40 of the Worst Injuries in MLB History
Baseball isn't typically considered to be as dangerous of a sport as it counterparts given its lower contact nature.
That doesn't mean that the sport is exempt from it's share of serious injuries. A number of players have had their careers hampered and even ended by what could have been routine plays or what should have been a routine at-bat.
Recent advancements in safety have undoubtedly helped lower risks to an extent, but some of the same dangerous elements do and always will exist in America's pastime.
Ray Fosse Gets Plowed by Pete Rose
The 1970 MLB All-Star game isn't remembered for who won the game, but rather how it ended.
With Pete Rose barreling towards home plate to score the winning run, only catcher Ray Fosse stood in his way. He wouldn't let him stop him as he plowed through Fosse to score the run.
The collision separated Fosse's shoulder, an injury that would linger throughout his career, as he wouldn't hit more than 12 home runs in any of the nine seasons he played after 1970 (he had 16 before the break that season).
Bobby Valentine Gets Spikes Caught in Fence
On May 17, 1973, Bobby Valentine was making a play on a home run ball at Anaheim Stadium when he'd suffer an injury that would prove to forever alter his career.
As he jumped on the fence his spikes got caught in the chain links. The result—a multiple compound fracture that would cost him the rest of the season and slow him down for the remainder of his career.
Tony Saunders Blows out Arm on Pitch
On May 26, 1999, Tony Saunders took the mound with the Tampa Bay Rays to face the Texas Rangers.
Little did he know, it would be a day that would essentially end his career.
On a pitch to slugger Juan Gonzalez he broke a bone in his arm, effectively ending his season. While attempting to make a comeback the next season, he broke his arm again and saw himself retiring at 26.
Nick Johnson Breaks Leg
In another horrific injury, Nick Johnson was left with a fractured right femur after a violent collision.
He was obviously in visible pain and required surgery to repair damages to the bone and ligaments.
Brian Roberts Dislocates Elbow
In a nasty first base collision, Brian Roberts' 2005 season came to end in a collision with the New York Yankees Bubba Crosby.
Roberts' elbow bent completely behind his body as Crosby's stride went through the base. Despite the pain suffered, Roberts did manage to come back strong in 2006, batting .286 in 138 games.
Doc Powers Loses Life After Colliding with Wall
Athletics catcher Doc Powers initially sustained his injury while slamming into a wall as he chased after a foul ball.
Internal bleeding was just one of the internal issues that ensued, ultimately requiring Powers to undergo multiple surgeries that would end up coming up short as he would lose his life less than a month after the injury.
Blake Hawksworth Comebacker
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Blake Hawksworth probably didn’t feel this way at the time, but he really should consider himself lucky.
Taking a liner to the face is a bad situation for anyone but Hawksworth actually escaped without any structural damage, just a concussion and some stitches.
Dave Dravecky Breaks Arm on Pitch
In a story of tragedy and triumph, Dave Dravecky had his share of highs and lows in the span of a couple years.
In October of 1988, the left-handed pitcher learned that a cancerous tumor in his throwing arm would need to be removed. He showed dedication to return to the game however and would be back in the Giants system the following summer.
In his second start back with the Giants, Dravecky would break his humerus bone on a pitch to Tim Raines. He broke another bone during a celebration with the team after winning the NLCS, at which point it was discovered that his cancer had returned.
Tony Conigliaro Hit by Pitch
In August of 1967, Tony Coniglaro took a pitch from Jack Hamilton to the cheekbone and sustained a fractured cheekbone and dislocated jaw as well as eye damage.
He was taken off the field on a stretcher and his future was in question, but he would eventually make a strong comeback over a year later when he'd earn comeback player of the year honors.
Chris Snyder Fractures Testicle
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In what has to be one of the most painful injuries a player could sustain, Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder took a foul tip off the bat of Corey Hart to the testicles, fracturing one of them.
Mike Mussina Hit by Liner
Mike Mussina tormented hitters for the better part of 18 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees.
Of the many great starts he made, one low point occurred in 1998 when he took a line drive from Sandy Alomar Jr. to the face, sustaining a fractured nose.
Ray Fosse Trips over a Hole on Basepath
For Ray Fosse’s second entry in this slideshow we head to a 1978 spring training game when he tripped in a hole on the first baseline.
He sustained damage to multiple ligaments in the incident that would need surgery to be repaired.
Jason Kendall Breaks Leg Landing on First Base
Early in catcher Jason Kendall's long career, he would suffer a gruesome injury that could very well have ended many players careers.
