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100 years ago, Cleveland Indians’ Ray Chapman became the only MLB player to die playing the game

The shortstop died as a result of an errant pitch
Raymond Johnson Chapman was playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1920 when during a game...
Raymond Johnson Chapman was playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1920 when during a game against the Yankees he was hit in the head with a pitch. The next morning at 4:30 a.m. Chapman died.(Michael K. Dakota)
Published: Aug. 16, 2020 at 4:24 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Aug. 17, 2020 marks the 100th year since Cleveland Indians’ shortstop Raymond Johnson Chapman died as a result of an errant pitch.

He was the only Major League Baseball player to ever die from an injury received in a game.

Chapman was playing for the Toledo Mud Hens before being acquired by the Cleveland Indians in 1912.

Although he was able to walk off the field on Aug. 16, 1920, he was taken to the hospital where he died 12 hours later.

Ray Chapman, pictured here, was killed after being hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 16, 1920....
Ray Chapman, pictured here, was killed after being hit in the head by a pitch on Aug. 16, 1920. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Chapman was playing for the Toledo Mud Hens before being acquired by the Cleveland Indians in 1912.

After spending eight years with the Tribe, thousands of Clevelanders attended Chapman’s funeral at St. John’s Cathedral.

With the 1920 season dedicated to his memory, his teammates would go on to win the league and world championships for the first time.

His final resting place in the city’s historic Lake View Cemetery near Daffodil Hill has become a pilgrimage of sorts for fans who want to remember this historic player.

Fans who visit the grave often leave Cleveland Indians memorabilia.

The fateful pitch that struck Chapman would forever change the game.

In 1920, pitchers could intentionally dirty up the ball with a host of substances with the goal of making it harder for those at-bat to see the ball.

The MLB introduced a rule following the tragedy that prohibited any player from intentionally discoloring the ball.

Raymond Johnson Chapman was playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1920 when during a game...
Raymond Johnson Chapman was playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1920 when during a game against the Yankees he was hit in the head with a pitch. The next morning at 4:30 a.m. Chapman died.(Michael K. Dakota)

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