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The Chicagoist Flashback: The Night The Ligues Beat Up Tom Gamboa At U.S. Cellular Field

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 19, 2012 9:15PM

On September 19, 2002 one of the scariest moments in White Sox and Major League Baseball occurred when Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa was attacked by two fans, a father and son, during a game at U.S. Cellular Field.

William Ligue, Jr. and William Ligue III were quickly tackled by the Royals team, arrested and charged with aggravated battery. Then-White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand said he saw a pocket knife fall out of the pockets of one of the Ligues; the knife was later recovered at the scene.

Here's what Gamboa said immediately after the attack.

"I don't know what we can do to eliminate this," Gamboa said. "I'm grateful [the Royals) got there as quick as they could, especially when there was a knife involved. God forbid me or somebody else would get stabbed.

"That could have been really tragic."

The elder Ligue claimed there was an exchange between him, his son and Gamboa and that "he got what he deserved." It was later proven that the attack was unprovoked.

None of the principals involved were ever the same. Gamboa, who coached third base for the Cubs from 1998-99, was released by the Royals following the 2003 season and suffered permanent hearing loss from the attack. He later worked in the minor league organizations for the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before retiring in 2010.

As for the Ligues, both father and son have had their run-ins with the law since. William Ligue, Jr. was sentenced to probation for his part in the beating. In 2006 he was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for violating that probation after he a 2004 arrest for burglary: he was caught stealing a radio from a car.

William Ligue III was sent to prison on a drug charge in 2010 and released from prison in April 2011. He made headlines in 2009 when a photo of him and his father beating up Gamboa was displayed on his Myspace page with the caption "ME AND DAD FUCKIN UP THA COACH FA THA KANSAS CITY ROYALS."

We did find a video William Ligue III posted to Youtube in March of a trip with his daughter to Lincoln Park Zoo. We won't pass judgment here but will say that he looks very happy with his child and, if anything will scare a man to toe the line, it's the love of a child.