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Wait, there was a beanball fatality that wasn't Ray Chapman?

Apr 8, 2010, 12:15 PM EST

From the Department of Things I Did Not Know Until A Couple of Hours Ago:  The Indians’ Ray Chapman is not the only ballplayer to die after being struck in the head by a pitched ball. And he’s not even the only one to be buried at Lake View Cemetary in Cleveland. Courtesy of a story from my friend Vince Grzegorek at Cleveland Scene, click through to meet the late Charles Pinkney, who was killed by a beanball on September 14, 1909.

The occasion for Vince’s story today: Pickney, after years of resting in an all-but-unmarked grave, is finally getting a proper headstone.  Chapman’s is already something of a shrine, with baseball fans giving it the Jim Morrision-at-Le Pere Lachaise treatment. Instead of joints and wine bottles, however, Chapman gets gloves and bats and stuff. Next time I’m in Cleveland I think I’ll visit Pickney’s grave.  Maybe leave a batting helmet.

If you’re interested — and why wouldn’t you be? — much more on Pinkney can be read here.

  1. ralphdibny - Apr 8, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Thanks for the link, Craig. It’s stuff like this that keeps me coming back to this site. Well, this and your fascination with bygone Braves relievers. I’m just hoping Steve Bedrosian and/or Al Hrabosky make an appearance soon.

  2. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Apr 8, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Considering that there were nearly 1,000 teams playing in the early 20th century, this did not surprise. I’d always assumed that Chapman held that distinction for the majors, but that there were probably many more that died in the minors. As suspected, somebody wrote a book about this a few years ago and it looks like Pinkney was one of the 26 deaths attributed to a beanball:
    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-98831028/guess-forgot-duck-field.html

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Apr 8, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Considering that there were nearly 1,000 teams playing in the early 20th century, this did not surprise me. I’d always assumed that Chapman held that distinction for the majors, but that there were probably many more that died in the minors. As suspected, somebody wrote a book about this a few years ago and it looks like Pinkney was one of the 26 minor-league deaths attributed to a beanball:
    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-98831028/guess-forgot-duck-field.html

  4. Andy L - Apr 8, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    Kevin Youkilis was hit in the head last night, but was ducking enough that it glanced off the top of his helmet and he appeared unfazed. I assume the fellas over at Fack Youk came up with a hilarious joke about the contents of Youk’s head both before and after the incident.

  5. Simon Oliver Lockwood - Apr 9, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    Bill James had a list of baseball fatalities in his 1985(?) Abstract (it was in his comment on Dickie Thon).

  6. Old Gator - Apr 9, 2010 at 6:12 PM

    Well, Damon Rutherford was killed by a beanball in 1968 in the independent Universal Baseball Association. The kid was spectacular – not unlike, say, the Heyward Child. That’s what happens when you play dice with the universe.

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