Twenty-five years ago today, baseball witnessed one of its stranger and most unlikely on-field fights. It was an odd one because (1) it pitted a manager against a player, and (2) it involved martial arts. Either one would make it a memorable fight, but combined—okay, this is worth looking into.
It came in a game between the A’s and Indians on July 1, 1986. The visiting Indians were cruising to an easy victory when Tony Bernazard homered to lead off of the seventh inning, making the score 7-0 Indians.
Relief pitcher Dave Stewart, acquired by Oakland barely a month earlier and in only his 10th appearance for the team, responded by throwing a purpose pitch to the next batter, 27-year-old shortstop Julio Franco.
This made Indians manager Pat Corrales mad. He stormed out of the dugout and demanded the umpire eject Stewart for trying to hit Franco. The umpire gave both dugouts a warning, but that wasn’t enough for Corrales. He started screaming at 29-year-old Stewart, who told the 45-year-old Corrales to come out to the mound if that’s how he felt.
Well, that is how Corrales felt, so he took up Stewart’s challenge. This probably wasn’t the smartest move given that Stewart was younger, in better shape, and standing on a 10-inch hill. Corrales did have a brown belt in karate, but it turns out Stewart also practiced martial arts.
Corrales threw a kick at Stewart’s chest. The blow landed, but didn’t affect Stewart much. He responded by delivering a shot to Corrales’ face, knocking him down. Before anything else could happen, the benches emptied and a 10-minute melee ensued. Three players suffered minor injuries—pitchers Ernie Camacho and Tom Candiotti hurt their hands and third baseman Carney Lansford sprained his ankle.
Finally, Stewart, Corrales and A’s manager Jeff Newman were all ejected.
This game proved to be the highlight of Newman’s very brief stint as Oakland skipper. He was only an interim manager, given the role after the team fired Jackie Moore a week earlier. Newman had only three more games after this, until the A’s hired former White Sox skipper Tony LaRussa to take over.
One of the first things LaRussa did as manager was to give fiery young reliever Stewart a crack as a starting pitcher. On July 7, in LaRussa’s second game as Oakland manager, Stewart made his first appearance since his kung fu fight with Corrales—and he made it as a starting pitcher. In that role he’d bloom, winning 20 games four successive seasons.
LaRussa used Stewart in relief three more times that year but that was it. Stewart had 226 starts in 229 appearances after he took on Corrales. Prior to LaRussa he had 172 relief appearances vs. 56 starts.
As for Corrales, his Indians surprised the baseball world by finishing with a winning record, 84-78. When they flopped the next year, he was fired at the 1987 All-Star Break, just a little over a year after fight with Stewart. He never managed again.
Other events also celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is an event occurring X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim:
4,000 days since Manny Ramirez got his 1,000th hit.
4,000 days since Shannon Stewart legged out four doubles in one game.
4,000 days since Buck Showalter managed his 1,000th game.
7,000 days since the Dodgers decided to postpone their three-game home series with the Expos due to the rioting that had just begun in the wake of the Rodney King verdict. In fact, this was the same day Rodney King asked, “Can’t we all get along?”
7,000 days since Randy Johnson walked 10 batters in one game, which ties his career high. His line on the day: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 10 BB, 3 K.
7,000 days since Rickey Henderson stole his 1,000th base, obviously the first, last, and only person to do that.
And along similar lines, sometime today will be 1 billion seconds since Billy Martin punched out 52-year-old marshmallow salesman Joseph W. Cooper.
1861 John Clarkson, 300-game winner and arguably the best pitcher of the 1880s, born.
1884 The last game for Bob Ferguson, infielder with what still might be the greatest nickname of all-time: Death to Flying Things.
1902 Colorful fireballer Rube Waddell first pitches for Connie Mack’s A’s, with whom he’ll have his greatest successes. The A’s beat Baltimore, 2-0 as Waddell faces only 27 batters all game and strikes out the side three different times.
