Injuries are a part of all sports. However in Major League Baseball sometimes injuries that are sustained during the season can linger on throughout a player's entire career. Some of the injuries that players sustain are from a collision at the plate, being hit by a baseball in an awkward position on the head or pivoting off the wrong way when diving for a baseball.
For some players after getting hurt the next step is a stint on the disabled list, or getting season ending surgery. These options are temporary fixes that help the player get back to performing at that All-Star level. However there's a whole other side to injuries that end up taking a turn down another road which can damage a players level of play. Getting hurt are a part of sports but in baseball one injury can affect every part of a players game. For instance if a pitcher tears his hamstring running off the mound fielding a bunt it may change the way he will throw off the mound going forward after recovery.
In today's digitally dominant world we are able to see every angle of every play. Technology is so much more advanced than it used to be where plays during the game can be broken down frame by frame to see what caused a specific player's injury and how it could have been prevented. Sometimes the slightest change in how a player slid into a base or swung a bat can be the difference on a week long injury or a season ending injury.
Though it's unfortunate that some players' careers are cut short due to sudden and unexpected injuries, but it's a part of the game. The only thing that can be done is for the league as a whole to learn from the circumstance and prevent it going forward to other players.
17 DIDN'T: Ray Fosse
It may be hard to comprehend but one of the worst injuries in Major League Baseball history occurred during an All-Star game. All time hits leader Pete Rose always played with a high level of intensity whenever he stepped on the field.
In a play while rounding third base Rose was looking to score, Ray Fosse, catcher of the Cleveland Indians was blocking the plate. Rose, being the competitive player he was, bulldozed over him to score. Fosse didn't suffer any life threatening damage but separated his shoulder which affected his ability to swing a bat long term for the remainder of his career.
Fosse had been known as a good home run hitter before getting hurt, hitting 17 in 1969. After the collision he never hit more than 12 in any of his remaining seasons he played.
16 OVERCAME: Bryan Mitchell
The New York Yankees have had a lot of pitchers come through their organization over the years. One of the brighter stars is right handed pitcher Bryan Mitchell.
Mitchell was hit in the face with a line drive off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in August of 2015. Mitchell immediately fell to the ground clutching his face with both hands. After the play was over the Yankees medical staff rushed onto the field. Mitchell was forced to press a towel covering his face which was filled with blood.
Mitchel was diagnosed with a nasal fracture and made his come back that following spring training in 2016.
15 DIDN'T: Bryce Florie
It's terrifying to think of not being able to protect yourself while playing the game you love. This was something Boston Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie experienced when he took a line drive to the face off the bat of Ryan Thompson of the New York Yankees.
The injury was extremely gruesome and graphic. Florie rushed off the field to the hospital with a towel placed to his face. He broke many bones in his face and damaged his eye socket.
Florie remarkably made it back to the Red Sox starting rotation the following season, but was released only after a few starts.
14 OVERCAME: Johnny Damon
Whenever players are fielding pop flys, it's important to call off other fielders to avoid collisions. It's a basic unwritten rule that's taught in little league. Boston Red Sox outfielders Johnny Damon and Damien Jackson must have missed the memo when they collided into one another in 2003.
From a far away distance the collision looked like the two players would be able to walk off on their own. When Jackson got up and began to walk back to his position people breathed a sigh of relief. That was until they saw Damon still laying on the ground.
Damon suffered a concussion and missed nearly a week of baseball activities before being able to return.
13 DIDN'T: Tony Saunders
Being a pitcher is one of the most physically enduring positions on the roster besides the catcher. They are one of two players who are involved in every play of the game. That being said when a pitcher has to throw a ball 90 miles per hour over and over again, eventually something will give way.
In May of 1999 Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Tony Saunders' arm gave way. It seemed like a freak accident how someone's arm could break without impact from another object or while landing on an awkward angle. After throwing the ball completely away from the plate to the left side towards the dugout Saunders dropped to the ground screaming in pain.
After a broken arm was revealed Saunders had to call it quits and retire from baseball at the young age of 26.
12 OVERCAME: Brian Roberts
Longtime Baltimore Orioles infielder Brian Roberts always played the game with an edge to give his team every chance to win. This style of play often earned him multiple stints on the DL because of frequent injuries. In 2005 his season came to a screeching halt when he collided at second base with New York Yankees outfielder Bubba Crosby.
The injury was such a freak motion, Roberts' arm bent completely behind his back. He would then go on to miss the remainder of the season.
He returned the following year as if nothing fazed him in the slightest. Roberts hit .286 in 138 games played for the Baltimore Orioles.
11 DIDN'T: Bobby Valentine
Most baseball fans know Bobby Valentine for his days managing the New York Mets to the 2000 Subway Series against the New York Yankees and more recently with his failed attempt to coach the Boston Red Sox. However before he argued with umpires about balls and strikes he played in the majors for over 10 seasons.
