#4. Baseball Player Hits the Same Audience Member Twice, Even Though She Had Moved
Richie Ashburn was a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer with a record-breaking 1,875 hits in the 1950s alone and over 2,500 throughout his 15-year career -- the man was nature's response to the invention of the pitching machine.
To be fair, this was before hitting with three bats at the same time was made illegal.
And yet that's not what he's best remembered for. Nope, any achievement this man worked to accomplish in his life is dwarfed by the time he managed to hit a woman in the face, twice, while standing hundreds of feet away from her, even though she was no longer in her seat the second time.
On August 17, 1957, during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Giants, Ashburn went to bat for the Phillies and hit a foul ball, which lingered in the air long enough to find a worthy target: a woman sitting in the audience who only had time to think: "Hey, I think that's coming this w-" before the ball kissed her square in the nose. The injury was so severe, in fact, that the game had to be stopped so the paramedics could come take her away. The game resumed once the woman lay safely on a stretcher in the aisle -- or not so safely, because a different goddamn foul ball somehow made its way in and hit her again.
The batter? The same goddamn Richie Ashburn.
"Just trying to knock your nose back into place."
Now, the story would have been weird enough if Ashburn had hit some random lady he'd never see again in his life, but that wasn't the case. The woman with the doubly broken nose was Alice Roth, the wife of Earl Roth, the sports editor of the Philadelphia Bulletin ... the same Philadelphia Bulletin that Ashburn would end up writing sports columns for after retiring from smashing balls, records, and the laws of probability. The Roths actually became friends with Ashburn, presumably because they realized that keeping him less than 100 feet away would decrease the chances of getting hit again.
#3. A World War II Seaman Is Saved by a Life Belt His Mother Made (in a Factory on the Other Side of the World)
We love heartwarming war stories as much as anyone, but some of them get so unrealistically cute that, like an episode of VeggieTales, they end up circling back to "slightly creepy." A prime example is the case of the U.S. serviceman in the South Pacific who was saved not once but twice by his mother ... while she was all the way back home in Ohio.
During World War II, Elgin Staples was a crewman on the USS Astoria. While off the coast of Guadalcanal during the summer of 1942, Staples finished his shift and took a nap, only to be awakened by the sound of his cruiser being killed. But, before the ship under his feet ceased to exist and he fell into the water, Staples had time to strap on a handy life belt, which allowed him to stay afloat long enough to be rescued by another U.S. ship.
Unfortunately, his second ride wasn't in much better shape than the first, and it too ended up sinking -- once more, the young man's life was saved by his lucky life belt. Upon taking a closer look at the belt, Staples noticed that, like him, it hailed from Akron, Ohio, so he decided to keep it as a souvenir.
Via Ball State University
We're not sure if "never taking it off for the rest of his life, just in case" counts as keeping a souvenir.
After the war, Staples returned home to tell his family about his crazy adventures. When his mom (perhaps hoping to upstage him) mentioned that she too did her part for the war effort by working at a local Firestone plant, Staples told her the belt had been manufactured there. However, they went from "Aw, what are the odds?" to complete stunned silence when the mother looked over the belt to find her inspector's number on it. She had personally inspected, approved, and stamped the reliable device that saved her boy's life. Twice.
National WWII Museum
At least that explains why she dressed him in a sailor's suit until he was 20.
#2. Four People from Michael J. Fox's First Sitcom Have a Rare Version of Parkinson's Disease
Vince Bucci/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
We're pretty sure that if Michael J. Fox had an actual time machine, he'd go back and stop himself from appearing in Leo and Me, a Canadian sitcom he starred in as a teenager. Not because it was terrible (it was), but because apparently there was something about that show that gave non-senior citizens Parkinson's disease. We're not sure what's creepier: if this is some unexplained medical phenomenon or "just" a staggering coincidence.
Leo and Me lasted only 13 episodes, and even though it provided Fox with his first major television role, the show seemed destined to remain a five-second clip in the actor's Biography episode. That is, until someone discovered a disturbing thing about it in 2002: A total of four people who worked on Leo and Me, including Fox, have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Oh, and they all got it before the age of 60 and were diagnosed around the same time. That's like the cast of The Golden Girls coming down with chicken pox.
"We all shared crabs. Does that count?"
Let's put this whole thing into perspective: One of the reasons everyone was so shocked about Fox announcing that he had Parkinson's was because the disease is usually reserved for geezers over 60, and he still looked like a 17-year-old at age 37. In general, the odds of being afflicted with Parkinson's are 1 in 300. Unless, that is, you happened to work on Leo and Me at some point -- then the odds go up 4 in 125, or just over 1 in 30.
Were the crew members exposed to some sort of mysterious viral infection inside the Vancouver studio where they shot the show? Did they piss off the same Gypsy and get hit with the same curse? Or were they bitten by someone with Parkinson's and then slowly turned into Parkinson's sufferers themselves during a basketball game? All explanations are just as feasible, because science has no freaking idea.
#1. Finnish Twins Die on the Same Road ... Two Hours Apart
When we at Cracked told you about the time that two brothers were killed on the same road by the same cab carrying the same passenger a year apart from each other, even we had a tough time believing such a twist of fate was possible. Looking back, the most unusual thing about that story for us isn't that we had to go all the way to the Library of Congress to confirm it, or that it caused Reader's Digest to ask for permission to reprint a Cracked article -- nope, the freakiest part is that it happened again. And this time, it was with twins.
On March 6, 2002 in Raahe, Finland, a 70-year-old man was hit by a truck and killed while out for a bike ride.
He wanted to take advantage of the fact that there was unusually little snow that day for Finland.
It was a tragic bit of irony, since the old man's twin brother had suffered a similar fate, being hit by a truck while riding his bike ... only two hours earlier.
Less than a mile away.
While crossing the same goddamn street.
"Didn't we already pick this one up?"
It's not like they lived together and did the exact same bike ride every day to confuse toll booth operators -- according to Finnish reports from the time, one lived in Raahe, and the other in the neighboring municipality of Pattijoki. Seriously, we're almost pissed off to report that they weren't hit by the same truck, since in that case we'd be able to chalk this up as some sort of serial killer out for twins. In this case, we just have to live in a world where identical twins can suffer identical deaths in such close succession to each other that it's likely the second victim didn't even know of his brother's death.
In short, if you're a twin and you find yourself on a bike trip, stay the hell away from Finland.
Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row and helped make Jet Ranger of Another Tomorrow. For more shocking tales that only history could have make possible, pre-order Jacopo's THE GREAT ABRAHAM LINCOLN POCKET WATCH CONSPIRACY! Chan Teik Onn has a Facebook account.
For more shit we couldn't possibly make up, check out 29 Mind-Blowing Coincidences You Won't Believe Happened.
Related Reading: Not done with coincidences? Check out the terrifying explanation behind Operation Barbarossa. Oh, and then there's the hack writer who predicted the Titanic's sinking fourteen years early. And did you know the X-Men were a product of Stan Lee's laziness? We live in a world built by coincidence.