23 YEARS AGO TODAY NOLAN RYAN BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF ROBIN VENTURA

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You charge the mound because you’re furious. Because you want to hurt someone. You know you’ll be ejected, fined, suspended, but it’s all worth it for brief taste of revenge. You never do it thinking that it all might go horribly wrong, and you might wind up on the receiving end of one of the most iconic beatdowns in sports history. Robin Ventura was one of the finest third baseman to ever play the game of baseball. I can’t hear his name without picturing him in a headlock, being whaled upon by a 46-year-old man.

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It was nothing personal. The Rangers (and Ryan in particular) and White Sox had been at each other’s throats for three years, going back to when rookie Craig Grebeck had pimped a spring-training home run off the aging, ornery flamethrower. The two teams exchanged occasional beanballs, but things escalated in a game on Aug. 2 that saw four hit batsmen.

On Aug. 4, 1993, Robin Ventura greeted Ryan with a first-inning RBI single. In the second, White Sox starter Alex Fernandez hit Juan Gonzalez. So when Ventura came up in the third, Ryan drilled him in the upper arm. Ventura took four steps to first, then changed his mind.

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What happened next is the stuff of legend.

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