Valentine was a good outfielder, and a solid hitter. After making the Los Angeles Dodgers roster out of Spring training he was traded after one season to the cross town California Angels. One day while fielding a fly ball in the outfield off the bat of Dick Green in Angel Stadium he got his spikes caught in the chain linked fence and suffered a multiple compound leg fracture.
This injury affected Valentine who worked his way to become a .300 plus hitter for the remainder of his career.
9 OVERCAME: Nick Johnson
First baseman Nick Johnson was always known for his high on base percentage, not his dominant fielding skills. During September of 2006 when the Washington Nationals were playing a game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, Johnson collided with outfielder Austin Kearns when attempting to catch a fly ball.
Johnson received the worst of the injuries from the collision, he broke his femur and would go on to miss the remainder of the 2006 season and the entire 2007 season.
It just goes to show, whenever fielding pop fly's it's crucial to call off other fielders to prevent injuries. Johnson returned to baseball and played another four seasons before calling it quits in 2012.
8 DIDN'T: Dave Dravecky
Some of the worst injuries are discovered on the fielding while playing. But every once in a while something is discovered outside the game which can change a player's life forever. Pitcher Dave Dravecky discovered a cancerous tumor in his throwing arm during the 1987 season while pitching for the San Francisco Giants.
When Dravecky worked all the way back to the Giants from recovery he broke his humerus bone in his throwing arm while pitching to Tim Raines. After the Giants won the pennant in 1989 while celebrating Dravecky broke his arm again.
While recovering from the injury is was discovered that his cancer had returned. The cancer that returned was much more aggressive and as a result his arm and shoulder needed to be amputated.
7 OVERCAME: Tony Conigliaro
Keep your eye on the ball has been one of the more popular expressions used in the game since the turn of the century. Boston Red Sox right fielder Tony Conigliaro took a pitch to the face from California Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton during the 1967 season.
The injury caused many problems for Conigliaro. The pitch broke his cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and damaged his eye socket. It was remarkable that he was able to gain use of his jaw and eye sight again, yet alone play.
A little over a year later Conigliaro made a great comeback hitting 20 home runs and bringing in over 80 runs. That very season he was awarded with Comeback Player of the Year honors.
5 DIDN'T: Blake Hawksworth
Once a pitcher releases the ball from their wind up they instantly become a fielder resulting on how the batter takes the pitch. Canadian pitcher Blake Hawksworth took a line drive off his mouth while pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hawksworth went down to the ground immediately, but surprisingly got up from the injury and walked off the field on his own without assistance. He was taken to the hospital and required stitches and was out for the remaining weeks of the season.
The pitcher from North of the border was one of brightest hopes for the Cardinals future but was released that offseason. He played the following season for the Los Angeles Dodgers but was released before the season ended.
4 OVERCAME: Mike Mussina
Starting pitcher Mike Mussina was one of the hardest working pitchers in the game for nearly 20 seasons. In 1998 while playing with the Baltimore Orioles he suffered a line drive hit back to his face off the bat of Sandy Alomar Jr.
The injury didn't sideline Mussina for long, he was back on the mound pitching that same season. Remarkably he finished the year with 13 wins.
After nearly 10 years with the Baltimore Orioles, Mussina left to the division rival New York Yankees on an eight-year deal worth over $80 million. He finished his career with 270 wins and a retired member of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.
3 DIDN'T: Ray Chapman
One of the greatest baseball players of all time whose career was tragically cut short was shortstop Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians. While in the batters box in a game against the New York Yankees, Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch from starter Carl Mays.
The injury lingered and Chapman died soon after. The league soon outlawed the spitball pitch as it was used by Mays while he was pitching to Chapman. Though the spitball can be throw in a variety of deliveries it was the deceiving submarine windup which caused Chapman's lack of reaction time.
One of his teammates stated that he just stood there, almost as if it was going to be nowhere near him.
2 OVERCAME: Jason Kendall
One of the stupidest things a baserunner can do is slide into first base while running down the line to beat an out. Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jason Kendall slid into first base against the Milwaukee Brewers to beat out a bunt and dislocated his ankle.
The injury was horrific! His ankle bone was visible, many of his teammates and opposing players were shocked. However the injury was not the end of Kendall's career despite the severity it received from players on the field.
Kendall went on to play more than 10 seasons in the Major Leagues and earned a six-year $60 million contract extension from the Pirates. Ironically the very season after he broke his ankle.
1 DIDN'T: Doc Powers
For baseball fans who have seen the film The Natural starring Robert Redford, they'll be able to recollect when fictional character Bum Bailey crashed into the outfield wall costing him his life. Little did many know the scene was inspired by real life events involving catcher Doc Powers of the Philadelphia Athletics.
While chasing a pop up at Shibe Ballpark, Powers crashed into the wall. It was the strange angle that Powers hit the wall on that cost him his life. It was later revealed the injuries were sustained in his abdomen, in his intestinal region and passed away from complications from surgery.
The tragic event marked a historical event, the first player in Major League Baseball history who died on the field of play.
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