Foul Balls: Baseball's Most Cringe-Worthy Beanings

Foul Balls: Baseball's Most Cringe-Worthy Beanings


David Wright is out with one strike.

Normally Complex jumps at any chance to make a joke about dudes getting balls upside their heads, but there was nothing funny about San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain's 93mph fastball hitting New York Mets third baseman David Wright in the head Saturday, knocking his batting helmet off. After crumpling to the ground, he lay face down in the dirt for a minute until he was able to turn over with help from team trainers. Wright, who sustained a concussion and spent a night at the hospital, may miss the rest of the season, but he is actually quite fortunate.

In 1920, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman died 12 hours after being hit in the head by Carl Mays. Thanks to batting helmets, which became mandatory protective gear in 1956, bean balls aren't quite as deadly, but that doesn't mean batters are completely safe, or that we cringe less when we see one of them catch head shots. With fingers crossed for Mr. Wright, Complex revisits other high and tight knockdowns that made us look away. Three yikes and you're out.

beanballs_piazza

MIKE PIAZZA
On July 8, 2000, New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens gunned a fastball at the head of the New York Mets slugging catcher, who'd smacked a grand slam off him earlier that year. The Rocket's heat knocked Piazza unconscious and gave him a concussion that forced him to miss the 2000 MLB All-Star Game.

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beanballs_conigliaro1

TONY CONIGLIARO
On August 18, 1967, California Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton hit the Boston Red Sox slugging right fielder in his left cheekbone (batting helmets back then didn't have the protective ear-flap that is now standard). Conigliaro, who suffered a linear fracture of the left cheekbone, a dislocated jaw, and severe damage to his left retina, had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

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beanballs_weeks

RICKI WEEKS
On April 13, 2009, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez hit the Milwaukee Brewers second baseman in the jaw with a fastball as he was attempting to lay down a bunt. Weeks lay on the ground several minutes but ultimately shook off the facial and played the rest of the game with slight swelling and soreness.

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beanball_rollins

JIMMY ROLLINS
On June 18, 2007, Cleveland Indians pitcher Cliff Lee hit the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop in the face with a 90mph fastball. Rollins was not severely hurt, as he went on to win the 2007 National League MVP.

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beaballs_sosa

SAMMY SOSA
On April 20, 2003, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Salomon Torres hit the Chicago Cubs slugger in his left temple with a fastball that shattered his batting helmet. Though shaken, Sosa never fell to the ground. He walked off the field to be examined at a hospital, where it was determined that the worst of his injuries were a few cuts from helmet shards.

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beanballs_gonzalez

EDGAR GONZALEZ
On July 18, 2009, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Hammel hit the San Diego Padres third baseman in the head with a 93mph fastball. Gonzalez, who complained of extreme dizziness and ringing in his ears, lay on the ground several minutes before sitting up and eventually being driven off the field by trainers. He spent a night at the hospital.

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beabballs_rolen

SCOTT ROLEN
On August 2, 2009, Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis hit the Cincinnati Reds third baseman in the head. Rolen fell to the ground but was able to walk off the field after less than a minute. He missed two games with a concussion, then returned to action before leaving again with headaches and dizziness.

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beanballs_kinsler

IAN KINSLER
On August 15, 2009, Boston Red Sox pitcher Fernando Cabrera hit the Texas Rangers second baseman with a 92mph fastball that deflected off of his left shoulder into his helmet. Kinsler, who ultimately suffered only a light bruise on his shoulder, stayed in the game.

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Tags: baseball, bean-ball, beanball, beaning, david-wright, head, matt-cain, mets
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