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[The following material is reprinted with permission from Dan Schlossberg's Baseball Gold: Mining Nuggets from Our National Pastime, a $14.95 paperback published in March 2007 by Triumph Books. Copies may be ordered from]


By Dan Schlossberg

Although players have quick reflexes, not everyone is fast enough to flinch when a fastball targets the head. Baseball history is filled with such incidents. Among them:

- Ray Chapman, Cleveland shortstop, died after a pitch by submariner Carl Mays hit him in the head during a game in 1920

- The career of Detroit player-manager Mickey Cochrane ended in 1937 after he suffered a fractured skull from a pitched ball and lay unconscious for 10 days

- Don Zimmer lay unconscious for 13 days after he was beaned in the minor leagues in 1953 but recovered in time to be beaned in the majors three years later

- San Francisco slugger Jim Ray Hart was beaned twice as a rookie in 1963

- Even after batting helmets became universal, Cubs slugger Ron Santo suffered a broken cheekbone in 1966 - prompting the introduction of the helmet earflap

- Tony Conigliaro, beaned by Jack Hamilton in 1967, missed six weeks that year and all of '68 but returned to play well in 1969 and 1970 before his vision deteriorated

- Slugging shortstop Dickie Thon was never the same after Mike Torrez hit him in the face on April 8, 1984

- Minnesota star Kirby Puckett suffered a broken upper jaw after a Dennis Martinez pitch hit him on Sept. 28, 1995 - causing him to miss the season's last week

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