Finger on the Weather

The day a pitcher was hit by lightning — and stayed in the game

I spotted a piece of trivia on social media tonight that dropped my jaw. It combined two passions of mine: baseball and weather.

On this day in 1919, Ray Caldwell, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians was struck by lightning while pitching against the Philadelphia Athletics. The lightning bolt knocked Caldwell out, but he was revived and stayed in the game.

He was just one out away from a complete game when he was struck by lightning, and he went on to get that final out for the 2-1 win.

According to Baseball Reference, Caldwell gave up just four hits in notching his eighth win of the year.

A headline in the San Antonio Evening News on Aug. 25 read “Lightning Knocks Down Hurler, Shocks Infield, Yet Cleveland Wins Out.”

That wouldn’t happen today — and shouldn’t have happened then. But clearly the standards were different then.

Stan Finger: 316-268-6437, @StanFinger