Bobby Byrne Newsbeat
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Pittsburgh Gazette Times, March 20, 1913:
[Smoky Joe] Wood was showing more speed than the Pirates have seen this spring, and when a high fast ball came straight toward [Bobby] Byrne’s head he failed to dodge it. He started to turn, and the ball caught him above the back of the left ear, striking with a thud audible all over the park. Players of both clubs rushed toward him and found him unconscious.
Byrne was never the same ballplayer after the Wood beaning. He was entering his Age 28 season, having put up a .281/.355/.396 (109 OPS+) line over the past three years. Byrne’s OPS+ never again topped 90 in anything resembling a full season, and he was washed up by the time he turned 30.
Byrne, by the way, had survived a near-fatal car crash in November 1912.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Pittsburgh Press, November 21, 1912:
Bobby Byrne...who third sacks for the Pittsburg Pirates, was in an automobile smash-up late yesterday afternoon that might have resulted in his death. However, fortunately he escaped with only a few bruises on his back and about $500 damage to his auto.
[As Byrne tried to make a turn at full speed] a delivery wagon appeared from an opposite direction. Then in between the wagon and Byrne’s auto a pedestrian hurried across the street and was in the jam. Bob…either had to smash the wagon, run over the pedestrian or crack into a telegraph pole.
The machine escaped both objects in front, but smashed into the pole and split it in half. Byrne was thrown out of his seat and fell upon the sidewalk.
According to Byrne’s SABR bio, the next week he began to feel a “jerking pain” on his right side and was confined to bed. Four months later, in Spring Training, he was knocked unconscious by a Smoky Joe Wood fastball to the head.
Not a particularly good offseason for Byrne.
for his generous support.
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