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Talk about menaces…

So late last night curiosity got the better of this cat, prodding me into digging around for more on the vintage besoboru retaliation vid embedded here the other day, and Lord-a-MIGHTY, but this Lenny Randle fella was some piece of work. First off, a look at what the rulebook has to say.

Retro Interference – Batter-Runner Randle Tackles Pitcher
In May 1974, Rangers second baseman Lenny Randle bunted down the first-base line and then veered into fair territory to tackle Indians pitcher Bob Johnson, who had thrown behind Randle one pitch earlier. HP Umpire Dave Phillips ruled the batter-runner out despite Johnson never having actually tagged him, sparking a benches-clearing brawl leading to our latest Ask the UEFL question: What’s the right call here?

Despite articles discussing the base path or runner’s lane, the answer is fairly simple: Randle was declared out for interfering with a fielder entitled to field a batted ball. Naturally, HP Umpire Phillips or 1B Umpire Bill Deegan could have similarly ejected Randle for unsportsmanlike conduct as a result of the flagrant and intentional collision.

Two rules cover this. Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(3) states that a runner (including the batter-runner) is out when said runner “intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball,” while OBR 6.01(a)(10) confirms that it is interference when a runner “fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball.”

SIDEBAR: If two fielders attempt to field the same batted ball, only one of them is entitled to protection from interference (this is not the case here as only the pitcher is fielding the batted ball).

There exist other rules pertaining to interference with a fielder who has already caught a ball and for the purpose of these rules, the pitcher is considered to be in the act of fielding at the moment of interference, even though the ball is already in his possession.

For the record, this is not runner’s lane interference (OBR 5.09(a)(11)), which is a call of interference with the fielder taking the throw at first base; thus, RLI requires a throw to be made. No throw = no possibility of runner’s lane interference. Similarly, this is not an out-of-the-base-path call, since out of the base path is defined as running more than three feet away from the direct line between the runner and the base which the runner is attempting to achieve in order to avoid being tagged. Because Randle ran directly to the pitcher (the only player who could have tagged him), who had yet to make a tag attempt, he was not out of his base path.

Okay, now that we got the legal niceties of the actual at-bat all sorted out, what about Randle himself? Might he have been temperamentally inclined to overreacting over what was really a pretty ordinary, run of the mill brush-back pitch? Hmmm, could be, could be.

The pitcher fields it clean, tries to make the tag and that is exactly what Randle wanted. As the pitcher comes up with the ball, Randle lays a hit on him that John Randle would be proud of. I mean he laid him out. I love how Randle just takes off for first acting like he didn’t do anything wrong, luckily the first baseball decided to show off his form tackling as well. First baseman wraps him up and drives him into the ground. It’s an all out brawl from there wit some good punches landed.

Most of the times baseball fights are just pushing and shoving and yelling, not here. Everyone was trying to get a piece of someone else, quite an impressive fight if you ask me.

Fun Fact- I googled this guy Lenny Randle, turns out he also punched one of his managers in the face three times. Sensing a theme here….

A-yup. And then there’s this:

During spring training in 1977, first round draft choice Bump Wills earned the starting second base job over Randle. On March 28, the Rangers were in Orlando for an exhibition game with the Minnesota Twins. During batting practice an hour before the first pitch, Randle approached Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi. Randle claimed that Lucchesi called him a “punk”, which Lucchesi denies. Randle punched Lucchesi in the face three times before the altercation was stopped by bystanders.

Lucchesi was hospitalized for a week, needing plastic surgery to repair his fractured cheekbone which Randle had broken in three places.[6] He also received bruises to his kidney and back. The Rangers suspended Randle for 30 days without pay and fined him $10,000. On April 26, before the suspension was complete, Texas traded him to the New York Mets for cash and a player to be named later; Texas later received Rick Auerbach.

Randle was charged with assault, and pleaded no contest to battery charges in a Florida court, receiving a $1,050 fine. The Rangers fired Lucchesi on June 21. Lucchesi sued Randle for $200,000. They settled for $20,000.

Uhh, yeah, from all appearances this guy was hot as a two-dollar pistol, safe to say. This next Randle item I thought was pretty funny.

With the Kansas City Royals visiting the Kingdome on May 27, 1981, Royals center fielder Amos Otis hit a slow roller down the third base line in the sixth inning. Randle got on his hands and knees and blew the ball over the foul line; the umpires disallowed his action, and ruled it fair. Afterwards, Randle said that there was a “no-blow rule” implemented. He jokingly said, “They won the game, we won the protest.”

Heh. Well, give the guy points for creativity, anyhow.

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