Sunday, May 25, 2014

He'll Leave the Light on For You

Turn Out the Lights

 Kansas City Royals outfielder Tom Poquette sustained a pretty serious injury during a game at Royals Stadium on June 22, 1976. In the third inning of the game, Chicago's 20 year-old rookie third baseman Kevin Bell hit a line drive deep to left. Poquette pursued the ball and was unable to stop when his spikes got caught in the turf, causing him to crash face-first into the outfield wall (which at that point had no padding). Not only did Tom suffer a fractured cheekbone in four different places, he was also knocked unconscious. On the play, Bell raced all the way around the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam.

"I remember certain things. Other things, I have no memory of at all. I remember seeing the pool of blood on the ground. I tried to get up, but I couldn't. I saw the blood and I went back down. Then I drifted in and out."- Tom Poquette, on the violent crash.


After retiring at age 30, the Royals offered Poquette a coaching job, but instead he returned home to open a fitness center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Six years later, he returned to the game and spent the next twenty seasons coaching for the team in various capacities (major league hitting coach, minor league instructor, etc.)

Tom was one of six players inducted into the Eau Claire Baseball Hall of Fame on January 28, 2009. Poquette had been drafted by the Royals out of Eau Claire Memorial High School in the fourth round of the 1970 draft. He also played for the Red Sox and Rangers during his playing career.

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