We humans love a good pattern. Not many things get our brains going as well as some good old uniformity emerging from chaos. But other patterns? Well they can get kind of creepy, unlikely and downright weird. From baseball strikes to car crashes or joyous reunions, here are three of the weirdest coincidences in modern history.
By all accounts, Richie Ashburn was a phenomenal baseball hitter. During the heyday of his career in the 1950s he hit more balls than any other player – with an unequalled 1875 hits in just six years. However, his name has mostly gone down in legend for an altogether stranger reason. On August 15th, 1957, playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, Ashburn hit a foul ball that cannoned off into the crowd and broke the nose of a middle-aged female fan and broke her nose. So far so bad for her, but nothing too unusual right?
Well, as a team of medics carried was putting the confused Mrs Alice Roth onto a stretcher, Ashburn hit another foul ball. One point for guessing where it ended up? You got it – it smacked Mrs Roth straight in the head for a second time. In the kind of fluke shot you couldn’t hit with 100 hours of practice, Richie Ashburn became the only baseball player to ever hit the same fan with a loose hit, twice in one game. To add another layer to the coincidence, Mrs Roth was the wife of Philadelphia Bulletin sports editor Earl Roth – who later employed Ashburn and the two families became firm friends.
After receiving a stadium tour and a signed ball by way of compensation, Mrs Roth’s grandson was said to have remarked ‘Grandma, can you get hit by an Eagles football next weekend please?’
A Missing Link
Michael Dick, of Sudbury in Suffolk, UK, spent ten years looking for his estranged daughter – before finding her in even stranger circumstances. Having scoured county records and spoken unsuccessfully to the police, Michael turned to his local paper for help. To publicize his story, they arranged to take a photo of him posing with a picture of his daughter Lisa in front of their town hall.
And who would happen to be walking past at the exact moment the photo was taken? Why his long-lost daughter of course, who was strolling by with her own daughter in a pushchair in the background of the photo. After picking up the newspaper a few days later, Lisa recognised herself in the photo – twice. Upon their happy reunion Lisa said to the media, ‘I was completely shocked. Me and my mum had been standing in that exact place where the picture was taken about a minute earlier, and you can see us in the picture walking away. It is incredible.’
A happy coincidence indeed, but a rather bizarre one at that. Strange old world, eh?