The Most Bizarre and Ridiculous Injuries in MLB History

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2020

The Most Bizarre and Ridiculous Injuries in MLB History

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    Kendrys Morales
    Kendrys MoralesDanny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Injuries are an unavoidable part of sports. The stress on the human body is remarkable, and sometimes it's just too much.

    However, not every injury is a direct result of the game, and Major League Baseball has a strange collection of these issues.

    Baseball also has an odd history of "You're not going to believe this, but punching an immovable object was a bad idea" moments. And none of those injuries even made the cut! Yes, you're safe beyond a fleeting mention, Kevin Brown and Hunter Strickland.

    This bizarre journey down memory lane includes Guitar Hero, a phone book, venison and arachnophobia.

    Let's get weird.

More of the Bizarre and Ridiculous

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    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Yoenis Cespedes vs. The Boar

    In May 2019, the New York Mets outfielder fractured his right ankle following an interaction with a wild boar. Cespedes missed the season and restructured his contract because of it.


    Trevor Bauer Loses to A Drone

    The hyper-competitive pitcher loves to fly racing drones. Unfortunately for Bauer, in 2016, one malfunctioned on startup and sliced his finger, resulting in 10 stitches. Bauer ended up leaving Game 3 of the 2016 ALDS after two outs because his finger wouldn't stop bleeding.


    Terrible Cases of the Sneezes

    One is unanticipated. Two is bizarre. But this? What an absurd trend. More than a handful of players have missed time after a sneeze gone wrong. The most notable is Sammy Sosa in 2004, while more recent cases are Ricky Romero in 2009 and Kevin Pillar in 2015.

George Brett, Kansas City Royals

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    Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

    The Injury: Broken Toe

    George Brett had a bunch of nagging injuries in his career, but baseball only indirectly caused this one.

    In 1983, the Kansas City Royals star broke his toe. While at home doing laundry, he wanted to watch Chicago Cubs first baseman Bill Bucknerone of his good friendsat the plate. Brett's hasty return to the television was a painful one.

    "Not wanting to miss Buckner's turn at bat, Brett hurried toward the TV room to watch, slammed his left foot against the door jamb and fractured the little toe," per the New York Times.

    Brett landed on the disabled list and missed three weeks of action.

Glenallen Hill, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The Injury: Cuts on Hands and Feet

    In 1990, Glenallen Hill experienced a nightmare to which many people can relate. The problem is what happened afterward.

    "I have a phobia about spiders," he said, per the New York Times. "In the dream, I was trying to get away from spiders."

    Then a second-year player for the Toronto Blue Jays, Hill began sleepwalking to elude fake spiders but ended up shattering a real glass table. The shards cut Hill's hands and feet, and those injuries sidelined him for approximately three weeks.

    Hill smacked 186 homers in a 13-year MLB career.

Steve Sparks, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The Injury: Dislocated Shoulder

    Steve Sparks, if you're reading this, I'm sorry.

    When a strange injury happens, he knows what to expect. "The lists are going to come out with the weirdest sports injuries of all time," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2013. "I'm always high up on the list."

    In 1994, Sparks was a 28-year-old knuckleballer looking to earn a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers roster. During spring training, he attempted to rip a telephone book in half. Sparks dislocated his left shoulder and wouldn't make his MLB debut until 1995.

    On the bright side, he'd have a nine-year career with 270 appearances on five teams.

Clint Barmes, Colorado Rockies

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Injury: Broken Collarbone

    Although he made scattered appearances in 2003 and 2004, Clint Barmes truly broke into the majors in 2005. He became the everyday starter for the Colorado Rockies, hitting .329 with eight homers in the first 54 games of the season.

    But then, the venison incident ruined his campaign.

    While carrying a package of deer meat from teammate Todd Helton, the shortstop fell and broke his collarbone. The injury might have altered his career path too; Barmes played more than 1,000 games from 2006 to 2015 but mustered only a .239 average.

    "It's one of those things where everybody is like, 'What would have happened if I didn't get hurt?'" Barmes said in 2011. "I've thought about that. I'm not going to lie."

