Hey baseball fans!
I'm here with another blog post! Like I promised in previous posts, today I will be blogging about some of the most life-threatening (and death-causing) injuries to ballplayers of all time:
Injuries are typical in baseball. Some are not so serious, like a broken finger, and some are so serious that they require Tommy John surgery (a procedure usually performed on pitchers that keeps them out for a full season). However, some injuries have been so severe, that they almost (or do) kill someone. Let me tell you about some.
In 1976, with the LA Dodgers, catcher Steve Yeager was in the on deck circle when teammate Bill Russell (not the Celtics star) shattered his bat. A huge chunk of the bat hit Yeager in the neck, piercing his esophagus. He had nine pieces of wood taken out of his neck in a 98-minute surgery. After the incident, Dodger trainer Bill Buhler invented a throat protector that hangs from a catcher's mask, because he thought that such an injury could happen to a catcher while catching. It has since been used by all baseball-playing catchers.
Vince Coleman stole 110 bases in 1985, his rookie season for the Cardinals. That was a rookie record for steals in a season. In Game Four of the 1985 NLCS against LA, it was raining at Busch Stadium. So naturally, the automatic tarp was put out on the infield. The Cardinals were coming off the field casually, including Coleman. However, while giving his glove to his coach, he was swallowed up by the "killer tarp", as it came to be called. He ended up having to miss the rest of the playoffs due to injury, as his team would lose the second All-Missourian World Series to the Royals.
Tony Conigliaro was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle when he was playing for the Red Sox in 1967. He hit 100 home runs by the age of 22 (the second youngest player ever behind Mel Ott). But, he was hit in the cheekbone by the Angels' Jack Hamilton's pitch that sent him on a stretcher and out of the Bigs for two seasons. He was not wearing the ear flap on his helmet that all hitters must use today. The injury caused him a broken cheekbone and damage to his left retina (see pic). He made a remarkable return in '69 and hit 20 homers to be awarded Comeback Payer of the Year. A few years later though, he had to retire because his eyesight was horrible. He hit 162 homers in his career, which is ok, but not so good for someone who was going to be the next Mickey Mantle.
In 1920, Ray Chapman was at bat for the Cleveland Naps (named for Cleveland great Nap Lajoie) against Yankee pitcher Carl Mays at the Polo Grounds. He was hit by a pitch in the head. At that time, players didn't wear helmets. Chapman died 12 hours later. This is the only injury to actually kill someone in MLB history.
So, as you can see, while baseball is fun, it is also dangerous. You should be careful in anything that you do, especially sports. But, if you want to be a baseball player, be sure to wear all the proper protection and stay alert!! Injuries are just typical.
Thanks for reading my blog. Hope you all enjoyed it. A very special thank you to my Freakies-loving, flexible-faced fan and friend Andy Abrams for the idea of this post! Anyway, in an upcoming blog, I will be blogging about some more recent pitchers you've never heard of. Get ready for the Greatest Pitchers You've Never Heard Of Part II ! So check back soon for that and other cool posts. Thanks again for reading!
Finally, Baseball with Matt is now on Twitter. So if you want to follow my blog and do some tweeting, just go to @BaseballwMatt.