The year 1920, a century ago now, was very active in the world of baseball, even in Venezuela, where we began to play it. Baseball had been played in Caracas since the end of the 1902th century, and the Cuban shortstop, Emeritus Argudín, had arrived in the city in XNUMX, a tremendous hitter, very prepared and in love with the ball game, who transformed it for the better, for example by professionalizing it. , making it a serious sport.
He wrote the first translation of the Rules published in Venezuela, founded the newspaper “Base Ball” and became leader of the game, until being one of the organizers of the First Category National Series, 1926-1927. Soon after, Emeritus returned to Natal.
The world was then fighting to recover from two horrible dramas, the First World War, ended in 1918, and the pandemic called the plague or Spanish flu, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide between 1918 and 1919.
It was 1920 the year when Ray Chapman, shortstop of the Indians, was the first, and until now the only bigleaguer killed in the field of a pitch. Helmets were not yet used.
Yankees pitcher Carl May was the author of the kick-off, on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 17, at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, where the New York team had their home temporarily, since we were three years away from inaugurate Yankee Stadium.
The Indians won that game of tragedy 4-3, and raised Joe Sewell the next day to take over the shortstop position.
All playing in memory and in tribute to Chapman, they won the championship plus the World Series to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Chapman's widow was given 986 dollars and 31 cents, which corresponded to her husband as part of the Champion team.
In the major leagues, no one else has died in such circumstances, even though there have been serious accidents, such as those of Tony Conigliaro and Dickie Thon. The two of them were never able to play like before receiving balls in the face, even when they were hit, during the time of wearing the helmet. But they were not hitting the head, but the face.
The first player to be tragically killed in action, was the first professional of this sport, Jim Craighton, in October 1862, in Brooklyn. He suffered from a hernia in his bladder and it was destroyed by making a swing with which he shot a home run.
chapman clamor badipped in blood:"Tell my wife that I love her very much!"
At the time of the tragedy, the Indians were winning 3-0, and the account in the young man was 1-1. The ball bounced off the head of Chapman, who landed next to home plate. Blood flowed from his ears.
The umpire, Tom Connolly, yelled for a doctor to be called (they didn't have them under contract yet, like today). Players from both clubs surrounded Ray. With help, he managed to get up, and walked towards the clubhouse, which had to go through the field to the centerfield.
“Inform Kate (his wife) that I am fine,” he stammered, “and please tell her that I love her very much. And where is my ring?
The trainer kept the ring with diamonds, a gift from his wife Kathleen Daly, who had fired him the previous night at the train station in Cleveland, and who was expecting her first child.
Chapman, in his ninth major league season, had planned to retire after that year's campaign, even though he was at his best.
They thought he had survived: Endured the operation and soon after died
"Yes, I am going to retire because I no longer want these separations from my wife," he had said in an interview, "I am going to dedicate myself to her, our son and the businesses in Cleveland."
The ring was placed on his left ring finger, according to the custom of married people in the United States. Then he tried to smile, and passed out. He no longer regained consciousness.
At St. Lawrence Hospital, they found a nine-centimeter left parietal fracture. At dawn on Tuesday the 17th, at 12:29, the operation began. They removed a bone fragment, about four centimeters per side.
The brain had suffered serious injuries. They found blood clots. The operation concluded at 1:44 that morning.
Chapman breathed better, so his teammates, who had been awake, returned to the hotel, confident that the worst was over. However, when they woke up hours later, they learned that Ray had died at 4:40.
"Chapman didn't pull away at launch.", Speaker.
"I don't think Mays deliberately shot Chappie (Ray Chapman)," Cleveland manager-player for the day Tris Speaker later said. "He had time to pull away, but he never moved."
The year of the expulsion of those sold in 1919
In 1920, those sold in the 1919 World Series were expelled from baseball; Eddie Cicote, Joe (Shoeless) Jackson, Lefty Williams, Swede Risberg, Chick Gandil, Happy Felch, Buck Weaver and Fred McM