Garrett isn’t only athlete to use equipment to fight in game
There’s really no way around it: The ending to Thursday night’s NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers was ugly.
In case you missed it, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett ripped off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hit him in the head with it in the final seconds as the Browns’ 21-7 win.
Making the situation even scarier was the fact that Rudolph had already missed a few games earlier this season with a concussion after he was knocked unconscious by a helmet-to-helmet hit from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas.
While some observers thought Garrett’s actions were unprecedented, longtime Bruins fans may recall a similar incident that turned out to be even more serious.
In September of 1969, Bruins All-Star defenseman Ted Green suffered a skull fracture after St. Louis forward Ted Maki struck Green in the head with a stick. The incident occured during the first period of an exhibition game in Ottawa. The sequence of events began when Maki appeared to spear Green, who retaliated by hitting Maki on the head with his stick. That was when Maki took a full swing with his stick to Green’s head.
Green was knocked down, but was able to be helped off the ice. An ambulance was called, and he was rushed to Ottawa General Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery which lasted nearly three hours. He missed the entire season as the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Green would eventually return to the ice, and played until 1979, wearing a helmet for the rest of his career.
While that may be the most vicious example, there have been other instances of athletes using their equipment in a fit of anger. Here are a few:
■ Aug. 22, 1965: San Francisco Giants pitcher Juan Marichal clubs Los Angeles Dodgers catcher John Roseboro with his bat.
In the bottom of the third inning, Marichal hit Roseboro over the head with a bat. It started out as a chippy game between rivals in the heat of a pennant race. When Marichal led off the third, he took Sandy Koufax’s first pitch for a strike. The second pitch was inside. Roseboro dropped the ball and moved it behind Marichal, where he picked it up and fired the ball back close to Marichal’s face.
Marichal confronted Roseboro, who stepped toward Marichal. The San Francisco pitcher raised his bat and brought it down on Roseboro’s head, prompting a benches-clearing brawl.
Marichal was ejected and Roseboro left the game needing 14 stitches to close a cut on his head. Roseboro missed the next two games before returning to action. Marichal was suspended for eight game days (10 games because of doubleheaders) and fined a then-record $1,750. Roseboro would sue Marichal for $110,000 in damages, and the case was eventually settled with Roseboro receiving $7,500.
■ Aug. 14, 2007: Former Red Sox All-Star Jose Offerman hits Bridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans in the head with a bat.
Nathans was attempting to stop Offerman, who charged the mound after being hit by a pitch from Matt Beech in a game between the Bluefish and the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League.
Nathans says he was struck in the back right side of his head, and that the blow caused permanent vestibular (nerve) damage to his ear, as well as headaches, nausea, and dizziness associated with postconcussion syndrome.
Beech suffered a broken middle finger on his non-pitching hand but escaped further injury when Nathan came to his rescue. The catcher stayed in the game but later collapsed in the dugout and left the park on a stretcher, taken to a waiting ambulance. His professional baseball career was over at age 28.
In 2014, a Connecticut jury awarded Nathans $940,000 in damages stemming from the 2007 attack.
■ Oct. 9, 1972: Oakland shortstop Bert Campaneris throws his bat at Detroit’s Lerrin LaGrow.
It was the seventh inning of Game 2 of the ALCS when LaGrow hit Campaneris in the ankle with a pitch. Not content to merely take his base, Campaneris fired his bat back at the mound, and it sailed over LaGrow’s head. Campaneris was suspended for the rest of the series.
■ Feb. 21, 2000: Bruins enforcer Marty McSorley hits Vancouver’s Donald Brashear in the head with his stick.
With 4.6 seconds remaining in the game, McSorley chased down Brashear and struck him in the head from behind. Brashear, who was wearing a helmet, hit his head hard on the ice, losing consciousness and suffering a concussion. McSorley, who was 36 at the time, was suspended by the NHL for the remainder of the season, and did not play in the league again. He was found guilty of assault with a weapon for his attack on Brashear and received 18 months probation.
■ Oct. 13, 1985: Montreal Canadiens forward Chris Nilan butts Rick Middleton in the mouth with his stick.
Nilan injured Middleton midway through the second period. The two collided in the Canadiens’ zone and Nilan butted Middleton in the mouth with his stick, drawing blood. Referee Kerry Fraser ejected Nilan from the game and gave him a 10-minute penalty. Nilan was suspended for the next eight games.
“If there’s one thing I regret in my career that happened it was that,” Nilan said in a 2013 interview.
■ Dec. 23, 1979: Mike Milbury smacks a Rangers fan with a shoe.
The Bruins had just defeated the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden when a fight between the two teams erupted on the ice. A fan reached over the glass and hit Stan Jonathan in the eye with a rolled up program. Another fan took Jonathan’s stick.
That’s when Terry O’Reilly went into the stands, followed by Peter McNab. Milbury, who had already gone to the locker room, came back out and followed his teammates into the stands, grabbing one spectator, removing one of his shoes, and slapping him with it before he was restrained.
O’Reilly was suspended for eight games, while McNab and Milbury were out for six.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.
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