Aug. 4, 1993: Nolan Ryan plunks Robin Ventura in the back with a fastball. You know the video. You've watched the video, or at least the part where Ryan gets Ventura in a headlock and starts pounding away. Here's the whole six-minute highlight of the brawl.
Anyway, I came across this video on YouTube. As it shows, after the initial headlock, Ventura escapes and actually gets Ryan in a chokehold of his own. So the common belief that Ryan put a beating on Ventura isn't necessarily true.
A couple other thoughts on maybe the most famous fight in baseball history (maybe right after the Juan Marichal-John Roseboro fight).
1. As my co-worker Dave Wilson, who was at the game, pointed out to me: Ryan wasn't even ejected from the game. The brawl occurred in the third inning and Ryan ended up going seven innings and getting the win. Probably made sense not to eject him: Rangers fans may have rioted.
2. Ryan would win just two more games in his career. Six starts later, he snapped his ligament in a game in Seattle and was done.
3. That was a weird White Sox lineup that day. Matt Merullo was hitting third and DHing (Bo Jackson pinch-hit later in the game). Dan Pasqua played first base. (Looks like Frank Thomas wanted the day off.) Steve Sax played right field and hit fifth. I don't remember Sax on the White Sox, although he was their regular second baseman in 1992. He started 26 games in the outfield for the White Sox that year. The White Sox won the AL West as Thomas won MVP honors.