Chris Young Hit By Liner (5/21/2008)
Apologies in advance for the less-than-ideal video quality.
Current Rangers GM Chris Young was once a pretty good pitcher, especially during his Padres days. But even good pitchers had serious difficulties retiring the great Albert Pujols in his prime.
On 5/21/2008, Young got two strikes on Pujols and attempted to put him away, but the Cardinals great still got bat on ball. Unfortunately for all involved, said ball went back towards Young's face, and the big righty could not avoid it.
Notes: As the announcers note, Pujols can usually rocket the ball at 1,000 MPH, so if there's any bright side here, it's Pujols swinging off-balance and not generating his usual bat speed...Young doesn't walk off the field if that's the case.
That's Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez huddled in prayer with Pujols, who would accidentally knock SD catcher Josh Bard out of the game via collision later that 3rd inning.
Down 2-0 when Pujols knocked Young out, the Cardinals rallied against his replacement Cla Meredith—though all three runs were charged to Young—and eventually hammered SD 11-3. Pujols finished with that one hit in five at-bats.
Young suffered a broken nose and a skull fracture; he didn't return to action until 7/29/2008, throwing five scoreless innings against Arizona.
David Robinson Briefly Knocked Out (4/8/1998)
Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone wasn't known for being gentle on the court. While he was not a dirty player by any stretch, he was a physical one, and not one you'd want to absorb a blow from.
Just ask David "The Admiral" Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs.
In this late-season clash between the defending Western Conference champion Jazz and the visiting Spurs, Malone received an entry pass from fellow legend John Stockton. Robinson guarded him closely, but made the mistake of hitting Malone's elbow with his head...instant KO.
Robinson was out for two minutes and then hospitalized. No one believed Malone, a two-time Olympic teammate of Robinson, set out to hurt him, but that didn't make it any less traumatic.
Notes: Adding insult to injury, it was ROBINSON who was whistled for the foul, which occurred about two-and-a-half minutes into the game. It should be mentioned that just the day before, Malone accidentally broke the rib of Golden State F Donyell Marshall with a wayward knee...it was best to stay out of The Mailman's way.
As you see in the video, Robinson's left leg collapsed awkwardly as he went down; it looked painful but the leg was not injured.
Utah eventually won 98-88, behind Malone's 32 points. Robinson did not score.
The Mets And Phillies Brawl Again (8/9/1990)
1990 was my first year following MLB, and I can tell you that while baseball has changed immeasurably in the 31 ensuing years, one thing that hasn't changed: hit batters—especially those who feel they're intentionally hit—lead to charged mounds.
Which leads to cleared benches.
Which leads to cleared bullpens.
My guess is we'll have the same problem in 2052.
Here, Mets SP Doc Gooden has drilled two Phillies, leading Phillies SP Pat Combs to obviously retaliate. Gooden didn't like it, and the melee was on.
Notes: We see #18 Darryl Strawberry late to the festivities for whatever reason...potty break? In any event, Straw did what he usually did best: made everything worse once the fight seemed to be dying down.
We see Phillies RP Roger McDowell working to calm Gooden. McDowell and Gooden had been teammates on the Mets for several seasons. (Of course, that doesn't necessarily ensure friendship, as McDowell and Mets IF Gregg Jefferies proved just the year before during their brawl.)
We don't see umpire Joe West—yes, the same one still around in 2021—taking down Phillies P Dennis Cook, but evidently that happened.
For the Mets, Gooden, Strawberry and IF Tim Teufel were ejected. Combs, C Darren Daulton and Cook of the Phillies hit the showers as well. The Phils led 3-1 when the fracas began, but wound up losing 5-4.
The New York Giants Fake Injuries (9/19/2011)
I won't bore you with all the intricacies of late-game NFL clock rules; I'll just state that there are times when it is actually beneficial to a team for its players to get hurt (since the clock must be stopped).
It's not uncommon for dudes to concoct an injury, but rarely are the con jobs so flagrantly obvious.
In this particular video, the New York Giants needed to buy a few seconds to swap personnel against the St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football. By "sheer coincidence", two of them seemed to need medical attention before play could continue.
Notes: In another clip that has vanished from the Internet, "injured" Giant #34 Deon Grant is shown laughing shortly after reaching the sidelines. (The other Giant to collapse was #57 Jacquian Williams). The performance took place in the first quarter.
New York beat the Rams 28-16. There was no penalty for the Giants during or after the game, though the Rams did file a complaint with the league office (that led to a warning).
Grant (a DB) and Williams (a LB) teamed for 12 tackles on the night.
Kendrys Morales Hits Tropicana Roof (8/28/2015)
Longtime Angels, Royals and Jays slugger Kendrys Morales smoked 213 home runs over his 13-season career. Many of them were majestic; one of them resulted in a career-derailing broken leg.
But only one of them landed well short of the warning track.
Facing Erasmo Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays with Royals teammate Ben Zobrist on 3B, Morales got a hold of one and sent it a long way to center field. But the Rays play in the domed Tropicana Field—meaning a number of catwalks and "rings" connected to the roof are in play.