Running out a bunt in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Kendall landed awkwardly on first base, dislocating his ankle. With a bone protruding from his body, teammates immediately knew the severity of the injury.
Tom Browning Dislocates Arm Mid-Pitch
After enjoying a mostly successful career that included a perfect game in 1988, Tom Browning battled injuries towards the end of his time in the league.
It got really bad for Browning in May of 1994 when he made a start against the San Diego Padres. While delivering a pitch, his arm completely broke, leaving fans stunned.
He was done for the season, and while he attempted one comeback the following season, it never materialized.
Matt Williams Breaks Foot After Fouling off Pitch
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During a 2000 spring training game, Matt Williams fouled a pitch hard off of his foot and hit the ground immediately.
As it would turn out he did end up breaking bones in his foot but would eventually return to the lineup after missing the first 43 games of the season.
Ray Chapman Loses Life After Spitball Incident
In what was one of the most noteworthy incidents leading up to the outlawing of the spitball, Ray Chapman was beaned by a pitch from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays.
He was taken off the field and would later die from injuries sustained from the blow to his head. The very next season the league outlawed the spitball.
Joel Zumaya Fractures Elbow
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It’s almost surprising this doesn’t happen more often given the violent nature that pitchers deliver the ball with.
In a game against the Minnesota Twins in 2010 Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya fractured his elbow as he threw to the plate, immediately hitting the ground.
Moises Alou Leg Injury
Early in his career, Moises Alou found himself in a relatively familiar situation, as he was caught between bases.
Every spring training teams practice and prepare for such situations, but nothing could have prepared Alou for what happened in 1993.
As he worked his way in between bases, Alou planted to change directions when he broke his fibula and dislocated his ankle.
The injury obviously set him back, and while he would go on to have a great career, his speed and agility took a hit.
Steve Yeager Takes Shards of Baseball Bat to the Throat
During a 1976 Dodgers game, Steve Yeager was standing in the on-deck circle as Bill Russell took to the plate.
Russell took a strong swing and his bat broke into multiple pieces, some of which ended up in Yaeger's neck.
He was rushed to a local hospital where surgeons would remove nine fragments from the bat.
Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran Collide in Outfield
During a game in 2005, New York Mets teammates Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron both charged at a fly ball.
They collided head first, and while both sustained injuries, Cameron got the worst of it as he fractured both cheekbones and broke his nose.
Mickey Mantle Catches Ankle on Sprinkler Head
During Game 2 of the 1951 World Series, Mickey Mantle was coming in on a routine fly ball hit by Willie Mays when he stumbled over a sprinkler head, injuring his knee.
Coming in such a tight spot, the injury couldn't have come at a worse time. But its longterm consequences leave some wondering if one of the best Yankees to play the game could have been even better.
Mantle obviously went on to continue a great career after the injury, but his speed and agility were forever changed after sustaining the injury that he deemed being similar to a car suddenly losing the air in its tires.
Bryce Florie Takes Ryan Thompson Liner to Face
In what was a horrific sight for Red Sox fans watching, pitcher Bryce Florie took a line drive from Ryan Thompson of the New York Yankees.
He broke multiple bones in his face and sustained relatively serious damage to his eye socket.
He did make a brief comeback for the Red Sox the next season, but was released after just a handful of games.
Robin Ventura Breaks Ankle in Spring Training
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Robin Ventura was a part of what was said to be one of the most gruesome leg injuries in baseball history.
During a spring training game in 1997, Ventura caught his ankle while sliding into home, dislocating and breaking his ankle.
It was initially expected that he'd be out for the duration of the season, but to the surprise of many, he returned in late July.
Geoff Jenkins Snaps Ankle
If there was ever a reason not to slid into a base feet first, this would probably be it.
During a game in July of 2002, Geoff Jenkins had a healthy lead off of third base when he retreated back to the bag.
His foot planted on the bag safely, but his body just kept going, dislocating his ankle and causing ligament damage.
Jermaine Dye Fouls Ball off Shin
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On October 14, 2001, as the Oakland A's squared off against the New York Yankees, Jermaine Dye stepped up to the plate to face off against Orlando Hernandez.
His season would end during that very at-bat because when he fouled a pitch off, the ball hit his shin and fractured his tibia.
Kirby Puckett Gets Drilled in the Eye
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Kirby Puckett spent his entire career as a Minnesota Twin and is still remembered in the Twin Cities as a Twins legend.
His career took a turn for the worse during the last week of the 1995 season. During an at-bat he took a Dennis Martinez fastball to the face, sustaining a broken jaw and temporary eye damage.
