Ray Chapman

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Ray Chapman (January 15, 1891August 17, 1920) was a shortstop for the American League Cleveland team, known as the Naps from 1912-1914 and Indians from 1915-1920. Chapman was born in Beaver Dam, Kentucky. As of 2005, he is the only Major League Baseball player to have been killed in a game. His death was one of the reasons the spitball was outlawed, and was also one of the factors leading to the rule mandating the wearing of batting helmets, although the rule was not adopted until years later.

Chapman was struck by a pitch August 16, 1920 in a game against the New York Yankees. Carl Mays threw the pitch that struck him in the head. Chapman died twelve hours later in a hospital in New York, New York.

Cleveland players wore black arm bands to honor Chapman, and manager Tris Speaker led the team to win both the pennant and the first World Championship in the history of the club.

After Chapman's terrible death, Joe Sewell took his place at shortstop.

Chapman led the American League in runs scored and walks in 1918. A top-notch bunter, Chapman is 6th on the all-time list for sacrifice hits. Only Stuffy McInnis has more sacrifices for right-handed batters. Chapman was also an excellent shortstop who lead the league in putouts three times and assists once. He batted .300 three times, led the Indians in stolen bases four times, and set a team record of 52 stolen bases which stood from 1917 to 1980. He was hitting .303 with 97 runs when he died. Baseball analyst Bill James has said that Chapman was "probably destined for the Hall of Fame had he lived." Interestingly, the man who replaced him, Joe Sewell, would go on to a have Hall of Fame career of his own.

Chapman is buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland.

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