The Obit For Mike Coolbaugh
Drillers coach struck by foul ball,
Coolbaugh was knocked unconscious by line drive to head
By Daren Smith / MLB.com
07/23/2007 2:12 AM ET
Tulsa Drillers hitting coach Mike Coolbaugh died Sunday night, less
than an hour after he was struck in the head by a line drive. He was
Coolbaugh was pronounced dead at 10:47 p.m. ET at Baptist Health Medical
Center, according to Sgt. Terry Kuykendall of the North Little Rock
(Ark.) Police Department.
The incident occurred in the top of the ninth inning of the Drillers'
Texas League game against the Arkansas Travelers. Coolbaugh was coaching
first base when he was hit in foul territory by a liner off the bat
of Tulsa designated hitter Tino Sanchez.
According to the Drillers' radio broadcast, Coolbaugh barely had time
to lean back before he was struck. Trainers from both teams and medical
personnel at Dickey-Stephens Park rushed to Coolbaugh and treated him
until an ambulance arrived some 15 minutes later.
Coolbaugh reportedly did not regain consciousness and was not breathing
when paramedics began administering CPR on the field. His neck was immobilized
before he was taken to Baptist Health Medical Center.
Kuykendall said Coolbaugh stopped breathing again as the ambulance arrived
at the hospital and doctors were unable to resuscitate him. As with
any "unnatural death," police are conducting an investigation,
"We're attempting to gather as much information as we can ... so
maybe we can give the family some answers," he added.
Coolbaugh took over as Drillers' hitting coach on July 3. He spent most
of his 17-year playing career in the Minor Leagues, appearing in 39
games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001 and five games for the St.
Louis Cardinals the following year.
Coolbaugh is the younger brother of former Major Leaguer Scott Coolbaugh,
who serves as hitting coach for the Frisco RoughRiders.
After a delay of approximately 30 minutes, the game was suspended with
the Travelers leading, 7-3.
On April 26 at Dickey-Stephens Park, Tulsa right-hander Jonathan Asahina
also was struck by a line drive near his left temple and suffered a
fractured skull and ruptured eardrum. He was hospitalized for nearly
a week but has since rejoined the team.