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Cubs historical sleuthing: Pirates brawl edition

This was quite the ballgame.

Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

A brawl! Getty Images says:

1993: The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates start fighting on the field in a game against each other.

Yep, that’s exactly what we are seeing here, a Cubs/Pirates fight.

Getty says 1993, and the visible Pirates (Don Slaught, Steve Cooke, Jeff Ballard) all played for them in 1993. I didn’t recognize the Cubs in the photo, so I sent this along to Mike Bojanowski, who ID’d them (left to right) as Turk Wendell, Willie Wilson, coach Billy Connors and Steve Buechele.

He also identified the umpire (whose sleeve is visible at the left) as Angel Hernandez.

Hernandez umpired two Cubs/Pirates series at Wrigley Field in 1993, one in May, the other in August.

Scrolling through those games, I found it... hoo, boy, this was some ballgame, Monday, August 2, 1993.

Before anyone got into fighting, this happened in the top of the fourth, per Retrosheet’s play-by-play notes:

Sammy Sosa thought his catch was the third out and ran into the infield with the ball after making the catch; Al Martin scored from 2B on Sosa’s mental mistake

Yikes. The Pirates are leading 5-2 at this point. They made it 8-2 in the top of the fifth, but he Cubs scored six runs in the bottom of that inning to tie things up 8-8.

Then the fun started in the bottom of the sixth. With the game still 8-8, Mark Grace led off the inning and this happened:

Pitcher Minor ejected by HP umpire Reliford for throwing at Grace with 1st two pitches; Grace yelled at Minor but stayed at plate as benches cleared; Cubs Scanlan and Pirates Martin ejected by 3B umpire Runge

That’s what we’re looking at here, the benches clearing after all that happened. One out later, Steve Buechele homered to give the Cubs a 10-8 lead and Sosa followed with another homer to make it 11-8.

In the top of the seventh, Lloyd McClendon homered for the Pirates with one out to make it 11-9 and then, Cubs reliever Jose Bautista hit Lonnie Smith with a pitch. Which led to:

Pirates manager Leyland ejected by HP umpire Reliford for arguing pitcher should be warned

The Pirates scored again in the eighth to make it 11-10, but Rick Wilkins’ RBI single in the bottom of the inning gave the Cubs a two-run cushion.

In the ninth, with nobody out and McClendon on first, Smith was called out on strikes. You guessed it, the Pirates wouldn’t let go:

Lonnie Smith ejected by HP umpire Charlie Reliford for throwing his bat after being called out on strikes; Pirates coach Bill Virdon also ejected by Reliford; Smith refused to leave the bench, holding up the game for several minutes

When order was restored, Don Slaught hit into a double play to end the game and the Cubs won it 12-10.

Here’s the Tribune recap of this game, written by Alan Solomon, who quoted manager Jim Lefebvre and reliever Bob Scanlan:

“From what I understand,” Lefebvre said, “Al Martin got involved and started challenging Bob Scanlan, and Scanlan’s not going to back down to anybody.”

“They were in a fight yesterday,” said Scanlan, referring to some incidents with the Phillies Sunday. “It just seemed like they were in a mood to antagonize.”

And Solomon noted, of Lonnie Smith refusing to leave the bench:

Smith, in another nice touch, held up the game for several minutes while he first sat on the bench and refused to go to the clubhouse, then mugged for TV’s dugout camera.

We’ve actually got video of most of the festivities here. First, here’s the entire sixth inning, with the brawls and the homers:

Now, the seventh inning and the eruption from Jim Leyland:

And, the last two innings including the final two ejections:

Quite the afternoon at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were 54-50 after this win and resided in fourth place in the NL East, 12 games out of first place. They finished 84-78, also fourth, 13 games out. 1993 was the first year since 1972 that the Cubs finished over .500 and did not make the postseason.