The sport of kick boxing was introduced to major league baseball Tuesday at Oakland.
Manager Pat Corrales of the Cleveland Indians, with his team well on its way to a 9-0 victory, did the kicking in an encounter with A's relief pitcher Dave Stewart. Stewart did the boxing, landing a right cross to the jaw that decked Corrales.
The punch sparked a bench-clearing brawl in which, unlike most baseball battles, several punches were thrown. The A's 6-foot 6-inch slugger Dave Kingman was in the middle of the action, throwing fierce punches. A blind-side powerhouse right thrown by Cleveland's Joe Carter put Kingman down, but the battle lasted about five minutes.
Corrales, Stewart and A's Manager Jeff Newman were ejected, and Carney Lansford of the A's had to leave because he twisted his ankle in the melee.
The Indians were breezing behind John Butcher (1-5) when Tony Bernazard opened the seventh with the first of his two home runs to give the Indians an 8-0 lead. Stewart, an ex-Dodger, threw the first pitch high and tight to Julio Franco.
Home plate umpire Darryl Cousins went to the mound to give a warning to Stewart. Corrales thought Stewart should have been ejected and pointed out that a recent directive by American League President Bobby Brown said that if an umpire thought a pitcher was throwing at a batter he should be immediately ejected.
While talking to Cousins, Corrales exchanged shouts with Stewart. Corrales started toward the mound and kicked Stewart. Stewart, who holds a brown belt in karate, threw a right cross, Corrales went down and the benches emptied.
"It wasn't a very smart move," Corrales told the Associated Press, "but I had to do it to protect my players. He (Stewart) said, 'Come out here,' so I did."
Corrales probably wouldn't feel he had to protect his players if he managed in the National League. But in the American League, where pitchers do not bat, the main way to retaliate seems to be to charge the mound.
Stewart, 29, said he had no regrets about decking the 45-year-old Corrales. "He cussed me," Stewart said. "He's a sissy and a coward.
"The Indians were trying to humiliate us by running slowly around the bases on their home runs and stealing a base after building a big lead."
Mel Hall led the Indian assault on Rick Langford (1-9) and Stewart, hitting two two-run home runs.
It was the second complete game this season for Butcher, recently obtained in a trade with Minnesota. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out three.