The Only Broken Hip In Baseball

On August 11, 2013, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross fell while running to first. It was a routine ground out, but his spike caught in the dirt at a weird angle and he stumbled. Awkwardly. Then, he tumbled. He had dislocated and broken his hip.

It’s believed that Ross was the first – and only – major league player to ever break a hip while running the bases.


It was, they said, a freak injury.

Editor/Husband’s doctors and nurses assured him last week that he is the first – and only – person to ever break a hip while meditating. (They all got quite a chuckle out of that.)

It was, they said, a freak injury.

(Please do not assume that this means meditating is dangerous. Wearing soft, slippery socks on a wood Yoga studio floor when you’re over 40 is dangerous. Because you could slip. And, break your hip. Meditating, however, which Editor/Husband was doing at my Yoga studio, is not, itself, bad for you.)

Cody Ross’s father was both a chiropractor and a professional bull rider. (I know, I can’t wrap my head around that combo either.) Cody was a star athlete in high school in Carlsbad, New Mexico – he was called up to the varsity baseball team as a freshman and homered in his first at bat.  “He hit it over the fence, over the lights, and over the road,” a former teammate recalled.

He is still, today, a legend there.

(And, he is no relation to David Ross, the journeyman catcher who just won the World Series with the Cubs in November.)

I wish I could tell you that Cody Ross came back from his hip injury, good as new. He didn’t. He was 32 when he was injured. That’s about 85 in dog years for a big-leaguer. Surgery required a complete repair of the hip socket.

The next season, 2014, he played 83 games for the Diamondbacks. His stats had declined, but age will do that, too. Released by the D’backs in April 2015, he was quickly signed by the Oakland A’s.

On April 25, 2015, the A’s hosted the Houston Astros. Playing left and batting eighth, Ross went 0-for-3 that day, collecting an RBI on a fielder’s choice and later scoring in the 7th. In the bottom of the 9th, with the A’s trailing, Ross walked with one out and one on. The game ended with the A’s losing 9-3 and Ross still on base.

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Ross’s fielder’s choice RBI in the 7th.

It was Ross’s last appearance in baseball. The A’s released him on May 3.

Ross will be remembered most for his 2010 season with the San Francisco Giants, their World Series-winning season. He was claimed off waivers by the Giants in August and became a crucial part of their successful post-season – in the NLDS, ’CS, and World Series, he batted .294, including five home runs and 10 RBIs. He was named Most Valuable Player of the NLCS.

Editor/Husband’s freak injury was much less serious. The top of his femur, aka thigh bone, fractured. So they call it a hip fracture, although, technically, it is his thigh that broke.


Not his actual femur.

Editor/Husband opted for spinal anesthesia rather than full anesthesia during surgery and he said he could hear the surgeon hammering the rod into his thigh.


Something like this.

Editor/Husband’s recovery will be simpler than Cody Ross’s. And, the demands on his hip much less. (College baseball season starts in February and I’m already scheming as to how I will coax his broken hip up the stairs to our seats at Davenport Field.)

When he’s not breaking his hip, Editor/Husband works at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, where vets routinely repair broken bones on owls and squirrels and eagles and bear cubs. This is as awesome a job as it sounds.

Wildlife Center staff and supporters know Editor/Husband as Big Bear – called that in the same affectionate way that baseball fans call Pablo Sandoval Panda Bear.

Today, Sandoval is with the Boston Red Sox …

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… But, for seven seasons (2008-2014) Panda Bear was beloved in San Francisco, where he was part of the Giants’ 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series championships …

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I’m sharing this post mainly to assure the staff and friends of the Wildlife Center that Editor/Husband – their Big Bear – is ok. He is not cranky or crabby or in pain. He’s a pretty good patient.

His leg is swollen and aches, but he walks with his walker, making ever-lengthening loops in our great room around the “cat tree.” Lap. Lap. Lap. Sometimes he will change directions from clockwise to counter-clockwise around the cat tree, just to mix things up. This can startle the cats, who try to give him wide berth.

He is reading. Doing crossword puzzles. Passing the time. I’ve filled the DVR with movies and we watched The Big Lebowski last night. If only this were baseball season, he could watch every single game.

22 thoughts on “The Only Broken Hip In Baseball

  1. Pingback: He “Bustered” His Leg | The Baseball Bloggess

  2. By February he should be proficient enough with a cane to manage those steps. When he starts talking to others about his war wound acting up again, just smile and nod as others offer to bring him the hot cocoa.:):)

  3. Was he trying for first 2017 injury of the year?! I guess he is on Injured Reserve status? I sure hope Big Bear continues to recover quickly-perhaps he can be “bat bear” for a while until he is able to continue his work duties. Also, I expect a journal might be in order so he/you can record stories for “chat time.” Most of all, Big Bear, you have so many friends, well wishers, and little cubs running around trying to find you. We’ll keep the chat warm for you!
    Critter Weather

  4. Was wondering where he was when I got a note from Amanda instead of Big Bear. Hope the recovery continues well and that your laps become more frequent and the distances longer. You are missed.

  5. With all the people surrounding ” The Bear ” how can he do anything but get better so he can be released back onto the wild! Please keep doing what you’re doing so all of us get to see eagles fly, ‘possums run and bears lumber about their normal day to day things Please keep us updated about our fried the Bear’s release date

    Laurie Smith

  6. jeesh, I just hate to see people get hurt. I hate worse to get hurt myself. I’m a wus. Just give me the laughing gas, turn it up high, please. And please don’t let me hear nobody hammering stuff into my bones!!!! just wake me when it’s all over…

  7. I did this snow skiing in 1999 when my ski caught up and took my leg up under my rear end. Not a good thing as the bone actually tore down the center rather than just break across. Three pins later by a doctor that was very used to skiers showing up for surgery and I was on my way home the next day. That was the year the Broncos were playing for the Super Bowl so I asked to have the TV on as soon as I got back to my room. Needless to say I missed it all but they won. I got back to my home town and when it was time to take the pins out they didn’t have anything that fit so had to get pliers from the mechanics room, but they said no worries we sterilized them! Best wishes to Big Bear and tell him to heed everything the doctors tell him to do because it is for his own good.

    • Wow! Randy’s broken hip was much less exciting … He is being a very good patient and is being diligent with is PT exercises. He might be limping with a cane for awhile, but he should be limping back at the Wildlife Center in about a month is my guess … maybe sooner!

  8. Loved Cody Ross when he was with the Marlins and was always bothered that the Fish let him go for nothing. Good attitude, always hustling, and very friendly with the fans.

    Hopefully by now, the editor/husband is much more mobile – but I wish good thoughts just the same.


    • Thanks Paul. I think Randy and I are both getting a little tired of this healing process … and the prospects for a baseball season that will be complicated by a bum, and incredibly slow-healing, hip. But, he’s got a cane … and, I’m hoping, the fearless will to hobble up and down bleacher stairs. Although, clearly, I’m going to have to run off and fetch my own peanuts and popcorn this season.

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