The last few years have seen some memorable baseball brawls, from Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista’s fisticuffs to Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland’s melee on the Bay. While the Mets haven’t participated in any serious brawls in recent years, they’ve done so many times throughout their history. Video footage of some of those brawls—see Elio Chacon, Felix Millan, John Stearns, John Stearns again, and Pete Harnisch—don’t exist online, but you can listen to or read about them by following those links.
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, however, you can watch many of the Mets’ most memorable brawls for yourself. Take a look, and let us know of any noteworthy ones that aren’t listed here!
Harrelson vs. Rose, 1973
The most famous brawl in Mets history took place in Game 3 of the 1973 NLCS. After Jon Matlack shut out the Reds in Game 2, Bud Harrelson joked that the Reds “all looked like me” at the plate. Pete Rose didn’t take kindly to the remark, and slid hard into Harrelson while trying to break up a double play the following day. The fight that ensued was so heated that fans began throwing garbage at Rose when he took the field, prompting Reds manager Sparky Anderson to call his team into the dugout. Mets manager Yogi Berra and a contingent of Mets players actually needed to get on the field and personally calm the fans down before they were able to resume play.
Knight vs. Niedenfuer, 1986
This isn’t the only fight on this list to feature the late-eighties Mets—and Ray Knight, in particular. In a May game at Shea in 1986, George Foster hit a grand slam off Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer to give New York a 7-1 lead in the sixth. Niedenfuer responded by hitting Knight on the next pitch, and Knight charged the mound, leading to a chaotic benches-clearing brawl.
Strawberry vs. Palmer, 1986
About six weeks later, Shea’s benches cleared again under similar circumstances. The Mets jumped on Braves starter David Palmer in the first, plating three runs on a Gary Carter home run. Carter then greeted the fans with an emphatic curtain call, prompting Palmer to hit Darryl Strawberry with the next pitch. Strawberry made a beeline for the mound, and…well, you can see what happened next.
Knight vs. Davis, 1986
Just eleven days after brawling the Braves, the Mets were at it again in Cincinnati. After stealing third base in the bottom of the tenth, Eric Davis made some hard contact with Knight. That contact turned to bumping, bumping to grabbing, and grabbing to punches in the face. The ensuing brawl led to four players—two Mets and two Reds—being ejected from the game. Given Strawberry’s ejection earlier in the contest, the Mets were short on players, and were forced to put Carter at third and pitcher Jesse Orosco in right. Orosco and fellow reliever Roger McDowell switched off between pitching and playing the outfield for the next few innings until the Mets won the game in the 14th.
Teufel vs. Dibble, 1989
The Mets and Reds completed their fight trilogy in July 1989. In the eighth inning of a 7-0 game, Reds reliever Rob Dibble hit Tim Teufel in the back after surrendering a double to David Cone and an RBI single to Juan Samuel. Dibble was also irked by the fact that the Mets double-stole second and third in the fifth inning when they were ahead, 5-0. Teufel charged Dibble after being hit and, once that initial melee settled down, Dibble charged back at Teufel to reignite the ugly brawl.
Jefferies vs. McDowell, 1989
The Mets’ last home game of the 1989 season featured another ugly brawl, this one involving former teammates. McDowell, then with the Phillies, got Gregg Jefferies to ground out to end the game. As Jefferies was running to first, McDowell started yelling something at Jefferies, prompting the infielder to charge and tackle the Phillies’ reliever. In a wild end to Shea Stadium baseball in 1989, both benches emptied in an attempt to break up the scuffle.
Gooden vs. Combs, 1990
The Mets and Phillies went at it again the following year. After hitting Phillies batters in the second and fifth innings, Dwight Gooden led off the bottom of the fifth for the Mets. Phillies starter Pat Combs promptly beaned Gooden with the first pitch, and Gooden charged the mound. What followed was a nearly 20-minute fight culminating in seven ejections. Like the others listed here, this wasn’t a typical baseball fight with light shoving and trash talk. These players threw real punches and did serious damage, as you can see by some of their faces in the clip.
Reyes vs. Olivo, 2007
The most memorable brawl in recent Mets history came on the second-to-last day of the 2007 season. The incident started when Marlins pitcher Harvey Garcia threw behind Luis Castillo in a game that the Mets were leading, 9-0. Although both benches cleared, no fighting broke out…at first. As play was about to resume, however, Jose Reyes and Miguel Olivo—longtime friends from the Dominican Republic—started jawing at each other. While Reyes apparently thought that they were joking around, Olivo didn’t take it that way. Reyes gestured toward him and Olivo charged from the pitcher’s mound to third base, where an all-out brawl broke out. That turned out to be an unforgettable series for many reasons, and this incident added to the already-high-stakes drama.