Great Moments in local halls of fame

I was reading PFT this morning and came across Carson Palmer saying that he was certain that sometime, maybe soon, a football player is going to die on the field from a collision. Then I read Florio’s followup comment: “The worst-case scenario will happen when two guys moving at maximum velocity crash their bodies together at, for one of them, an angle and position that shatters the bones around the top of the spine and severs the cord that those bones protect. And, yes, at some point in the future, it will happen.”

As soon as I read that, I thought “See, this is why I’ve moved on from pro football. They’re too fast. They’re too big. They’re too strong. Someone, dadgummit, is gonna get killed! This is why I like baseball!”

Then I was reminded:

The Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has selected the late pitcher Carl Mays for induction, 89 years after one of his pitches killed another player.

Mays won 207 games during a 15-season career that ended in 1929 and he died 40 years ago. His accomplishments were overshadowed by the pitch on Aug. 16, 1920, that killed Indians shortstop Ray Chapman. Mays, who was pitching for the Yankees, said the beaning was unintentional.

I’m still not a big fan of pro football, but it’s worth remembering that freak crap can happen no matter what you do for a living. Heck, people die in law offices.

Anyway, congratulations, ghost of Carl Mays.

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  1. Jack Marshall said...

    Would Carl Mays be in the Baseball Hall of Fame without the Chapman incident? And if so, why so? PR? Nobody wore helmets then: this was inevitable. I read somewhere that Walter Johnson was so terrified of killing someone that Ty Cobb took advantage by crowding the plate. Would any pitcher who killed a batter be excluded from the Hall, just a borderline candidate like Mays, or just a generally unpopular borderline candidate (like Mays)? If the Big Train had hit Chapman, would DC still have named a school after him?

  2. tadthebad said...

    Wooden, he didn’t die on the field, though, right?  Not trying to minimize his injury, rec’d in a preseason game no less (IIRC).  In fact, didn’t he out-live Tatum?

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    TTB – Point not that it has happened, but that it’s already come pretty damn freakin’ close. Stingley died in 2007, partially due to the paraplegia (pneumonia complications, heart disease). Tatum is still alive, but not kicking as well since his left leg was amputated.

  4. Aaron Moreno said...

    I’m actually surprised that we haven’t seen an on-the-field death. While players are (everything)er than ever before, they’re also better protected than before, and, I think most importantly, more FLEXIBLE than ever before.

  5. TC said...

    Honestly, I’m sometimes surprised that no pitcher has ever been hit on a line-drive comebacker.  I remember distinctly seeing Brett Myers get hit by one, in the head, and the ball ricocheted past first base, in the air.  Myers, of course, doesn’t need his brain, so he kept pitching. 

    I realize that there are hundreds more opportunities for pitches to get someone in the head than batted balls, every now and then, the speed gun at the stadium doesn’t auto-switchoff, and we can see the pitch come in at 93 and go right back out at 120.  Scary stuff.

  6. Chipmaker said...

    I remember watching Brad Holman (Brian’s bro) take a liner directly off his forehead.

    And there was a Red Sox pitcher sometime earlier this decade who took one right into his cheekbone, crushed it… (checking)—Bryce Florie.

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