His name was Ray Chapman. He was a shortstop with the Cleveland Indians in 1920. He was one of the team’s major stars and their best infielder. But his name became a footnote in history when he became the first and only player in major league baseball to die after being hit by a baseball.
It happened at the Polo Grounds in New York City in a game against the Yankees. Chapman had a reputation for allowing himself to be hit by pitches and Yankees pitcher Carl Mays was a famous “bean ball” pitcher. It was recipe for disaster.