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Coming soon: pitcher helmets

Mar 8, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

Pitcher helmet

Via Pete Abraham, we are pointed to a press release about a new product coming to a baseball diamond near you: helmets for pitchers. It actually appears to be more of a shield that fits over a cap, but I can’t tell. Head protection is head protection, I suppose.

The press release makes mention of a high school player, Gunnar Sandberg, who was seriously injured by a comebacker to the head.  And as these things usually go, I suspect that we’ll see more of this in the amateur ranks before it works its way up to the majors.

And once it gets to the majors: like with most safety measures, I presume this will follow through the normal progression: mockery-outrage-denial-grudging acceptance-acceptance.  All that will ultimately matter is if pitchers’ mechanics are the same with it and without it.  If so, players will be wearing them soon enough.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Instead of making the helmets, they should focus on changing the balls to say, about 16 inches and make them super-squishy.

  2. Jonny 5 - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Is that a rebel fleet trooper helmet ?

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:45 PM

      +2.4 (that’s 2.4 times cooler than a +1). Just in case you weren’t doing the math.

  3. jamie54 - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Few years ago Chris Young got it in the face from Albert. This won’t help on a face shot. Has anyone come up with stats as to how many pitchers have gotten plunked in the skull while pitching? Seems like a really small sample size.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      Sentence two = That’s what she said.

      The MLB, as Craig posted last summer, tracks all baseball plays by keywords. No matter how minuscule the event, everything is logged (‘animal on field’, ‘fan with sunglasses’, etc.). Hence, if someone had access to their database, one could easily type in ‘ball straight into pitcher’s dome piece’ (or something) and presto! Though I agree, the sample size may still be awfully small, but at least it’s being tracked.

      • spindervish - Mar 8, 2011 at 3:07 PM

        It seems you guys are kind of mangling the concept of sample size. If you have a database of every baseball play ever (or even in the last 10-20 years or whatever), that’s a pretty damn big sample size. If what you’re trying to say is that the number of instances of a pitcher being hit in the head/face with a comebacker is really small, then the term “sample size” doesn’t really apply.

        Which brings me to my main point: if, as I suspect, the number of such instances is incredibly small, it seems pretty silly to make pitchers wear that goofy headgear. If you’re mixing it up in the post in an NBA game, there’s always a chance you could catch an elbow and break your nose or facial bones. Should every NBA player wear a facemask? Should mouthguards be mandatory? Playing pro sports is a physical risk; if you don’t want to take the risk, don’t play. I suppose every new equipment advancement elicits this kind of response, but really, isn’t there a point where it just becomes ridiculous?

    • Kanonen80 - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      Combine it with a Hannibal Lecter mask and they are all set.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Mar 8, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    EEEEEEEEEEKKK!…..Is that the Lance Armstrong Hide Your Own PED’s edition helmet?

  5. BC - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    It looks like something a bicycler would wear. Great if you get sent over the handlebars at 50 mph, not so good if you have a 100-mph line drive hit you in the face.

  6. cur68 - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Becket could have used that rig this spring. He gets another crack to the melon they’ll have to get Pedroia to turn him to face home plate prior to heaving it. Seriously, though, I think its only a matter of a serious injury away from it being SOP. The helmet/shield actually looks kind of cool and pitchers can paint them like the catchers do. Imagine Ricky Vaughn with a skull & crossbones motif on his pitching shield? Charlie Sheen would be still wearing it if he’d had one in Major League.

    • BC - Mar 8, 2011 at 1:59 PM


  7. TomTom - Mar 8, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Where is Francisco Cervelli to weigh in on silly over-sized helmets?!?

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