On August 20, 1978, Dodgers teammates Don Sutton and Steve Garvey fought in the Shea Stadium visitors’ clubhouse.
Sutton had been quoted as saying, “All you hear about on our team is Steve Garvey, the All-American boy. But Reggie Smith is our real MVP. He is not a facade. He does not have the Madison Avenue image”.
Garvey confronted Sutton, who eventually leaped at him and flung him against a row of lockers. The two went down hard clawing at one another, throwing wild punches. Immediately, a number of the other Dodgers, including Smith, Rick Monday, Davey Lopes and Bill Russell, pulled the two men apart.
General Manager Al Campanis, who saw the entire episode unfold, led Garvey into the trainer’s room. Sutton walked off to the other end of the clubhouse. Garvey wound up with cuts on his face and a bloodshot eye, while Sutton had a bruised cheek.
Fortunately neither was seriously hurt, but both men seemed to get under the skin of their teammates. During the brawl someone yelled, “Stop the fight, they’ll kill each other!” Catcher Joe Ferguson hollered back, “Good!”.
The defending National League champs brushed off the squabble long enough to beat the Mets that night, 5-4. Trailing 4-2 in the 9th, LA rallied for three runs against starter Craig Swan and eventual losing pitcher Skip Lockwood. Garvey, who had singled in the inning and had an RBI hit in the 6th, scored the tying run on Lee Lacy’s sacrifice fly. Joe Ferguson then doubled in Ron Cey for the go-ahead tally, and Terry Forster set down New York for the save.
Los Angeles went on to capture their second straight National League pennant that Fall.