Injuries are never a good thing, especially really bad injuries. But at the same time, people getting hurt in weird ways has been the basis of America’s Funniest Home Videos for 30 years.
There’s no doubt that there have been weird injuries in all professional sports; we’re all goofy, weird meatbags walking around this planet and eventually, we’re going to hurt ourselves in some strange way. But it feels like there’s been an especially large number of weird injuries in baseball.
Today, I’m going to take a look at 20 of those really weird injuries that have happened in professional baseball. The injuries themselves certainly aren’t funny, but the way they happened… kinda are.
1. Marty Cordova falls asleep in a tanning bed
Marty Cordova didn’t spend a ton of time in Major League Baseball, and when he did play he was a pretty okay-to-good player. But perhaps the thing he’s most remembered for is this weird injury. In 2002, Cordova showed up on the injury report as day-to-day because he fell asleep in a tanning bed catching some artificial rays to get that sweet orangey crisp and burnt his face. As a result, his doctor said he needed to stay out of the sun and, as I’m just now learning, baseball is played outdoors, often in the sun.
2. Rickey Henderson gets frostbite … in August
Getting frostbite isn’t necessarily a weird injury. What is weird is getting frostbite in the middle of August, which is exactly what Rickey Henderson did. How did that happen? Henderson fell asleep with an ice pack on his foot, which gave him the frostbite and, as a result, he missed three games.
3. Matt Cain injures himself making a sandwich
Back in 2014 when Matt Cain was still a really solid pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, he landed himself on the 15-day DL with a cut on his right index finger. How’d that happen? Cain was making a ham-and-cheese sandwich in the Giants’ team kitchen, dropped his knife, tried to catch it, and cut his finger. But Cain wasn’t just trying to cut the sandwich in half like a pleb, no no. Matt Cain is a fancy man who was trying to cut his sandwich like he’s got class. In Cain’s words, “I went to cut it, to make it fancy in triangles.” Sometimes being high class takes sacrifice.
4. Will Smith tore his LCL taking off his shoes
Back when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016, Will Smith (who is now with the Atlanta Braves) missed a decent chunk of the 2016 season after tearing his lateral collateral ligament, you know, taking off his shoes. According to Smith, he was getting ready to shower after a game and was standing on one leg to take the other leg’s shoe off. “I pulled hard [on the shoe] and it stayed on,” Smith said. “My knee just went up and popped.”
5. David Price and Joel Zumaya hurt themselves playing video games
These are two separate injuries that I’m grouping into one because they’re similar. First up, David Price in 2018, who missed a start with a case of carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s not officially the cause of it, but there were rumblings at the time that the carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by Price’s video game habit—specifically how much he was playing Fortnite at the time (though I guess we’ll never know).
Meanwhile, Joel Zumaya most definitely injured himself as a result of a video game. Specifically, shredding just far too hard on Guitar Hero. Zumaya was benched during the ALCS with injuries that members of the Tigers’ training staff realized were “more consistent with the action of a guitar player than a baseball pitcher.”
6. Trevor Bauer cuts his finger fixing his drone
In 2016, Trevor Bauer had his ALCS start pushed a game after he cut his pinky finger fixing his drone. According to manager Terry Francona, Bauer “was just doing, he said, ‘routine maintenance.’ And again, I have no idea what that is.” If you want to see what happened to Bauer’s finger, the picture is in the link, but be warned, it’s pretty gross.
7. Glenallen Hill falls through a glass table because he had a nightmare
Truly one of the most bizarre injuries in the history of baseball, Glenallen Hill, who was playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1990, landed himself on the 15-day DL with bruises on his feet, legs, and elbows as a result of crashing through a glass table. Why did Hill crash through a glass table? Because he was having a nightmare he was being attacked by spiders, which, to be fair, is abjectly terrifying so I kind of understand it.
8. Sammy Sosa sneezes so hard he throws his back out
Probably one of the more famous baseball injuries, Baltimore Orioles legend Sammy Sosa, playing for the Chicago Cubs at the time, in 2004 sneezed so hard that he sprained a ligament in his lower back, landing him on the DL. Ultimately, Sosa needed an epidural to relieve some of the back pain and didn’t miss too much time from his extremely violent sneeze.
9. Brian Roberts gets mad, hits himself in the head, gets a concussion
This one’s actually kind of a bummer, because this injury sent Brian Roberts down a concussion tailspin that caused him to miss a lot of games and ultimately derailed the rest of his career. In 2010, Roberts struck out against Joaquin Benoit, got angry, and smacked himself in the helmet with his bat. That hit actually caused a concussion, and after that season, Roberts didn’t play more than 91 games the rest of his career.
10. Jason Isringhausen breaks his wrist punching a trash can and then also gets tuberculosis because why not?
It was a bad 1997 for Jason Isringhausen. Not only because he pitched to a 7.58 ERA in 29.2 innings for the New York Mets. It started in April when, during a rehabilitation start in the minors from arm and shoulder surgery, Isringhausen got mad and punched a plastic trash can, which in turn, broke his wrist (it’s worth noting Isringhausen still pitched six more innings). Not to be outdone, Isringhausen decided to scratch off part of his Oregon Trail disease bucket list and ended up with tuberculosis in May, so whatever year you’re having, at least you didn’t get TB.
11. Tom Glavine eats bad airplane food, throws up so hard he breaks his rib
In 1992, Tom Glavine lived out what stand-up comedians have been warning us about since the 1980s. He ate some airplane food which proceeded to give him food poisoning, leading him to throw it all up so hard that he cracked two of his ribs and landed on the DL, so think about that next time you decide to order the fish on your flight.