It was during the following spring training that Puckett would awake one morning in late March without vision in one eye. He wouldn't play another game with the Twins.
Stephen Drew Blows out Ankle
During a game against the Milwaukee Brewers this season, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew had his season halted prematurely after a collision with catcher Jonathan LuCroy.
After catching his ankle on LuCroy's shin guard, the bone gave out causing a severe break that needed surgery to repair.
Chad Kreuter Gets Owned by Johnny Damon
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Chad Kreuter played for seven different teams during his Major League career including multiple stints with both the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox.
It was with the White Sox that Kreuter would almost see his career come to an end, as he was drilled at home by Kansas City Royals outfielder Johnny Damon.
He suffered a fractured and dislocated shoulder and would be lost for the season, but it was internal bleeding caused from the collision that made the injury all the more serious.
Dickie Thon Gets Beaned
Houston Astros shortstop Dickie Thon was a highly touted prospect when he signed out of high school with the California Angels.
His career would come to a temporary halt early in 1984 when he was hit by a Mike Torrez fastball.
The pitch shattered his orbital bone and damaged his eye socket. He was out for the remainder of the year, but did make a return in 1985 only to find that the beaning had permanently altered his depth perception.
Buster Posey's Season Given an Early Ending
San Francisco Giants fans witnessed one of the players of their future last season as catcher Buster Posey led the team to a World Series championship.
They were expecting much of the same this season, as there were high expectations for continued success.
Those plans came to a screeching halt in May, as Buster Posey broke his leg during a home plate collision, ending his season.
Dave Clark Collides with Teammate
During the fifth inning of a Pittsburgh Pirates game in 1995, Dave Clark and Jacob Brumfield met in a violent collision after chasing a ball hit by Jeff Blauser.
Clark suffered a broken clavicle on the play and was hampered by lingering neck issues caused by the play as well.
J.T. Snow Takes Fastball from the Big Unit
It takes a very tough hitter to stand tough in the batters box against Randy Johnson. J.T. Snow can attest to that.
During a spring training game in 1997, J.T. Snow took a 97-mph fastball from the Big Unit to the head, fracturing his eye socket. He would return to the field eventually, although blurred vision would hamper parts of his season.
Logan Morrison Gets Lucky with HBP
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the picture of the aftermath, but Logan Morrison actually lucked out here.
So many players that take fastballs to the face end up with multiple breaks to structural bones and can sustain serious eye damage. But Morrison was back on the field the very next day.
Aaron Rowand Meets the Center Field Fence
During a game in early 2006, Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand got up close and personal with the center field fence after reaching to catch a fly ball.
He slammed face first into the fence, breaking his nose and sustaining multiple lacerations.
Tyler Colvin Gets Hit by Broken Bat
In another example of how dangerous broken bats can be, Tyler Colvin suffered a punctured lung when a shattered bat flew up the third baseline as he ran towards home plate.
He missed the remainder of the 2010 season due to injuries sustained during the incident.
Ankiel Collides with Wall
Not long after making the move to the outfield from the pitchers mound, Rick Ankiel made an all out attempt to make a play on a ball headed for the outfield fence when he lost track of his whereabouts, colliding with the wall.
Despite being carted off the field and missing more than two weeks of play, Ankiel was able to return to the lineup in much sooner time than anyone watching would have anticipated.
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During the 1997 season, Seattle Mariners pitcher Josias Manzanillo would encounter a life changing event.
A Manny Ramirez line drive would have its sights set on Manzanillo's groin area, causing the pitcher to have a testicle surgically removed.
Bo McLaughlin Takes Harold Baines Liner to the Face
Oakland Athletics pitcher Bo McLaughlin was pitching against the Chicago White Sox when a Harold Baines liner ended up breaking his cheekbone, eye socket, jaw and nose.
He would return briefly, but nothing ever materialized, and he spent the majority of the remainder of his career in the minor leagues.
Luis Salazar Loses Eye
In a freak accident with lasting consequences, Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar would fall victim to a foul ball off the bat of Brian McCann.
The sharp liner hit Salazar squarely in the eye and would ultimately cause him to have the eye removed.
Juan Encarnacion Takes Shot from on-Deck Circle
During a game in August of 2007, Juan Encarnacion was standing in the on-deck circle, waiting to take to the plate, when a foul ball off the bat of Aaron Miles hit him in the eye.
Team physician Dr. George Patella likened the injury to the disintegration of an egg shell and noted that it was one of the worst facial injuries he had ever seen.
Encarnacion fractured his eye socket and sustained nerve damage as a result and would miss the remainder of the 2007 season.