Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fight Night at the Garden Latest Case of Sports Turmoil

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fight Night at the Garden Latest Case of Sports Turmoil

Article excerpt

The ongoing Carmelo Anthony-Phil Jackson dispute and the Charles Oakley-James Dolan controversy pale in comparison with other sports disagreements. The late Billy Martin would have equated the Knicks' soap opera to a pillow fight. Martin and others fought a lot harder.

Here's a look back at some memorable incidents involving managers or coaches with their players:

Billy Martin-Ed Whitson

This was the extreme -- even for Battling Billy. The manager was not pleased with the contributions his free-agent pitcher provided in 1985 and everything came to a head in a Baltimore hotel bar after a Saturday night game in late September.

Martin claims Whitson started it and, of course, Whitson said Martin did. When the fisticuffs were over. Martin, who was four inches shorter and 40 pounds lighter, had a broken right arm and a bruised right side and Whitson had a cracked rib and a split lip.

The fight started in the bar, in full view of a New York press corps that nightly closed hotel bars because they feared they might miss a Martin fight if they went to bed. It proceeded to the hotel lobby, where according to a New York Times story, Whitson kicked Martin in the groin, and then moved outside the hotel, when Whitson broke away from people restraining him, rushed at Martin and knocked him down, winding up on top of him.

After order was restored, Martin got into an elevator, which stopped at the third floor, where Whitson was waiting.

As onlookers kept them apart, they both called each other "gutless."

Whitson never pitched the rest of that season and Martin was fired at season's end.

Billy Martin-Reggie Jackson

Martin and Jackson never got along and their differences were in a full view during a nationally televised game at Fenway Park in June 1977.

In a game that the Yankees eventually lost, 10-4, Martin was furious when Jim Rice blooped a sixth-inning hit in front of Jackson, who was playing a deep right field and was positioned in right-center field because Rice was a right-handed pull hitter.

Martin felt Rice got a double, instead of a single, because Jackson didn't hustle to field the ball.

As he left the third base dugout to remove pitcher Mike Torrez, Martin instructed reserve outfielder Paul Blair to grab his glove and replace Jackson. …

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