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Like other teams, the Dodgers have had their fair share of tragedy and misfortune. Here's the All-Tragedy team (minus a couple positions):




P > Tim Crews

On March 21, 1993, Tim Crews—then in spring training with the Clevaland Indians—was killed in a boating accident near Tavares, Florida. Also killed was teammate Steve Olin. Former Dodger Bob Ojeda was seriously injured, but survived. The accident happened when their 18-foot open-air bass boat ran head-high into a new dock extending some 220-250 feet into the lake. The boat, equipped with a 150-horsepower engine capable of powering it at speeds up to 50 m.p.h., apparently was traveling at a high rate of speed in the dark. An autopsy later concluded that Crews was legally drunk.

 

P > Steve Howe

In 1980, Steve Howe was the National League Rookie of the Year. And it was downhill from there. Despite some success on the mound, Howe's alcohol and cocaine abuse ruined his career. He first checked himself into a substance abuse clinic in 1983, but a relapse resulted in him being suspended for the entire 1984 season. Over the course of his 17-year career, Howe was suspended seven times. In 1992, Howe became the second player to be banned from baseball for life because of substance abuse. He successfully appealed the suspension and re-signed with the Yankees, where he pitched one final season in 1994. Even after his career was over, Howe continued to be plagued by problems. On April 28, 2006, Howe died at age 48 when his pickup truck rolled over in Coachella, California. It was later determined that he had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash.

 

C > Roy Campanella

Just four months before the Dodgers were to play their first game in Los Angeles, Roy Campanella was paralyzed in an automobile accident. Campanella never played a game in Los Angeles, yet became one of Southern California's most beloved sports figures. In May of 1959, a year after the accident, the Dodgers and Yankees drew 93,103 people to the Los Angeles Coliseum to honor Campanella. Thousands more were turned away from what still ranks as the largest crowd ever for a major-league game.

Backup Catcher: Steve Yeager
In 1976, Yeager was injured when a piece of Bill Russell's bat shattered and hit him in the neck as he was waiting on deck, piercing his esophagus. He had nine pieces of wood taken out of his neck in 98 minutes of surgery. Yeager later invented the catcher's throat protector flap that hangs from the catcher's mask, which he began wearing after the life-threatening incident.

 

1B > Greg Brock

True, Brock didn't suffer a physical tragedy (and to the best of our knowledge he's still alive), but his total failure on the baseball field was tragedy in itself. Poor fucker.

 

2B > Steve Sax's arm

Sax's 700 throwing errors in the early 80's make him a lock for the all-tragedy team. You could have put Greg Brock on a rhino standing over the bag, and Sax's throw still would have missed him.

 

3B > Adrian Beltre's stomach

After a botched appendectomy in the Dominican Republic during the winter of 2001, Beltre developed an infection, lost something like 30 pounds, and oozed for months. Word is that the surgery was performed by Dr. Juan Samuel.

 

SS > Mike Sharperson

Sharperson, who played with the Dodgers from 1987 to 1993, was killed in a one-car accident on May 26, 1996 just outside of Las Vegas. At the time Sharpie was with the San Diego Padres' Triple-A farm team in Las Vegas, and was due to join the major-league club later that day.

 

OF > Darryl Strawberry

Strawberry should have been one of baseball's all-time greats, but his appetite for cocaine and self-destruction ultimately made him one of baseball's most tragic figures. Now his career is over, the millions of dollars he earned are gone, and he had to fight cancer.

 

OF > Brett Butler

In the middle of the 1996 season, Butler was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although experts said he was never expected to play again, Butler made an amazing comeback. He then suffered a broken hand in just his fifth game back in September -- his second "season-ending" injury of the year.

 

OF > Glenn Burke

As one of the only players in major league history to say openly that he was gay, Burke was an inspiration to many even before he revealed his sexual orientation in a national magazine two years after his retirement from baseball in 1980. Dodger Coach Jim Gilliam once said that Burke could be the next Willie Mays. But in four major league seasons, 2 1/2 with the Dodgers, Burke batted only .237. Still, he left a lasting contribution to baseball lore. Late in the 1977 season, with the Dodgers headed toward the National League pennant, an exuberant Burke greeted teammate Dusty Baker at home plate after Baker hit his 30th homer of the season. Burke raised his right hand above his head, Baker did the same, and they slapped hands. It was, according to baseball legend, the first high-five. After his career was over, however, Burke contracted the AIDS virus, and his life soon spun out of control. He did time in prison and was often destitute and homeless, spending his time panhandling on the streets of San Francisco. Burke died on May 30, 1995.

 


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