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Original Issue

THE QUESTION: it seems there are more fights in baseball than ever before. How was it in your day?

Cardinal pitcher
Don't you remember the old St. Louis Gashouse Gang? But we had more ringsiders in those days. A couple would start punching each other and the ringsiders would watch. But Old Diz was no fool. I was one of those ringsiders. I was paid to pitch, not to take a sock in the snoot.

Yankee shortstop
We didn't have as many rhubarbs on the field, but we had as many fights under the stands. We'd surround the fighters and let them go to a finish. Pitchers often "dusted" the batters. It was amusing to see Fred Fitzsimmons and Dolf Luque dust each other off.

Yankee and Red Sox outfielder
We had as many, if not more. As late as 1951, when I coached Philadelphia, Eddie Stanky was behind second waving a shirt while Andy Seminick was batting. Andy, mad as a wet hen, slid hard into second and spiked Bill Rigney. Both teams rushed into the diamond and started swinging.

Yankee pitcher
We had scraps, although not as many as I've read about this season. I don't know what's causing all the fights and arguments. It could be the close race in the National League. We were just as sensitive about close pitches as they are today, but we didn't fight or throw a bat at the pitcher.

Yankee outfielder
We had flare-ups, but I don't recall any free-for-alls like that between the Dodgers and Cincinnati. Sure, when you're knocked down by a close pitch you get up with a chip on your shoulder. But we knew that a ball gets away from a pitcher once in a while but, in most cases, it's unintentional.

Yankee and Senator pitcher
In 1928 and 1929, when the American League race was close, we had our rhubarbs, but we didn't have nearly as many as the National League is having this year. In my day, close pitches were considered a part of the game, to set up a batter for the next pitch.

Senator pitcher and Umpire of Old Timers Game
In my day, I heard players challenge each other every game, but they didn't fight. Just loud talk. The only fight I ever saw was between Ty Cobb and Umpire Billy Evans after the game. We weren't paid enough to sock each other and fill the stands the next day.

Yankee and Brown pitcher
Rhubarbs are O.K. as long as there are no hard feelings afterward. The worst I ever saw was in my first game at Washington. The players on both teams and about 5,000 fans got into it. I won that game 6-0, but my name wasn't mentioned in the newspapers. They just covered the fight.

Yankee and Athletic third baseman
Not nearly as bad. Umpires like Tommy Connolly were more strict in our day. We had bean balls, plenty of them, but we didn't fight because we knew we'd be suspended and fined. As old Connie Mack used to say to us: "You're no good to the club sitting on the bench."

Yankee pitcher
I'll never forget the big fight between the Yankees and Red Sox. It started when Powell spiked Joe Cronin. Everyone got into it except Jimmy Foxx and me. I asked Jimmy why he wasn't fighting and he replied: "That $300 fine will buy a lot of ice cream for my kids."