ll do it again next year.
1976 Dick Tidrow has what WPA calls the best relief stint of the 1970s: 10.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K for a 1.271 WPA. The Yankees beat the Twins, 5-4 (19).
1978 Baseball umpires stage a one-day walkout.
1979 The Angels annihilate the Blue Jays 24-2. Don Baylor drives in eight runs.
1980 Rangers pitcher Fergie Jenkins arrested in Toronto for possessing pot, cocaine, and hashish.
1980 200-game winner Jerry Reuss belts his only home run.
1981 Rod Carew, age 35, steals three bases, tying his personal one-game best.
1982 Tony Gwynn breaks his wrist diving for a fly against Pittsburgh. He’ll be out three weeks.
1983 The Brewers come as close as they ever do to digging their cumulative franchise record out of its original pit. A win today puts them out 96 games under .500 (1,118-1,214).
1983 The Louisville Redbirds become the first minor league team to draw a million fans.
1984 Bill Gullickson goes 10 IP for the Expos. No one from the franchise has topped nine innings ever since.
1985 Big Daddy Rick Reuschel has maybe his best day at his plate: 2-for-4 with a double and home run.
1987 Joe Niekro loses his 200th game: 219-200.
1987 Gary Carter lays down his first sacrifice hit in almost four years (8-31-83).
1987 Justin Upton is born.
1987 Paul Molitor’s hitting streak maxes at 39 games. He hit .415/.495/.683 during it.
1990 The Twins sign amateur free agent Cory Lidle.
1991 Cub outfielder Doug Dascenzo commits an error, ending a 242-game streak without one.
1992 Andujar Cedeno hits for the cycle. He hits .173 on the year, the worst seasonal average by anyone who hit for the cycle.
1992 Texas signs Fernando Tatis as an amateur free agent.
1992 Houston returns from their longest road trip ever: 26 games. It was caused by the 1992 Republican National Convention taking place in the Astrodome.
1995 Jose Canseco homers in his fifth straight game.
1995 Jose Mesa blows his first save in 39 opportunities.
1995 In a Cardinals-Rockies game, both leadoff hitters homer in the first inning (Bernard Gilkey and Trenidad Hubbard). Later in the game, a foul ball off the bat of Eric Young fractures the skull of a six-year old.
1996 Edgar Martinez laces his 1,000th hit.
1996 The Yankees unveil a Mickey Mantle monument in Monument Park.
1998 The Cubs get Mike Morgan from the Twins.
1998 Toronto’s Roger Clemens fans 18 batters. His complete game shutout has a Game Score of 99, his highest ever.
1999 Jeff Montgomery saves his 300th game.
1999 Manny Ramirez belts four extra-base hits in one game for the only time—three homers and a double.
2001 Bengie Molina gets a hit in his ninth straight time up, an Angels record.
2001 David Bell has a rare walk-off sacrifice hit, as the Mariners top the Indians, 3-2.
2002 A minor league promotion goes wrong when a 28-year-old woman collapse and dies running from the outfield fence to the infield to look for a hidden diamond.
2002 Chone Figgins makes his big league debut.
2002 Randy Johnson fans 16 in a 7-0 win for Arizona over the Cubs.
2003 Randy Johnson walks the game’s first batter for the first time since September 10, 1999, 111 starts earlier.
2004 Kenny Lofton belts his 2,000th career hit.
2007 Craig Stansberry makes his major league debut, becoming the first player born in the Middle East to play in the big leagues.
2007 Cincinnati retires Dave Concepcion’s number.
2008 Texas trades Everyday Eddie Guardado to Minnesota, a homecoming for the middle reliever.
2010 The Reds blow a 9-1 lead against the Giants, but they rally to tie the game in the ninth and win, 12-11, in 12 innings.
2010 Colorado trail Atlanta 10-1 but comes back to win, 11-10.