Death at the Ballpark

More Than 2,000 Game-Related Fatalities of Players, Other Personnel and Spectators in Amateur and Professional Baseball, 1862–2014, 2d ed.

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About the Book

When we think of baseball, we think of sunny days and leisurely outings at the ballpark—rarely do thoughts of death come to mind. Yet during the game’s history, hundreds of players, coaches and spectators have died while playing or watching the National Pastime.
In its second edition, this ground-breaking study provides the known details for 150 years of game-related deaths, identifies contributing factors and discusses resulting changes to game rules, protective equipment, crowd control and stadium structures and grounds. Topics covered include pitched and batted-ball fatalities, weather and field condition accidents, structural failures, fatalities from violent or risky behavior and deaths from natural causes.

About the Author(s)

Robert M. Gorman is a retired university reference librarian with more than 40 years of professional research experience. He and coauthor David Weeks received the 2009 Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award for the first edition of Death at the Ballpark (McFarland, 2009). He lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
David Weeks is head of public services at Winthrop University’s Dacus Library. He and Robert Gorman received the McFarland–SABR Baseball Research Award in 2003 for the article “Foul Play: Fan Fatalities in Twentieth-Century Organized Baseball.” He lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Robert M. Gorman and David Weeks
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 344
Bibliographic Info: 36 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7932-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2258-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments vii

Preface to the Second Edition 1

Preface to the First Edition 2

Introduction 5

I • Players

1—Beaning Fatalities 7

2—Other ­Pitched-Ball Fatalities 33

3—Thrown Ball Fatalities 40

4—Bat and ­Batted-Ball Fatalities 50

5—Collision Fatalities 71

6—Health-Related Fatalities 81

7—Fatalities from Weather and Field Conditions 93

8—Fatalities from Violence 106

9—Erroneously Reported Player Fatalities 116

II • Field Personnel

10—Play, Health and ­Field-Related Fatalities Among Field Personnel 131

11—Violence Against Field Personnel 142

III • Fans

12—Action-Related Fatalities Among Fans 151

13—Fan Fatalities from Falls, Risky Behavior and Violence 170

14—Health-Related Fatalities Among Fans 195

15—Weather and ­Field-Related Fatalities Among Fans 204

Appendix A—Unconfirmed Fatalities 215

Appendix B—Chronology of All Fatalities 218

Chapter Notes 251

Bibliography 302

Index 313

Book Reviews & Awards

“an excellent reference resource…a quality reference work and should have a place on the shelves of all historians researching connections between sport, violence, and safety”—Journal of Sport History; “this book belongs in large public library and college or university baseball collections but its distinctive subject matter will be of interest to a wide range of baseball fans as well as many baseball players of all ages and to researchers interested in the sociology of sports”—ARBA; “Reviews of the first edition”: “recommended”—Library Journal; “fascinating anecdotes…exhaustively researched…a fascinating read…a fascinating resource”—Nine; “the definitive account of baseball fatalities”—S.L. Price, Sports Illustrated; “fascinating account”—Charlotte Observer; “fascinating”—Times-News, magicvalley.com; “the definitive account of baseball fatalities”—SI.com; “an excellent reference book and a triumph of difficult research”—Tim Wiles, Director of Research, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.