20 years ago today the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox took part in one of baseball’s most ugliest fights ever. The game on April 22, 2000 featured two bench-clearing brawls and had over 11 players ejected. Following the game, major league baseball suspended 16 players which was one of the most severe punishments handed down for a fight.
The first of the two fights began in the top of the seventh inning when White Sox pitcher Jim Parque hit Tiger’s third baseman Dean Palmer with the first pitch of the inning. Palmer instantly charged the mound, beginning a massive brawl that would start at the pitcher’s mound and end up out in deep right-field. Parque retaliated for Tigers’ pitcher Jeff Weaver hitting of Sox’s outfielder Carlos Lee the inning before.
Many of the Detroit players came charging out of the dugout and came out swinging. Once Parque and Palmer had been separated, Other players seemed to target White Sox players individually. All-Star Magglio Ordonez was attacked by multiple Tigers players and coaches at once before other White Sox players stepped in. Chicago closer Keith Foulke’s left cheek was split open after four Detroit players swung at him from behind as he ran to protect reliever Bill Simas. Foulke would need five stitches to close the wound.
Simas had squared up with Tigers’ catcher Robert Fick which led to the groups running out to the right field. Once the teams appeared to calm down, Fick would taunt the White Sox fans in the right-field bleachers. As he walked back to Detroit’s bullpen, Chicago fans hurled beer and even spit on him.
The second brawl would come towards the end of the game, this time involving Chicago reliever Bob Howry and Detroit reliever Doug Brocail. Howry hit Shane Halter with two outs in the top of the 9th of a 14-4 game. Many Detroit pitchers took exception to the plunking, including Todd Jones and Doug Brocail. Both players came charging out of the dugout to fight Howry. Several Detroit coaches and players who had been ejected from the first fight came running out of the locker room to partake in the second one. Howry and Jones both had to be carried off the field from fighting one another at the end.
In total, 24 players and coaches were either fined or suspended for their actions in the fights. Both managers were suspended eight games each and several players were either suspended five or three games. The White Sox would go on to win the division that season while the Tigers finished in third place with 79 wins.