The Chicago Cubs and injuries go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Injuries are a part of professional sports and can’t be avoided but somehow the Cubs seemed to have taken injuries to a higher form of art. Why get injured making a diving catch or colliding with a wall when you can hurt yourself with everyday events like sleeping, sneezing or using the computer?
These injuries fall into the category of “Cubbie Occurrences”, a term created by Lou Pinella in a stroke of genius to describe the types of bizarre things can only happen to the Chicago Cubs. They’re all part of the mystique of the Chicago Cubs.
Strangest Chicago Cubs Injuries
Sammy Sosa sent to DL by a sneeze - Sammy Sosa’s sneezing injury has definitely taken on a mythic status. And why not? When you hear that Sammy sneezed before a game on May 17, 2004 which caused him to go on the 15-day DL, how can you not laugh? The official reason is that Sosa sneezed twice, causing painful back spasms which caused him to be unable to swing. Ah, that Sammy.
Jose Cardenal’s eye stuck shut – On opening day 1974, outfielder Jose Cardenal supposedly “slept wrong” and couldn’t open his eye. This is one of those injuries that’s so weird that it’s almost hard to understand how it could happen. It kind of makes me wonder if he just felt like sleeping in or maybe had one too many drinks the night before.
Mike Harkey dislocates knee trying to do a cartwheel – A pitching prospect who ended up with a shortened career due to multiple injuries, this is the one he’ll forever be remembered for. Harkey torn tore his patellar tendon in the knee, supposedly hot dogging it for some bleacher girls during warmups before a 1992 game. Hopefully he got a phone number for his efforts.
Kerry Wood slips in the hot tub – Kerry Wood was on the disabled list and suffered many, many injuries in his career. The one that is probably the strangest has to be when Wood fell in his hot tub in 2007, bruising his chest and ribs and causing him to miss part of spring training.
Alfonso Soriano goes on DL after catching routine fly ball - Soriano became a true Cub when in 2008 he pulled his calf muscle while catching a completely mundane pop fly in left. No running or diving was involved, just standing in place waiting for the ball, a goofy hop on the catch and then he began limping around after landing. It was the least exciting serious injury that sends a player to the disabled list you’ll ever see.
Ryan Dempster breaks toe entering the dugout – Continuing the great tradition of getting hurt in games you don’t even play in, in July 2009 Ryan Dempster broke his toe while trying to hop the dugout fence on his way to the clubhouse. Dempsters shoe caught on the fence, twisted and knocked him down, and sent him to the DL.
Jose Cardenal kept awake by crickets – Good old Jose gets to make the list twice, this time when he called in sick to a game in 1972 because he said the crickets outside his hotel had kept him awake all night. I think the dog ate his homework as well.
Carlos Zambrano’s computer injury – Big Z was suffering from elbow soreness in May 2005 when the Cubs allegedly asked him to spend less time on the internet to prevent repetetive stress injuries. It seems unclear whether this was a real injury or not as the Cubs later refuted this story in the press but it has become a part of Cubs injury folklore.
Kyle Farnsworth injures himself kicking a fan – Well, at least it wasn’t a baseball fan, it was an electric fan in the tunnel on the way to the clubhouse. Kyle wasn’t happy about his pitching performance that day but the fan wasn’t taking in crap and sent him to the DL with a wounded knee. That was 2004 but even after leaving the Cubs the freak injuries haven’t stopped and in 2009 he need four stitches in his hand after one of his own dogs bit him.
Steve Trout falls off his exercise bike – You may remember Steve Trout as a big part of the Cubs pitching staff that won the division in 1984. Or you may remember him as the guy who pitched to complete game shutouts in a row in 1985 and then was promptly traded mid-season to the Yankees for prospects, where he completely fell apart as a pitcher. Or you may remember Steve Trout as the Cubs pitcher who went on the DL after falling of a stationary exercise bike. Take your pick.
Mike Remlinger pinches his finger in a recliner – It might be hard to believe if you hadn’t just read all the previous entries, but Cubs reliever Mike Remlinger managed to hurt himself while sitting in a chair in the Cubs clubhouse. How do you get an injury while sitting? Apparently he got his pinkie finger pinched so terribly between two recliners he couldn’t hold the ball properly. This injury is rumored to have been a work to place Remlinger on the DL while he was pitching poorly but as far as we know, it’s true.
Felix Pie twists a testicle – YOUCH!!!! I have not been able to find any details on this and I don’t want to. Oh god it sounds painful. All we know is that Pie was injured during spring training in 2008 and that we’ll consider this to be a painful and legitimate injury. Perhaps this is the reason that Pie never panned out as a prospect, maybe even though he has kept playing, this was in fact a career ending injury.
Hope this gave you a much needed chuckle today. I know this list of Cubs injuries probably isn’t complete but I think I hit the best ones. And unfortunately, it will keep growing, there’s no doubt about that. Who’s next? Wait…. did I just hear Geovany Soto went on the DL from taking a bad swing during batting practice? But is it Cubbie Occurrence worthy?