On this day over two decades ago (21 years to be exact), a 26-year-old Robin Ventura stood in the box against one of the most intimidating pitchers Major League Baseball had ever seen – Nolan Ryan. Some have said there was clear intent behind Ryan’s pitch, some have suggested it simply got away from the ‘Ryan Express’.
The only opinion that mattered however was the Chicago White Sox’s third baseman who felt there was clear intent from the 46-year-old Texas Rangers starter.
Robin Ventura could have simply put his bat down and walked towards first base, but not wanting to come off looking like a punk, the vigorous current manager of the White Sox took off towards the mound in what would become one of the best and most infamous brawls in baseball history.
Charging the mound, it appeared as if momentum would be on the side of Robin Ventura as he approached Nolan Ryan who was slowly walking towards the infielder, almost eagerly awaiting his prey.
That’s when Ryan struck – clamping down on the head of Robin Ventura, putting him in one of the most notorious headlock’s of all time, unleashing hammer shot after hammer shot to the head and face of Ventura.
Ryan’s battery mate, Pudge Rodriguez made his way to the mound just after Ventura and attempted to pull him away from Nolan Ryan fearing the Ryan Express would going to obliterate the Chicago White Sox’s third baseman, but he simply didn’t have enough time as both benches quickly rushed the field resulting in an all-out brawl.
Both Ventura and Ryan have said they’re long over the fight and hold no ill-will towards each other, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.