Former reliever Micah Bowie spent parts of six seasons at the major league level, including two seasons with the Washington Nationals in 2006 and 2007. After just 10 appearances with the Colorado Rockies in 2008, he was released and his career was over.
After clawing his way to stay in the big leagues, Bowie is now fighting and clawing just to stay alive.
After undergoing back surgery that led to complications in 2016, Bowie has been dealing with life-threatening health issues, including severe damage to his lungs that doesn't allow him to breath very well.
"Now that my lungs are destroyed, about 50 percent of my lungs receive air," Bowie said. "I have about a nine percent perfusion rate, which means about nine percent of my lungs are working."
The physical toll Bowie is dealing with is immense, and financially it has really been a burden on him and his family. That's why he reached out to the MLB Players Association for help, but they've shut him down every single time.
“I went through three basic agreements to help the players have a system where they could make money,” Bowie said. “Now to have the players union arbitrarily deciding to deny benefits when they are earned is unfathomable to me. It is really hard to understand the way they think and the way they do that. It’s crazy for a major league baseball player in this situation to be on public care.”
Bowie was denied disability payment because he fell short by 20 days of the four full years of major league service he needed, and when he appealed that the injury was caused by the game of baseball in the first place, he was denied.
Former #Nationals pitcher Micah Bowie has 10% working lung capacity and the @MLB_PLAYERS denied his disability claim and then allegedly didn't even read his appeal before denying him again. Can the @Nationals step in here? https://t.co/0pZvofoCTU pic.twitter.com/60jna3ah7l— Nick Diunte (@ExamineBaseball) January 18, 2019
“I said, 'How in the world can you deny me and not read my appeal?',” Bowie said. “I haven’t gotten anywhere with the union or any pension committee members since that point. It is very disheartening to know this. Because I played Major League Baseball, I am going to bankrupt my family with the injuries it has left me. That’s not right.”
Despite getting shut down by the MLBPA time after time, Bowie and his family are continuing the fight, and hopefully the public support he's getting will turn the tide and lead to him getting the help he needs.