|Vince Coelman could run, but he |
couldn't escape the tarp.
I started me thinking about some odd injuries over the years. One I always remember -- although I have to admit I find no evidence of it on Google (does that mean it didn't happen?) -- was what happened to Cesar Cedeno, a fine, if injury plagued, player for the Houston Astros in the 1970s.
Cedeno, as I recall, was chewed out for not running out a ground ball. He evidently took the lesson to heart. The next time he hit a grounder, Cedeno took off for first. Too fast, maybe. As his foot came down on the bag he crumpled to the ground with a bad leg injury. I'm not sure exactly what lesson Little Leaguers should draw from this incident.
Vince Coleman didn't even make it to game time before he was injured during the 1985 National League Championship Series. It was prior to Game 4, when Coleman went out to stretch. He was oblivious to the fact that the machine to retract the tarp was set in motion. Unfortunately, Coleman's leg was in the way. Not good for a man whose greatest attribute on the diamond was speed. St. Louis fans might not have been laughing, but the everyone else was as Coleman missed the World Series.
Curt Simmons, a top pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, is one of a number of players who suffered freak injuries far from the ballpark. In 1953, he managed to slice off part of his big toe while mowing the lawn. He missed just a month and won 16 games that season. Baseball Digest noted that he switched to steel-tipped shoes while caring for his lawn.
Lawn mowers aren't the only hazards to ballplayers' toes. Kansas City Royals great George Brett was once sent to the DL after he stubbed his toe rushing from the laundry room to watch buddy Bill Buckner hit on TV.
So, we have learned that players aren't safe before the game, either at home or on the field. Injuries during the game are going to happen. But Kendry Morales of the Angels once broke his leg in celebrating a game-winning grand slam by jumping on home plate. Not to be outdone, Chris Coghlan of the Florida Marlins tore up his knee trying to hit a teammate with a shaving-cream pie.
Some of these injuries were serious, but they also were sure to make fans smile, or at least shake their heads in wonder.