August 04, 2008
Talk about your strange coincidences. Earlier today, when I was writing that Royals-White Sox "brawl" post, it occurred to me that Nolan Ryan's all-time great face-pounding of Robin Ventura occurred around this time of year.
I just wasn't exactly sure when.
Turns out that it occurred down in Arlington on Aug. 4, 1993, making it 15 years to the day that the 26-year-old Ventura foolishly rushed the mound, only to get locked into the 46-year-old armpit of Nolan Ryan where he had no other choice but to absorb a few uppercuts for the ages. The ensuing images ensured that his above-average pro career would forever be remembered for having his rear handed to him by a crotchety old Texan.
Meanwhile, Ryan was about a month-and-a-half from retirement and went out by uppercutting some fist-sized punctuation onto a Hall-of-Fame career. Old codgers everywhere still celebrate the day Ryan put the young whippersnapper back into his place, though I'm still not sure why AARP hasn't made this the centerpiece of some advertising campaign.
"I'll bet you Robin Ventura wishes he never took a step to the mound. I was sitting right there on the front row. Ventura took about two steps toward first base and then headed to the mound. So, I had the view he had. When Nolan Ryan turned around, he looked like a bull. Ventura lost his senses and it was a fantastic experience for the Texas Rangers. It elevated the Nolan Ryan legend a little more."
So, happy Nolan Ryan-Robin Ventura Beatdown Day, everybody. Make sure to celebrate by taking those you love most underneath your arm and treating 'em to a few blows.