Carlton Fisk's brawl with Thurman Munson


ON THIS DATE (August 1, 1973) ... What it was SUPPOSED to be, was the play that won the game.  Thurman Munson, the supposed winning run in a 2-2 game in the ninth inning, was charging from third base as John Curtisís pitch headed for the plate. Gene Michael, the batter, squared around to bunt.

Only Michael blew the play that was going to win the game. He missed the bunt. Munson was out, the Yankees didnít score and the Red Sox went on to win in the bottom of the ninth, 3-2. But first, an old Giants-Dodgers type row erupted.

It started when Michael wouldnít get out of the way. The Red Sox felt very strongly that Michael continued to get in Fiskís way as he tried to get ready for Munsonís charge, and home plate umpire Joe Brinkman should have called interference. Fisk braced from Munson and the collision carried the Yankee catcher on top of Fisk.  Curtis and Doug Griffin and Carl Yastrzemski grabbed and separated them after a couple of punches and held Munson back. Then Michael got into it.

So Fisk, who still had the ball securely in his hand, and Michael started going at it. By now both benches were emptied and the bullpens were huffing and puffing in. Fisk kept playing with Keith Magnuson with Munson and Michael and everyone claimed to be peacemaker in one form or another. Even Yankee manager Ralph Houk got into it.  Had it started the night before when the Yankees accused Fisk of trying to trip Roy White at home, causing him to miss the plate? Fiskís first time up today Mel Stottlemyre hit him squarely in the head.

But it was not over. The brawl, which was really only a brawl involving Fisk while others milled and pushed and grabbed and yelled nasties, lasted about 10 minutes. For the next 10-15 minutes, Fisk and Kasko chased Brinkman and umpiring team chief Nestor Chylak all over the field. They had thrown Fisk and Munson out of the game and not Michael.

But the play that was SUPPOSED to win the game, got Curtis out of the jam. Gene Michael blew the squeeze play, grounded out, and the Red Sox went on to win.