Sports History On This Day: August 16

August 16, 1920 – It was a truly tragic day in MLB history. A pitch that may have got away from New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays nailed Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman squarely in the head. The trauma from the incident ended up killing Chapman about 12 hours later to become the only MLB player to have died directly from an injury received during a major league game.

This tragedy led baseball rule makers to establish a rule requiring umpires to replace the ball whenever it becomes dirty. This included putting the spotlight on banning spitballs from being thrown in baseball as well. Some three decades later, the Chapman tragedy was used as one of the reasons that players should be mandated to wear batting helmets.

To find more great daily sports history make sure to check out the Sports Jersey Dispatch and Pigskin Dispatch.

Ray Chapman, Cleveland AL
The photo is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons of Ray Chapman, Cleveland AL circa 1918 from the Bain News Service collection on the LOC. Special thanks to the resources of and for the information obtained.

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