Remembering Mets History: (1964) Casey Stengel 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). 

The Milwaukee Braves had landed from Boston in 1953 being the first major league franchise to change cities in half a century.

County Stadium was the first Stadium to be built with lights & from public funds. The Braves were so popular in their first few seasons they broke attendance records. 

In 1957 they won the World Series, the next year they repeated as NL pennant winners & in 1959 tied with the Dodgers but lost a playoff game ending their season. As things cooled down, attendance dropped & the club was sold. It was moved to Atlanta in 1966.


The starting pitchers for tonight's game were the Mets Galen Cisco & the Braves Denny Lemaster. Both pitchers kept it a low scoring game.

In the 1st inning, the Mets leadoff man; Charley Smith started the game with a solo HR. It would be the only hit the Mets would have until the 9th inning as Lemaster retired nine in a row until two 4th inning walks, then another ten in a row until the 8th inning when he walked Chris Cannizzaro.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Joe Torre singled & Ed Bailey reached on a Mets error. Jesus Alou, singled bringing in two runs putting Milwaukee ahead 2-1. 

Cisco did a fine job from there holding down the Braves until he was relieved by Larry Bearnarth in the 8th. He retired the side in order in that inning as well.

In the bottom of 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 a comeback. 

Slugger Frank Thomas then grounded to third baseman Eddie Mathews, and it looked like an easy double play. 

Mathews threw to second for one out, but the Brave second baseman Frank Bolling was taken out of the double play by Mets runner Joe Christopher. Meanwhile Ron Hunt was hoping for a botched double play, he never stopped, he rounded third & was coming in hard trying to tie up the game. Frank Bolling threw home to catcher Ed Bailey.

The Braves veteran catcher Bailey stood his ground took the throw from Bolling & tagged out Hunt. But 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 throwing punches at each other. Home plate Umpire Billy Williams gave Bailey a giant bear hug from behind to keep him from getting at Hunt. 

With that the benches emptied & fights were breaking out all over the field. Out of nowhere the Mets "Hot Rod" Kanehl went after Ed Bailey around the plate area. He was met by three Braves & punches were flying everywhere. 

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 middle of the mix. Stengel tapped the shoulder of a young 23-year-old Dennis Menke. Menke a former football player shrugged his arm. 

Casey 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- Casey Stengel: "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: "I stepped over somebody, 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 Ron Hunt from the melee. Mathews was no stranger to fights, he once decked Frank Robinson with one blow knocking him out. Mathews who hit 512 career HRs was even known to have gone at it with the Dodgers big man, Don Drysdale.

What a way to end a game.

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