On this date 59 years ago Cardinals minor league pitcher Bob Slaybaugh was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of fellow farmhand Jim Dickey while pitching batting practice during spring training.
He lost an eye as a result of the injury. But Slaybaugh, who was no stranger to overcoming health issues going back to his youth when Rheumatic Fever left him wheelchair bound, managed to make it back to the mound by mid-season.
He made his first start in the minors June 29 against Des Moines for the Omaha Cardinals. He won the game 1-0 while twirling a four-hit complete game.
Slaybaugh went on to post a 2-2 record for the rest of the 1952 campaign.
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A promising 18 year old when he was signed in 1950, Slaybaugh could pile up the strikeouts but had problems with his control.
In 1951 he was 17-10 with a 2.33 ERA and and 223 whiffs. But after the death defying incident with the line drive, he wasn't the same pitcher. He was 2-9 in the minors in 1953 and retired from baseball following that season.