In Cecil Adams' column "The Straight Dope," which has appeared in alternative newspapers since 1973, he answered the following letter:
"While sitting in the ballpark the other day, my companions made fun of me because of my fear of the stray fly ball. I maintain that getting cracked in the head . . . has laid a fan to rest more than a few times. . . . I know you'll prove my fears have a foundation in truth."
"Baseball may be the most statistics-crazed sport of them all," Adams answered, "but the clubs seem strangely reluctant to keep records of fan fatalities. You may have noticed the disclaimer printed on the back of your ticket, in which the management gracefully declines any responsibility for injuries you may suffer while in the park. There is some question as to whether that disclaimer would stand up in court, but so far it's worked pretty well: no lawsuits have been filed in anyone's memory, and so none of the clubs bother to keep tabs on the people who pass through the first-aid stations.
". . . Faced with a shocking lack of documentation, I am forced to invent some of my own," Adams answered. "It does happen: I came up with a ballpark figure of three or four serious injuries to fans caused by batted balls per club, per year. Now, let us assume the absolute worst: a nice, round, easily managed figure of five. There are 12 teams in the National League and 14 in the American. With the help of some simple multiplication, we come up with a total, nationwide figure of 130 injuries each year.