My First Baseball Fight: 25 Years LaterTwenty-five years ago today, I was at Wrigley Field seated behind the Chicago Cubs dugout along the third base line. My Dad purchased tickets for the two of us, plus two of my friends. That was the summer between eighth grade and high school. A number of people I knew from school were also there. The park and recreation department organized a bus trip to the same game. They were tucked away in the upper deck.
That game was a long time ago. When I think back upon this game, it almost seems like it took place in a different era. It was 13 months before the Cubs played their first night game at the ballpark at Clark and Addison. That day, I witnessed my first baseball fight.
The Cubs were only a few months into the season. During the offseason, they signed future Hall of Famer Andre Dawson away from the Montreal Expos. At the end of the season, he would be named the National League's Most Valuable Player. At that point of the season, Dawson was already becoming a fan favorite.
During the bottom of the first inning against the San Diego Padres, Dave Martinez, the Cubs lead-off hitter, homered to grab an early 1-0 lead. Dawson, batting clean up, belted his 24th home run of the season. The ballpark erupted.
Jumping ahead to the bottom of the third, Paul Noce stepped to the plate. Noce was filling in for the injured Ryne Sandberg. He homered to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. After Leon Durham grounded out, Dawson stepped up to the plate. San Diego's pitcher, Eric Show, delivered a pitch that drilled Dawson directly in the face. Rick Sutcliffe jumped out the dugout and charged the mound.
The donnybrook was underway.
Once the dust settled and the game resumed, a total of seven players were ejected including a young Greg Maddux.