Contact sports are the scene of some of the
nastiest injuries going. Football and hockey offer no shortage of
juicy gashes, broken bones, groin tears and snapped knee ligaments.
Baseball players are also familiar with the disabled list. But what
truly sets America's pastime apart from other sports are the bizarre
ailments suffered by its participants. The sport has a rich, and
hilarious, history of athletes missing a start or ending up in rehab
after turning the most mundane of tasks into a trip to the infirmary.
Colorado Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes
joined some elite company by carrying deer meat up the stairs.
(CP File Photo)
In the past couple weeks, Minnesota Twins left-hander Terry Mulholland
scratched his right eye by rolling over a loose feather in a hotel
pillow, and Chicago Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger broke his left
little finger after getting his hand caught between two reclining
But the kicker came this past weekend when National League Rookie
of the Year front-runner Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies broke
his left collarbone … carrying deer meat up the stairs.
Barmes originally said he returned home cradling a bag of groceries
in one hand and holding a sweatshirt in the other. He grew tired
of waiting for the elevator to his fourth-floor apartment and decided
to take the stairs.
The Colorado shortstop said he then slipped on a stair and, after
failing to grasp the hand rail, landed squarely on his left shoulder.
Barmes eventually changed his story, telling the Denver Post he
was carrying deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton, not
groceries, and the rookie reiterated the injury had nothing to do
with an ATV ride the two men took together on Helton's property.
Barmes, who is sidelined for three months, may miss out on the end-of-season
hardware, but he's joined an enduring list of players injured in
Here's a look at some more of the most peculiar injuries ever sustained
by baseball athletes away from the diamond:
- John Smoltz's irrational ironing
- Glenallen Hill's spider nightmares
- Wade Boggs's cowboy boot back pain
- Sammy Sosa's sneezing spasms
- Adam Eaton's DVD stabbing
- Bret Barberie's hot sauce
- Steve Sparks's motivational mishap
- Kevin Mitchell's food follies
- Marty Cordova's tanning terror
- Jeff Kent's treacherous truck wash
1. John Smoltz, Atlanta
John Smoltz is often mentioned as one of the best pitchers of his generation. The comparisons range from Greg Maddux to Pedro Martinez. But one thing is certain Smoltz will never be mistaken for Martha Stewart.
Smoltz, the anti-domestic diva, once scalded himself while ironing
a shirt while he was wearing it.
Smoltz could write the book on how to throw a split-fingered fastball, but first, he should probably use the free time to read the instruction booklet for his de-wrinkling device.
2. Glenallen Hill, Toronto Blue Jays
Nightmares can induce emotional and psychological stress. For Blue Jays outfielder Glenallen Hill, bad dreams brought on a more tangible pain.
Hill tumbled out of bed and crashed into a glass table while having a nightmare about being covered in spiders.
The cuts he sustained caused Hill to likely become the first athlete ever sidelined due to arachnophobic-related injuries.
3. Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox
Boggs was a master at stroking hits and winning
batting titles. But on at least one occasion, he should've skipped
batting practice in favour of footwear instruction.
The soon-to-be Hall of Famer once strained his back while slipping
on a pair of cowboy boots.
The ailment kept Boggs out of the lineup for seven games.
4. Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs
Slugger Sammy Sosa captured the imagination of baseball fans during
his epic long-ball duel with Mark McGwire during the summer of '98.
He also entered baseball's wacky injury fraternity last season when
a double-barrelled sneeze brought on back spasms.
Instead of joining his teammates on the field, Sosa spent a Sunday afternoon in the Cubs' clubhouse receiving back treatment.
5. Adam Eaton, San Diego Padres
Padres hurler Adam Eaton just wanted to kick back and watch a movie. Little did he realize, a few hours later, he'd star in his own thriller at the local emergency room.
Eaton accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach with a paring knife while trying to unwrap a DVD a few years ago.
Eaton described the move as "boneheaded." In in his defence, those
fussy plastic wrappers are tricky to bust into. But talk about coming
in with the heavy artillery.
6. Bret Barberie, Florida Marlins
Bret Barberie had difficulty landing a steady
starting gig in the major leagues during the 1990s. But the utility
infielder was forever enshrined in baseball's Injury Hall of Fame
with one wipe of the eyes.
The former Montreal Expos draft pick once missed a game while a member of the Florida Marlins after inadvertently rubbing chili juice in his eyes.
Unfortunately for Barberie, the former husband of Canadian-born TV personality Jillian Barberie, the gaffe represented one of his hottest streaks of the season.
7. Steve Sparks, Milwaukee Brewers
This injury falls under the "don't try this
at home" category.
Sparks, a well-travelled knuckleballer, once attended a motivational speaking seminar hosted by the Brewers. The group ripped phone books in half and blew up hot water bottles.
Sparks was apparently fired up by the session, so much so that he
tried to tear a phone book of his own. Bad idea.
The right-hander dislocated his shoulder while performing the stunt.
8. Kevin Mitchell, eight big league teams
Legend has it former slugger Kevin Mitchell
suffered a couple of the strangest food-related injuries in baseball
On one occasion, Mitchell was placed on the disabled list after apparently
straining rib muscles while vomiting. And, according to ESPN.com,
Mitchell was four days late for 1990 spring training when he was hurt
eating a microwaved donut.
Soon after eating the sweet delicacy, Mitchell so the story goes needed a root canal.
9. Marty Cordova, Baltimore Orioles
Some baseball players get naturally bronzed by spending many summer hours toiling under the blazing sun. Others choose to get their tan a different way.
A visit to a California tanning salon provided baseball with one of its more bizarre injuries.
Marty Cordova once burned his face under some tanning lamps, forcing him to miss a game. Under doctor's orders, the Orioles outfielder/designated hitter was told to stay out of direct sunlight.
That explanation must have gone over well in the locker room.
10. Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giants
All-star second baseman Jeff Kent may be a
multi-millionaire, but he still prides himself on being a regular
guy the type of Joe Average who washes his own vehicle.
He might want to rethink that.
Kent made headlines a few years back for breaking a bone in his left
wrist while cleaning his pickup truck at an Arizona self-serve car
wash. The 2000 National League MVP said he slipped and hurt himself
by trying to break his fall.
Reports later surfaced suggesting Kent may have injured his wrist
while attempting motorcyle tricks in a parking lot acts that
would've violated his contract with the Giants. Kent denied ever pulling
the Evel Knievel moves.