Tuesday, July 24, 2007

First Base Coach Killed by Foul Ball

Tragedy struck at Dickey Stephens Park Sunday night. Tulsa Drillers first base coach Mike Coolbaugh was hit in the head by a foul ball and later died.

The Drillers were batting in the ninth inning, Matt Miller was at first base with no outs, Tino Sanchez hit a line drive that struck Coolbaugh in the head. The 35-year-old was knocked unconscious and was administered CPR on the field. He was eventually taken by ambulance to a North Little Rock hospital. Coolbaugh was pronounced dead shortly before 10:00 Sunday evening.

Coolbaugh had just joined the Drillers on July 3rd. The former Drillers player replaced Coach Orlando Merced who had resigned earlier in the season.

Coolbaugh played 39 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001 and five games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002. He had just recently retired from playing and took up coaching.
*photo and article courtesy of Today's THV*

What a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans!

4 comments, add yours here:

Cheryl Wray said...

Wasn't that just the strangest thing? I read about it yesterday and was so saddened about it, especially as someone who goes to a lot of ball games!

Linda said...

How very sad. You always hear that foul balls can be very dangerous and this sure proves it.

May God be with those who were close to Mike.

Rebecca said...

Were you at the game? This has been a huge story here in Tulsa (and I think nationwide). So terrible. We go to some of the Drillers games here but haven't been this year. This is such a tragedy. :(

Travis said...

This doesn't happen much. But I think even one death is more than enough to finally make it mandatory for base coaches and field umps to wear helmets.

Baserunners are required to keep their helmets on after they hit. They have much more ability to defend themselves because they are generally on the move, and yet it is required by the league for safety.

A base coach is focused on the runners and is less likely to see a dangerous line drive. It's a wonder to me that this hasn't happened before now.