MLB Power Rankings: 25 Most Embarrassing Injuries in MLB History

Jeffrey BeckmannCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2011

MLB Power Rankings: 25 Most Embarrassing Injuries in MLB History

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    The MLB season is a long one—by far the most grueling out of the four major sports in the United States. Over a 162-game season, players are put in numerous situations where injuries may occur.

    On the flip side, there are a lot of not-so-bright baseball players who are more dangerous to themselves off the field than any situation they could ever be in on it.

    Maybe it comes with the careless nature that surrounded many of yesteryear's players and encompasses almost all of today's superstars, or maybe some baseball players are really that stupid.

    That's for you to determine. Either way, their pain is our gain!

    Here are the 25 most embarrassing injuries in MLB history.

Honorable Mention: Boggs, Craig and Kent

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    There have been so many odd and embarrassing injuries in MLB's storied history that I couldn't possibly narrow it down to only 25. Here were the "last three out," so to speak.

    1) Jeff Kent breaks his hand washing his car? It would have made the list if we all didn't know it was actually from a motorcycle accident.

    2) Wade Boggs strains his back putting on cowboy boots? You can't knock him until you actually put on some boots!

    3) Former manager Roger Craig cuts his hand on a bra strap? Why would he be embarrassed? The old-timer is getting it done! 

25. Sammy Sosa and Mat Latos: The Sneeze

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    If it was only one player, we could call it a big fat fib. But since it was two players, "The Sneeze" must be legit.

    Sammy Sosa landed on the DL with a back injury after a "violent" sneeze, as did San Diego Padres rookie pitcher Mat Latos last season.

    They shouldn't feel bad, however, as Goose Gossage, Juan Gonzalez and Russ Springer are among other players who have sustained injuries while sneezing.

    While funny, it turns out that it is actually quite common.

24. Carlos Zambrano: Carpal Tunnel

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    Unless he was researching anger management techniques (which he obviously wasn't), I don't know how Carlos Zambrano spent enough time on a computer to get signs of carpal tunnel syndrome—with some minor elbow problems to go with it.

    Back in 2005, after the team let Zambrano know he needed to cut back on his supposed four hours per day Internet addiction, Zambrano released the following statement:

    "I have to spend one hour and take it easy."

    Good call, Z.

23. Kevin Mitchell: Food

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    Kevin Mitchell played for eight teams throughout his MLB career, and he definitely had a knack for odd food-related injuries.

    On one occasion—in what may have been a bout with food poisoning—Mitchell strained the muscles around his ribs from continuous vomiting. 

    On another occasion before the 1990 season, Mitchell was a few days late to spring training because of run-in with a microwaved donut.

    Not only did Mitchell supposedly burn the top of his mouth, but the donut apparently led to him needing a root canal as well.

22. Chris Coghlan: The Pie

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    Chris Coghlan only wanted to celebrate, given that teammate Wes Helms had just lined a walk-off hit to bring victory to the Florida Marlins.

    Needless to say, I think from now on Coghlan will celebrate a bit less dramatically.

    While attempting to chase down Helms to give him the pie in the face, Coghlan sustained a torn meniscus that ended his season.

21. Rich Harden: The Alarm

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    Rich Harden being injured is nothing new, and it is definitely not a surprise. Heck, the closest Harden has ever gotten to pitching a full season was in 2004—his second year in the league.

    If that isn't enough to make you believe Harden is injury-prone, you know a player is fragile when he strains his shoulder rolling over in bed to turn off his alarm clock.

20. Vince Coleman: Gettin' Rolled

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    While the blame for this injury may not lie solely on Vince Coleman, it was the worst timing possible and still utterly embarrassing.

    During his rookie season in 1985—with his St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS and in the midst of securing the NL pennant—a rain delay ended Coleman's season prematurely.

    As Coleman and the Cards were doing routine stretching exercises during the Game 4 delay, the automatic tarpaulin rolled up Coleman's leg—forcing him to miss the entire World Series.

19. Oddibe McDowell: Butter That Bread

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    Oddibe McDowell came out of Arizona State as one of the most hyped prospects of his time, even showing flashes of brilliance in his first few seasons with the Texas Rangers from 1985-88.

    The 1987 "Welcome Luncheon" spelled the near end for McDowell with the Rangers. While buttering a roll, McDowell sadly sliced his hand.

