Has a baseball ever killed a fan?

Baseball is the national pastime of the United States, with millions of fans around the world. It is a beloved sport that has been around for hundreds of years and is played by both children and adults. But with all the action and excitement associated with the game, there have been some serious incidents that have occurred in the stands. One of the most tragic of these incidents is the death of a fan by a baseball. Has a baseball ever killed a fan?

Baseball Fatalities

The answer to the question is yes. There have been multiple occasions where a fan has been killed by a baseball. The first recorded case of a fan being killed by a baseball was in 1970 when a 14-year-old boy was struck in the head by a foul ball at a minor league game in South Carolina. Since then, there have been several other cases of fans being struck by baseballs and dying from their injuries.

Causes of Baseball Injuries

There are several reasons why a fan might be injured or killed by a baseball. One of the most common causes is a batted ball that has been hit too hard or is traveling too fast. Many stadiums have inadequate safety nets that are not able to contain hard-hit balls and these can fly into the stands and hit fans. Poorly maintained fields can also contribute to injuries as balls can bounce off the ground and into the stands. Finally, thrown objects, such as bats and balls, can also injure fans.

Protective Measures

In order to reduce the risk of injury, Major League Baseball (MLB) has taken several measures to protect fans. All MLB stadiums have installed protective netting to prevent foul balls from striking fans. The netting is designed to contain the ball and reduce the risk of injury. MLB has also implemented a “warning track” near the stands, which is an area of turf that warns fans to be aware of the potential for an errant ball.

Fan Safety Tips

Fans can also take measures to protect themselves from injury. Here are some safety tips for fans:

  • Stay alert. Fans should be aware of the potential for a ball to enter the stands and be prepared to react.
  • Wear protective gear. Fans should consider wearing helmets, face masks, and other protective gear when attending games.
  • Avoid sitting in the front rows. Sitting in the front rows of a stadium increases the risk of being hit by a ball.
  • Stay behind the netting. The protective netting is designed to contain any balls that enter the stands.

Legal Issues

In the United States, fans injured or killed by baseballs have the right to file a lawsuit against the team, stadium, or individual responsible for the injury. In most cases, the courts have ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and the teams have been held liable for the injuries or death. This has resulted in teams paying large settlements to the plaintiffs.

Recent Incidents

In recent years, there have been several incidents of fans being struck and injured by baseballs. In 2018, a fan was struck in the head by a foul ball at an MLB game in Houston, Texas. In 2019, a fan was hit in the face by a batted ball at an MLB game in St. Louis, Missouri. And in 2020, a fan was struck in the head by a foul ball at a minor league game in Connecticut.


To answer the question, yes, a baseball has killed a fan. There have been numerous incidents of fans being struck and injured by baseballs. It is important for fans to take safety precautions and for teams and stadiums to take measures to protect fans from harm. While baseball can be a fun and exciting sport, it is important to remember that it can also be dangerous.


  • Betts, K. (2018, July 26). Fan injured after being hit by foul ball at Astros game. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved from houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/Fan-injured-after-being-hit-by-foul-ball-at-13131878.php
  • Gutierrez, A. (2019, June 7). Fan struck by batted ball at Cardinals game. ESPN. Retrieved from espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26903815/fan-struck-batted-ball-cardinals-game
  • Smith, D. (2020, April 3). Fan struck by foul ball at minor league game. ESPN. Retrieved from espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28817083/fan-struck-foul-ball-minor-league-game