Monday, August 4, 2014

Nolan Ryan And Dave Winfield Scuffle

On Aug 4, 1993, Nolan Ryan gets into an altercation with Dave Winfield.

Ryan was one of the most intimidating pitchers of his time. He was the only man to strike out 5,000 batters and was synonymous for his wicked fastball and propensity to pitch inside. 

But in 1980, he was involved in an altercation with Dave Winfield after beaming him with a fastball. Winfield, a notorious seagull murderer, rushed the mound to take a few swings at Ryan, who protectively huddled on the ground to shield his pitching arm. 

The reaction Ryan received was poor and he vowed to do better the next time he got in a fight.

He didn't get a chance to redeem himself until August 4, 1993, when a young Robin Ventura charged the mound in the third inning.

By then Ryan was 46 years old and pitching in his final season. When he nailed Ventura in the ribs, the 26-year old third baseman blitzed the Hall of Fame pitcher. "I decided I was going to be the aggressor," Ryan said. "I wasn't going to just take it." Nolan was more than prepared and wrapped him in a head lock, landing six blows to the top of Robin's head as the benches cleared. Both Ventura and White Sox manager Gene Lamont were ejected, while Ryan, who barely moved off the pitcher's mound, stayed in the game. He then retired twelve of the next thirteen batters and earned his 322nd career win.

"It's no secret that he was throwing at me, and I have to do what I have to do to protect myself and I don't care who it is," Ventura said after the game. "I'm all right. He gave me a couple of noogies, but that was about it."

Ventura went on to have a terrific career in the big leagues, good enough to make it on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2010. He finished with 18 career grand slams, the third most in history, and six Gold Gloves. Yet he could never surpass the lasting image of his career: getting worked by 46 year-old Nolan Ryan.