It’s actually a day of debuts as the Baltimore manager in that game is Hall of Fame skipper Wilbert Robinson, and this is his first ever game managed. He got the job when his friend (about to become bitter enemy) John McGraw left to mange the Giants. Robinson’s managerial career takes off a decade later when he takes over the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he and McGraw will be fierce rivals.
1903 Cy Young does it all, driving in the game’s only run in Boston’s 1-0 win over the White Sox in 10 innings.
1905 White Sox hurler Frank Owen becomes the first AL pitcher to win two complete games in one day, sweeping a doubleheader versus the Browns by the scores of 3-2 and 3-0.
1905 Peerless Leader Frank Chance manages his first game for the Cubs, as previous skipper Frank Selee had to step down because he was dying of TB.
1908 The New York Giants purchase pitching prospect Rube Marquard from Indianapolis of the American Association for the unheard of sum of $11,000. When some reporters ask Marquard his background, he makes up entirely different stories for different reporters, none of which are true.
1910 A new ballpark debuts: Comiskey Part at 35th and Shields on the South Side of Chicago.
1911 Cub manager Frank Chance has to leave the game with a blood clot in his brain. He’ll play 11 more times over the next three years, but this effectively finishes him as a player.
1911 Walter Johnson allows 13 runs in one game, his all-time maximum. A’s 13, Senators 8.
1915 The Pittsburgh Federal League team scores in all nine innings of a game against Baltimore, winning 13-5.
1916 Honus Wagner becomes the oldest person to ever hit an inside the park home run, at age 42. It’s his final career homer.
1917 For the first time, the Brooklyn Dodgers can legally play on Sunday and charge admission for it.
1917 Fred Toney of the Reds pitches two complete games against the Pirates, both of which are three-hit victories. That sets the all-time record: fewest hits allowed in a twin bill by one pitcher tossing both games.
1920 Walter Johnson celebrates his son’s fifth birthday by no-hitting the Boston Red Sox. In fact, it’s dang near a perfect game as Boston gets its only base runner when Bucky Harris makes an error with two outs in the ninth inning. Ouch! Washington wins 1-0 as Johnson fans 10.
1920 The St. Louis Cardinals first play at Sportsman’s Park, which the Browns own.
1926 Hall of Famer Heinie Manush finds an original way to miss the cycle: He gets four hits—a home run, double, two triples but no singles. It’s one of only five times since 1920 a player missed the cycle by having an extra triple in place of the missing single.
1926 The Pirates purchase bullet Joe Bush from the Senators.
1928 Eddie Collins plays the field for the final time, as a late-game replacement at second base. It’s only his third time playing the field all year long. He’ll play until 1930, but only as a pinch hitter.
1933 Frankie Frisch hits his 100th career home run.
1934 Dizzy Dean hurls what is by far his longest career outing: 17 innings. It’s the only time he pitches more than 14. His line: 17 IP, 18 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 7 BB, 7 K, as the Cardinals beat the Reds 8-6 in 18 innings. Dean got taken out before the game ended because he blew the lead in the 17th frame. Joe Medwick homered in the top of the 17th for a 8-5 St. Louis lead, but Dean gave it back in the bottom half.
1935 Yankees outfielder George Selkirk suggests the installation of a six-foot wide cinder path by the wall in the outfield to warn the fielders when they approach the wall.
1938 Jimmie Foxx becomes the first person to hit 100 homers for the Boston Red Sox. Now only the Reds and White Sox lack someone with that many homers for their franchises.
1940 Enos Slaughter has the first of nine multi-home run games.
1941 Joe DiMaggio hits safely in his 44th consecutive game, tying the old record. DiMaggio gets an infield single on a bad throw by the third baseman, but the scorer calls it a hit instead of an error.
1944 Al Simmons plays his last game.
1945 Leo Durocher manages his 1,000th game. His record: 560-427.
1945 Hank Greenberg returns to the Tigers from World War II, and homers in the eighth inning, helping Detroit win the game.
