Jaffe: J.A. Happ brings to mind other scary pitching injuries

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at The Strike Zone on May 8, 2013:

The line drive that drilled J.A. Happ in the head on Tuesday night was terrifying enough on its own. Its connection to similar incidents in baseball history was underscored (no pun intended) by the fact that it took place on the 56th anniversary of perhaps the most famous instance of a major league pitcher being struck by a batted ball. On May 7, 1957, the Indians’ Herb Score was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees’ Gil McDougald, and the promising young lefty’s career was never the same.

Signed for a $60,000 bonus in 1952 by Cy Slapnicka, the same Indians scout who had discovered Hall of Famer Bob Feller, Score reached the majors as a 21-year-old in 1955, and he quickly found success. He won AL Rookie of the Year honors on the strength of a 16-10 record, a 2.85 ERA and an MLB-high 245 strikeouts, the second-highest total by a southpaw since the Deadball Era (Hal Newhouser’s 275 in 1946 was first). Eight times he reached double digits in strikeouts that year, with a high of 16 K’s. He was even better the following season, going 20-9 with a 2.53 ERA, 263 strikeouts and five shutouts, the latter two marks both AL highs. This time around, he had 11 double-digit strikeout games.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/05/08/ja-a-happ-brandon-mccarthy-herb-score/

Originally published: May 8, 2013. Last Updated: May 8, 2013.