It's been 27 years since one of my favorite moments in baseball history. On August 4, 1993, Robin Ventura charged the mound against a 46-year-old Nolan Ryan and got beaten to a pulp.
I vividly remember the day this happened. The replay was shown all over television. An all-time great pitcher known for his toughness beat the tar out of a guy two decades younger. Who wouldn't love that story? Just for a fun note before we get started: Ryan made his major league debut in 1966. Ventura was born in 1967.
Ryan was in the final year of his career in 1993 and would wind up limping to a 5-5 record with a 4.88 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and 40 strikeouts over 66.1 innings. He didn't have it on the mound anymore, but clearly he was still tough as nails.
On the night of August 4, Ryan's Texas Rangers were hosting the Chicago White Sox. In the top of the 3rd inning, Ventura stepped into the box and Ryan hit him in the back with a fastball. Ventura took a few steps towards first base, then sprinted at the old man on the mound. It was a move he'd live to regret.
Here's what happened:
Ryan just put him in a headlock and started waling away. It's so great. He pummeled Ventura mercilessly. Baseball fights are usually terrible, this one was not.
To add insult to injury, Ventura was ejected while Ryan was allowed to stay in the game. He wound up going seven innings, allowing three hits and two runs and taking home the win. That's right. He pitched four more innings after caving Ventura's face in.
Nolan Ryan had a phenomenal 27-year-career during which he became MLB's all-time strikeouts leader and threw a record seven no-hitters. While that's all great, I think he'll be most remembered for rearranging Robin Ventura's face in 1993.