Morales's drive clanged off one of said catwalks and plummeted to earth. Per ground rules, that was good enough for a two-run home run and a 3-1 lead for the Royals (that stood up).
Notes: This is not the first or last home run to hit a Tropicana Field obstacle; I chose it because of Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier's dramatic hang on the CF wall. You see fellow Tampa Bay OF Daniel Nava—who I long forgot ever played there—retrieving the deflected ball.
Morales finished the game 2-for-4. Ramirez allowed three runs (two earned) in 4.1 innings for Tampa.
Bill Buckner's Inside-The-Park Homer (4/25/1990)
A few days before this post, Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz, 40, stole the show by legging out a triple—at his age, that's a rare occurrence in MLB.
And if fortysomethings rarely hit triples, surely they never, ever hit inside-the-park home runs, right? RIGHT?
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to 40-year-old Red Sox 1B Bill Buckner.
Once upon a time, Buckner was a fairly fast guy, but over the years he suffered multiple injuries to his lower limbs. To put it mildly, by 1990 speed was not one of the tools Buckner displayed.
Turns out you don't need loads of speed when the opposing RF falls into the crowd pursuing your fly ball!
Notes: Buckner's homer, the final one of his career, was hit off Angels SP Kirk McCaskill with the bases empty in the B4th. Claudell Washington is the Angels RF who falls into the crowd and remains there for some time. Washington left the game a few innings later with a knee contusion.
Boston could muster no other offense on this night and fell to the Angels 3-1. This was the final MLB season for both Buckner and Washington, both of whom have since passed away.
P.J. Tucker Botches An Inbound Pass (1/23/2019)
The Basketballreference.com play-by-play describes it as a "bad pass from Eric Gordon", but that is not even remotely close to the truth.
What is the truth about Rockets F P.J. Tucker allowing Gordon's inbound pass right to him to roll away untouched?
Even smart guys are capable of dumb plays.
Tucker's gaffe occurred with just under a minute to go in a nail-biter between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks. Houston quickly went from a three-point lead and possession to a turnover, a one-point lead, and no momentum.
Mercifully, Tucker's incomprehensible mistake did not cost Houston the game; they held on for the 114-110 victory.
Notes: It should be noted that Houston G James Harden went for 61 in this game.
F Noah Vonleh made the swipe-and-score of Gordon's "bad" pass that cut New York's deficit to one.
Tucker started and played 39 minutes, finishing 1-of-5 for three points.
Buster Posey Beaned (4/10/2017)
In terms of devastating impact to his team, I'm not sure I've seen a baseball injury worse than the broken leg suffered by Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey in 2011.
As bad as that was—and it was bad—watching Posey take a mid-90's fastball to the helmet six years later was pretty damn scary, too. By no means was the pitch from Arizona SP Taijuan Walker intentional, but that made it no less dangerous.
Fortunately, as far as high-velocity baseballs to the head go, this blow wasn't as damaging as it could have been, and Posey was back in action after a week on the concussion DL.
Notes: Posey was hit in the very first inning; backup C Nick Hundley pinch-ran for him, but was stranded.
Despite losing their superstar, the Giants went on to win 4-1 behind eight innings from Matt Moore. Overall, SF went 2-4 while Posey was sidelined.
Peyton Manning Breaks TD Record (10/19/2014)
There wasn't much left for the great Peyton Manning to achieve by 2014, but one box remaining for him to check: passing legendary Packers QB Brett Favre for #1 all-time in touchdown passes.
Manning was in position to check said box against my 49ers in October 2014. Not only did he break the record that day with TD pass #509, but his Broncos annihilated San Francisco to the point I've blocked all memory of the historical afternoon from my memory.
Notes: It was WR Demaryius Thomas who made the historic grab with 3:15 to go in the 2Q. Denver went on to smack the 49ers 42-17.
That's 49ers rookie DL #59 Aaron Lynch congratulating Manning at around the 2:20 mark.
Manning ended his career (after the 2015 season) having upped the record to 539 TD passes. Drew Brees broke that record in late 2019; today Tom Brady is the all-time TD pass leader with 581 and counting.
The Worst Strike Three Call Ever (4/8/2013)
Entering play on this night, Joe Nathan had accumulated 299 career saves, many in dominant fashion. He'd been an All-Star many times over and was sure to get a few Hall of Fame votes one day.
What I'm trying to tell you is this: Nathan did not need help to succeed (other than from his eight defenders).
But on this night against the Tampa Bay Rays, he sure got it en route to career save #300.
I'm usually one to try to make sense of questionable ball/strike calls, but not in this case—home plate ump Marty Foster simply made a grotesque call on what should have been ball four to Ben Zobrist.
Notes: That was Rays manager Joe Maddon vociferously arguing with Foster over the call, which dropped Tampa to 3-4 on the young season while raising Texas to 5-2. Foster did later admit he blew the call.
Rays UT Sean Rodriguez, who had singled home Tampa's 4th run earlier in the inning, was stranded on first base.
A month later, Maddon would be ejected by Foster over a call against the Toronto Blue Jays.