Wed Jul 08 11:30am EDT
Being a major league ballplayer can be a hazardous occupation. Not only because baseballs scream along going 100 mph, or because oversized maple splinters tumble uncontrollably toward vulnerable fielders.
Sometimes, a guy can't jump out of the dugout to celebrate with his teammates without breaking a toe.
That's what happened to Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster(notes), who could be out a month after snagging — and breaking — his right big toe on a dugout railing after the last out of Sunday's victory against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Dempster was supposed to start Tuesday night's game against the Braves, but instead was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a non-displaced fracture that probably also will cost him a toenail.
"It's a weird thing," Dempster said.
No kidding. Dempster's is not the weirdest baseball trauma ever — the Rockies' Dustan Mohr injured a calf muscle similarly four years ago — but it does place Dempster in a pantheon of players who hurt themselves oddly.
Glenallen Hill, "Spider-man," 1990: The granddaddy longlegs of them all. An arachnophobe, the Blue Jays outfielder suffered cuts and bruises during a sleepwalk in which he dreamed he was being chased by spiders.
Chris Brown, "By an Eyelash," 1989: Many of us have "slept funny" and woken up with a sore neck or back, but the Tigers infielder broke the mold when one of his eyes became infected after he, well, slept on it funny. Considered kind of wimpy during his playing days, Brown actually went to work driving a truck in Iraq for Halliburton — one of the world's more dangerous jobs. He died in a mysterious fire in 2006.
Vince Coleman, "Tarp Monster!" 1985: Gruesomely, the Cardinals speedster suffered cuts and chipped bone in his leg — not to mention relative terror — after being attacked by a tarp machine in St. Louis during the NLCS.
Sammy Sosa, "Nothing to Sneeze at," 2004: A deep sneeze — no, really — caused the Cubs outfielder to be sidelined with a pulled muscle in his back.
Carlos Zambrano, "Overloaded Inbox," 2005: Missing his family back in Venezuela during 2005, the emotional right-hander spent 4-5 hours a day on the computer e-mailing his folks and strained his right elbow.
Joel Zumaya, "Strumming His Pain," 2006: Another e-injury with a "Z" pitcher occurred when the Tigers' reliever hurt his right wrist and arm playing too much Guitar Hero. He had to be shelved for three games during the ALCS.
Adam Eaton, "Adult-Proof Packaging," 2001: Long before he was feeling Brotherly Love, the Padres right-hander missed a start after stabbing himself in the stomach with a pocket knife trying to open a package of DVDs.
David Wells, "Vintage Slapstick," 2004: Cost himself a $1-million bonus after horsing around at home, knocking over a bottle of wine, bracing his fall with his hands and severing a tendon in his right wrist.
Steve Sparks, "Yell 'Ow!' Pages," 1994: Inspired by a motivational speaker, the Brewers knuckleballer dislocated his left shoulder by ripping the Phoenix phonebook in half.
Marty Cordova, "Sun Worshipper," 2002: A tanning session gone wrong burned the Orioles' outfielder's face, causing him to miss a few games.
Jeff Kent, "Evil Kentievel," 2002: After injuring his wrist popping a wheelie on his motorcycle — a violation of the contract he signed with the Giants — Kent concocted a story that he fell off his pickup truck while washing it. Some old-fashioned reporting blew his fraudulent cover.
Clint Barmes, "The Deer Eater," 2005: Fell and broke his collarbone — costing himself three months of the season — trying to lug a package of frozen venison given to him by teammate Todd Helton(notes). Barmes made up a cover story for Helton's sake, he said, but cracked under the pressure and eventually spilled the truth beans.