Let’s give a hand to MU’s Hanon

May 13, 2019

Call him “Calamity Shane.” That’s a nickname which even draws an ironic chuckle from Shane Hanon.

Just don’t ask Marshall University’s star senior outfielderfirst baseman to shake on it.

Hanon’s oft-injured right hand can’t endure much more.

“I’ve had a lot of bad luck with this hand,” said Hanon, who leads the Thundering Herd with a .379 batting average. “I’ve broken it quite a few times. I broke it my first year in college. Then I had a medical redshirt at Central Arizona College because I broke my finger playing basketball.”

The next question is obvious.

“Yeah,” answered Hanon with a rueful grin, “right hand again. Broke it running into a wall. It didn’t heal. Then I kind of re-broke it in the fall and had to have surgery. And I broke it again this season.”

Hanon missed 22 games during the 2019 season after fracturing his hand in a game at Ohio University. He recently returned to the lineup for a pair of games against UTSA and was a starter in a three-game series at Old Dominion this weekend.

So, has he ever been healthy for an entire season at Marshall?

Just once.

In Hanon’s sophomore year, he ranked No. 10 in batting average in Conference USA with a team-high .342 mark.

But since that season, Hanon has missed 37 games.

In 2018, Hanon was batting .324 when he collided with a concrete outfield wall in Eplin Stadium at Beckley.

“I was going back to catch a fly ball,” said the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Hanon. “Didn’t catch it, and I tried to slow myself down and stop. I just ended up hitting weird — a cement wall. It didn’t give and I lost that battle. I put a hand up to stop myself and I only had two steps to stop and I hit it. There’s no padding. Just straight cement.”

And this season?

“I hit a wall again,” said the native of Gig Harbor, Washington. “In a different way, though. I hit it at Ohio University. It was a wood wall, so it was a little more giving, but I lost that battle again. It wasn’t too bad.”

It was diagnosed as a “boxer’s fracture.”

“The fracture didn’t go all the way through,” explained Hanon. “It’s the majority of the way healed now, so that’s why I’ve been able to come back. There’s still a little bit of a break, but I’m getting through it.”

As proof, Hanon was 1 for 3 with an RBI and two walks in Marshall’s 6-5 loss to Old Dominion in 10 innings Friday.

Perhaps that’s because of Hanon’s relentlessly upbeat attitude about all his right-handed injuries. He just grins, bears it and keeps moving forward. That’s more than a little remarkable, considering most athletes in his cleats would be wrapped up in woeis-me melancholy.

But not Hanon.

“You have to keep a positive approach,” he said. “When you’ve had it broken as many times as I have, you have to look at some kind of brass eye. It could be worse. We’ve got guys going down with T.J. (Tommy John surgery) and labrum surgeries. That’s a full year. So, I mean, it could be worse than it is.”

Well, it still could get worse.

MU returns to the scene of Hanon’s most-recent injury — Ohio University — for a game at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Let’s hope “Calamity Shane” survives.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@herald-dispatch.com.