12. Kevin Mitchell chips his tooth on a microwaved donut, needs a root canal
We’ve all been there, you’ve got a donut, you want to eat it, you want it to be warm, so you toss it in the microwave, right? Well, Kevin Mitchell was there in 1990 at least, as he tossed a donut in the microwave and ended up chipping his tooth on it. “As soon as it happened, I threw the donut in the trash. It hurt that bad,” Mitchell said. Ultimately the donut led Mitchell to a root canal, but he was still able to mash 35 home runs with a .290 average that year, so it all worked out.
13. Salvador Perez tears his MCL carrying his luggage
In March of 2018. Salvador Perez was simply walking with his luggage, missed a step, hyperextended his knee, and was ultimately diagnosed with a Grade 2 MCL tear. Still, he was able to play in 129 games and hit 27 home runs in 2018, so it worked out alright (except for needing Tommy John surgery this past year).
14. Brandon Morrow takes off his pants, hurts his back
Brandon Morrow landed on the DL in 2018 with a back injury he sustained taking off his pants. “Just undressing at my house,” Morrow said. “Like 3 a.m., in the closet, got my right leg off. Left one just felt like a spasm in my back. It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go because of something stupid like taking your pants off.” Despite the injury, Morrow actually ended up with a solid season in 2018, pitching to a 1.47 ERA with 22 saves, a career-best.
15. Jonathan Lucroy searches for a sock, ends up with a broken hand
To be honest, I kind of feel bad about this one. In 2012, when Jonathan Lucroy was one of the better fantasy catchers around, he landed on the DL with a broken hand. It all happened when he was searching for one of his socks under his bed and his wife moved a piece of luggage that then fell on his hand and caused what’s known as a “boxer’s fracture.” The reason I feel bad is because I can only imagine how awful his wife felt about the whole thing, and also she apparently received angry Facebook messages over it? Come on now people.
16. Carlos Correa gets a super intense massage, breaks his rib
This actually just happened last year, and I’m sure you probably remember it. Carlos Correa missed some time in May last year after fracturing his rib. Later, Correa revealed that the fracture happened because of a massage he had at his home, which must have been one insane massage. Either that or the massage was being given by Ivan Drago, one of the two.
17. Jeremy Affeldt’s everything
Jeremy Affeldt had himself a nice, long career as (mostly) a relief pitcher, and during that career, he had a handful of really weird injuries. Let’s go chronologically: first, there was his run-in with a couple of frozen hamburger patties in 2011. Affeldt was trying to separate the two frozen patties with a knife and ended up gashing his hand, ultimately leading to surgery to repair his nerve damage. Then, in 2012, Affeldt came home from a game and was greeted by his four-year-old son who ran into his Affeldt’s arms. Unfortunately, as Affeldt shifted his weight to catch his son, his knee popped and he sprained his MCL. But wait there’s still more! Finally, in 2015, Affeldt was playing with his kids at a lake and slipped stepping off an inflatable platform in the lake, which subluxated his left knee, an injury he referred to as “another standard ‘me’ injury.”
Note: lest you think I forgot, the story that Affeldt injured himself in a sneezing fit was actually a joke made by broadcaster Jon Miller and not an actual real thing
But on the other side of things, Affeldt, in a crazy turn of events, saved his dog’s life in December 2018. His dog was choking on some food, so Affeldt … well … helped him. I’ll let him explain it:
“[The dog] was pretty much dead,” Affeldt said. “He went limp in my arms. I took my hand, shoved it down as hard as I could and I ripped [the food] out of his throat—blood went everywhere.”
BUT THAT’S NOT THE END OF THE STORY, oh no. Because that didn’t work. “He came to,” Affeldt said. “He coughed up, I took in a mouthful of fluid, he then shot up, he blinked at me, and then died on me again.”
So what did Affeldt do? Gave the dog mouth-to-mouth like the goddamn hero that he is. After trying it and thinking the dog was dead, he gathered himself, tried again, and the dog came back to life. After that, Affeldt tossed the dog in his truck, took him to the vet, and the dog is still alive. Jeremy Affeldt is amazing.
18. Blake Snell moves a decorative stand in his bathroom, breaks his toe
Another bizarre injury that happened last year, Blake Snell was getting out of the shower when he saw a decorative stand in his bathroom and said to himself, “You know what? I’m gonna move that.” Unfortunately, Snell didn’t realize that the stand was in two parts and one of the parts, which was made of granite which, as you may know, is extremely heavy, landed on his right foot and broke his toe.
19. Yoenis Cespedes has an encounter with a wild boar, fractures his ankle
Yoenis Cespedes has been away from baseball for some time now due to injury, including a fractured ankle. But how the ankle fracture happened is a whole other story. This is all still fairly recent (the New York Post report is from January of this year which, I’ll admit, feels like about a decade ago), so we’ll see if there are more details, but for now, here’s how it goes. Cespedes owns a ranch, and throughout that ranch are traps designed to do a number of things (like trap things), including fending off wild boars. Well somehow a boar got out of one of Cespedes’ traps and either scared Cespedes or came at him, leading to Cespedes to step into a hole and fracture his ankle. And I mean who among us has not been in the same situation?
20. Madison Bumgarner rents a dirtbike, crashes it, sprains his shoulder
Another fairly well-known injury mostly because it involved a star pitcher and happened fairly recently, in 2017 Madison Bumgarner missed a decent chunk of the season after suffering a shoulder injury he sustained in a dirt bike accident. According to MadBum, he wasn’t going all that fast, nor did he hit anything, which is why he was surprised the accident happened. But don’t think that inspired Bumgarner to slow down, not in the least, as we all learned in February that apparently MadBum has been participating in rodeos under the pseudonym Mason Saunders because if you’re a former World Series MVP who wants to ride bulls, by god you’re gonna do it.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)