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A Baseball Player Killed by a Pitch 100-years Ago

A Baseball Player Killed by a Pitch 100-years Ago
August 17
08:03 2020


Major League Baseball’s Only on-Field Fatality

100 years ago


Ray Chapman

On August 16, 1920, at the Polo Grounds in New York City, the Cleveland Indians’ star shortstop, 29-year old Ray Chapman, was struck and killed by a pitch by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. The pitch struck him in the left temple area.

Ray Chapman is the only person ever killed during a Major League baseball game.

Chapman was a great base stealer, and held the Cleveland season record (52) until the 1980’s. And to this day Chapman is still 6th all-time in the Major Leagues for lifetime sacrifice hits (bunts or fly balls).

Mays (1891-1971), an exceptionally good pitcher, spent the rest of his life assuming he was not in the Baseball Hall-of-Fame because of what happened in August 1920.


Ray Chapman’s grave

Chapman and his wife were in the process of building a home in Cleveland. In fact, the couple had visited the site of their new home just prior to his leaving on the road trip.

Mrs. Kathleen Chapman got on the first train to New York when the tragedy happened. Sadly, she got to New York City a couple of hours too late to say goodbye to Ray.

Ray Chapman had been expected to retire at the end of the 1920 season. His plans were to work with his father-in-law with the East Ohio Gas Company in Cleveland.

The Cleveland ballclub wore black arm bands the rest of the 1920 season, in honor of their teammate and friend. The team actually went on to win the American League pennant and the World Series that year!

Chapman’s replacement at shortstop for the Indians was rookie Joe Sewell. He went on to a Hall-of-Fame career.

To this day fans still leave balls, gloves, notes and bats at Ray Chapman’s gravesite at Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery. He is buried near to President James Garfield’s grave. Mr. Garfield was a Cleveland-area native.


Featured photo: The Polo Grounds in New York City in the 1950’s

Suggested: The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell


A Baseball Player Killed by a Pitch 100-years Ago - overview

Summary: A Baseball Player Killed by a Pitch 100-years Ago


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