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.

1870s

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.

1900s

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.

1910s

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.

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.

1920s

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.

1930s

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.

1980s

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.

2015

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.

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Responses

  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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