A 92-mph pitch takes 400 milliseconds to traverse the 60-foot-6-inch distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate. That’s the high end of how long it takes for a human eye to blink. Instincts take over when dealing with these kinds of speeds, skills that have been honed over years of repetition. Sensing that something was off about the ball's trajectory, the auto-response of Greenberg’s body was to turn away from the incoming projectile, protecting the exposed vital sense-collecting organs on his face at all costs. As an offering, his body was willing to sacrifice the back of his head.
“The first thing going through your head is, this guy’s dead,” said de los Santos in a 2007 "Outside the Lines" segment about the pitch. Greenberg suffered a mild concussion, which led to years of vertigo and headaches. The following season, he hit .179 and .118, respectively, in Double-A and Triple-A, forcing the Cubs to cut ties with him. Subsequent minor league tries with the Dodgers, Royals and Angels all met the same end.
You might recognize the story of Cup of Coffee Club member Eddie Gaedel, featured here last year. Read other stories of careers that were ended way too soon for various reasons like wartime service, injuries, bad luck, or the fact that the player shouldn't have been there in the first place. Link -via Metafilter