May 3, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1964) Casey In the Middle of a Mets Brawl In Milwaukee

Ron Hunt & Casey Stengel
Monday May 4th 1964: Casey Stengel's Mets (3-14) visited Milwaukee's County Stadium to play Bobby Bragan's Braves (11-6). This was a tight low scoring game between Mets pitcher Galen Cisco & the Braves; Denny Lemaster.

The Mets lead off man; Charley Smith started the game with a solo HR. It would be the only hit the Mets would have until the 9th inning. In the bottom of the 2nd, the Braves Jesus Alou, singled home two runs putting Milwaukee ahead 2-1.


In the 9th inning, Lemaster was working on a one hitter. With one out the Mets; Ron Hunt singled to right field. Joe Christopher then drew a walk as the Mets threatened. Frank Thomas then grounded to third baseman Eddie Mathews and it looked like an easy double play. 

Mathews threw to second for one out & Brave second baseman Frank Bolling was taken out of the double play by Mets runner Joe Christopher. Mean while Hunt hoping for a botched double play, was coming in from third trying to tie up the game. Bolling threw home to catcher Ed Bailey.

The Braves veteran catcher Bailey, stood his ground got the throw from Bolling & tagged out Hunt. Mean while Hunt, who was about fifty pounds lighter than the burly Bailey, had tried to barrel the catcher over. Bailey was infuriated that Hunt tried to level him & went right after him. 

The two started swinging at each other. Home plate Umpire; Billy Williams, gave Bailey a giant bear hug from behind to keep him from getting at Hunt. That didn't stop the benches from emptying & fights breaking out all over the field.

Out of no where Mets "Hot Rod" Kanehl went after Bailey as well. He was met by three Braves & punches were flying every where. Kanehl & Gene Oliver had the biggest fist fight of the day, as Oliver's jersey proved, with spots of blood visible on the home whites.

Quotes: Mets announcer Bob Murphy: "Ron Hunt is going to be Ouuuuut at the plate, and we have a fight going on between Hunt & Ed Bailey. Everyone is pouring out of the dugouts. We have a real Pier 6 brawl going on at home plate".

During the ruckus, 73 year old Mets manager Casey Stengel was right in the mix. Stengel tapped the shoulder of a young 23 year old Dennis Menke. Menke a former football player shrugged his arm, Stengel lost his balance & fell to the ground. Even though frail, Stengel was a baseball man, a team player & was not going to just sit on the bench as a spectator.

Quotes: Stengel later said: "Oh I grabbed him & he just pulled away a little. You would have thought him & me was going dancing down Main St. the way I hung on to his arms".

Mets pitcher Tracy Stallard said; "I stepped over some body, looked down & saw the old man. I started laughing so hard, I couldn't fight".

Braves Hall of Famer; Eddie Mathews acted as peace maker in the end, removing Hunt from the melee. Mathews was no stranger to fights, he once decked Frank Robinson with one blow & was known to have gone at it with big Don Drysdale.

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