Baseball

Minor League Baseball History: ‘Strike Out Domestic Violence’ Night in Durham

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There are not many recognizable moments in Minor League Baseball history, however on a May night in 1995, one of the worst events in MiLB history occurred. Ironically, the incident took place on ‘Strike Out Domestic Violence’ night, when a fight broke out. Hospitalizations, 124 days of suspensions, and almost $6000 in fines were handed out that night due to one of the worst brawls in MiLB history.

The Winston-Salem Warthogs and the Durham Bulls faced off on what was a large promotion for Durham’s relatively new stadium. How ironic that a night that was used to promote less violence saw one of the worst brawls in Minor League Baseball History.

The Biggest Brawl in Minor League Baseball History Started With… Aaron Boone?

Just like any brawl, there are two sides to every story. Ask Durham Bulls starting pitcher, Jason Kummerfeldt, and he would tell you he had no control of his fastball. Aaron Boone and the Warthogs would beg to differ. After a home run by Boone, Kummerfeldt hit the next batter. Was it intentional? There is no video, but one can assume.

The following inning Winston hit the first batter between the numbers and the brawl was on.

Warthogs pitcher Glen Cullop lost teeth and was knocked unconscious during the brawl. Umpires could not gain control, fans were fighting in the stands, and there was seemingly no end as the brawl delayed the game for 32 minutes! Not only was this one of the worst brawls in Minor League Baseball History but in baseball history as well.

The Carolina League’s Response

League president John Hopkins made it clear that any player involved in the confrontation would serve a suspension and be fined. Hopkins followed the game with a statement ensuring that each player involved would be punished outside of the two the starting pitchers for the following day’s game, as both were charting in the stands.

A piece of Minor League Baseball History is Rarely talked about

Because of the year that the brawl ensued, there is very limited information, however, a YouTube video managed to surface just last month.

1995 was a large year for the Durham Bulls. It was the year that their brand new stadium opened, and was the same year that one of the darkest moments in their history occurred. Getting fans into any MiLB ballpark is no easy task, so throwing a promotion a month after the stadium opened seemed like a good idea at the time.

However, struggling arms and heated tempers led to one of the worst brawls in Minor League Baseball History.

Could Something Like This Happen Today?

With more stringent restrictions on confrontations and hitting batters on purpose, the short answer is no. On the other hand, having players with attitudes such as Trevor Bauer‘s on the mound combined with Fernando Tatis Jr. challenging the traditional ‘unwritten rules’ confrontations will happen.

Will the confrontations be as bad as ‘Strike Out Domestic Violence’ Night at the Ballpark in Durham? Hopefully, no brawl lasts that long and causes hospitalizations ever again. In the heat of the moment, however, nothing will ever be out of the question in MLB. Something so benign as a bat flip that drives pitchers crazy has the ability to torch tempers.

There are few moments in Minor League Baseball history that can be revisited to address issues currently facing the game of professional baseball. The brawl in Durham, however, illustrates that any brawl can go from bad to worse in the span of minutes. So when baseball fans see the game go a little haywire, just enjoy the trash talk and bantering back-and-forth, while hoping that we never see something as serious as the fight between Winston-Salem and Durham in 1995.


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