Eight of the craziest injuries in Atlanta Braves franchise history
Generally speaking, injuries to Atlanta Braves players is only bad news and, in most cases, the issues are minor and the causes are forgotten about . No one cares that a guy tweaks a hamstring running down the line, jams a finger sliding into second, pulls a muscle in their back landing awkwardly after a pitch, or has a bruised wrist after an hit by pitch. The only thing fans care about is how long an injury is going to hamper a player and/or keep them out.
The Atlanta Braves have their own crazy injury history
However, there are injuries so bizarre that stand the test of the time. Sometimes, it is a player doing something remarkably stupid. Others get hurt doing something so innocuous that its hard to even understand HOW they hurt themselves. Again, there are examples of this sort of thing across sports that are notorious and easy to find…but have the Braves been able to dodge this sort of misfortune?
The short answer is absolutely not, but before we get into eight of the craziest Braves injuries in franchise history (in no particular order and certainly not exhaustive), we need to address one injury that most Braves fans would expect on this list, but that appears to be at least partially debunked, and that is John Smoltz burning his chest ironing a shirt WHILE HE WAS WEARING THE SHIRT. Smoltz has gone to explain that he actually wasn’t wearing the shirt,that the hot water from in the iron splashed on and gave him a small burn, and it turned into this urban legend. I doubt that Smoltz would ever admit if the legend were actually true and the story warrants mentioning regardless, so there it is. Anyways, here are the eight of the craziest injuries in the history of the Atlanta Braves.
Dansby Swanson got hit in his man parts
A lot of these injuries are funny to look back at now because everything turned out fine, but definitely made fans feel a large amount of empathy at the time and this is definitely one of them. Back in 2016, Dansby was chatting between innings with the other infielders when an errant throw from the catcher during warm-ups resulted in him getting hit in a…sensitive area and he was most certainly not wearing a cup. Dansby had to leave the game after that one and while he was fine, he did say afterwards that he was going to wearing a cup from then on.
Tom Glavine broke a rib because he vomited too hard
We are obviously glad there is no video of this one and frankly, this sounds like it was extraordinarily unpleasant for Glavine at the time. During the 1992 season, Tom Glavine had an uncharacteristic slump where he very clearly wasn’t pitching like himself. As it turns out, the cause was that he had a bout with a stomach virus that was so brutal, that he was vomiting so hard that it actually injured his ribs to the point where one of them broke. Glavine wasn’t going to be denied his chance at a 20 win season and the Braves needed him, so he pitched through the discomfort, but that had to have been one hell of a stomach bug.
Huascar Ynoa broke his hand punching the bench in the dugout
Remember that stretch when Huascar Ynoa was looking like he was going to run away with the Silver Slugger at pitcher while dominating on the mound for the Braves? It was a simpler time back then. However, Ynoa makes this list (just to have some recent representation) because of what ended up derailing his entire season. During a May 2021 start against the Brewers where he very clearly did not have his best stuff, Ynoa punched the bench in the dugout with his pitching hand. Huascar found out that more often than not, wood will beat hands as he broke a bone in his pitching hand. Huascar would not pitch again in the big leagues until August and he was never able to recapture the magic he had during that early 2021 run.
Yunel Escobar got an abdominal strain jumping in the on-deck circle
Younger Braves fans may not remember the Yunel Escobar era in Atlanta Braves history. In short, he was a productive player that a lot of people, including teammates and coaches, did not like very much. However, the most memorable part of his tenure with the team may be when he hurt himself during his pre-plate appearance routine in the on-deck circle. See, Yunel had this thing where he would jump repeatedly in the on-deck circle to warm up for his at-bats. Why he thought this was the best course of action is fair to ask, but not really important for our purposes. During a 2009 game against the Marlins, Yunel either jumped too high or too often…I dunno, whatever it was wasn’t right and he ended up with an abdominal strain that kept him out for a few games.
Cecil Upshaw nearly lost a finger while showing he could dunk
This is an oldie, but a goodie. In the late 1960’s, Cecil Upshaw was a very good late-inning reliever for the Braves back when really good relievers were far from common place. Well, Cecil was also quite tall at 6’6 and a good basketball player in his own right as well who knew how to throw down a dunk. The story goes that, in 1970 during spring training, he felt it necessary to demonstrate to his teammates that he could, in fact, dunk by jumping and grabbing a nearby awning. He was successful, but unfortunately his wedding ring got caught on the awning and it very nearly tore his ring finger off. They were fortunately able to save the finger, but he did miss the entire 1970 season and while he did make it back to the mound, he was done with baseball a few seasons later.
Johan Camargo hurt his knee jogging on to the field
This one is fun just because of the events that ultimately unfolded after it happened. Johan Camargo, who was fighting for an every day spot on the roster, was taking the field for a game in 2017 against the Phillies when he just locked his knee up and collapsed to the ground clearly in pain. It was announced as a hyperextension to his knee and weirdly enough, it sort of forced the Braves to give Dansby Swanson another shot as he had been optioned back to Gwinnett just a couple of weeks before that after struggling in 2017. Things worked out for Dansby after that…for Johan, well…not so much.
Ryan Klesko pulled a muscle picking up a lunch tray
This one is funny because the idea of the hulking Klesko hurting himself in such a benign way seems so farfetched, although finding consistent details about this has proven challenging. The story goes that Klesko, whose swing was so violent that it reminding us of Captain Caveman, was just picking up a lunch tray and that a muscle in his back tightened up on him. Wish we had more details on this one, because it certainly feels like there should be more to this story than we currently know.
Erick Aybar has to go to the hospital after getting a chicken bone stuck in his throat
Erick Aybar became a bit of a punchline during his time with the Braves, but this one is one of those stories that was scary at the time, but we can laugh about now. Back during the 2016 season, Aybar was eating lunch when a chicken bone got lodged in his throat. As far as we are aware, he wasn’t choking per se, but the bone was not coming out on its own and he actually had to be taken to the hospital and sedated to remove it. He was obviously scratched from the game that day, but was back in action the next day. All in all, a happy ending to a scary, if bizarre, situation.
I am certain that some injuries that warrant mention were missed here, so let us know some other crazy Atlanta Braves injuries that weren’t on the list in the comments below.