Posted by: Bob Gorman | June 15, 2016

Updates to Death at the Ballpark


Although the second edition of Death at the Ballpark was recently published, my research into game-related fatalities continues.  What follows are deaths that I have uncovered since the publication of the book in the fall of 2015.  Readers of this blog are encouraged to send me any additional fatalities that are not included in the book or on this list.


Eugene Sweeney, 17, died from “apoplexy” during a game near Camp Union, UT, on March 3, 1867.

An unidentified boy died instantly as he was retrieving a ball while holding an open knife in his other hand during a game in Vassalboro, ME, on May 15, 1867.  Another player ran into him, driving the knife into his heart.

A boy with the last name of Smith died after he was struck on the side of the head during a game in Norwalk, CT, on May 25, 1867.


A boy with the last name of Brown, 15, died after he was struck on the head by a baseball during a game in Dover, NH, on May 21, 1870.


Thomas Lollard, center fielder for a semi-pro team in St. Joseph, MO, fractured his skull on the right side of his head when he collided with teammate Jack Munger as they both pursued a fly ball.   He died from his injuries on July 22, 1891.


John O’Grady, 13, was playing street ball in Chicago, IL, on September 23, 1870, when he was struck on the abdomen by a batted ball, resulting in his death moments later.


Charles Glenn, center fielder for Cedarville College (now Cedarville University) in Ohio, collided with the shortstop as both pursued a fly ball in a game against Wilberforce University in Springfield, OH, on May 12, 1903.  Glenn sustained a fatal skull fracture while the shortstop, knocked unconscious by the blow, recovered.

Harry Edward Rickerds, 14, died moments after suffering a heart attack while running from third base to home plate during a game in Frederick, MD, on June 9, 1907.

Frank Phillips, 9, was struck on the mouth by a baseball during a game in Pittsburgh, PA, on June 22, 1908.  The blow caused a hemmorhage that physicians were unable to stop.  The youngster passed away at a Pittsburgh hospital in mid-July.

Houston Wilson, a pitcher on a town team in Sulphur, OK, was struck on the head by a batted ball during team practice on June 16, 1909 and died a few hours later.

John Chenaut, catcher, died moments after he was struck over the heart by a pitched ball during the eighth inning of a game between African American ball clubs in French Lick, IN, on July 13, 1909.


L. W. Swan was struck by a foul ball while watching a game in Bartlesville, OK, in early May 1910.  The ball struck him on the temple, fracturing his skull.

Walter C. Holiday, acting as gatekeeper during at game in Galatia, IL, against a team from Thompsonville, IL, on September 11, 1910, was shot and killed by Joseph Wiggins while attempting to collect the 15 cent admission charge from the assailant.  Wiggins fled the scene of the crime before he could be arrested.

John Stack, 18, was struck on the left side of his head by a pitched ball while batting during the top of the third inning in a game on Neville Island outside of Pittsburgh, PA, on September 3, 1911.  Knocked unconscious by the blow, he was taken to a physician in Coraopolis and then to a local hospital where he died later that day without regaining consciousness.  Stack suffered a similar injury a few months earlier when he was beaned during a game on May 29.

James Purcell, 2, was eating peanuts during a game in New York City in early May 1912 when one of the nuts entered his lungs.  He was rushed to an area hospital where physicians tried for a week to remove the pieces from his lungs.  The child passed away on May 7.

Finis Townsley was struck on the head by a pitched ball during a game in Jonah, TX, on June 13, 1912.  He continued to play, but shortly after the game became ill.  He passed away at his home the following morning.

Clarence Stearns died from a brain hemorrhage at his home in Winnebago, MN, on September 20, 1913, as a result of two beanings he received while playing ball that summer.  Stearns had played with the St. Paul Colts of the Class C Northern League earlier that season before joining a semipro team in Sheridan, WY.

Arthur J. McEvoy, Jr., 23, fractured his spine when he fell from a fence while watching a game in Merna, IL, on June 15, 1919.  He died from his injuries the following afternoon around 5:00 p.m.


J. M. Dean died from head injuries after he was struck by a foul ball while umpiring a game in Norfolk, VA, on July 29, 1922.

Walter Hilenski, 13, died moments after he was struck over the heart by a pitched ball during an elementary school game in Salem, MA, on May 23, 1923.


Felipe Carrera, 45, umpiring a game in Victoria, TX, in mid-July 1931, was shot in the stomach by 21-year-old player Ramon De Leon over a disputed call.  Shots were also fired at De Leon’s two brothers during the resulting melee.  De Leon was arrested and charged with murder when Carrera passed away on July 17.

D. A. Daves, 70, was umpiring a game in Lawrence, NB, on August 15, 1932, when in the seventh inning he suddenly died from unidentified causes.


Jack M. Fiquette, 40, was killed in Cobb County, GA, by a foul ball while watching a game on July 7, 1984. He was standing outside the fence and was struck behind his left ear.


Zacharie Schaubhut, 15, was pitching during a game in Bemidji, MN, on May 24, 2015, when he was struck by a batted ball.  The youngster was taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to a hospital in Fargo, ND.  He passed away later that same day.

Ten-year-old Lane Rodgers was one among a group of youngsters playing in a 76-team baseball tournament in Tupelo, MS, on June 13, 2015, when heavy storms struck the area.  As he and others ran for the safety of a nearby concession stand, a large limb fell and struck him on the back of his head just as he was passing under a tree.  One of the parents who was a physician administered CPR until paramedics arrived and took the child to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Kaiser Carlile, 9, bat boy for the Liberal (KS) Bee Jays, an amateur team playing in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, KS, was struck on the head by a bat swung in practice during a game on August 1, 2015.  Although the child was wearing a batting helmet, the blow resulted in his death the following day.

Sixty-year-old Gregory Murrey tumbled from the upper deck at Turner Field during the seventh inning of an Atlanta Braves game against the New York Yankees on August 29, 2015.  Murray, who fell some 40 feet into the seating area behind home plate, was administered CPR before he was rushed to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.


On May 17, 2017, Rick Garrity, 42, died from head injuries he sustained in a fall at Wrigley Field as he was leaving the stadium about 11:00 p.m. the evening before.  According to police, Mr. Garrity was attempting to climb the 36-inch-high handrail along the ramp leading from the right field upper deck seating area when he fell backwards, striking his head on the concrete walkway below.  Witnesses reported that the victim was holding a red cup in one hand as he climbed the railing.  Police stated that Mr. Garrity was sober at the time of the incident.  The Cook County medical examiners office ruled his death an accident.



  1. I have just started to do research on this very subject. I would love to give you a hand if you decide to expand DATB or write an update, or if you have something similar in mind.

    • Since the second edition was just published, there are no plans to update it again in the immediate future. I will continue to research the topic, so if you or anyone comes across a fatality that is not in the book or already on the update list, please do not hesitate to send it to me. It would be greatly appreciated.

  2. My father Jack Merlin Fiquette was killed by a foul ball in one of my summer games July 7, 1984. He was standing outside the fence and was struck behind his left ear.

    • I am very sorry to heard about your loss. Please accept my condolence.

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