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From BR Bullpen
Raymond Johnson Chapman
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut August 30, 1912
- Final Game August 16, 1920
- Born January 15, 1891 in Beaver Dam, KY USA
- Died August 17, 1920 in New York, NY USA
 Biographical Information
Ray Chapman played nine seasons in the major leagues before he was killed. A regular in eight of those seasons, he had already accumulated over 1,000 hits when his career ended.
On August 16, 1920, Chapman, a shortstop for the Cleveland Indians was struck in the head by a pitch by New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. He was knocked unconscious and died the next day from his injuries. The 1920 Cleveland Indians went on to win the World Series, so Chapman deserved a World Series ring.
He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, OH. His grave features a large marble baseball.
As a hitter, Chapman was in the top ten in the league in batting average a couple times. In 1917 he was in the top ten in slugging percentage, and in 1918 led the league in walks. He was among league leaders in stolen bases three times.
Ray Chapman set the record in 1917 for the most sacrifice hits in a season, with 67. If he had lived to play a normal career, he almost certainly would have been # 1 or # 2 all-time in sacrifice hits. As it was, he ended up # 6 (through 2008).
Chapman showed excellent range beginning in 1915 and might have won some Gold Gloves if they had existed in those days.
It is possible that Chapman, had he lived to play a normal career, might have made the Hall of Fame. He was a good defensive shortstop and, compared to most shortstops, a very good hitter. Through age 29, he looked better than his contemporary Dave Bancroft, who is in the Hall of Fame. Travis Jackson, a near contemporary, had a less impressive offensive career than Chapman. And Chapman was a much stronger hitter than Rabbit Maranville, who broke in the same year as Chapman.
 Records Held
- Sacrifice hits, season, 67, 1917
 Further Reading
- Howard Camerik: The Curse of Carl Mays, a novel, VBW Publishing, 2006
- Molly Lawless: Hit by Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2012.
- Mike Sowell: The Pitch that Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920, Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Chicago, IL, 2004.
 Related Sites
- See the article Chapman beaning for details about his fatal accident.