Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the epic on-field brawl between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. It all began when Orioles’ pitcher Armando Benitez hit Tino Martinez in the back after giving up a 3-run home run to Bernie Williams. Check out the video below.
ESPN recently published a piece about the 1998 season, noting parallels to this year. According to the article, one result of this and other on-field brawls in the 1990s was a tougher stance by MLB and greater discipline of those involved in such incidents. For his part in the Os-Yankees brawl, Benitez got an 8-game suspension. Darryl Strawberry and Graeme Lloyd were suspended for 3 games each, and Jeff Nelson and Alan Mills were each suspended for two games.
Have things changed much in the last two decades? Just last month benches cleared during a Yankees-Red Sox game. Retaliation pitches and bench-clearing incidents seem to be a part of baseball culture. As frustrations boil over and tempers flare, the possibility of aggression emerges. Is this simply part of the game, or a social issue that needs to be addressed?
On Wednesday, Colon went 7 2/3 innings against the Mariners allowing only 4 hits and striking out 3. This is not the first time he’s done this. On April 15, Colon pitched 7 2/3 innings in Houston, allowing one hit, one run, and one walk while striking out 7. He had a perfect game through 7 innings. I can’t wait to see what he does next month.
Today marks Cool Papa Bell’s 115th birthday. James Thomas Bell was born on May 18, 1903, in Starkville, Mississippi. He spent most of his 24 year baseball career in the Negro Leagues, although he spent some time playing in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
Satchel Paige, a teammate of Bell’s, once famously said, “Cool was so fast, he could turn out the light and jump in bed before it got dark.” (This is sometimes attributed to Josh Gibson.)
On April 14, 2009, then-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law declaring the second Saturday in May to be Negro League Baseball Day. So, in honor of the day, here are some stats on the Negro Leagues in Maryland:
Four Negro League teams played in Maryland: (1) Baltimore Lord Baltimores, National Colored Baseball League, 1887; (2) Baltimore Black Sox, 1922-1934 (independent league, 1916-22 and 1930-31; Eastern Colored League, 1923-28; American Negro League, 1929; East-West League, 1932; Negro National League, 1933-34); (3) Baltimore Stars (independent league, 1933); and (4) Baltimore Elite Giants (Negro National League, 1938-48; Negro American League, 1949-50). In addition, several semi-pro and sandlot teams played throughout the state, such as the Mitchellville Tigers and the Galesville Hot Sox.
At least 10 members of the Baltimore Black Sox were born in Maryland: Blainey Hall, Buddy Burbage, George Grayer, John Stanley, Malcolm Brown, Peter Johnson, Scrappy Brown, Stuart Jones, Tony Mahoney, and Wyman Smith.
The Black Sox and the Elite Giants each won two championships: 1929 and 1932 for the Black Sox and 1939 and 1949 for the Elite Giants.
Two of the most famous Negro League players in Baltimore were Satchel Paige and Leon Day. Paige, a right-handed pitcher, had an win-loss record of 100-50 in the Negro Leagues, and 28-31 in the Major Leagues. Day, also a RHP, had a 64-29 win-loss record of 64-29 in the Negro Leagues, with an ERA of 2.98.