25 Years Ago, Jack McDowell Flipped off Yankees Fans.

New York Yankees pitcher Jack McDowell gives fans the middle finger in 1995. (Photo: Gerald Herbert, Associated Press)

One major issue in sports today is athletes not keeping their composure after a lousy performance. While getting angry is a universal emotion, it’s the reaction and attitude around other people that can determine if a player is hated or loved by a franchise. However, what this pitcher did ruined his chance to be liked by a big franchise like the New York Yankees.

Let’s flashback to 1995 to see not only Jack McDowell‘s worst game as a pitcher, but one of the worst moments in his career.

White Sox Pounce On McDowell

A doubleheader on July 18, 1995, saw the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox facing off in the Bronx. The White Sox had already beaten the Yankees in the day game 9-4. The second game pitching match-up saw former Yankee pitcher Dave Righetti face off against previously mentioned Jack McDowell. McDowell’s night would become ruined right away as the White Sox took advantage of McDowell’s mistakes. Frank Thomas and Tim Raines hit back-to-back home runs to put the White Sox up early. After adding two more runs, thanks to a Norberto Martin double, the White Sox led the game 4-0 after the first half of the inning.

A three-run home run by Paul O’Neill and a Randy Velarde RBI double, the Yankees tied the game by the 2nd inning. Unfortunately, Dave Martinez‘s three-run home run in the 3rd inning gave the White Sox the lead back.

The performance would also get worse for McDowell in his last inning before being taken out. During Mike LaValliere‘s at-bat, two more runs came across after a wild pitch and a ground-out by LaValliere. After one more single by Lance Johnson, Buck Showalter came out to take McDowell out of the game.

McDowell Gives the Bird to the Fans

Buck Showalter came to take McDowell out and bring in Joe Ausanio. As McDowell was walking toward the Yankees dugout, the boos from Yankees fans rained down on McDowell. McDowell then took his middle finger and waved it to the fans. This incident caused more boos to rain down on him as he finally entered the dugout.

On one point, it is understandable why he decided to make this gesture towards the fans of Yankee Stadium. You can understand his frustration when walking back to the dugout on how bad he was in this game. However, just because you’re angry about how bad you did not give you the right to make a gesture like the middle finger towards fans because they boo’d you. While getting boo’d on is never good, you have to handle it well.

Though McDowell regretted giving the middle finger, he was still fined $5,000 for the incident.

Final Thoughts

While athletes have their ways of dealing with angry fans, no one should ever do this in the sports world. It’s normal to be angry, but to raise your middle finger to deal with it is even more disrespectful. 1995 was a lousy year for Jack McDowell.

While this wasn’t the worst moment of McDowell’s career, it’s still a moment he would want to erase from his memory. 

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