In one of the more bizarre injuries in baseball, Don Baylor broke his right leg — on the ceremonial first pitch of opening day.
And Baylor was catching the first pitch.
Baylor, the former major-leaguer who is now the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, crouched on one knee to take the throw from Vladimir Guerrero, with the two making a feel-good battery of the two Angels players who have won American League MVP awards. But Guerrero’s pitch was low and away and when Baylor lunged to backhand it, his right ankle turned badly, breaking his right femur. Guerrero rushed to his side, but Baylor, 64, could not get up. He was carried off the field and will undergo surgery Tuesday.
Baylor was known for his toughness as a player and his ability to shake off being hit by a pitch.
For those who don’t recall Don Baylor’s toughness: He was hit by pitches 267 times, and famously did not react when ball bounced off him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 1, 2014
Warning: the video is difficult to watch.
“It got me sick when I was warming up and hearing what happened in the dugout,” Mike Trout said after the Angels’ loss in Anaheim to the Seattle Mariners.
“Obviously it’s a freak [injury],” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.