6 MLB Pitchers Whose Careers Were Derailed by Injuries

Baseball is such a unique sport because of all of the specializations involved. Position players must be able to hit and field a position — unless, of course, they’re designated hitters. MLB pitchers must be able to contort their arm to accurately throw the ball to a catcher.

The whole thing is mindblowingly intricate when you break it down. Pitching is incredibly unnatural for the human arm. While plenty of great pitchers went on to do great things, there are just as many who experienced injuries that took away promising careers. Here are six MLB pitchers forced to wave goodbye to their careers due to unfortunate injuries.

1. J.R. Richard

6 MLB Pitchers Whose Careers Were Derailed by Injuries

(L-R) Former Houston Astros players Jimmy Wynn, Enos Cabell, Kevin Bass, James Mouton, and J.R. Richard are on hand for Jackie Robinson Day in 2011. | Bob Levey/Getty Images

While J.R. Richard did not technically encounter an injury, it’s hard to leave the former Houston Astros ace off this list. He was one of the best young MLB pitchers in the late ’70s, posting a 2.79 ERA with 1,163 strikeouts in 1,239 1/3 innings from the age of 26 until 30; he led the league in strikeouts twice. In short, Richard was one of the best pitchers in the game and on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

But that changed in 1980, when a series of strokes cut his career short. He toiled in the minor leagues trying to make his way back, but other complications prevented him from throwing another pitch in the major leagues. To compound this sad story, within years of his baseball career ending, he got divorced, lost his money, and was homeless. Fortunately, Richard bounced back, becoming a minister at a local church in Houston.