Like any other sport, high emotion creates excitement, drama, and sometimes action on the baseball diamond. Whether it comes from a player running his mouth to another player on the opposing team, a player showboating after hitting a home run, or a pitcher hitting a batter either not on purpose or intentionally, these emotions can lead to on-the-field baseball fights and bench clearing brawl including some very intense fights that land among our picks for the 20 best baseball fights.
While fighting is not allowed in baseball nor encouraged, it is one part of the game that will occur occasionally and at various times over a baseball season. The best fights often happen when two players have intense emotional communication, leading to the players squaring off against one another.
In other cases, a retaliation hit by a pitch by the opposing team after another player is hit on the other team leads to these bench-clearing brawls.
Continue reading to learn about the 20 best baseball fights, the players involved, and the suspensions handed down.
Most Famous Baseball Fight of All Time
There have been many great fights, with every fan having a different perspective or viewpoint on the best baseball fight of all time.
However, while the debate over the best fight can be had, one of the most memorable fights on the diamond occurred between Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox and Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers.
After being hit by a pitch, Ventura started his path down to first base before attacking Ryan on the mound. However, Ventura was caught in a headlock by Ryan and delivered multiple blows to the face before taking Ryan down.
The MLB fight remains one of the most memorable fights in the history of Major League Baseball and one that will never be forgotten for either Nolan Ryan or Robin Ventura.
20 Best Baseball Fights of All Time
Nolan Ryan VS Robin Ventura
Date: August 4th, 1993, MLB Suspensions: Robin Ventura (2 Games)
One of the best MLB fights of all time occurred on August 4th, 1993, after Nolan Ryan hit Robin Ventura. After starting his path to first base, Ventura charged Ryan landing in a headlock and multiple punches to his face before taking Ryan down to the ground.
Seattle Mariners VS Baltimore Orioles (Bill Haselman VS Mike Mussina)
Date: June 6th, 1993, MLB Suspensions: Rick Sutcliffe (5 Games), Norm Charlton (4 Games), Allan Mills (4 Games), Bill Haselman (3 Games), Mackey Sasser (3 Games), David Segui (3 Games)
Another memorable baseball fight occurred on June 6th, 1993, between the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners.
After multiple Orioles had been plunked following home runs in innings earlier, Mike Mussina drilled Bill Haselman in the shoulder, leading to Haselman charging the mound. Mussina would get ahold of Haselman before Jeff Tackett tackled Haselman to the ground.
The fight lasted over 30 minutes and involved as many as 60 players and coaches.
Atlanta Braves VS San Diego Padres
Date: August 12th, 1984, MLB Suspensions: Dick Williams (San Diego Padres Manager, 10 Days), Joe Torre (Atlanta Braves Manager, 3 Days), Champ Summers (3 Days), Bobby Brown (3 Days), Gerald Perry (3 Days), Steve Bedrosian (3 Days), Rick Mahler (3 Days)
One of the most intense baseball bench-clearing brawls of all time was the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres in a game that is often referred to now as the “Bean Brawl Game.”
After multiple players were hit by pitches and various interactions and ejections, all occurred before the main fight in the eighth inning and another in the ninth inning.
Seventeen players and coaches were thrown out during the game, featuring three different bench-clearing brawls.
Canada vs Mexico (World Baseball Classic)
Date: May 9th, 2013, Suspensions: None
After Canada performed a late-inning bunt in the ninth inning despite having a solid lead, Mexico’s pitcher Arnold Leon was told to drill the next batter.
After successfully drilling Rene Tosoni, multiple brawls spilled over to the field while fans broke out into the action throwing bottles onto the field.
Despite the ugliest display of sportsmanship during the World Baseball Classic, no players were suspended.
Armando Benitez VS Tino Martinez (Baltimore Orioles VS New York Yankees Brawl)
Date: May 19th, 1998, MLB Suspensions: Armando Benitez (8 Games), Darryl Strawberry (3 Games), Graeme Lloyd (3 Games), Jeff Nelson (2 Games), Alan Mills (2 Games)
In the late 1990s, the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees were two of the top powerhouses in the American League while competing for the American League East.
After surrendering a go-ahead home run to Bernie Williams, Armando Benitez hit Tino Martinez in the back, led to the benches-clearing brawl and Benitez and Martinez squaring off.
In addition to those two, multiple other players, including a sucker punch from Darryl Strawberry to Benitez after the fight, looked to be cleared up.
Alex Rodriguez VS Jason Varitek (New York Yankees VS Boston Red Sox Brawl)
Date: July 24th, 2004, MLB Suspensions: Alex Rodriguez (4 Games), Jason Varitek (4 Games), Tanyon Sturtze (3 Games), Gabe Kapler (3 Games), Trot Nixon (3 Games)
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees were and continue to be enemies of each other on the field while having one of the biggest rivalries in all sports.
