The Most Bizarre Injuries in MLB History

Dustin Penner pancakesIf there is one thing we can all agree that we love about sports, it is when players get hurt in bizarre and unbelievable ways.  For some reason, athletes just seem to be magnets for injuries induced by seemingly mundane activity.  Take for example the case of Dustin Penner of the LA Kings hockey team who recently hurt his back, wait for it, eating pancakes.  Yep, you read that correctly.  That seems almost impossible to do, but let Penner, himself, explain exactly how this hilarious tragedy went down:

“Apparently it’s one of those mysterious things, where you can throw it out (from) sneezing. I just leaned over to dip into some delicious pancakes that my wife made. It’s just like it [the pain] wraps around you and squeezes. … So it was disappointing. Hopefully it’s just an isolated incident, and not something that’s going to become chronic.”

The best part of this injury is that Penner’s listing on the injured reserve could potentially read something like this: LW Dustin Penner, day-to-day (pancakes)

As comical as that must’ve been to witness, Penner’s failed foray into stuffing his face with flapjacks has nothing on the funked up fashion in which some of MLB’s finest have been disable over the years.  Here are a few of the most, err, shining examples:

  • Joel Zumaya, day-to-day (not a Guitar Hero) – Guitar Hero can be an addictive video game and it was apparently so addictive to Zumaya that he strained his wrist and forearm to the point that he actually had to miss three games of the 2006 ALCS.  I guess he just rocked a little too hard.  Of course, Zumaya is no stranger to off-field injuries as he also had to have shoulder surgery after injuring himself moving boxes while attempting to pack up and flee his home during some wildfires in California.
  • Vince Coleman, 15-day DL (eaten by tarp) – Apparently the LCS is a dangerous time, especially when you aren’t paying attention to the field tarp being automatically rolled out to protect against the rain before Game Four of the 1985 NLCS.  Coleman didn’t notice and the tarp simply devoured him badly injuring Coleman’s leg in the process.  In Coleman’s defense, that tarp totally came out of nowhere.
  • John Smoltz, day-to-day (self-ironing) – John Smoltz has a great case for the Hall of Fame since he had great success both as a starter and a reliever.  Where he didn’t succeed was in doing basic housework.  Take for example the time Smoltz attempted to iron his shirt… while wearing it.
  • Carlos Zambrano, 15-day DL (too much “emailing”) – Let me ask you, if someone developed carpal tunnel in their wrist and claimed it was because they were spending most of their free time on the computer e-mailing friends and family back in Venezuela, would you believe them?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.
  • Marty Cordova, day-to-day (gym, tan, laundry) – Back before the Situation and Snooki made artificial tanning popular, Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova was setting the trend by frequenting tanning beds himself.  In his zeal to have his skin match the Oriole orange, Cordova mistakenly fell asleep in a tanning bed and burnt himself too badly to play.  Less tanning Marty, more gym.
  • Glenallen Hill, 15-day DL (AH! SPIDERS!!!!) – Sleepwalking and a deathly fear of spiders make for a bad combination, especially when you run away from a giant nightmare spider and lacerated his foot on a glass table.
  • Clint Barmes, 15-day DL (heavy deer meat) – Clint Barmes may have good hands on the field, but off the field, they handed his career a big setback when he struggled to lift and hold on to a bundle of deer meat as he went up the stairs.  I think that was karma’s way of telling Clint it isn’t very nice to eat Bambi’s mom.
  • Sammy Sosa, 15-day DL (Gesundheit) – Sammy Sosa was one of the premier power hitters of his era, routinely smashing huge homers with his brute strength.  In fact, he was so strong that he once threw his back out from sneezing too hard.  This must have been seen as a cautionary tale by Reds pitcher Mat Latos who tried so hard to hold back a sneeze that he ended up hurting his ribs.  With all the money these guys make, you’d think they’d just get a handkerchief.
  • Adam Eaton, 15-day DL (stupid DVD, why won’t you open?!?!) – You know how that plastic wrapping on new DVDs can be such a big pain in the butt to get off?  Adam Eaton knows better than you do because he once tried to take a paring knife to a new DVD, had his hand slip and wound up nearly gutting himself with the knife.  Rumor is that Eaton is now a big fan of Netflix’s streaming service.
  • Steve Sparks, 15-day DL (phonebook) – You have to give points to Sparks for the effort, but you can’t help but laugh at the idea of a knuckleball pitcher trying to fire up his teammates by tearing a phonebook in half only to fail and wreck his shoulder instead.  There is a reason the Mythbusters say not to try this stuff at home.
  • Matt Anderson, 15-day DL (octopus tossing FAIL) – This is said to be more of an urban legend, but you’d deny it too if you supposedly ripped a muscle in your throwing arm by tossing octupi into a bucket for some silly pre-game promotion.
  • Kevin Mitchell, day-to-day (donut) – It is only fitting that we start and with a story of a portly athlete being felled by breakfast food.  For slugger Kevin Mitchell, the offending item was a donut that he microwaved for too long, which resulted in him needing emergency dental work.  This begs the question- why the hell would you microwave a donut?

About Garrett Wilson

Garrett Wilson is the founder and Supreme Overlord of and editor at The Outside Corner. He's an Ivy League graduate, but not from one of the impressive ones. You shouldn't make him angry. You wouldn't like him when he is angry.