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Coach's Death Behind 'Heart Of The Game'

On a July night in Little Rock, Ark., in 2007, Tino Sanchez, a journeyman player with the Tulsa Drillers, sharply hit a foul ball that struck his first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, in the back of the neck. Had the ball gone an inch one way, it would have missed the coach; less than an inch another way, it would have just bruised him.

But the batted ball crushed an artery against a vertebrae, which cut off blood to Mike Coolbaugh's brain and killed him right there, on the field he loved.

Host Scott Simon talks to Sports Illustrated writer S.L. Price about his new book Heart of the Game: Life, Death and Mercy in Minor League America, the story of the hit that killed one good man and ruined another.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.