On July 24th, 2004, their hate for each other spilled onto the field after a rain delay delayed the game. Once play resumed, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo, which led to Rodriguez yelling at him.
The response led to Jason Varitek pushing Rodriguez, and before you know it, the benches were cleared.
Amir Garrett VS Pittsburgh Pirates
Date: July 13th, 2019, MLB Suspensions: Amir Garrett (7 Games)
In what was one of the crazier and bizarre baseball fights of all time, Amir Garrett appeared to attempt to fight the entire Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning of the July 13th, 2019, game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates.
As Garrett took the mound in the ninth, the Pirates yelled at the Reds pitcher, leading to Garrett running towards the Pirates dugout while connecting with Trevor Williams with a punch that led to the benches clearing for both teams.
Jose Bautista VS Roughned Odor
Date: May 15th, 2016, MLB Suspension: Roughned Odor (7 Games), Jose Bautista (1 Game)
Over the years, Jose Bautista built a reputation around the game of baseball while being liked by his teammates but hated by opposing fans and players.
One MLB season after Jose Bautista’s massive bat flip during the ALDS between the two teams, heat remained between the two clubs during their May 15th, 2016, regular season game.
After being drilled by Matt Bush, Bautista slid in dirty at second base in what was considered an illegal slide causing Roughned Odor to hit Bautista, creating a brawl between the two clubs.
John Roseboro VS Juan Marichal
Date: August 22nd, 1965, MLB Suspension: Juan Marichal (8 Days, 10 Total Games)
On August 22nd, 1965, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants rivalry and the race for the playoffs turned into a fight after Juan Marichal believed John Roseboro attempted to hit him with a baseball while throwing it back to the pitcher.
Marichal would hit Roseboro multiple times using his bat before the baseball fight was stopped, becoming one of the ugliest MLB moments ever.
While other members of both teams were involved, none were remembered as Roseboro and Marichal.
Pedro Martinez VS Don Zimmer (New York Yankees VS Boston Red Sox Brawl)
Date: October 11th, 2003, MLB Suspensions: None
While it wasn’t a full-fledged baseball fight, it is still remembered as one of the 20 best baseball fights. After Pedro Martinez threw at Tino Martinez, Roger Clemens retaliated the following inning by throwing at Boston Red Sox All-Star Manny Ramirez, which led to the benches clearing and an all-out brawl between the heated rivals during the 2003 ALCS.
During the Yankees-Red Sox brawl, Yankees coach Don Zimmer charged at the Red Sox ace leading to Martinez pushing Zimmer to the ground.
Bryce Harper VS Hunter Strickland (Washington Nationals VS San Francisco Giants Brawl)
Date: May 28th, 2018, MLB Suspensions: Bryce Harper (4 Games), Hunter Strickland (6 Games)
Rewind to the 2014 NLDS, Bryce Harper connected on not one but two home runs off of Hunter Strickland.
A season later, Strickland drills Harper in the eighth inning of the matchup between the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants.
The pitch led Harper to charge the mound and throw his batting helmet at Strickland before each player connected with punches and the benches to clear, leading to suspensions for the Nationals slugger Harper and the Giants relief pitcher Strickland.
However, the fight led to Michael Morse also suffering a concussion, ending his big-league career.
Cincinnati Reds VS St. Louis Cardinals Brawl
Date: August 10th, 2010, MLB Suspensions: Johnny Cueto (7 Games), Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds Manager, 2 Games), Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals Manager, 2 Games)
As seen with a few of these other heated baseball brawls, the rivalry and heat between the two NL Central baseball teams spilled over from baseball to an on-the-field baseball fight on August 10th, 2010.
After harsh comments by Brandon Phillips the day before, Phillips stepped into the batter’s box early in the game and tapped Yadier Molina’s shin.
The alteration led to benches being cleared and chaos in a heated rivalry. The fight included multiple players from both teams fighting, including Johnny Cueto and Chris Carpenter.
Chan Ho Park VS Tim Belcher (Los Angeles Dodgers VS Anaheim Angels Brawl)
Date: June 5th, 1999, MLB Suspensions: Chan Ho Park (7 Games)
In another unique baseball fight, Chan Ho Park and Tim Belcher square off after Belcher elects to tag Park out on a sacrifice bunt, leading to the players getting tangled up.
In return, Park retaliated by attempting to deliver a spin kick to Belcher, ultimately landing Park a seven-game suspension.
The interaction between Park and Belcher led to the benches of both the Anaheim Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers spilling onto the field before coming to the fight came to an end.
Manny Machado VS Yordano Ventura (Baltimore Orioles VS Kansas City Royals Brawl)
Date: June 7th, 2016, MLB Suspensions: Yordano Ventura (9 Games), Manny Machado (5 Games)
Enough is enough in most situations, and that was the case for Manny Machado after being thrown at multiple times during the Baltimore Orioles matchup against the Kansas City Royals.
