In the early morning hours of May 22nd 1992, the then Anaheim Angels (now Los Angeles Angels) were involved in a bus crash when one of their team buses left the road in Woodbury, New Jersey. Thirteen people were hurt in the wreck.
In what seemed like a time-saving maneuver, the team opted to use buses for the shorter east coast jaunt. Reasoning that having to run 40 personnel through two airports in such a short period was a hassle. The first team bus crashed in the early morning hours.
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The bus, carrying mostly coaches and other team personnel drifted across the road, striking a guardrail. The bus then straddled the guardrail for 25 feet before eventually flipping over on it’s side.
"“To look at the bus and come away saying no one died is amazing,” said Bobby Rose, an infielder who suffered a black eye, a six-inch gash across his forehead and a sprained ankle. “Someone very easily could have died.”"
The bus came to rest near trees, smashed up and with Angels manager Buck Rodgers stuck inside.
Rodgers, the most severely injured suffered knee, rib, and elbow injuries. Rodgers broke his elbow in six different places. The injury required immediate hospitalization and surgery for the baseball veteran.
Among the injured was Rod Carew, the Angels Hall of Fame hitting coach. Injured as well was Rick Turner, the team’s bullpen catcher. Turner required 29 stitches to close a wound under his armpit. He had the following to say in the same New York Times report:
"“It’s the eeriest feeling to be a grown man and to get thrown around and be completely unable to hold your position,” said bullpen catcher Rick Turner. “We were powerless.”"
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In the Aftermath of the crash, the Angels went on and continued their season. However, there were some lingering injuries felt by the team.
All things considered, everyone went on to make a full recovery. Rodgers was out until August due to his injuries. As a result, third base coach John Wathan managed in Rodgers’ absence. Additionally, infielders Gary DiSarcina and Junior Felix also suffered minor injuries in the crash. In fact,thirteen players and personnel sustained injuries in the crash. The bus driver however, gave multiple accounts of what happened in the crash. Eventually, the crash was determined to be the driver’s fault. In all likelihood he fell asleep at the wheel and the bus drifted across the road.
Furthermore, the 1992 season ultimately resulted in a 72-90 record for the Angels. That was good enough for a fifth place finish in the old AL West/ AL East division format. However, the season would see the debut of an Angels cornerstone for years to come. Tim Salmon made his Angels debut in August of the year.
The crash remains one of many incidents of injury and/or misfortune for the Los Angeles Angels franchise. The most recent being the unfortunate and untimely death of young pitching prospect Nick Adenhart.
In this case despite all the injuries the Angels were very lucky to have had no one sustain any permanent injuries or be killed in the crash.