Being a Superstar Isn’t Easy (Daryll)

Cal Ripken Jr played in 2,632 consecutive games. Lou Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games. This is another record that will likely never, ever be broken.

As discussed by Giuseppe, the Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman was hit in the wrist the other week and will be out for at least two months. Worse than that, often times a wrist injury can be one of those nagging injuries that affects performance even beyond the time when a player returns to the field.

Freddie, I will note, was also my pick for 2017 National League MVP as early as September of last season – and was living up to expectations so far in 2017.

It just goes to show how finicky playing full healthy seasons in the Major Leagues is. This year the Washington Nationals are looking completely dominant with two of their superstars Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman returning to dominant seasons of their past. The main reason given (Zimmerman’s employment of launch angle notwithstanding) is that both are finally completely healthy.

In his first 15 seasons, Hank Aaron played at least 150 games in 12 of those seasons. By contrast in Barry Bonds first 16 seasons he only played in 150 games 9 times.

A famous incident of a rising star cut short was Tony Conigliario when he was hit in the face with a pitch in 1967 by the Angels Jack Hamilton. His left cheekbone was broken and it damaged his left retina, leading to eyesight problems that left him a shell of his former self.

The injury question has also come into play recently as baseball ponders what to do about recent bean ball incidents like the recent Red Sox / Orioles feud and even the Braves drilling Jose Bautista after he felt it necessary to bat flip in a game his team was losing by 8 runs. What if Manny Machado was seriously hurt? What if Jose Bautista got hit in the head and was seriously hurt? These questions must be asked before we will see resolution.

Ken Griffey Jr rose up like a flash with the Mariners in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. He was largely assumed to be on track to break Hank Aaron’s all time home run record. Yet injuries dogged him and he is probably the only person in history to hit over 600 home runs with the comment “he only ended up with 630 home runs”. After going to the Reds after the 1999 season, he only played in more than 130 games 3 times. So in 13 seasons he managed 1685 games and 417 home runs with the Mariners, and only managed 945 games and 210 home runs in 10 seasons with the Reds.

As we ponder these questions today the Angles had a scare when the great Mike Trout left the game after a slide into second base. X-rays were negative but he will have an MRI on Monday. He was having another Mike Trout MVP type season – but injuries matter.

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