Freak Cardinal Injuries

Matt Holliday hurt his finger while swinging a bat in the on-deck circle Tuesday night. Doctors found the tendon for the ring finger on his right hand inflamed when they examined him on Wednesday. Holliday will miss this weekend’s series with Philadelphia.

Hurting one’s finger while warming up has to qualify for weirdest injury ever, right? How unlucky can you be? Unfortunately, the Cardinals are no strangers to freak injuries. Here’s a short list of other odd injuries that have recently befallen the franchise.

Freese breaks toe, 2010. While rehabilitating from an earlier injury, part-time third baseman David Freese dropped a weight plate on his left foot, breaking his big toe. He missed the rest of the season.

Matheny cuts hand, 2000. Mike Matheny was a Gold Glove catcher for the Cardinals in 2000, and the team returned to the playoffs for the first time in 4 seasons. On the last Friday of that regular season Matheny received a hunting knife as a birthday present; since it was wrapped, he didn’t realize it was a knife until after he had opened it and almost sliced the ring finger off his right hand. Matheny missed the 2000 playoffs.

Osborne cuts hand, 1996. In Tony LaRussa‘s first year as manager, and a year after finishing 19 games under .500, the Cardinals were NL Central Champions, headed to the post-season for the first time since 1987. Dutifully, Cardinal management provided champagne for the players to enjoy the day they clinched the division title. At some point, one of the bottles was broken, and as (un)luck would have it, Cardinal lefty Donovan Osborne cut his pitching hand grabbing that bottle. 1996 was the best year of Osborne’s career, and based on ERA+ he was the ace of the staff. Osborne got shelled in two of his three post-season starts, including Game 7 of the NLCS against Atlanta.

Cox breaks ankle, 1986. Danny Cox was an 18-game winner for the NL Champs in 1985, combining with Joaquin Andujar and John Tudor to form a formidable rotation for the Cardinals. In a harbinger of the season to come, he jumped off a 3-foot seawall while fishing during spring training and chipped a bone in his right ankle. The surgery to remove the chip, and subsequent recovery, caused the righty to miss the first month of the 1986 season. St Louis staggered out of the gate, was 10 games under .500 on 31 May, and finished 79-82.

Coleman and the tarp, 1985. Quite possibly the most famous of all the Cardinal freak injuries. Vince Coleman, arguably the fastest man in baseball, the 1985 NL Rookie of the Year, owner of 110 stolen bases, was run down by the 1.5 MPH automatic tarp machine before Game 3 of the 1985 NLCS against the Dodgers. Without him as the catalyst for their attack, St Louis put up a puny .309 OBP and recorded only 8 successful steals (they were caught 8 times) during the rest of the post-season (13 games).

Matt should only be out 4 or 5 games. The bad news: that’s 38% of the Cardinals remaining games. Trying to make up 4 games on Atlanta with 13 left to play just got a lot harder.

Mike is a life-long Cardinals fan currently sitting in San Diego with his fingers crossed. He blogs about the San Diego Padres.

7 thoughts on “Freak Cardinal Injuries

    1. I knew a savvy commenter would remember Encarnacion.

      While his injury epitomizes freak, to me it is also something else. It is tragic. Every one I mentioned in the article returned to the field. Juan’s career ended as a result of that line drive, so I look upon his injury differently. In hindsight, I should have explained that in the post.

      Great comment, and thanks for reading.

  1. I still believe to this day if Matheny didn’t cut his hand, Rick Ankiel wouldn’t of had his meltdown in the playoffs. Hernandez didn’t know how to handle the situation. Just my opinion.

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