William Ligue Jr. is led off the field after attacking Kansas City coach Tom Gamboa on Sept. 19, 2002 (AP)
The anniversary isn't receiving much attention, but it was 10 years ago Wednesday that 34-year-old William Ligue Jr. and his 15-year-old son William III attacked Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa at Chicago's Comiskey Park. That's 10 years of knowing that, yes, there are cretins like that living among us and they can hurdle a short fence to beat a baseball lifer and irreparably change his life. Gamboa suffered permanent hearing loss during the attack.
"I felt like a football team had hit me from behind. Next thing I knew, I'm on the ground trying to defend myself," Gamboa told reporters at the time. "It just happened so fast."
The Chicago Tribune did a where are they now?-style piece with the three subjects of the story last November. Gamboa never coached in the major leagues after being let go by the Royals after the 2003 season and spent several years as a minor-league coach for the Padres and Angels before retiring last year at age 63.
The Ligues, not surprisingly, have struggled to stay out of trouble. The elder Ligue, who's now 44, was sentenced to five years in prison in 2006 for breaking into a car, which was a violation of the probation he received for beating Gamboa. The younger Ligue, now 25 and apparently still proud of his 15 minutes of shame, was released from prison in 2011 and is on parole after serving time for a 2010 drug charge. Of all the great father and son highlights that baseball has produced over the years, there's no doubt that the Ligues authored the sport's worst moment between two generations. May we never see something like that again.
Here's a story about Gamboa's post-attack life that was filmed in 2009:
- Sports & Recreation
- Tom Gamboa
- Kansas City Royals