Memorable New York sports brawls
Let's take a stroll down memory lane -- but watch out for a right hook. Here are some of the most memorable brawls involving New York sports teams.
METS VS. REDS | October 8, 1973
This brawl was extra-special as it took place during Game 3 of the NLCS. The brawl took place when Pete Rose tried to break up a double play, sliding hard into scrappy Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson. The two exchanged words and seconds later, Rose had Harrelson pinned to the dirt. Both benches spilled onto the Shea Stadium turf. Once the fight was over, the angry crowd began hurling trash at the Reds. Manager Sparky Anderson had to take his team off the field in the next inning until the crowd calmed down. The Mets went on to win the game, 9-2. More importantly, the Mets won the NLCS over the Reds before losing to the A's in the World Series.
RANGERS VS. BRUINS | Dec. 23, 1979
Hockey fights are not uncommon. In the 1970s, neither were bench-clearing brawls. But in this Madison Square Garden fracas, the action on the ice took second-fiddle to what happened in the stands. During a 40-man altercation at the end of a Rangers loss, a fan reached over the glass and grabbed the stick of the Boston's Stan Jonathan. Bruins teammate Terry O'Reilly climbed into the stands to get it back -- and he didn't say please. The fan fell onto the floor, on his back between the seats. The Bruins' Mike Milbury grabbed a hold of the fan's leg and ripped his shoe off. He delivered at least one blow to the fan's midsection before order was restored.
METS VS. DODGERS | May 27, 1986
Tom Niedenfuer of the Dodgers gave up a grad slam to George Foster at Shea Stadium. Immediately afterward, Niedenfuer looked to the Dodgers' bench and then had a word with his teammate Bill Madlock. The next batter was Ray Knight, and Niedenfuer drilled him on the elbow. A red-faced Knight charged the mound, inciting a benches-clearing brawl. Knight was hit with a $300 fine and Niedenfuer had to cough up $250.
METS VS. REDS | July 23, 1986
A few months after their brawl with the Dodgers, the Mets were throwing haymakers in Cincinnati. In the top of the 10th inning, the Reds' Eric Davis slid into Mets third baseman Ray Knight on a stolen base attempt. Pushing and shoving ensued, and punches soon followed. The brawl lasted almost 16 minutes. Ray Knight was left battered and bloodied. Due to extensive ejectionsl, Mets manager Davey Johnson had to play relievers Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell in rightfield. Still, the Mets won on a Howard Johnson three-run homer.
METS VS. REDS | July 8, 1989
The Mets and Reds were at it again three years later. This brawl took place in the eighth inning when Reds pitcher Rob Dibble drilled Tim Teufel in the back. Teufel charged the mound, inciting what became known as the "Teufel Scuffle." The nastiest part of this brawl may have been what fans didn't see. After the game, Cincinnati reliever Norm Charlton called the Mets clubhouse and challenged their players to fight. Darryl Strawberry took him up on the offer, but security intervened and the players never came within 20 feet of each other. The Mets won the game, 8-3.
KNICKS VS. PACERS | May 4th, 1993
The rivalry between the Knicks and Pacers was legendary in the 1990s, with the teams meeting in the playoffs six times from 1993-2000. Reggie Miller became public enemy No. 1 in New York City due to many dramatic game-winning shots. The rivalry began during Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs in Indiana when John Starks headbutted Miller for trash-talking. Starks was ejected and the headbutt did not lead to a brawl as Starks was restrained by teammates. We added this to the list because all Knick fans love to see the sight of Miller on the receiving end of a headbutt. The Knicks lost the game, but won the series.
KNICKS VS. BULLS | May 13, 1994
The Knicks' Derek Harper and the Bulls' Jo Jo English got into a fight late in the second quarter during a second-round playoff game in Chicago. Both players were ejected for the melee, which at one point spilled into the lap of NBA commissioner David Stern, who was sitting courtside. This brawl epitomized the intense rivalry between the Knicks and Bulls during the 1990s.
RIDDICK BOWE VS. ANDREW GOLOTA | July 11, 1996
Riddick Bowe entered this heavyweight contest at Madison Square Garden as a big favorite. Golota, though, was dominating the fight, yet he continually hit Bowe below the belt, triggering warnings and point deductions. He was disqualified in the seventh round. His last illegal punch sent Bowe's entourage storming into the ring. George Foreman, who called the fight for HBO, could be heard on the telecast pleading with people not to enter the ring. The brawl eventually spilled into the crowd. Golota's trainer, Lou Duva, left the arena in a stretcher. HBO's Larry Merchant described the scene as "disorganized mayhem."