1945 Cleveland shortstop Lou Boudreau hits his only walk-off home run, turning a 5-4 Senators lead into a 6-5 Indians win.
1950 Major league debut: Whitey Ford, who allows six walks and seven hits in 4.2 innings. He’ll get better.
1951 Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr collects his 2,000th hit.
1951 Bob Feller becomes the first American Leaguer with three no-hitters, when he beats the Tigers 2-1 on three walks and two errors.
1951 Major league debut: eventual batting champion Pete Runnels.
1953 Phillies center ielder Richie Ashburn gets his 1,000th career hit in his 796th game.
1954 Yankees infielder Bobby Brown retires to become a hospital intern. He’ll later become a cardiologist and eventually AL president.
1955 Early Wynn tosses his third consecutive complete game shutout, leading the Indians to a 1-0 win over Chicago. Wynn’s line in that period: 27 IP, 15 H, 0 R, 7 BB, 22 K.
1957 Braves skipper Fred Haney manages his 1,000th game. His record: 398-596.
1958 Hall of Fame starting pitcher Bob Lemon makes his last big league appearance.
1958 The Cubs bullpen dupes Giant left fielder Leon Wagner at Wrigley Field. When a shot goes down the line, the Cubs bullpen acts as if the ball was right by them, making Wagner run to them. In reality, the ball had moved far away, lodging in a rain gutter.
1959 Ted Williams becomes the 18th member of the 500-double club.
1962 Cam Carren hits a walk-off bases-loaded triple for a 5-4 White Sox win over the Indians. It’s one of only seven such shots from 1953 onward. In the fifth inning of that game, the White Sox hit three sacrifice flies in one inning. If you think about it, that’s tough to do.
1963 Umpire Tom Gorman doesn’t know who is heckling him from the dugout, so he decides to thumb Don Hoak. Problem: Hoak is in the bullpen, 380 feet away. No matter—he’s been ejected so he’s got to leave.
1964 Pete Rose hits a walk-off home run, the first of three in his career.
1964 It’s Taxi Day at Yankee Stadium: 5,000 cabbies and/or families members of cabbies are on hand to see the A’s beat the Yanks, 5-4.
1967 Carl Yastrzemski gets on base for the 56th straight game, his longest such streak. He went 66-for-192 with 12 doubles, a triple, and 16 homers in that spell. His AVG/OBP/SLG: .344/.455/.677.
1968 After 47.2 scoreless innings in a row, Bob Gibson gives up a run. It happens when backup catcher Bruce Edwards lets a ball get away from him for a wild pitch. After this play, Gibson goes 23 more innings in a row without allowing a run.
1970 Denny McLain returns from his three-month suspension.
1970 Tommy Helms becomes the first person to homer at Riverfront Stadium.
1971 Jim Palmer fans 13 in one game, his career high. Despite that, the Indians win, 3-2.
1972 Roberto Clemente has his 13th and final multi-home run game. The second homer is a walk-off shot off Ferguson Jenkins for a 4-3 Pirates win. In all, it’s Clemente’s highest known WPA game: 0.920, as he got three of his team’s four RBI that day.
1973 Luis Aparicio steals his 500th career base.
1973 Ron Santos records seven hits in one doubleheader against the Mets.
1975 The Big Red Machine has its fourth extra-inning win in five days.
1976 In an exhibition game pitting the Indians against the Toledo minor league team, Cleveland’s player-manager Frank Robinson gets in an argument with opposing pitcher Bob Reynolds. Being the tough kid from Oakland that he is, Robinson flattens Reynolds with a right-left combination, and is ejected.
1977 Marty Pattin becomes the last Royals pitcher to work nine innings in relief.
1978 Ron Fairly has one of baseball’s most embarrassing ejections. He’s on base when a teammate lines out. On his way back to the back to avoid being doubled off, he trips over his own feet and does a face plant on the dirt. Upon being forced out in such a humiliating manner, he grabs a fistful of dirt and tosses it—but it lands on the umpire, which is why he was ejected. Oops.
