There’s just something about spring training, and the greater offseason in general, that brings out odd mishaps and injuries in baseball. Tim Tebow’s sprained ankle, thanks to an unfortunate run-in with a sprinkler, is just the latest example.
Type “weird spring training injuries” into the ol’ Google machine and a bevy of articles comes up. But to save you the trouble, here’s a quick rundown of some of the truly weird ones.
And then there’s the urban legend of a young John Smoltz burning his chest when he tried to iron a shirt while wearing it. But, to be fair, Smoltz says that’s not really what happened.
Even before players arrive in spring training, the offseason tends to put people in position to hurt themselves in other ways. Just this past offseason, Royals manager Ned Yost nearly died after he fell while repairing a tree stand used for hunting. And a year before that, Royals pitcher Brian Flynn missed eight weeks after he fell through the roof of a barn. (Note: If you’re associated with the Royals, please avoid high places.)
Spring training is often dull because the games are meaningless and the stats don’t count, so tallying freak injuries is definitely a worthy way to pass time until Opening Day.
The 80-year-old Cepeda was rushed to the hospital last Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest and falling in a parking lot, where he suffered a “severe blow to the skull,” according to the San Jose Mercury News. He had been listed in critical condition.
Cepeda looked healthy last month at former teammate Willie McCovey’s 80th birthday party at AT&T Park, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Nicknamed “Baby Bull” because of his thick build, Cepeda earned NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1958, the year the Giants moved from New York to San Francisco.
One of baseball’s top power hitters through the 1960s and early ’70s, the first baseman-outfielder was traded to the Cardinals in 1966 for pitcher Ray Sadecki. He then won the NL MVP award in 1967 as St. Louis won the World Series, cementing the trade as one of the worst in Giants history.