MLB players being involved in a brawl at some point during their careers is like a right of passage.
Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper recently recounted some of their favorite in-game fight stories, including Krukow being egged on by an iconic player during his days playing with the Chicago Cubs.
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“The [Philadelphia] Phillies bring in this pitcher named Kevin Saucier,” Krukow tells NBC Sports Bay Area’s Amy Gutierrez. “He decides he’s gonna take somebody down, so he hits Steve Ontiveros, our third baseman, who was a really good friend.
“So the inning ends and I tell our catcher ‘first 0-2 count, we’ll take whoever it is,’ meaning whoever is coming up, if they get an 0-2 count, they’re getting drilled.”
Krukow was due to lead off the next half-inning, and Saucier -- as is customary in these traditional baseball beefs -- hit Krukow with the first pitch. But after he got to first base, Saucier’s actions brought the two to blows.
“Kevin Saucier walks halfway from the mound to first base and he spits at me,” Krukow said. “Pete Rose is the first baseman for the Phillies, he goes ‘You can’t let him do that, go kick his a--!’ So I go ‘Yeah!’”
Krukow got one punch in before a swarm of Phillies surrounded him and got their own licks in.
All of this also is happening while Krukow’s wife is in the hospital after giving birth the day before.
No matter who won the fight, Krukow certainly won the war. Not only did he throw a two-hitter through seven innings, but Krukow hit his first MLB home run that day, the at-bat before his run-in with Saucier.
It’s hard to imagine Krukow has had a more memorable 48 hours in his professional life.