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Friday, August 22, 2014
Some Strange Sports-Related Deaths
*-- Raymond Chapman, a shortstop for the Cleveland Naps and later the Indians, has the dubious distinction of the being the only ballplayer to die of a game-related injury in major leagues. On August 16, 1920, Chapman was hit by a pitch at the top of the 5th inning
in a game with New York Yankees. Back then, spitballs and other tricks were quite common
and the ball thrown by Karl Mays was reportedly very erratic and hard to see. It hit Chapman so hard, it sounded like the crack of a bat. Chapman froze momentarily before falling to the ground with blood pouring out his ear; he died early the next day. After that umpires were required to immediately replace the dirty balls, although helmet did not become mandatory till 1971.
*-- it was a Pro-wrestling stunt gone horribly wrong. In 1987, Malcom "King Kong" Kirk and his partner, King Kendo were in a tag team match with Shirley "Big Daddy" and Crabtree
and Creg Valentine. Big Daddy, huge at 6'6" and 375 lbs, was famous for his body slams, and King Kong was certainly no wimp at 5'1" and 353 lbs. However, when Big Daddy slammed King Kong with his "Body Slash", Kirk turned grey and had to be rushed to the hospital. It was later leaned that Kirk had heart condition, so it was not technically Big Daddy's fault. Still Kirk's death haunted him and he retired from wrestling.
*-- You might have not head of Zorbing? Basically it is sport where you and possibly a partner or two roll down a gentle slope in a giant plastic ball. This is usually pretty
safe. But there have been a couple of deaths. In January, 2013, Denis Burakov died and his friend was seriously injured in a Zorbing mishap, when ball began to roll out of control in Dombay, Russia; similar death was reported in Czech Republic in 2009.