MLB Power Rankings: The 13 Strangest Injuries in MLB History
Unlike any other major sport, baseball is a game that relies heavily on a player's ability to remain healthy throughout long periods of time.
While other sports like basketball, hockey and football are comprised of schedules that offer much more time for recuperation, the grueling 162-game schedule of Major League Baseball requires players take the field nearly every day during the season's six-month time frame.
Though nagging injuries, like sore muscles and painful joints, are a constant in professional sports, every so often there are injuries players suffer that are difficult to explain.
Here are 13 of the strangest—and unluckiest—injuries suffered in the history of Major League Baseball.
Moises Alou Runs Over His Son En Route to DL
In 1999, newly acquired Houston Astros left-fielder Moises Alou suffered a torn ACL thanks to an accident suffered on a treadmill in the offseason.
During Alou's rehabilitation later in 1999, Alou somehow managed to run over his son while riding a bicycle. While Alou's son was unharmed by the freak accident, Alou re-aggrevated his knee and went on to miss the entire 1999 season.
Dennis Martinez Injures Himself Loading Luggage
As Crash Davis stated in the 1988 film Bull Durham, "You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It was great."
By 1992, things must have changed in "the show," as Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez suffered a strained muscle in his side while tossing his suitcase onto an equipment truck.
Richard Griffin, then the Expos' publicity director, announced that Martinez would miss a start "with Samsonitis."
Unfortunately for Martinez, baggage-handlers—along with fan attendance and a general following of baseball in Montreal—were not available to the Montreal Expos, and the Expos were eventually relocated to Washington D.C. in 2005.
Harkey Carted Off After Cartwheel
Over the course of baseball's long 162-game schedule, players often engage in some strange acts to help pass the time. Because they only see action every five days or so, starting pitchers are among the most colorful personalities on the field on their days off, often fielding ground-balls, making behind-the-back catches in the outfield and participating in mini-games like pepper.
On Sept. 6th, 1992, Cubs pitcher Mike Harkey took his day-off fun to a different level.
In an attempt to impress his teammates before the Cubs took on the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field, the 6' 5", 220-pounder tried to perform a cartwheel in the outfield.
Harkey's attempt to wow his teammates not only fell short, but in the process, Harkey severely damaged his knee. The injury not only ended his 1992 season, but Harkey also missed most of the following spring training and did not return to action until mid-April.
Roger Craig Injures Hand on Bra Strap
In the early 1990s, Giants manager Roger Craig suffered a severe cut to his hand via a woman's bra strap.
Though very little is known about the injury, Denver Post columnist Jim Armstrong has stated that Craig confirmed the injury without even so much as attempting to concoct a story to cover it up.
Quite an impressive injury for an old-timer.
Joel Zumaya Sent to DL by "Guitar Hero"
Detroit Tigers' relief pitcher Joel Zumaya may be one of the hardest-throwing pitchers in baseball history. Often clocked in excess of 100 mph, Zumaya burst on the scene in 2006, when he helped lead the Detroit Tigers to their first World Series appearance in 22 years.
In those same 2006 playoffs, however, Zumaya was sidelined for the ALCS portion with a sore wrist.
In December of 2006, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski in a radio interview that Zumaya's injury was the result of playing the Playstation 2 game, Guitar Hero.
When the sequel to Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, was released, the credits for the Xbox 360 version included the following reference to the Tigers' flamethrower:
"No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming."
Vince Coleman Misses Playoffs Thanks to Runaway Tarpaulin
In the 1985 National League Championship Series, the St. Louis Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Dodgers for the right to represent the National League in the World Series.
After falling behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Cardinals looked to even the series in St. Louis. Prior to the fourth game, however, Cardinals rookie sensation Vince Coleman was run-over by Busch Stadium's automatic tarpaulin, injuring his leg.
Though Coleman would miss the remainder of the 1985 post-season, the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers in six games before falling to their in-state rival, the Kansas City Royals in the World Series.
Coleman went on to be awarded the 1985 National League Rookie of The Year following the season.
Kyle Farnsworth Loses Bout with Electric Fan
Kyle Farnsworth earned a reputation as one of the few pitchers in baseball who would make a good ally in a street fight. Twice in Farnsworth's career, the pitcher has been involved in bench-clearing brawls—in 2003 as a member of the Chicago Cubs and later in 2006 with the Detroit Tigers.
In 2004, however, the hot-tempered Farnsworth met his match in the clubhouse tunnel of Wrigley Field.
After surrendering six runs to the Houston Astros, Farnsworth was removed from the game and angrily made his way to the Cubs' clubhouse. Within the tunnel leading from the dugout, Farnsworth thought best to take his frustrations out on an electric fan.
With a swift kick to the fan, Farnsworth not only added to the misery of his already-bad day, but landed on the disabled list with a severely sprained knee.
