Angels’ Shoemaker recalls life-altering moment after 105 mph liner fractured his skull
During an Angels-Mariners game in Seattle last September, Kyle Seager drilled a line drive back at Matt Shoemaker that fractured the pitcher’s skull and altered his life in an instant. Shoemaker went down and the entire stadium gasped.
“Everything just went silent,” Shoemaker writes of the immediate aftermath in an essay for The Players’ Tribune
Shoemaker recalls feeling calm after the headshot but things took a turn at the hospital when doctors rushed him into the operating room for emergency brain surgery. Doctors worked to resolve internal bleeding in his brain, making incisions that left him with a large scar.
Meanwhile, the trauma and uncertainty sent shockwaves through his family. For his sake, his wife steeled her nerves before the surgery. But she opened up about it later. He writes:
As my condition improved, my wife and I talked more and more about those first few hours after the accident. She didn’t say it to me at the time, of course, or even show any hint of worry, but Danielle later admitted that during the FaceTime call right before the surgery she grabbed [their son] and put him on the screen because she was afraid that he may never see me again.
It’s a pretty chilling account and well worth a read.
The come-backer is an ever-present, horrifying threat to pitchers that seems to happen at least once a season. It’s happened to the Rays’ Alex Cobb in 2014, Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong in 2016 and fellow Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon, who actually remained in the game. It just depends where the ball connects with the pitcher’s head.
Shoemaker is back on the hill this season, like most pitchers who bravely return after similar experiences.
Humor is one good way to deal with it, none better than former A’s and now Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy, who wrote this a few days after getting struck:
The good news in all of this, is that I set up my fantasy lineups beforehand. So there shall be no excuses at this point.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) September 8, 2012