Back in 2004, pitcher Kyle Denney was a September call up for the Cleveland Indians. Before his September 29th start against the Kansas City Royals, team officials told him it would likely be his last outing of the season. Denney struggled through four innings that night as the 100-loss Royals, the worst team in baseball, tagged him for two runs on eight hits. The Indians came back to win 5-2, but Denney could not have been happy with his own personal performance. It would turn out to be the fourth and final game of his career.
Here is what happened AFTER that game:
The Indians headed to Minnesota for their last three games of the season. Those familiar with baseball tradition know that rookies making a team’s final road trip of the season are “dressed” for travel by the team’s veterans. When Denney returned from his postgame shower his clothes were missing from his locker, replaced by a USC cheerleader uniform.
Denney, who attended Oklahoma, earned the outfit because his Sooners were ranked second to the Trojans in the college football polls at the time. The rookies left the locker room dressed in their outfits and boarded the team’s charter buses for the trip to the Kansas City International Airport.
So here is where the story turns bizarre. While merging onto I-70 from I-435, a loud sound rang out inside one of the buses. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick was hit by debris, while Denney realized that he had been shot in the right calf. Someone had taken a random shot at the bus with a high-powered rifle.
Team trainers immediately removed the bullet from Denney’s leg while the bus continued on to the airport. An ambulance met the bus there and transported Denney to a local hospital where he was kept overnight for observation. One can only imagine the sight of a 6’2″ man dressed in a cheerleading uniform arriving at a Kansas City hospital emergency room for treatment.
But wait, there’s MORE:
Further investigation determined that the bullet would likely have shattered Denney’s leg had he not been wearing the thigh-high boots. The thick leather absorbed most of the bullet’s impact. Denney said at the time, “I’ve never been so glad to have a USC thing on.”