When word broke that new Pittsburgh Pirates starter Francisco Liriano broke his arm (and lost $12 million) trying to scare his kids over Christmas, if wasn’t really that shocking. Pro athletes have a history of throwing large sums of cash down the toilet by injuring themselves in the stupidest possible ways. Here are some of the all time most bizarre, idiotic and ridiculous sports injuries to ever take place both on, but mostly off, the field.
JOEL PERALTA HURTS HIS NECK GETTING OUT OF A CAMARO
Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta missed a day of throwing in spring training this year after hurting his neck getting out of his car awkwardly. Peralta had stopped for some sandwiches and tweaked his neck ducking his head to get out of the Camaro. Don’t worry, he still got his sandwiches and reported that they were “good.”
WADE BOGGS BRUISES RIBS WHILE TAKING OFF COWBOY BOOTS
The Hall of Famer was off to a white-hot start in 1986, hitting .404 as late as June 6. But that’s when he tried to kick off his cowboy boots in a Toronto hotel room, lost his balance and fell ribs-first onto the arm of a couch. Relegated to pinch-hitting duty for a few games, Boggs ended the year at .357.
PLAXICO BURRESS SHOOTS HIMSELF IN LEG
Sweatpants, a Glock and New York City’s incredibly strict gun laws do not mix. After shooting himself-and only himself-in November 2008, Plax would end up spending nearly two years in prison.
GLENALLEN HILL CRASHES THROUGH GLASS COFFEE TABLE
The gold standard for absurd injuries, the Blue Jays outfielder/arachnophobe was napping on the couch in 1990 when he had a nightmare about spiders. Panicked, he woke up, stumbled and took his fateful fall, suffering countless cuts to his toes and elbows.
EDDY CURRY’S PHYSIOBALL EXPLODES
Naturally, he wasn’t even working out on it. The rotund Knicks center was just taking a break from practice in October 2008 when he sat on the giant blue ball, causing it to explode and scraping his wrist. (Not to be outdone, the next season Curry would sprain his ankle during a walk-through at practice.)
JOBA CHAMBERLAIN SHATTERS ANKLE ON TRAMPOLINE
When you’re recovering from Tommy John surgery, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging out at a place called the Boing Jump Center. The Yankees reliever didn’t get the message, suffering a compound fracture (yes, that means bone through skin) last March. But there is a silver lining: the 911 call wound up on Deadspin.
OLIVER PEREZ BREAKS TOE KICKING LAUNDRY CART
Allowing four runs and 12 baserunners in just six innings takes a toll on a man. No wonder the Pirates’ Perez took it out on a laundry cart in Busch Stadium, landing on the 15-day DL.
GEORGE BRETT BREAKS TOE ON DOORJAMB
The same man who missed a World Series game because of hemorrhoids landed on the DL with his own broken piggy. And the Royals great did it the way so many others did it in 1983: rushing from to the TV so he could watch a Bill Buckner at-bat.
RICHIE SEXSON STRAINS NECK WHILE TRYING ON HAT
Not one to spoil the feeling of camaraderie on team photo day in the spring of 2003, the 6’6″ Mariners slugger tried to squeeze his noggin into a 6 5/8 hat. Apparently, this is not the best idea when your actual hat size is 7 5/8.
COLIN SMART DRINKS AFTERSHAVE
Well, he didn’t mean to. In 1982, an English rugby teammate tricked him into thinking he drank a bottle (it was really white wine) and challenged Smart to do the same. He did and collapsed, but was rushed to the hospital in time to have his stomach pumped and, you know, not die.
BRIAN GRIESE TRIPS OVER DOG
2002 was a tough year for Broncos QB Brian Griese. Four months after he fell on teammate Terrell Davis’ driveway and was knocked unconscious (a spill rumored to be booze related), Griese was walking down his steps when his excited dog followed, clipped him and sprained his ankle.
BRIAN ANDERSON BURNS FACE WITH IRON
We’re not saying the former D-back should have used his pitching hand back in 1998 when he was checking to see if the iron was hot enough, but surely the southpaw could’ve used something else.
