So, we all know there was a bit of a donnybrook last week between the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Suspensions were issued to five players, including ten games to Ian Kennedy and five to Eric Hinske. In addition, they also suspended some coaches: Mark McGwire, the hitting coach for the Dodgers (I can picture the lessons: “Guys – the trick to hitting? Drugs. Lots of drugs.”) got two games, and managers Don Mattingly for LA and Kirk Gibson for Arizona got one game each.
This got me thinking – what if this brawl had taken place in, say, 1988? Some pretty big name players from my youth were involved: Gibson, Mattingly, and McGwire, as well as Alan Trammell and Matt Williams, among others. Yes, I know the Diamondbacks didn’t exist then, don’t ask me questions. So, let’s go through the list and why this brawl would have been spectacular back then, with the visual aids from 1989 Donruss.
1989 Donruss – Kirk Gibson
–Kirk Gibson: was the National League MVP for the Dodgers in 1988 and hit a fairly big home run against Oakland in the World Series that same year, so could pretty much get away with anything. Epic mustache gave him toughness and street cred.
1989 Donruss – Don Mattingly
–Don Mattingly: although he is essentially the only player ever to play for the Yankees not to win a World Series, he owned the city of New York at the time and could have called in some questionable “friends” into any altercation.
1989 Donruss – Mark McGwire
–Mark McGwire: the Steroid Era was in full effect at the time, without all the irritating criticism and judgement from fans that you run into now. Rage factor of 10/10 would have been interesting to watch.
1989 Donruss – Matt Williams
–Matt Williams: still hadn’t learned how to use steroids properly (BA .205 in 1988, .202 in 1989) so could have had an even higher rage factor than McGwire.
1989 Donruss – Alan Trammell
–Alan Trammell: easily could have gotten away with biting, eye gouging or other tactics due to the predictable response: “Alan Trammell was in a fight? Come on, don’t lie to me. I’m not an idiot.”
Sure, these guys have the “grandpa factor” that made this brawl pretty interesting in 2013, but I’d pay money for a quick DeLorean trip back to 1988 to see the fight then. Tell me you wouldn’t, too.