Why It’s Been 40 Years Since Baseball Fans Rushed the Field at the World Series

Philadelphia used mounted police and K-9 cops to stop the practice at the 1980 World Series

Why It's Been 40 Years Since Baseball Fans Rushed the Field at the World Series
Fans celebrate the Yankees victory over the Royals in the ALCS in 1976 at Yankee Stadium.
Diamond Images/Getty Images

After the Dodgers won the World Series last night, the only issue with the postgame celebration was the presence of Justin Turner, who was deemed positive for COVID-19 in the middle of the sixth inning, being in the midst of the party.

Had it been 41 years ago, another potential problem would have been fans who had rushed the field being involved in the postgame melee, but that practice was ended four decades ago during the 1980 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals, according to Slate.

With the Phillies leading the series 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Philadelphia, the brass at City Hall decided they would put a stop to any fans rushing the field at Veterans Stadium should the home team prevail using police.

As it became obvious the Phillies were going to win the game in the seventh inning and the series barring a miracle four-run comeback by the Royals, mounted police and cops with K-9s were brought to the edge of the playing field to discourage fans from rushing the diamond.

Hilariously, the players were informed that the ball would be in play if it struck any of the policemen on the playing field by umpire Bill Kunkel.

“I thought I was in Venezuela when I saw the dogs,” Royals second baseman Frank White told a reporter after the game. “That’s the only place I’ve ever seen that. Who wants to run into a horse? It just doesn’t seem like a baseball game.”

Fans booed, but the heavy-handed approach worked. “After the final out, save for a few strays, the fans in attendance concluded that it wasn’t worth confronting the phalanx of German shepherds ringing the field,” writes Slate’s Mitchell Nathanson. “They remained in the stands — and baseball hasn’t been the same since.”

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