BRANDON MARSHALL PUTS ARM THROUGH TV SET
Back in 2008, the Broncos wide receiver was so embarrassed by the real cause of his injury (wrestling with family members) that he made up an even dumber excuse (slipping on a McDonald’s wrapper). The truth: he severed an artery, a vein, tendons in five muscles and needed three months to recover.
BRET BARBERIE GETS HOT SAUCE IN EYE
The infielder doesn’t skimp on his famous nachos, loading them with chili peppers and hot sauce. Unfortunately, he also doesn’t wash his hands before putting in his contacts. That’s why Barberie missed a game in 1993 when he was on the Marlins.
MARTY CORDOVA BURNS FACE IN TANING BED
Vanity reared its ugly head in May 2002 when the bronzed Cordova burned his face in a tanning bed and was told by a doctor to stay out of the sun for a few days-not the most convenient prescription when you’re an outfielder for the Orioles.
JOEL ZUMAYA COMES DOWN WITH GUITAR HERO ELBOW
The fire-throwing Tigers reliever missed all of the 2006 ALCS with a wrist injury that, we later learned, was from playing too much Guitar Hero. The high profile (and highly mocked) injury even got him a shout out in the credits of Guitar Hero II.
DUSTIN PENNER HURTS BACK EATING PANCAKES
Last season, the Kings forward sat down at the kitchen table for some of his wife’s delicious pancakes when his back locked up, knocking him out for a game. This is the sort of joy your lockouts deprive us from, Bettman!
CHARLES BARKLEY INJURES EYES AT CONCERT
We really can’t say it better than the New York Times: “Charles Barkley inadvertently burned his corneas when he rubbed body lotion into his eyes during an Eric Clapton concert and will miss the Phoenix Suns’ [1994-95] opener Friday night. An ophthalmologist ordered the forward to wear eye patches for 12 hours.”
LIONEL LETIZI STRAINS BACK PICKING UP SCRABBLE TILE
Just last summer, the Paris-Saint Germain goalkeeper missed two games thanks to his board-game based injury. (It better have been an X.)
STEVE SPARKS SEPARATES SHOULDER TEARING PHONE BOOK IN HALF
Well, trying to tear one in half, anyway. Sparks was a Brewers minor leaguer when the team was visited by motivational speakers in 1994. The next day, a pumped up Sparks tried to ape the feat he saw them do, popping his shoulder and delaying his promotion to the big leagues by a year.
KEVIN MITCHELL CHIPS TOOTH ON DONUT
Back when he was a member of the 1980s Mets, the utility man (who once strained an oblique vomiting), popped a frozen chocolate donut in the microwave, didn’t defrost it long enough and paid the price. The result is his infamous gold tooth.
KEN GRIFFEY JR. PINCHES TESTICLE
Hey, at least it was his own. During his Reds tenure, Junior Griffey got one of his junior Griffeys pinched by his protective cup, missing a game in the painful process.
ALLEN WATSON SLASHES WRIST OPENING BEER
Due to come off the DL in July 1998, Angels starter Allen Watson decided to celebrate with a cold one. Instead, the bottle shattered while he was opening it, gashing his wrist and sending him to the ER. (The wound missed being fatal by just a quarter-inch.)
ADAM EATON STABS HIMSELF OPENING DVD
Like any red-blooded American in 2001, Eaton couldn’t wait to open his new DVD, a double bill of Backdraft and Happy Gilmore. Unfortunately, in the battle of Padres pitcher vs. shrink wrap, shrink wrap won: While trying to open the packaging, Eaton stabbed himself in the stomach with a knife.
SAMMY SOSA STRAINS BACK SNEEZING
It was May 2004 when the never-going-to-be-a Hall of Famer sneezed twice in the clubhouse, bringing on back spasms that knocked him out of the lineup and required an epidural.
CHRIS HANSON HITS HIS OWN FOOT WITH AXE
In 2003, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio kept a tree stump and axe in the locker room, a bit of idiotic symbolism encouraging the team to “keep choppin’ wood.” Seeing some teammates take a hack, the punter did the same-and hit his foot instead. Hanson missed a month.