August 4, 1993, When Everyone Knew What Don’t Mess With Texas Meant
It's one of the greatest moments in sports history. It's probably the greatest moment in all of Texas sports history. It was the day that Chicago White Sox third baseman, Robin Ventura, found out that when you challenge the Ryan Express, you will lose.
I remember where I was when I heard what happened. It was actually the morning after on August 5. I was 16 years old and working at Timberline Baptist Camp in Lindale. Our camp leader called us to his cabin. He pulled out a video cassette and had us sit down. He pressed play and all of us camp counselors witnessed the moment.
The Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox were bitter rivals at this time. Both clubs had been trash talking each other for several seasons. It seems the Rangers had had enough. Ryan had already surrounded a single to Ventura in the first inning. The next at bat for Ventura, Ryan hit Ventura on the his right side.
Ventura walked to first base then charged towards Ryan. 46 year old Nolan threw down his glove and grabbed 26 year old Robin in a head lock and laid a few haymakers to Robin's head. The benches cleared and the brawl was on.
Both Ventura and White Sox manager, Gene Lamont were ejected but Ryan was not, which angered Lamont even more. Ryan and the Rangers went on to win the game, 5-2.
Since that time, Ryan and Ventura have made up and a nice moment was shared between the two in 2012 when Ryan was the CEO of the Rangers and Ventura was managing the White Sox. But we all remember August 4, 1993, as the day that the whole country found out what "Don't Mess With Texas" truly meant.