About the Author

Bob Gorman is a retired university reference librarian who has written extensively about baseball.  In 2003 he won the McFarland-SABR Baseball Research Award for his article, “Foul Play: Fan Fatalities in Twentieth-Century Organized Ball.”  His book, “Death at the Ballpark: A Comprehensive Study of Game-Related Fatalities, 1862-2007,” won the 2009 Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award.  He resides in Rock Hill, SC, and can be contacted at gormanr@comporium.net.

Responses

  1. Thank you for maintaining this blog. I’m a big baseball fan, and I always find myself dismayed at the news that someone has died a preventable death associated with the sport. Hopefully, increased exposure will advance the issue in the public’s consciousness, and maybe that will lead to some simple safeguards that will save some lives.

  2. As a recent victim of a line-drive foul ball, I found your site while trying to determine how the organizations involved handle these “accidents”. In my case, the Blue Jays organization did nothing for me. I had several stitches, have had black eyes for 2 weeks and the only thing I received was the ball that hit me and the bill for the ambulance. I spoke to someone from “fan services” and she said that it happens too often for them to offer as much as a free ticket, which is frightening in and of itself. Any idea what other organizations may or may not do for victims of foul balls?

    • Sadly, yours is a story I’ve heard far too often over the years. And the solution is so simple (and inexpensive): put up additional netting. I think most, if not all, teams respond cautiously out of fear that doing more might be seen as an admission of culpability. I’m sure the Blue Jays have an attorney telling them to do nothing more in response to such incidents. Giving you the ball seems to me to be adding insult to injury. Really pathetic.

      I don’t know of any organization that helps victims of baseball-related injuries. Be nice if there were, then maybe collective action would bring about some long overdue changes to improve fan safety. About the only recourse an injured fan has is the courts and, as you may already know, it’s very difficult to win a suit against a baseball team because of the outdated legal concept known as assumption of risk (i.e., the Baseball Rule). I wish you all the best and hope you fully recover from your injuries.

      • Thank you so much for your kind reply. I’m afraid I didn’t word my query appropriately. I wondered if any other baseball association ever offered any type of good will gesture to a person injured by a foul ball, but upon reflection and reading your reply, I highly doubt it. I am amazed that there isn’t more coverage in the media regarding this issue. There was a local story here a few weeks ago, how a young girl was hit by a ball, causing a concussion, during batting practice. Of course, the public ripped her apart because she was face timing with her father at the time, sharing the experience with him, when she should have been aware of her surroundings. In my case, I was merely bending down to pick up my beverage when I got hit. I’m grateful it was me and not one of the many children that were around me. I did plead with them in an email to install netting, but of course I never received a reply by email, only a phone call from “fan services”. You are correct, pathetic. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.


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