Saturday, May 21, 2005

 

May 21th, 1970

Bryce Florie Born


Bryce Florie is the man who holds the unfortunate distinction of being the man who had the single scariest thing to ever take place on a baseball field while I was watching. A reliever for most of his career, Florie was a workmanlike journeyman who had ended up on the Red Sox in the 2000 season. On September 8th, Florie was pitching against the Yankees at Fenway Park. Florie was in the ninth with the Sox already down 4-0. With two outs, the Yankees sent September call-up Ryan Thompson to the plate. Thompson turned on an inside pitch and lined it back to the mound, where it smashed against Florie's face. The impact was so hard that the ball actually bounced towards third baseman Lou Merloni and he threw out Thompson.

Florie, however, had crumpled on the mound. When the trainer ran out and had Florie take his hands away from his face, it was clear major damage had been done. The ball had fractured Florie's cheekbone, but more seriously shattered the orbital socket. If you take your left index finger and put it on the left side of the bridge of your nose and then move it counterclockwise you can feel the orbital socket, surrounding the eye. Obviously, it is a major thing. Florie also suffered damage to his retina, surgery was required to prevent him from going blind.

Florie recovered sufficiently to pitch a few innings for the Sox in 2001, but was released and never pitched in the Majors after that. However, sitting at home and watching it on TV, it was a ghastly sight and one that I've still not forgotten, much as I wish I could.




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