Carl Mays (1891
) was one of the best pitchers
not enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame
. One of only four pitchers to win 20 or more games with three different teams, the talented submariner
compiled a 207-126 record, a sparkling .622 career winning percentage, and a 2.92 ERA
in 15 seasons with the Red Sox
, and Giants
But sadly Mays will be remembered most as the player who caused the first and only death by a pitched ball in major league history. Pitching for the Yankees on August 16, 1920, Mays threw a rising submarine fastball to Cleveland shortstop Ray Chapman. It is unclear whether Chapman ever saw the ball, because he never moved. The pitch fractured his skull and he died the next day.
That fateful pitch wound up ruining two careers. The baseball world never forgave Mays for that one pitch to the popular Chapman, who had been an rising star. Although Mays pitched well in 1921, endless abuse and criticism began to take a toll and he never quite seemed to be the same pitcher he had been before that pitch to Chapman. Many still feel that Chapman's death was the only thing that kept Mays out of the Hall of Fame.