RANGERS VS. SABRES | April 4, 1997 Three days after the Sabres' Mike Peca had cross-checked Brian Leetch in the face, both teams dressed their goons and prepared for the Rangers' revenge. Blueshirts enforcer Darren Langdon started the chaos with a reciprocal cross-check to Peca's face 1:13 into the game. The ensuing brawl resulted in 10 players being sent to the penalty box for a total of 100 minutes. The Rangers lost, 5-1.
RANGERS VS. ISLANDERS | April 4, 1998
With so many brawls to choose from, you know a hockey fight is wild if fans still talk about it 10-plus years later. This one, which featured two local hockey teams on the fast track to nowhere at Nassau Coliseum, started when P.J. Stock and Darren Langdon of the Rangers went after Zdeno Chara of the Islanders. Islanders goalie Tommy Salo jumped Stock, who by that time was brawling with another player. Down the ice rushed Rangers goalie Dan Cloutier, who brought Salo to his knees and delivered a flurry of right hands as Salo covered up. Cloutier then challenged the Islanders' bench.
KNICKS VS. HEAT | April 30, 1998
The image of Jeff Van Gundy hanging on the legs of Alonzo Mourning will live in the memories of Knick fans for years to come. This brawl started with just seconds left in Game 4 of the 1998 Eastern Conference quarterfinals when Miami's Mourning and the Knicks' Larry Johnson traded punches. As the brawl escalated, Van Gundy made a feeble attempt to separate the two players, grabbing onto Mourning's leg. What followed was a scene that Newsday's Shaun Powell described this way: "The entire stupid episode would've been nothing but ugly if not for the comical scene of Van Gundy stuck beneath Mourning's shoe like a wad of bubblegum on a sweltering day."
YANKEES VS. ORIOLES | May 19, 1998
Even today, this brawl at Yankee Stadium ranks as one of New York's nastiest brawls. After Orioles closer Armando Benitez (a future Met and Yankee) gave up a three-run homer to Bernie Williams, he took out his frustration on Tino Martinez, drilling him in the back. The benches and bullpens spilled onto the field. Yankee pitcher Graeme Lloyd led the charge from the pen as he took wild swings with his jacket half-on. As the fight spilled into the Orioles dugout, Darryl Strawberry took his shots on Benitez as Martinez was restrained in the middle of the field by Paul O'Neill.
YANKEES VS. RED SOX | October 14, 2003
Perhaps the most memorable of all New York sports brawls, this melee took place in the tensest of atmospheres: Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park. The fight began after Pedro Martinez threw behind Karim Garcia's head. Later, Roger Clemens threw a high fastball that got Manny Ramirez's attention. The benches cleared. Then, in a bizarre moment, Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer charged Martinez and the Sox ace tossed the 72-year-old to the ground. (Zimmer turned out to be OK.) Later in the game, Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson created a commotion in the bullpen when he scuffled with a groundskeeper.
YANKEES VS. RED SOX | July 24, 2004
Bronson Arroyo drilled Alex Rodriguez, who glared back, leading Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek to jump in between them. Words were exchanged, and before you knew it, Varitek was shoving his glove in A-Rod's face. Most will remember the above image as the defining moment of the brawl, but second place goes to Gabe Kapler of the Red Sox and Yankee pitcher Tanyon Sturtze wrestling in the backstop area. David Ortiz got in the middle of that and needless to say, Sturtze didn't win that battle. Boston won the game, 11-10, by scoring three runs against Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth.
KNICKS VS. NUGGETS | Dec. 16, 2006
During a blowout loss, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas took exception to Denver leaving its starters on the floor despite the game being out of reach. TV cameras caught Thomas apparently mouthing the words, "Don't go down the lane" to Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony. Shortly afterward, Knicks rookie Mardy Collins put a hard foul on J.R. Smith as he went in for a layup. In the ensuing scuffle, Anthony landed a punch to Collins' face, and Nate Robinson and Smith both ended up entangled in the photographers' row. All 10 players on the court were ejected. Seven were suspended a total of 47 games. Each team was fined $500,000.
YANKEES VS. BLUE JAYS | Sept. 15, 2009
Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion and Aaron Hill were plunked, and Jays reliever Jesse Carlson retaliated, throwing an 89-mph fastball behind Jorge Posada's back. Later, after Posada reached base and scored on a double to right, he bumped Carlson, who was standing near home plate. Carlson yelled at Posada, who turned and the two came to blows. Posada ducked a wild right from Carlson and the combatants drove each other to the ground. Blue Jays catcher Rod Barajas and Yankees sub Shelley Duncan also became entangled in the brawl. Posada, Carlson and Duncan all received three-game suspensions. Barajas was fined $1,000.