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12 July 1920 - DEATH AT THE PLATE

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  • 12 July 1920 - DEATH AT THE PLATE

    Death on the Diamond: The Tragedy of Ray Chapman

    July 9, 2010 Glenn Demby, Esq.

    With Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game a day away, this seems like an appropriate time to reflect
    on one of the game’s darkest moments. It happened on August 16, 1920. The Cleveland Indians had travelled to the Polo Grounds in New York to take on an upstart team called the Yankees.

    On the mound for the Yankees that day was Carl Mays, a right-handed submariner with a nasty reputation (Note: For you non-baseball fans, a submariner is a pitcher who hurls side armed, their knuckles almost scraping the ground, as opposed to over the shoulder). Mays considered home plate his personal territory and wasn’t afraid to pitch high and tight to batters who “crowded the plate.”

    The Cleveland shortstop, 29-year-old Ray Chapman, was one of those who liked to crowd the plate. He came to bat leading off the fifth inning with Cleveland ahead 3-0. Mays’s first pitch sailed inside and struck Chapman on the temple, fracturing his skull. The “crack” sounded so much like a batted ball that Yankee third baseman Aaron Ward actually charged the ricochet thinking that Chapman had hit it. But Chapman was down and unconscious. Blood poured from his ears, nose and mouth.

    Chapman was removed from the field by stretcher and rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. But it was to no avail. Chapman was pronounced dead at 4:30 A.M.

    The incident shocked and horrified not just baseball but the entire country. Mays appeared before the district attorney’s homicide bureau but was later cleared of all wrongdoing. Although Mays was vilified in the press, the incident didn’t affect his pitching. He’d go on to win 26 games for the Yankees that year and was later elected to the Hall of Fame.

    Baseball’s response to the tragedy was to ban the use of dirtied and weathered balls from play. Mandatory use of the batting helmet remained more than four decades away. There have been at least half a dozen notorious “bean ball” injuries since the death of Ray Chapman. However, Chapman remains the only person ever killed in a Major League Baseball game.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

  • #2
    The things you learn on the Forums...
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BoxAlarm187
      The things you learn on the Forums...
      Agreed. I've never heard of this until now.

      Thanks for the education.
      I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

      Originally posted by EastKyFF
      "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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      • #4
        Tragic event. And I see no reason for a pitcher to EVER throw at a batter on purpose.


        On a side note....how funny is it that a Canadian just taught 3 Americans something about "America's Game"?
        "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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        • #5
          Go yankees!
          I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

          "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

          "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
            Go yankees!
            Now THAT was what I expected in a post! hahahahaa I knew there would be at least ONE.
            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

            Comment

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