    Apparently, that was a bad omen for McDowell, as from that day on injuries derailed his career.

18. Steve Trout: The Stationary Bike

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    Pitcher Steve Trout is remembered for many things. He was an integral part of the Cubbies' division title squad in 1984, and then the following season, he pitched back-to-back complete-game shutouts before being shipped to the Yankees.

    For those of you who haven't heard the story, you're probably expecting to read something about Steve Trout straining a muscle riding an exercise bike. You would be very wrong.

    Stevie actually fell off a stationary exercise bike while with the Cubs, which landed him on the DL.

    For the sake of Los Angeles Angels fans, let's hope Mike Trout shares no relation.

17. Rickey Henderson: Frostbite

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    Rickey Henderson was great at a lot of things, with stealing bases and talking in the third person at the top of the list.

    Rickey was apparently great at sleeping too, which allowed him to fall asleep with an ice pack on his foot for hours.

    Henderson is the only person I know of—and maybe the only person in US history—to get frostbite in the middle of August.

16. Milton Bradley: Ump Gets Last Laugh

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    Milton Bradley has got one of the coolest names in baseball (to any "Monopoly" fans). The eccentric, sometimes crazy Bradley had a pretty humiliating injury to go with it.

    Back in 2007, when the San Diego Padres appeared to be legitimate contenders, the mercurial Bradley went off on another one of his tirades—this time directed at the first base umpire.

    Manager Bud Black ran out to first base to contain his fiery player, only to have Bradley slip and tear his ACL. Bradley was forced to miss the remainder of the season, including the one-game playoff against the Colorado Rockies for the NL Wild Card.

15. Joel Zumaya: The "Guitar Hero"

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    Rumor has it that Joel Zumaya is pretty sick when it comes to Guitar Hero. I've never been good at the game myself, but maybe that's because I haven't put the time and dedication into it that Zumaya has.

    Zumaya may have rocked some tunes, yet it did have its price—inflammation in the wrist and forearm of his throwing arm.

    The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers flamethrower was forced to miss three games of the 2006 ALCS due to the injuries.

14. Terry Mulholland: The Feather

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    Terry Mulholland got around. As a pitcher, that is—playing for 11 teams over his career while even throwing a no-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies.

    His time with the Minnesota Twins was short-lived and didn't bring him much pleasure. While at a team hotel on a road trip, a feather was sticking out of Mulholland's pillow, which subsequently scratched his eye.

    I sleep well at night believing my eyes are safe, knowing that I can't afford to stay at a hotel with feathered pillows.

13. Clarence Blethen: The Bite

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    Clarence Blethen was a career minor leaguer, making only two brief stints in MLB over his 18 years in the game.

    Blethen still managed to put himself in the history books, however, as the first and only player in MLB history to bite his own tush.

    Blethen—a pitcher—had dentures, and whenever he was on the mound, he would place those fake teeth in his back pocket in hopes that his grizzly appearance would intimidate opposing hitters.

    That may seem convenient—that is, until he forgot to put them back in before batting the following frame. Blethen later slid into second base only to feel the teeth driving into his buttocks.

    How do ya like them apples?

12. Ken Griffey Jr.: The Pinched Testis

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    Most male athletes have experienced the pain and agony that led Ken Griffey Jr. to miss a game a few years back.

    While warming up before a game, Junior's protective cup slipped—pinching his testicle and forcing him to the bench.

    Knowing the pain, it's hard to blame him. The family jewels come numero uno.

11. Mark Smith: Attack of the A/C

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    Mark Smith was well travelled over his 12 years in professional baseball, playing for five different MLB teams, a Japanese team and even a South Korean team.

    Smith—who amassed only 233 hits in MLB—was best known for sticking his hand into an A/C unit in an attempt to fix it. Of course, this broke his hand and sidelined him indefinitely.

    Smith made up for this, and then some, by earning an award for heroism for rescuing a man from a burning vehicle.

10. Greg Harris: Flickin' the...Seed

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    Those bullpen guys are odd folk, with many being notorious pranksters who find weird ways to kill their time during the first six innings of a game.

    Greg Harris, however, was just keeping to himself one sunny afternoon, flickin' and spittin' sunflower seeds.

    The strenuous activity led to a strained elbow. Apparently Harris forgot to stretch before the game.

