As Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier try and settle feud, a look at five of the best MLB beefs
Adam Eaton's beef with Todd Frazier got us thinking about other baseball back-and-forths
Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier might finally be cordial, but the current NL East rivals and former Chicago White Sox teammates apparently needed several on-field exchanges, plus a through the media, to squash a years-old beef. But in a game where unwritten rules are made to be broken and bat flips increasingly incite debate, their feud assuredly will not be the last to grace MLB headlines.
It got us thinking, though. Who else has drawn attention for something other than their performance on the diamond? Which other players have engaged in notable feuds in recent MLB history? It turns out there are no shortage of scuffles to choose from, but here are five of the best:
Mike Piazza vs. Roger Clemens
The battle between the New York stars began during the 2000 regular season when Clemens nailed Piazza in the head with a wayward fastball -- which Piazza suggested was intentional. Things got uglier in the first inning of a World Series rematch between the Mets and Yankees, with Piazza breaking his bat on a foul ball against Clemens and the latter side-arming a jagged piece of the bat toward Piazza as he ran up the first-base line.
The broadcast of the incident shows Clemens pleading that he thought the broken bat was "the ball," but that never explained why he chucked it in Piazza's direction and invited both teams' benches to clear.
This one hasn't yet reached a World Series spotlight like Clemens vs. Piazza, but it's been going for more than five years now. Puig initially pulled off a slow trot after homering against the Giants ace during his 2014 season with the Dodgers, then provoked a clearing of the benches after being hit by a Bumgarner pitch five months later.
The two exchanged words and prompted another bench-clearing in 2016 following a Puig ground-out, then rekindled their rivalry in 2019 with Puig, now with the Reds, flipping his bat following a homer off the San Fran veteran.
Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura
"The Ryan Express" still had plenty of fire at age 46 in 1993, when tensions from an incident three years prior flared up in a battle with Ventura, the longtime White Sox star. Back in 1990, Chicago's Craig Grebeck took his sweet time appreciating a homer against Ryan, who publicly accused him of showboating, and the following week, Ryan hit Grebeck, Ventura's teammate.
Then, in '93, a few innings after Ventura lined an RBI off Ryan, the ace hit Ventura. The hitter proceeded to charge the mound... and get put in a headlock and suffered Ryan's wrath.
Bill Lee vs. New York Yankees
You could classify this one as "Red Sox vs. Yankees," because in 1976, when New York's Lou Piniella collided with Boston's Carlton Fisk with the Yanks up 1-0, both sides' entire benches went at it following punches between those two.
It was Bill "Spaceman" Lee, however, who may have riled up the rivalry three years earlier, when he said the Yankees "fight like a bunch of Times Square hookers" following a 1973 brawl also involving Fisk. Decades later, Lee still admits to despising New York's Graig Nettles and the Yankees.
Jose Mesa vs. Omar Vizquel
These two started as friends and teammates, but after Mesa's collapse in the 1997 World Series, things deteriorated in a hurry, with the pitcher apparently taking offense at Vizquel's celebrations against him in spring-training batting practice. Mesa ultimately threw at him intentionally for a half-decade. Vizquel criticized Mesa early in his autobiography, while Mesa returned the favor by promising to fire pitches at his old friend every time they met. He did it three times, and the two still remained uneasy years later.
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