By Ross Kelly
By now everyone has heard about the situation involving Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul. While we don’t know all of the details, the keywords are pretty self-explanatory: “injured hand”, “fireworks”, “accident”. It’s been a while since we had a freaky athlete injury so I thought it would be a good idea to look back at other strange athlete injuries.
We start off with another phalanges-related accident, this one involving retired slugger Jose Canseco. In 2014 the “author” of Juiced was cleaning a gun and accidentally shot himself in the hand. He ended up losing part of the middle finger on his left hand but plenty of former MLB players would be happy to give him that finger.
This is Adam Eaton, the former pitcher and not the White Sox outfielder. This Eaton had to miss a start in 2001 after he accidentally stabbed himself while opening a DVD. He was using a pocket knife and said the package was tough to penetrate but then “it went through like butter” and the blade went into his abdomen. But Eaton had a good sense of humor about the situation, saying “You have to have a little fat, too [points to his belly], or I could’ve really hurt myself.”
The former NFL punter had two head-scratching injuries in his career both while he was with the Jaguars. First in June 2002, he and kicker Jaret Holmes were burned when a fondue pot overturned. The two were carrying the pot when it slipped onto the tile floor in his house. Hanson suffered first and second-degree burns but recovered in time for the season. However, during the 2003 season Hanson suffered a season-ending injury that’s even more bizarre than the fondue one. The Jags’ motto that season had been “keep choppin’ wood” and as a symbol of that theme, Coach Jack Del Rio had a wooden tree stump and ax placed in the locker room. After seeing the real football players take swings at the wood with the ax, Hanson tried to give it a shot. Somehow, he apparently missed the tree stump on a swing and the ax ended up connecting with his non-kicking foot which led to the team putting him on IR.
The former NL MVP has had some notable incidents off the field, but nothing is crazier than injury he suffered which led to him being fitted with a gold tooth. Mitchell reportedly broke his tooth while biting into a frozen cupcake that he had put in the microwave too long and had hardened. The incident led to him needing a root canal which ultimately led Mitchell to getting a gold tooth as a replacement for the broken one.
Remember the Game Boy? The handheld device developed by Nintendo that was popular in the early 1990s. Lionel Simmons, the former Naismith Player of the Year, certainly does. In 1991 Simmons played Game Boy so much that he developed tendinitis in his wrist and forearm causing him to miss a few games while with the Sacramento Kings. No word on if he switched to the Game Gear after the injury.
Barberie had a nondescript 6-year MLB career and you could probably name his ex-wife quicker than any of the teams he played for. But Barberie became infamous after missing some time due to an eye injury. One day he was eating spicy nachos loaded with peppers and hot sauce. Then, apparently, right after finishing the meal he decided to put his contact lenses in and you can imagine what happened next. Barberie ended up burning his retinas and had to sit out a game. Afterwords he said, “Those were very hot peppers. It’s the same stuff they make Mace with, you know.” We’ll take your word on it.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Even all-time greats succumb to the bizarre. Griffey had many (normal) injuries during his career but this one would make even Lance Armstrong blush. Griffey reportedly missed a game because his cup “shifted” to the side and pinched a testicle. Those are all of the details I have on that injury and all the details I want to have on that injury. But it does give this story a bit more context.