By Esther Oh Sports Central Columnist Yesterday, I sneezed. Fortunately, the only repercussions I suffered were watery eyes and a slobbery hand. Too bad Sammy Sosa wasn't as lucky. Less than 24 hours removed from moving past Mike Schmidt into sole possession of ninth place on the career homerun list with 549, Sosa fell victim to a debilitating sneeze. That's right, a sneeze. While he was getting dressed in the clubhouse last Sunday, Sosa sneezed twice, and then was scratched from the game with back spasms. "It would be better if I would've hit off the wall or we had a fight with somebody," Sosa said, explaining his most blush-worthy situation since the whole corked bat thing. "Some things in life, you cannot control." Sammy's not alone when it comes to embarrassing injuries. Baseball has witnessed missed games due to everything from a broken rib while vomiting airplane food (Tom Glavine) to a tattoo infection (Jeff Juden). For your amusement, I present to you a list of some of baseball's wackier injuries.
10. Phil Niekro: Hall of Fame pitcher, has been in the news recently with Roger Clemens chasing him on the all-time wins list. What isn't in the news is how he injured his hand from a too-firm handshake. See, this wouldn't be a problem today with many players now opting to bump fists rather than high-five or shake hands. I guess we have Moises Alou and his tinkle-tinkle beauty sprinkle to thank for that. Who knows how many other players urinate on their hands.
9. Ryan Klesko: Showed his patriotism earlier this season when he sacrificed his body for the love of his country. No, he didn't enlist. While standing up for the playing of the National Anthem, the Padres outfielder strained his oblique muscle. This is not the first time Klesko has hurt himself doing ... well, nothing. Five years ago, Klesko also pulled a muscle picking up his lunch tray.
8. Jeff Kent: Always comes to mind when I hear the disco song "Car Wash." Not only because of his '70s-inspired mustache, but also due to a little incident that occurred in 2002. I know you remember the slipped-on-a-sponge-while-washing-my-truck-and-broke-my-wrist excuse Kent gave after breeching his contract and doing wheelies on his motorcycle.
7. David Cone: Has pitched a perfect game, won championships, and earned the Cy Young. Not surprisingly, it took a beast to scratch him from a scheduled start back in 1998 -- his mom's Jack Russell terrier puppy. Thanks to the bite on Cone's finger, El Duque started in his place and made his major league debut.
6. Vince Coleman: The former Cardinals player was forced to miss the 1985 World Series after being run over by the automatic tarpaulin. I'm not sure how this happened, seeing that the speedy Coleman led the league in stolen bases for six-straight seasons, but I guess it beats being steamrolled by a zamboni.
5. Wade Boggs: Obviously missed out on ballet classes as a child. During his time in Boston, Boggs strained his back when he lost his balance while putting on cowboy boots. I have only two things to say: 1. Get a chair. 2. Cowboy boots: bad.
4. John Smoltz: One of "Hotlanta's" hurlers, burned his chest while ironing his shirt. So the man's no June Cleaver. I guess it would have helped if someone had told him to remove his shirt before attempting to iron it. In his defense, Smoltz said he had successfully done this before without burning himself. And you thought he was just a talented closer.
3. Jose Cardenal: Cardenal, who played for the Cubs in 1974, asked for the day off, swearing his eyes were stuck open and he couldn't blink. I don't even know what to say about this one.
2. Ken Griffey, Jr.: Junior's no stranger to injuries, but this one's a real jewel. Literally. While he was with Seattle, Junior missed a game when his protective cup turned on him (much like Mariners fans after the trade) and pinched one of his testicles. Ouch. Anything more than a pinch and we could be calling him "Lefty" for more than just the way he bats. And my favorite...
1. Glenallen Hill: Can be an intimidating figure at the plate, but even Achilles had an Achilles heel. Hill's happens to be spiders. Early in his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, Hill injured himself when he fell out of bed, broke a glass table, then crawled through the shards. Apparently, he was dreaming about being devoured by spiders. Good thing Hill is no longer playing in the majors -- who knows what Spider-Man ads on the bases would have done to him. So next time you hurt yourself walking into a screen door or trying a new yoga position, be glad that the rest of the world could really care less. Then work on fabricating a really cool story (a la Kent) to tell all of your friends. Article courtesy of Sports Central.