In San Francisco Tonight

If you’re in downtown San Francisco tonight, Michael and I will be speaking at the main library, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

As part of the presentation, we’ll be offering a video look back at the crazy fight between the Padres and Braves in 1984, which Padres infielder Kurt Bevacqua later called “the Desert Storm of baseball fights.” Total damage: six brushback pitches, three hit batters, four bench-clearing incidents, two full-on brawls that nearly spiraled out of control when fans rushed the field, nineteen ejections, five arrests, and a nearly unprecedented clearing of the benches by the umpires.

Plus, we’ll be talking some baseball. Come on down.

– Jason

2 thoughts on “In San Francisco Tonight

  1. Kinda’ remember that one.My favorite baseball fights involve pretty much anything Reggie Jackson got into.The one where he jacked John Denny…then did the “show horse” around the bases.Much to the vocal annoyance of Denny.Reggie finished his trot…met Denny on the infield …headlocked him to the turf for a little ground n’ pound.Carried off by 4 Angel teammates. Priceless.
    Then there was his “retirement fight” when he was with Oakland.Mac had just come up…and was blistering pitchers immediately.This was’nt going over well with pitchers obviously…so they started plunking him.Rookies are’nt allowed to retaliate…but Reggie had seen enough.Somewhere about late May/early June…some pitcher put one in Macs’ back for taking him deep on the previous AB. Reggie flew over the dugout railing & must have been having a flashback to his days as a DB@ ASU…because he leveled the pitcher.Carried off by 4 Oakland teammates.Priceless.
    The one last year where Porcello hip-tossed Youk’.
    That was pretty cool.

    1. The moment against Denny was absolutely epic. It earned several paragraphs in the original manuscript of The Baseball Codes, although only a couple lines made the final cut. For your reminiscing pleasure, here’s what was originally submitted to Random House:

      On Sept. 23, 1981, at Yankee Stadium, Reggie Jackson was already on edge from a number of brushback pitches directed his way the previous week. So when Indians pitcher John Denny threw a second-inning fastball under Jackson’s chin, he may as well have poked the slugger in the ribs with a sharp stick. Jackson struck out two pitches later to end the inning, stranding two base runners. The failure was enough to send him over the edge—Jackson charged the pitcher. No punches were thrown, but he had to be pulled from the scrum by teammates Oscar Gamble and Bobby Brown.

      In Jackson’s next at-bat, however, he meted the best possible revenge, taking Denny deep with a man aboard to give New York a 6-1 advantage. It wasn’t enough. Jackson, already known to admire his own home runs, outdid even himself, watching the ball without leaving the batters box, pumping his fist in Denny’s direction and affixing what the New York Times called a “sassy grin” to his face. He then undertook an exceptionally slow trot around the bases, tipping his cap to the crowd along the way.

      Once Jackson crossed home plate, he spun and charged Denny for the second time in the game, this time grabbing the pitcher in a headlock and pulling him to the ground. This precipitated a multi-player brawl and near-riot.

      Gamble and Brown again served the duty of dragging Jackson from the field, this time atop their heads. Never one to pass up an opportunity for attention, Jackson began clapping to incite the fans as he was borne away, as if carried on a litter by henchmen. (“If I’m going to keep taking him out, he’s got to lose weight,” Gamble said afterward in the New York Times.)

      Jackson wasn’t done. Just moments later he again emerged from the dugout, this time with his jersey removed, to renew his challenge to the Indians. Cleveland catcher Ron Hassey charged at him, but was intercepted by security guards who managed to maintain order.

      Then there’s the ultimate retaliation. Later, George Steinbrenner issued a statement saying that the team was “kneedeep in lawyers,” and threatened legal action against the next pitcher to throw at a member of the Yankees.

      You can also check out a picture from the moment here.


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