Milton Bradley, San Diego Padres

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    The Injury: Torn Right ACL

    During a September 2007 argument with an umpire, Milton Bradley figured he'd merely leave with an ejection. But as San Diego Padres manager Bud Black tried to defend his outfielder, an accident ruined Bradley's season.

    In an effort to restrain Bradley, Black spun him aroundand the outfielder knew there was a problem right away.

    Bradley had torn the ACL in his right knee, and the injury ended his season. San Diego would ultimately lose to the Rockies in a one-game playoff to determine the NL wild-card team.

    Fortunately, he recovered and put together an All-Star year in 2008. Bradley signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent, appeared in 126 games and posted career-best marks in batting average (.321) on-base percentage (.436), homers (22) and RBI (77).

Kendrys Morales, Los Angeles Angels

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Injury: Broken Left Ankle

    What a cruel way for a celebration to end.

    In May 2010, Kendrys Morales smashed a walk-off grand slam to defeat the Seattle Mariners. As usual, teammates flocked to the batter's box and waited for their hero.

    Morales tossed his helmet and jumped into the crowd of Los Angeles Angels players, who quickly recognized a problem. As he landed on home plate, Morales slipped and broke his left ankle. He wouldn't play for the remainder of 2010, and complications in rehab sidelined the rising star in 2011 as well.

    The injury was a crushing setback for Morales, who'd finished fifth in AL MVP voting the previous year. He returned in 2012 and launched 20-plus homers in six of the next seven seasons.

Joel Zumaya, Detroit Tigers

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    Duane Burleson/Associated Press

    The Injury: Right Arm Inflammation

    Joel Zumaya cracked the big league roster in 2006 and became a weapon out of the bullpen. He struck out 97 batters in 83.1 regular-season innings, helping the Detroit Tigers advance past the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.

    However, he dealt with arm inflammation during the American League Championship Series. Not because of pitching, though. Zumaya's injuries were the result of playing too much Guitar Hero.

    Well, maybe?

    "Everybody still asks me about that," he said in 2016. "I love music, and I got hooked on it really fast. But I've never spoken about this to any media, and I'm gonna keep it that way. I know what the truth is. My final answer was, I got hurt with the 'Guitar Hero.' But that was some bogus stuff."

    We're choosing to believe the legend. It's more fun that way.

Chris Coghlan, Florida Marlins

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    The Injury: Torn Left Meniscus

    Chris Coghlan made his MLB debut in 2009 and earned National League Rookie of the Year honors. Though he played nine seasons, it was mostly downhill from there.

    The next year in July, Coghlan tore his left meniscus after delivering a pie to the face of Wes Helms. Coghlan wouldn't appear in another game that season, and the outfielder trudged to a .224 average over the next three years for the Marlins.

    Coghlan finished his career with the Cubs, A's and Blue Jays before retiring in 2017.

Brian Anderson, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    ROY DABNER/Getty Images

    The Injury: Face Burn

    Please remember, folks, never to check an iron's temperature with your face. Brian Anderson, who played from 1993 to 2005, can tell you why.

    "So this [iron], I plugged in while watching the [Cleveland] Indians play on Sunday Night Baseball, he said in 2001. "I picked up the iron, held it to my face to feel the heat and was trying to look around the corner to watch the game. I just put my cheek right on it. It didn't take much, and it fried the side of my face. What are you going to do?"

    Well, not that. But, hey, it happened.

    Anderson won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. At least the story has a happy ending.

Brian Duensing, Baltimore Orioles

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    The Injury: Left Elbow Inflammation

    Life in the bullpen can be unexciting, and Brian Duensing just wanted to get comfortable. The poor guy needed surgery because of it.

    After adjusting a chair in the 'pen during a June 2016 game, the Baltimore Orioles reliever felt soreness in his arm. Doctors found it inflamed. Duensing had a procedure to remove cartilage chips from his elbow.

    The southpaw missed about 80 days, returning in September and striking out the one batter he faced during the 2016 playoffs.


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