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MLB to fast track head protection for pitchers

Oct 27, 2012, 3:11 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Doug Fister is attended to after being hit on the head by a ball hit by San Francisco Giants' Blanco in the second inning during Game 2 of the MLB World Series baseball championship in San Francisco

After Doug Fister catching a ball to the head on Thursday and after Brandon McCarthy‘s broken skull, MLB is looking to move quickly on pitcher head protection. Indeed, as the Associated Press reports, there is a likelihood of hat liners for pitchers in the minors as early as next year:

MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green has been talking to companies about protective headgear for pitchers, Halem said. A report is on the agenda at baseball’s winter meetings in December. A cap liner with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military, law enforcement and NFL players for body armor, is among the ideas under consideration.

I don’t know what the proper solution is here — we’ve talked about pitcher helmets before and this Kevlar liner has come up — but it’s good to see that the league is looking into it.

  1. cephyn - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Kevlar seems relatively pointless. Why not d3o foam?

    • louised3o - Nov 1, 2012 at 8:13 AM

      Hi all, I work at D3O impact protection… this is a really interesting topic for us. Our technology is used in body and hand protection for baseball players, but not currently in head protection. We have however been developing solutions for military helmets – maybe this could work for baseball too?

  2. sailcat54 - Oct 27, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Head protection for pitchers makes a lot of sense. The mound can be a dangerous place at times. A cast iron cup would be a good idea, too.

  3. crnvic847 - Oct 27, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Wouldn’t that make a great sound taking a ball to the nads with a cast iron cup!! Clink!!!

  4. cur68 - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Leaving aside the whole “tragic injury” & “lifetime debilitation” stories, the investment protection angle couldn’t be stressed enough (because getting MLB to do something that isn’t about the bottom line can be chancy). Pitchers involve the investment of millions of dollars, especially good ones. Hell, yes protect them a bit more.

  5. indianbob - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    How about the batting practice net! :-)

  6. hojo20 - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    I’d like to see the IB & 3B coaches use ball gloves – They could catch liners instead of trying to dodge them.. Pitchers should wear a hard hat like Olerud.

  7. jaysjunkie - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    Although I don’t like a lot of changes to the game, this one is probably a good idea. MLB shouldn’t wait until a pitcher is killed before taking a proactive measure towards their safety. I’ll never forget the line drive Chris Carpenter took off the face in Chicago when he pitched for the Jays…maybe the scariest thing I’ve ever seen on a ball field.

  8. lazlosother - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Gee, it would be excellent if they were as serious about maple bats. Like maybe requiring the “Bat Glove”, a coating tested and shown not to affect the batted ball while preventing bat shards from impaling players and fans.

    Until they actually do something about protection for pitchers I’m going to chalk it up to nothing more than lip service.

  9. phalatek6 - Oct 28, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    I feel like I should have read this article a while ago – like closer to Brandon McCarthy’s incident. Not that there isn’t merit to it, because there are all sorts of fantastic reasons to make a change to protect the pitchers, but I feel like this coming out now is more for PR (as more people were watching the Series than a late summer game) than it would have been following what happened earlier.

    My full disclaimer is that they could have and I missed it, but I don’t remember any. I do hope for something to be done since there are usually a few pitchers hit every year. I’d hate to see anything else life threatening when things can be done.

  10. avietar - Oct 29, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    A cap liner of Kevlar may stop a bullet, but without a rigid shell and some padding, it won’t be much use against a baseball going 130 miles per hour.

    The problem is that such a liner would then be fairly bulky and heavy, and would probably fly off pitchers’ heads after every pitch. Then there’s the matter of the pitcher’s face, which is by far the biggest target for any line drive, and something that no cap liner will be able to protect.

    We may see the day when pitchers start wearing catchers’ masks, and no one will know where home plate is…

  11. ultimatehitcoach - Oct 29, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    why not impress upon the over paid idiots that they do what they’re supposed to do: GET YOUR DAMN GLOVE UP IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE AFTER YOU RELEASE THE PITCH. MORON!

    jesus christ. talk about stupidity to the nth degree. a pitcher who gets whacked on the face has ABSOLUTELY NO ONE TO BLAMES BUT HIS OWN STUPID SELF.


    anyone who can’t remember this.. either give back some of your pay,OR MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TOPGRADE VEGETATIVE DISABILITY INSURANCE

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