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  • John Bacchia

MAD MUNK MYER

Updated: May 30

As a youngster, he shaved his head prior to a big game and displayed a fiery personality, Russ Myer had earned a nickname that stuck, Mad Munk. In 1953 Myer was on the mound for the Brooklyn Dodgers pitching against his old club the Philadelphia Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium. Myer was having control issues and at one point threw 11 straight balls. Then with the bases loaded he walked Richie Ashburn to force in the go-ahead run.

Russ Meyer was 17 -8 in 1949

According to home plate umpire Augie Donatelli, Meyer fired off some rapid-fire insults and accused Augie of being a homer in favor of the Philadelphia Phillies. Donatelli, the former Pennsylvania coal miner, found the comment quite offensive. Not only because he was accusing the umpire of favoring the home team over the visiting Dodgers, but also because Donatelli grew up a Pittsburgh Pirate fan. With little hesitation, Donatelli, the World War II veteran fired back and ejected the pitcher from the game. Mad Munk was so enraged that he picked up the rosin bag and fired it high into the air. The bag returned to earth and plunked Munk right on the old noggin. With white powder puffing into the air, Meyer continued his tirade and refused to leave the field until manager Charlie Dressen escorted him away, upon descending into the dugout Russ decided to promptly grab his crotch and fire off a barrage of obscenities at Augie. As luck would have it a well-placed live camera captured all of the gyrations and the incident escalated to the point of notification of law enforcement agents. Meyer finally left the field and faced a three-game suspension, a fine, and barely avoided incarceration. The incident created such an uproar that it even changed the course of sports broadcasting. Live TV cameras were banned from major league dugouts for a decade. Russ Meyer's temper was even a topic on the back of his baseball card. The pitcher stuck around with Brooklyn and a few years later he earned a championship ring as a member of the 1955 World Champions.

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© Original artwork by Patrick Donatelli.