Posted: 9:35 am Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Awful: Baylor breaks leg on ceremonial first pitch 

By Mark Bradley

Don Baylor is helped to the dugout. (Wally Skalij/L.A. Times - MCT)

Don Baylor is helped to the dugout. (Wally Skalij/L.A. Times – MCT)

The Ceremonial First Pitch is among baseball’s most benign traditions. Sometimes somebody famous will throw the ball in the dirt, and last October the famous Chipper Jones had to deliver not to a former Atlanta Braves teammate but to mascot Homer the Brave. (This happened because Jones, not being a homer, picked the Dodgers to beat the Braves in the NLDS, which wound up happening but which miffed his touchy ex-mates.)

In sum, CFP doings tend to be funny. What happened to Don Baylor in Anaheim on Monday night was the polar opposite of funny. It was make-you-sick-at-your stomach awful, Kevin-Ware-in-Indianapolis awful. (I’d post a video here, but the image is so graphic that I’d rather you click this YouTube link if you decide to watch. I’m not sure I would, though.)

Newly installed as the Angels’ hitting coach, Baylor deployed himself behind home plate to receive the CFP from Vladimir Guerrero, who’d signed one of those Ceremonial One-Day Contracts so he could retire as an Angel. (Baylor, who was never a catcher, was paired with Guerrero because the two were the only Angels to be voted American League MVP. Though Mike Trout, who homered off the great Felix Hernandez in his first at-bat of 2014, will be soon.)

Guerrero’s serve came in slow and low. Positioned on his left knee, Baylor bent to his right and crumpled. (Caught the ball, though.) Guerrero walked toward the plate, laughing. (Hey, CFP’s are fun!) He helped Baylor to his feet, whereupon everyone stopped laughing. Baylor’s right leg bent at an unnatural angle and the big man collapsed again.

Two Angels aides helped Baylor to the dugout. A bit later came the diagnosis that Baylor had broken his femur — that’s the thighbone, the biggest bone in the human body — and would undergo surgery Tuesday. Good grief.

Baylor is 64 and a cancer survivor. As a player, he was considered the toughest man in the sport. He was the Braves’ hitting coach in 1999, the last year they reached the World Series, and left after the season to manage the Chicago Cubs. In the distinguished career of a baseball lifer, this was the most regrettable chapter.

16 comments
UWGTrainer
UWGTrainer

Get well soon. HOPING FOR THE BEST!!! God Bless!!

MrGil2U
MrGil2U

It's an awful thing but it sounds like the cancer may have spread to his bones. Let's hope that is not the case.

Esquire
Esquire

Sorry to see Baylor go down like that.................bones that brittle makes you wonder if he's got things going on he is not  making public.  I wish him the best.

58Supersports
58Supersports

He is no better at President than he is pitching. 98


Sorry to see Baylor  go down--One good man and Coach--get well quick.


Happy Birthday to Phil Niekro...75th

Rojer
Rojer

Ironic that its the guy that ALWAYS got hit by pitches and bounced back up.  To the point that id say it was his purpose in many at bats.

warrmd7
warrmd7

I read somewhere the cancer he had been suffering from was multiple myeloma, which often presents with bone brittleness. Let's hope this accident was just that and not due to a recurrence of the cancer

DrPhill
DrPhill

Baylor was probably the best hitting coach the Atlanta Braves ever had.  I hope he recovers quickly.

RollTide7752
RollTide7752

Femur is not your shin bone.  It is your thigh bone.  The shin bone is the tibia. 

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@Classof98 It must really suck to be obsessed with Obama 24/7365. The schmuck can't even read the sports page without interjecting his obsession over Obama. I'm betting that Cof98 can't even carry the ball 60' 6'', much less throw it that far.

sold1000
sold1000

@Classof98 Where do you want us to send your reward for you and your five year old niece???

Classof98
Classof98

@Rojer  Good point.  Baylor was the Babe Ruth of getting hit by pitches.  I think he holds the all-time record.   A thousand fastballs in the elbow didn't leave a scratch but he snaps a stem by slightly moving to his right.

MarkBradley
MarkBradley moderator

@RollTide7752 Indeed it is. I never think too clearly at any time, but especially not before 10 a.m.

Classof98
Classof98

@sold1000 Sure, gratuities are welcome.  She's a great little girl.  And she has a stronger throwing arm than Obama.