1979 Jerry Reuss walks the leadoff batter, something he last did on June 14, 1973, 164 starts previously.
1979 Joe Morgan gets his first sacrifice hit since July 18, 1974.
1980 Jim Kaat becomes the last major league pitcher to last longer than nine innings with neither a strikeout or a walk allowed. His line: 9.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
1982 Earl Weaver moves Cal Ripken to shortstop.
1983 Tommy Lasorda manages his 1,000th game. His record: 564-436.
1983 An arbitrator rules that 43 players on the DL during the 1981 strike are not entitled to their salary, saving owners $2.5 million.
1983 Jim Kaat plays his last major league game.
1985 Comiskey Park celebrates its 75th birthday by having 11 fans who attended the first game attend this one, which the Mariners win.
1989 Carlton Fisk has his only three-doubles game at the plate. Not bad for a 41-year-old.
1990 For Andy Hawkins, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. He throws an eight-inning no-hitter, but loses 4-0 to the White Sox. His personal hell is the eighth inning. After two easy pop flies to start the frame, the third out proves elusive. First, young Sammy Sosa reaches base on an error by third baseman Mike Blowers. Then Hawkins walks Ozzie Guillen and Lance Johnson, loading the bases. (Side note: that’s tough to do, as Guillen and Johnson combined for 59 walks in 1,150 plate appearances that year).
Then things really fall apart. Robin Ventura hits an apparent fly out to left, but Jim Leyritz bungles it for a three-run error. Ivan Calderon follows that one up with a easy fly to Jesse Barfield in right. He drops it, letting Ventura score. Finally, mercifully, Dan Pasqua pops up, ending the inning, with what essentially is the sixth out. The Sox don’t bat again, because they’re at home.
1992 Commissioner Fay Vincent threatens to suspend Buck Showalter, Gene Michael and the Yankees VP for testifying on behalf of Steve Howe. Yeah, I don’t really understand his rationale there; seems pretty needlessly vindictive.
1993 Curt Schilling has the worst Game Score of his career: -1. (His second worst is 17). His line: 2.2 IP, 11 H, 11 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.
1993 Major league debut: Carl Everett.
1995 Craig Biggio gets his 1,000th hit in his 972nd game.
1996 Frank Thomas gets his 1,000th hit in his 870th game.
1999 Toronto pitcher John Frascatore ties a record by winning his third game in three days.
1999 Mel Rojas plays for the last time.
2002 BARK debuts in San Francisco’s ballpark: Baseball Aquatic Retrieval Corps, in which six dogs will retrieve balls hit into McCovey Cove.
2001 Toronto trades Raul Mondesi to the Yankees.
2001 Vladimir Guerrero hits his first career grand slam. It’ll be his only one in Montreal. His next one will be career homer No. 290.
2003 Mets trade Roberto Alomar to the White Sox.
2004 Memorable Yankee-Red Sox game won 5-4 by New York in 13 innings. It’s most famous as the game Derek Jeter smashes his face running to catch a foul ball in stands in the 12th inning with the game tied 3-3. Manny Ramirez homers for a 4-3 Boston lead in the top of the 13th, but New York scores two in the bottom of the frame for the win. Fun fact: in the last inning, Gary Sheffield plays third base for the first time in 11 years.
2004 Sammy Sosa hits his 10th and final walk-off home run.
2005 John Franco plays in his last game.
2006 Manny Ramirez laces his 2,000th hit. Elsewhere, so does Garret Anderson.
2007 After the Seattle Mariners win their eighth straight game and 10th of their last 11, manager Mike Hargrove shockingly resigns, saying in so many words that he’s burnt out.
2010 Arizona fires GM Josh Byrnes and manager A. J. Hinch. Kirk Gibson becomes the new field general.
2010 According to Game Score, the greatest pitchers’ duel of the century (so far) occurs when the Phillies beat the Reds 1-0 in 11 innings. Travis Wood has a Game Score of 93 for the Reds, and Roy Halladay has an 85 for Philly.