On August 4, 1932 — New York Yankees catcher Bill Dickey returns to the lineup after serving a one-month suspension and paying a $1000 fine for breaking the jaw of Washington’s Carl Reynolds. Dickey missed 31 total games. He returned ready to go collecting 4 hits, a grand slam and three singles, as New York beats Chicago, 15 – 3.
Apparently there had been bad-blood brewing between the two teams for some time. All these years later, who can say why. Carl Reynolds was perched on third, hoping for a chance to score. Following a failed suicide bunt and a botched play at third, he raced home and barreled into catcher Bill Dickey. A violent collision ensued, with Dickey apparently getting the worst of it. (Need I say this was a good two generations before the Buster Posey rule? But we’ll save that topic for another day…) After Reynolds got up and started walking away, he suddenly reversed course and returned to the scene to be sure he touched the plate.
Meanwhile, Dickey, dazed from the collision, at first thought Reynolds had deliberately tried to hurt him with the hard slide. He now suspected Reynolds was returning to continue the altercation…and maybe to even get another piece of Dickey. At least that’s what went though his mind. So Dickey reacted reflectively and struck first, sucker-punching Reynolds right in the kisser.
The aftermath did not go Dickey’s way. American League president Will Harridge levied a $1,000 fine and a 30 day suspension. Yankees’ general manager Ed Barrow appealed the harsh punishment but to no avail. Washington owner Clark Griffith complained that Dickey should be suspended for at least as long as Reynolds was unable to play. As it turned out, Dickey missed 31 games. He returned to the Yankee lineup on August 4, $1,000 poorer.
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