MORE OF BASEBALL’S HISTORY ON THE BALL-THROWER’S FRACTURE OF THE HUMERUS
By Coach John C. Price
August 1884, The St. Paul Unions, Minnesota’s first major league team had a pitcher by the name of Elmer Foster that had been very successful until he broke his humerus pitching in a game late in the season.
About 1977, The NY Mets, Robert Apodaca broke his humerus pitching in a game.
Date Unknown, Amateur by the name of Shari broke his humerus throwing a softball
and is found on the same website as Robert Apodaca.
August 15, 1989, San Francisco Giants Dave Dravecky broke his humerus while pitching in a game, and the doctors tried to blame it on cancer they found in his arm later.
In 1994, Cincinnati’s Tom Browning broke his humerus pitching in a game.
June 4, 1997, Boston Red Sox Chris Rietsma, a minor league pitcher fractured his humerus near the elbow while pitching for Michigan in a game at Rockford in the Midwest league. This story found in the 1999 Boston Red Sox Media Guide as reported by the Assistant Director, Media Relations, Minor League Baseball.
September 20, 1997, Cleveland’s John Smiley broke his humerus while warming up before a game.
May 26, 1999, Tampa Bay Devil Ray’s Tony Saunders broke his humerus while pitching in a game against the Texas Rangers the first time.
August 2000, Tony Saunders broke his humerus again after 15 months rehab during the third inning of his fifth minor league start. His orthopedic surgeon said, “The humerus bone had healed completely.” “How it happened again, I don’t know. I can’t even venture a guess.”
Summer 2000, Rancho Bernardo High School’s pitcher Cole Hamels broke his humerus pitching against Poway H.S. during his junior year in high school. Look at him during the 2006 season with the Philadelphia Philly’s. No problems.
August 2000, Eastern New Mexico University, Greg Stimack broke his humerus pitching. Earlier he had a full rotator cuff tear and Tommy John surgery, possible at J.K. Mullen High School before entering ENMU. Greg told me his doctor said, “His elbow was so much stronger after the Tommy John surgery his humerus could not stand the added velocity and this is why it broke.”
March 2002, Former Timber Rattler Phil Cullen broke his humerus throwing in the bullpen before a game at Fox Cities Stadium.
May 26, 2003, Granby High School’s Bryan Judicki, a junior RHP broke his humerus while pitching in a game against South Hadley High School in the first inning.
September 13, 2004, Umass Lowell University’s Nate Liebenow broke his humerus in the first workout ten minutes into the first drill. Nate made a throw to home plate and the thunderous crack of Nate’s right arm breaking plunged into silence Coach Ken Harring’s first practice. Nate instantaneously collapsed in fear and pain. Nate suffered an orbital fracture of his right humerus. The doctor said, “It was just a freak accident.” I contacted the Coach and told him I could help, but he said Nate had just dropped out of baseball to concentrate on his studies.
March 2004, Sycamore High School, IL, Kyle Ullmark went down after five pitches into a game with Rival DeKalb High School. A loud pop rang throughout the field and the junior pitcher immediately fell to the ground in pain. X-rays showed a clean break of the humerus bone, the long bone of the upper arm from the shoulder to the elbow.
August 2, 2005, Atlanta Braves pitcher Jay Powell was making a comeback after Tommy John surgery when he fractured his right humerus pitching in the ninth inning of Friday’s game against Pittsburgh. He went into his windup with nobody out and delivered a pitch to home plate. The ball sailed toward the third baseline while Powell collapsed with devastating pain in his right elbow. He underwent season ending surgery.
Summer 2004, Steve had been a college pitcher and he wrote The Throw Center for information because doctors and coaches gave him none. During the 2004 select team season in Arizona, his son Ryan, age 12 fractured his humerus while pitching. Both father and son were afraid to throw hard overhand again. In March 2005, Steve summoned Coach Price to come to Arizona to work with his son Ryan. On the third day, Coach Price took a video of Ryan throwing from third base to first, and then worked with him on the mound. With only a slight change in throwing biomechanics, Ryan was on the way. This past 2006 season, Ryan started in center field on the high school team and was a closer for the team. His fastball was clocked at 87 mph and the coach said the pro scout in the area said Ryan was number three in his age group in all of Arizona. He will never break his humerus again while throwing a ball.
January 11, 2005, Pittsburgh, PA junior college pitcher William Conroy, age 20 told The Throw Center. “he had been getting pain on the inside of his elbow for a while. They were throwing a medicine ball in workout and one of the times my arm cracked and it made a pretty loud noise. I continued to throw.” The next day, I was throwing and my coach asked me to “try to extend my arm more at release.” “I did, but on the next throw, my arm broke and just dangled there.” X-rays showed I had two breaks. One break was completely through, and the other was a spiral fracture of the humerus. Surgery was not required and I was released April 21st but instructed not to throw for eight months. “I have a huge fear of this happening again, so I may just drop out of baseball.”
September 1, 2005, Richard Hernandez, age 25 wrote he fractured his humerus playing recreational softball. He threw a ball into the cutoff man at about 70% of his maximum velocity and it snapped. He said in his lifetime, he had played in about 500 baseball games with only an occasional sore arm. He said he would love to play again and throwing without fear. Is there anything The Throw Center could do for him?
October 2005, Gary Gilkenson, age 19 wrote that he had not played baseball in years and only plays softball now. He was at a carnival in town trying to break the 80 mph barrier with a baseball and he had fractured his humerus. The doctors put a steel plate on my humerus with screws and a cast. It is now eleven weeks later and I am writing for more information on this freak accident.
October 2005, Patrick Reilly, age 26 wrote that he fractured his humerus pitching in an old timers game in Boston, Mass. His delivery is sidearm. When you make an error in your throwing biomechanics, it does not matter how you throw, stress, pain and injuries may occur.
August 2004, The parents of Adam, age 18 wrote from Wisconsin telling me Adam broke his humerus on his first pitch in fall ball his freshman year in college. I wrote back telling them I could get Adam into his natural throwing groove so it would not happen again. They said they would just let his college coaches do this. Several months later they wrote that Adam had fractured his humerus again above the first break. After healing, they flew Coach Price to Wisconsin to work with Adam for three days. Adam will never break his arm again while throwing a ball.
Summer 2004, Christian began writing while still in the US Marines stationed in South Carolina. He broke his humerus while pitching on the weekends. Doctors inserted a steel plate on his humerus and told him he would never pitch again. He was soon shipped to Iraq where he completed his four-year tour of duty in 2006. He came to Athens for a week in August, because pitching in college one day had been his dream. He was hoping The Throw Center could help him throw without fear again. Christian is now attending a college in Pennsylvania and I don’t know if he will make a college pitcher, but he will never break his humerus again while throwing a ball.
The humeral fracture has plagued baseball since 1884 and continues today.
www.MiLB.com 1999 Boston Red Sox Media Guide
WWW.kffl.com The Sports Network reporting, Tuesday, August 2, 2005