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Catcher Felled by Bat-Stick

Salience Peripheral
Tags Hazard
City/State/Country: New Braintree, MA, United States
Game Massachusetts Game
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult


"While the New Braintree Base-Ball Club was playing a game on the afternoon of the ninth inst., [June 1860], one of the players when about to bat the ball, threw the bat-stick back so far that he hit the catcher, Mr. John Carney, Jr., a very severe blow to the forehead.  He was immediately carried home, and received every attention -- but after a week of severe suffering, he died on Friday night, leaving an especial request that his death and the cause of it might be inserted in the papers, as a caution to other papers."


[B] NEW BRAINTREE – On Saturday, June 9th, a boy named John Carney, Jr., aged about nineteen years, was accidentally injured by being stuck in the forehead with a bat in the hands of another boy, while playing ball.  It seems that Carney, being too intent on catching the ball, got within swing of the bat, which the other boy used in a back-handed way to strike the ball.  Young Carney was carried home immediately, and all proper care taken, but after several days’ severe suffering, he died last Friday night.  He had many friends and was a favorite with the lads of the village.



[A] Dedham Gazette, June 23, 1860, page 2.

[B] Barre MA Gazette, June 22, 1860, page 2.


New Braintree MA (2000 pop. about 900) is about 60 miles W of Boston and about 20 miles W of Worcester.

In the previous year, there was reportedly dispute about the positioning of the catcher under Mass Game rules. 

Paul Johnson reports that the victim was 18 years old, and that the official death record lists the cause of death as "accidental blow from a baseball club."


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Should we assume that the club still played the Massachusetts Game?

Is it significant that the batter is said to "throw" the bat, not that he lost his grip on it?

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Submitted by Paul Johnson
Submission Note Emails of 8/9/2015 and 8/11/2015


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