On September 6, 1976, Steve Yeager nearly became baseball’s second on-field fatality when the barrel-end of a splintered bat struck him and became lodged in his throat while he was in the on-deck circle. Yeager, who had nine pieces of wood in his neck, had surgery and remarkably missed less than three weeks. The bat missed his jugular by less than three centimeters and he was lucky to survive the incident. He and LA trainer Bull Buhler invented a piece of equipment that protected his neck and hung from his catchers’ mask.
Yeager hit home runs in Game One and Game Five of the 1981 World Series, both coming off Yankee ace lefty Ron Guidry. As a result, Yeager was named Most Valuable Player of that series.