Stan Engel, Canadian oil-league ballplayer

From SABR member Larry Granillo at Baseball Prospectus on March 29, 2012:

In case you had forgotten how dangerous the game of baseball can be, this article from the September 13, 1949, edition of the Edmonton Journal would like to remind you otherwise. Even better, though, is the life-story that it tells.

Under the heading “Athlete Foils Blindness”, Hugh Mason wrote an article called “Coming Blindness Fails to Vanquish Stan Engel”. At the time, Engel was the player-manager of the “Senior ‘B’ Baseball League” Texaco Oilers (“one of the 27 Texaco sponsored teams across Canada”). Engel began his career as a teenager, playing high school ball in Bellingham, Washington, and then some “E” class ball in Oklahoma City. At the time, he was a pitcher but he eventually (“after a brace of catastrophies”) found himself in Canada behind the plate.

His first mishap came in Tisdale, Saskatchewan when he was “beaned” and unconscious for over four days.

The doctor’s verdict was a shattered skull. And they told him he would never play again. They also told him that the bones in his skull which were knitting back together would sever both optic nevers leading from his eyes.

A man like Engel was not easily deterred. After being advised against returning to baseball – he had a shattered skull after all! – Engel did so anyway. While catching for the Canadian Navy team, Engel’s bad luck continued.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 30, 2012. Last Updated: March 30, 2012.