When it comes to one-on-one fights in baseball history, there were none better than this one.
Robin Ventura, the Chicago White Sox third baseman at the time, charged the mound and went after the all-time pitching great Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers. It resulted in one of the most infamous brawls in baseball history — and in Ryan getting Ventura in a headlock and punching him several times in the face. It’s something you would see in an MMA contest, not on a MLB baseball field.
Nolan Ryan Fight vs. Robin Ventura
Ventura was one of baseball’s top hitters at the time. The 26-year-old Ventura was coming off his first All-Star game appearance and was on his way to a third-straight Gold Glove. However, none of those credentials saved him from the pummeling of a lifetime at Arlington Stadium.
Nolan Ryan was a living legend. The 46-year-old was in his 27th and final Major League season, and the ink on his Hall-of-Fame resume was already drying. Using an untouchable fastball, the 1969 World Series champion amassed 5,714 career strikeouts and seven no-hitters — both are untouchable MLB records — to go along with allowing just a .204 career batting average to opposing hitters. Again, another MLB record for the Hall of Famer. I guess landing a few uppercuts to Ventura’s head was just icing on the cake.
His No. 34 jersey is retired by the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros and Rangers.
There was bad blood between the two for an astonishing 19 years after it happened too — the first time the two spoke to each other after the fight was in 2012, according to Yahoo Sports. The two shook hands and chatted on Opening Day of that year. Even 24 years later, I don’t think we’ve seen anything close to the Ryan-Ventura fight.
This post was originally published on September 28, 2015.