This included nearly being hit in the second inning by a fastball from Yordano Ventura. Ventura would hit Machado three innings later, leading to Machado charging the mound leading the benches to clear, and the two players throwing punches on the mound.
Dave Winfield VS Nolan Ryan
Date: August 4th, 1980, MLB Suspensions: None
The Hall of Fame Pitcher and strikeout king was no stranger to alterations on the mound, including his fight with Robin Ventura during the latter part of his MLB career.
However, on August 4th, 1980, Nolan Ryan was also in another one of the best baseball fights after Dave Winfield charged the mound after being brushed off the plate with fastballs from Ryan.
Moments later, the two players were on the mound in a dog pile of players from both teams throwing punches.
Bert Campaneris VS Lerrin LaGrow (Detroit Tigers VS Oakland A’s)
Date: October 8th, 1972, MLB Suspensions: Bert Campaneris (3 Games 1972 ALCS, 7 Games 1973 MLB Season)
While it may not technically be an actual baseball fight, the incident between Bert Campaneris and Lerrin LaGrow resulted in both players being ejected, teams getting fired up, and a suspension being handed down.
After being drilled during the ALCS from LaGrow, Campaneris elected to throw his bat at the pitcher leading the benches to clear for both teams.
Mo Vaughn VS George Bell
Date: September 6th, 1993, MLB Suspensions: George Bell (2 Games)
With George Bell in hot pursuit of Aaron Sele after being hit by a Sele pitch, one pitcher after a pitch nearly hit him, Mo Vaughn would get involved spearing Bell to the ground.
The spear would limit the potential of what may have been one of the best baseball fights of all time. Nonetheless, Vaughn’s tackle still ranks among baseball’s best altercations.
New York Yankees VS Boston Red Sox Brawl
Date: May 20th, 1976, MLB Suspensions: None
As the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees grew in the late 1990s and early 2000s, hate and heat between the two teams began before that, including during the 1976 MLB season.
The New York Yankees Lou Pinella attempted to barrel over Carlton Fisk at home; however, Fisk was ready, and the benches cleared, leading to a Yankees vs. Red Sox team brawl around home plate.
The fight between the Yankees and Red Sox was just one of many great baseball fights between the two heated rivals.
Mike Sweeney VS Jeff Weaver (Kansas City Royals VS Detroit Tigers Brawl)
Date: August 10th, 2001, MLB Suspensions: Mike Sweeny (10 Games), Robert Fick (8 Games), Al Nipper (Kansas City Royals Pitching Coach, 3 Games), Bill Madlock (Detroit Tigers Hitting Coach, 2 games), Juan Samuel (Detroit Tigers First Base Coach, 1 Game)
What seemed to be a regular at-bat between Mike Sweeney and Jeff Weaver turned in the wrong direction when home plate umpire Mike Fichter elected to inspect the baseball.
During the alteration, Sweeney yelled out for the rosin bag to be moved, leading to words to be shared by Weaver, leading Sweeney to charge the mound.
Sweeney would land multiple hits while being too much for Weaver before being pulled off the Detroit Tigers pitcher. The alteration led to the Tigers and Royals players getting involved in the baseball fight.
Bud Harrelson VS Pete Rose (NLCS Brawl)
Date: October 8th, 1973, MLB Suspensions: None
After a game 2 win, Bud Harrelson made remarks to the press that didn’t sit well with the Cincinnati Reds, which led to a pregame confrontation between Joe Morgan and Harrelson.
With the heat already on the field, Pete Rose slid in hard to Harrelson during a double play attempt in the fifth inning that led to the brawl that lasted nearly 10 minutes while emptying both benches.
The Mets would go on to win Game 3, and the Rose VS Harrelson fight remains one of the best baseball fights in the playoffs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Longest MLB Suspension Handed Down Because of a Baseball Fight or Bench-Clearing Brawl?
While the fight did not happen on the field during a baseball game, one of the longest MLB fighting suspensions was handed down to Lenny Randle of the Texas Rangers.
After losing the starting second baseman job for the Rangers, Randle would go after manager Frank Lucchesi while throwing punches.
The decision to fight his manager led to a 30-day suspension and ultimately led to his trade from the Rangers to the New York Mets.
Who Is the Most Notable Baseball Player in a Bench-Clearing Brawl or Baseball Fight?
While it is hard to point to a few of the notable names to be involved in bench-clearing brawls and the Best MLB fights, here are a few noteworthy baseball players who have been involved.
1. Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers
2. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
3. Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants
4. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
5. Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox
6. Tino Martinez, New York Yankees
7. Pedro Martinez, Boston Red Sox
8. Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds
9. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
10. Mike Mussina, Baltimore Orioles