Best of '12: Baseball Nation's favorite GIFs, part VII

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

In this episode, we go back to the '70s and '80s for some retro GIFs.

Not every GIF made in 2012 came from last year. For example, I think this event is a few years old:

But I made the GIF in 2012, so it would have qualified for something. The only reason it doesn't qualify for this list is that it has nothing to do with baseball, but I'll figure out a way to sneak it in somehow, like in the introduction of another GIF category or something.

Here are some GIFs from the annals of time. In no particular order:

Darryl Kile's curveball

Rest in peace, Darryl. His death made absolutely no sense. Professional athletes in their 30s shouldn't just die in their sleep.

When it came to his on-field contributions, though, he left a legacy. And that legacy is one of the sweetest curveballs this side of Blyleven. I don't know if he had the best curve I've ever seen, but he's certainly in the discussion. It's a shame that he wasted a couple years in Coors, which actively hurt the depth and break of his curve. It was a truly spectacular pitch.

Jose Oquendo and Will Clark tussle

I remember where I was when I heard about this fight. I was playing a game of strikeout, and another kid ran down to tell us what just happened, complete with pantomimed recreations of Candy Maldonado's flying burrito. And in those days, you couldn't just pop open your phone and watch it. You couldn't even assume that ESPN would show it. Heck, we might not have had ESPN. You just had to wait for the 6-o'clock news.

And we waited. And then it was gone from our lives for decades -- a fish story that just kept getting bigger and bigger. I think by the time I finally saw it again, Ozzie Smith had pulled out a shuriken. But with the magic of secret video sites that MLB doesn't scour, we can watch it again.

Oquendo and Clark were both in uniform for the 2012 NLCS, by the way. There could have been a majestic reprise with just one stray glance.

Nolan Ryan's fastball

After Jered Weaver threw a no-hitter, I looked back at Nolan Ryan's four no-hitters with the Angels. That pitch up there was the last out of his first one. It's a 95-m.p.h. whiffleball. I'm sure you can find a better representation of Ryan's strikeout prowess, but that pitch will do as an example of just how hard Ryan must have been to hit.

Bert Campaneris is insane

This guy was sitting across from me at spring training this year. He seemed nice. Little did I know that he could have jumped across the table and ripped out my larynx with his bare hands. Because apparently he's capable of something like that.

Campy was suspended for the rest of the ALCS (and seven games the following year), but he played in the World Series. How long would the suspension be if that happened today? This was 50 games:

I'd say 50 games, minimum. Does that mean we're a more civilized society these days? Yes. Yes, it does. Back then, players threw bats at each other, for example.

Lou Piniella is a tantruming baby

You knew that. But here it is without the trappings of him as a responsible elder statesman. This is just an excellent, superlative tantrum. It's also a reminder that the Yankees and Royals used to have one heck of a rivalry that would be awesome to start up again. Any day now, Royals.

Good gravy

Joe Morgan might have been on the diminutive side for a ballplayer, but that's still not something you want to see coming at you. This is how baseball used to be played. Then they made a rule against it, and then it stopped. The discussion on takeout slides started anew after Matt Holliday destroyed Marco Scutaro in the NLCS. Someone found this clip and reminded the world that it used to be much, much worse.

One day, there will be people surprised that runners used to demolish catchers at home plate, too. That makes about as much sense in a baseball context as Joe Morgan's corner blitz did.

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