9. Kevin Brown: The Wall Always Wins

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    Some people remember Kevin Brown for signing the first $100-plus million contract in MLB history. Yankees fans, however, remember him for punching a wall after a bad outing in the middle of a pennant race.

    In early September of 2004, Brown was off to a rocky start against the Baltimore Orioles when he subsequently decided to punch the clubhouse wall—breaking two bones in his non-pitching hand while landing him on the DL.

    Brown made it back to in time to pitch in the playoffs, most notably in Game 7 of the ALCS, where he got blistered by the Boston Red Sox.

8. Bret Barberie: It's Getting Chili

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    Bret Barberie was more of a chef than a baseball player, but apparently he still made errors in the kitchen.

    While making chili one day—coincidentally in the midst of what, for him, was considered a "hot streak"—Barberie forgot to wash his hands before wiping his eyes.

    You know the rest.

    After burning his eyes and ripping his contact lens, Barberie was forced out of the lineup for the Florida Marlins.

7. Rick Honeycutt: The Tack

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    Back in 1980, Seattle Mariners pitcher Rick Honeycutt was struggling on the mound. Instead of putting in some extra work in the bullpen, Honeycutt decided to tape a thumbtack to his finger to scuff up the baseball.

    After an opposing player spotted the thumbtack, the umpires came out to the mound to find Honeycutt with a large cut across his brow.

    Apparently Honeycutt accidentally wiped his forehead on an occasion or two.

    Lesson learned: Karma's a (bleep).

6. Moises Alou: Treadmill Tragedy

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    Anyone who has ever been to a gym before has laughed at people they've seen fall off a treadmill. Unfortunately for us gym enthusiasts, Moises Alou did it in the comfort of his own home.

    Fresh off a 38 home run, 124 RBI performance in 1998, Alou was hoping to help the Astros make another run at the NL pennant in 1999.

    Alou fell off the treadmill in February, tearing his ACL, and was expected to miss most of the 1999 season. Finally nearing a return later in the year, Alou ran over his son on a bicycle to re-aggravate his injury—forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.

5. Steve Sparks: The Phone Book

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    What better motivation for a young team entering a new season than having a player stand up in front of the crowd and tear a phone book in half, right?

    That's precisely what Steve Sparks attempted to do after a motivational speaking seminar hosted by the Milwaukee Brewers. Fired up after what was apparently the best motivational seminar known to man, Sparks attempted to rip a phone book in half.

    Hopefully that motivation helped the knuckleballer recover from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the process.

4. Adam Eaton: The Knife

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    Adam Eaton began his career with the San Diego Padres in 2000 on a positive note, but that soon ended midway through the 2001 season.

    All Eaton wanted to do was watch a movie. Instead, while attempting to open the DVD wrapping—with a knife—Eaton stabbed himself in the stomach.

    As if that wasn't enough, shortly afterward Eaton underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.

    Today, Eaton only watches VHS tapes.

3. Marty Cordova: Fake Bake

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    Marty Cordova was somewhat of a ladies' man. Seeing as for a majority of his career he played his home games in a dome for the Minnesota Twins, Cordova needed a little extra time in the tanning bed to maintain his bronzed appearance.

    Apparently Cordova had some catching up to do when playing for the Baltimore Orioles in 2002. He accidentally fell asleep in a tanning bed, severely burning himself. By doctor's orders, Cordova wasn't allowed to play in day games for several days.

2. Glenallen Hill: Spiderman

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    Every man, woman and child has a weakness. For some, it may be heights, while for others, it may be something far smaller.

    For Glenallen Hill, it's spiders.

    Hill suffers from arachnophobia, so it comes as no surprise that Hill injured himself after a violent nightmare involving spiders galore.

    Hill managed to pop out of bed, fall through a glass table and then tumble down the stairs—all while still asleep. Cuts sustained all over his legs and arms landed Hill on the 15-day DL.

1. John Smoltz and Brian Anderson: The "Iron" Men

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    John Smoltz is a Hall of Fame pitcher, at least in my book. When he is enshrined, you can be sure his suit will be wrinkle-free.

    In one of the funniest (and dumbest) moves imaginable, Smoltz attempted to iron his shirt while he was physically wearing it. Although Smoltz has always vehemently denied these claims, the iron-shaped burn mark on his chest gave it away.

    At least Smoltz realized the iron was for his clothes, unlike Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brian Anderson. In an attempt to test if the iron was hot, Anderson actually pressed the iron to his face.


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