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Ray Chapman
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Baseball Player
    (January 15, 1891-August 17, 1920)
    Born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky
    Shortstop for the Cleveland Indians (August 1912-August 1920)
    Career stats: 17 home runs, 363 RBIs, .278 batting average, 233 stolen bases, 334 sacrifice hits
    Only MLB player (as of 2007) to be killed in a game when he was hit in the head at Polo Grounds by a ball thrown by NY Yankees pitcher Carl Mays (August 16, 1920)
    Died in a hospital the next day of a brain hemorrhage at age 29
    He either froze or never saw the ball coming because of the sun as he never moved, and it hit him in the left temple.
    The sound the ball made hitting his skull was so loud that Mays thought he hit it, fielded the ball and threw to first.
    The pitch that killed him was a 'legal' submarine spitter (Mays was cleared of any wrongdoing).
    He was set to retire after the 1920 season (and hitting .303 at the time of his death).
    Batting helmets that would have prevented the tragedy were still over 30 years from becoming mandatory.
    A bronze plaque was erected in his honor but taken down from Cleveland Municipal Stadium and lost.
    He led the Indians with 52 stolen bases in 1917, a record that stood for 63 years.
    He led the American League in walks and runs with 84 each in 1918.
    The Indians wore black armbands and dedicated the rest of season to him, then went on to win their first World Series.
    In part due to the tragedy, the spitter was banned from baseball after 1920.
    A bunting specialist, he is one of only a handful of player to have over 300 sacrifice hits.
    His bronze plaque was found in a crate in February 2007, refurbished and hung proudly at Cleveland's Jacobs Field.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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