Sneezing Sosa Suffers Strain
When it comes to bizarre injuries, no team has seemingly had more cases than the Chicago Cubs. Baseball's longest-suffering franchise has had more freak injuries over the course of the past two decades than playoff appearances.
One of the more bizarre injuries came by way of a simple sneeze.
In May of 2004, one-time Chicago Cubs superstar Sammy Sosa had to placed on the disabled list thanks to suffering a sprained ligament in his lower back resulting from a sneeze. The inflammation in Sosa's back was so severe, the Cubs slugger had to receive an epidural.
Dempster Gets Toe-Tangled
Celebration has been one of the leading causes of strange injuries in Major League Baseball. While many players have suffered bruises and cuts in game-winning celebrations, few players have landed on the disabled list as a result of their team's elation.
Ryan Dempster is one of those few.
On July 5th, 2009, Dempster's Chicago Cubs easily defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 8-2. As Cubs closer Carlos Marmol struck out Brewers pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto to end the game, Cubs players ran on the field to congratulate one another on their victory.
As most players chose the dugout steps as their route to the playing field, Ryan Dempster chose to avoid the rush and simply hop the small fence in front of the Cubs dugout. Somehow, Dempster's foot got stuck in the chain-link fence, and as Dempster made his way over, his toe managed to break.
As a result, Dempster headed to the disabled list with a broken toe and a bruised ego.
(Check out the kid on the right, pointing and laughing at Dempster in the picture)
Tyler Colvin Impaled by Bat
For several years, there has been an ongoing debate over the use of maple bats in Major League Baseball. While ash bats were the longtime staple in professional baseball, maple bats were officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball in 1997. The first player to use such a bat was Toronto Blue Jays outfielder and DH, Joe Carter.
The controversy surrounding maple bats deals with the manner in which maple bats break. While traditional ash mats tend to crack, maple bats shatter into many pieces, often sending projectiles all over the field and on occasion into the stands.
In September of 2010, Chicago Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin became the first viable piece of evidence against maple bats, when he was impaled in the chest by a torpedo-like piece of teammate Wellington Castillo's bat.
Colvin, occupying third base in the second inning of the Cubs-Marlins game, was watching the flight of the ball on Castillo's double when the bat shard struck him in the chest.
Later, Colvin was hospitalized and treated with a tube in his chest to prevent a potential collapsed lung.
Morales Wins Game Then Breaks Leg
There are few moments that are greater to a Major League Baseball player than hitter a walk-off home run. The nerves, the drama and rush of adrenaline upon connecting with a pitch and sending it out of the park are inexplicable.
If you're the Los Angeles Angels' Kendry Morales, the experience may not be quite as thrilling.
On May 29th, of 2010, Morales not only accomplished the feat, but took it to another level by hitting a walk-off grand slam to lead his Angels to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Upon reaching home plate, Morales leapt into a crowd of his teammates, and headed straight to the ground with a broken leg.
It was perhaps the most bittersweet moment in baseball history, as the jubilant Los Angeles Angels had literally gone from celebrating their dramatic victory to mourning the loss of their first baseman to the disabled list—all in about thirty seconds.
Glenallen Hill Battles Imaginary Spider, Loses
Everybody has a weakness. No matter the size of the man, there is always a way to bring him down.
Former Blue Jays' slugger Glenallen Hill is no exception to this rule. Hill, one of the strongest and most muscular players in MLB history, was known for hitting long home runs and not much else.
Dubbed as "Spriderman" by his fellow teammates, Hill suffered what is possibly the strangest injury in the history of Major League Baseball.
In 1990, Hill was absent from his team's July 7th, 1990 game against the Seattle Mariners. When asked why he missed the game, Hill responded, "I have a phobia about spiders. In a nightmare, I was trying to get away from spiders.''
Hill said he bounced off a wall and climbed the 10 stairs in his apartment. ''When I woke up I was on a couch and my wife, Mika, was screaming, 'Honey, wake up!' '' he said.
As the story goes, Hill fell out of bed onto a glass table—which his fall shattered—and suffered some serious cuts before falling down the stairs in his apartment.
There was no mention as to what happened to the imaginary spiders.
Blethen Bites Himself
Clarence Blethen was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and Brooklyn Robins during baseball's "Dead Ball Era" of the 1920's, where he saw action in a total of seven Major League games in his short career.
During this era of Major League Baseball, players often relied on some strange tactics to out-wit and intimidate their opponent, and Blethen was no exception.
Blethen was known to take out his false teeth while pitching in effort to intimidate the batters he faced, and stash the dentures in his hip pocket.
In 1923, Blethen's strategic tactic literally bit him in the butt.
After the end of an inning in which Blethen pitched, the Red Sox hurler left the field and forgot to insert his false teeth. The next half-inning, Blethen doubled and had to be removed from the game when he slid into second base and found his rear-end had been punctured by his own false teeth.