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Pitchers to test padded hats in effort to reduce head injuries

Dec 17, 2012, 1:48 PM EDT

padded hat

In what seems like a compromise between their current lack of protection and wearing a full-on helmet on the mound MLB will have pitchers test a padded hat in an effort to reduce head injuries.

Willie Weinbaum of ESPN.com reports that “at least a dozen” pitchers have been given the padded hats made by Unequal Technologies Company to try and offers some more specifics about the product:

Unequal’s padding for each cap weighs 4.3 ounces, is one eighth-of-an-inch thick and is made of a three-layer synthetic composite that includes military grade DuPont Kevlar and a polymer with the properties of rubber. He also said Unequal could mass produce the cap padding and sell it as an insert for about $60 apiece retail.

Unequal isn’t alone in providing pitchers headgear for MLB’s consideration. MLB senior vice president Dan Halem said Monday that discussions are being held between Unequal and five other companies whose products are in different stages of development and use different materials.

Apparently the padded hats have been in development for a while now, but MLB and the various companies pushed up the timetable following head injuries to Brandon McCarthy and Doug Fister this year. However, in McCarthy’s case it’s unclear if the padded hat would have protected him based on where the ball struck.

According to Weinbaum the products could be used in the minor leagues as soon as this upcoming season.

  1. trevorb06 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    As a pitcher I love this but I also know that some pitchers wouldn’t be for having the extra weight on their heads thinking it might throw off some balance, mess with their ju-ju, etc. At least it’s better than nothing though!

  2. spudchukar - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    In the old days, many players used to bat with hat inserts. I remember Kenny Boyer insisting he be able to keep using his insert after helmets were first introduced. I believe he was allowed to keep using his insert, a type of grandfather clause reasoning.

    Perhaps, the new Kevlar padding is just as protective, but the old inserts were not particularly cumbersome, and something like that could be re-instituted.

  3. cackalackyank - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Can they make an ankle guard out of this padding for Andy Pettitte?

  4. digbysellers - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    As a man who loves ju-ju I don’t like this one bit. It’s like heading down to the pool during acqasize classes and navigating through that flabby armed spaking machine. If Cosmo wouldn’t wear the hat maxi pad, then neither will I.

  5. moogro - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Face padding. Hit in the face. Face padding.

  6. randall351 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Everyone should just be forced to wear softball helmets with the huge face masks on them; everyone’s ju-ju gets messed with.
    There problem solved.
    Next.

  7. chadjones27 - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    My guess is that not too many current major league pitchers will be using these in the near future. But, if they get enough use in the minors, college, high school level, I think you’d see more pitchers using it. Those are the players they should target.

  8. billymc75 - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    call me in August in Texas and let me know how padded hats go

  9. lapsncaps - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    If these padded hats are similar to the rugby “helmets” that some where, i dont really see too much of an issue with this. They very light and offer a decent amount of protection considering what they are. Considering how many pitches a pitcher can throw a game, it must be something small, lightweight, and with as minimal movement as possible. The ball will still hurt, but the brain damage will be significantly less.

    • nofunleague - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      Only problem with rugby shells is the gaps between strips of rubber or padding. I’m suer all of the batters were worried about a full helmet. Make the padding mandatory and let the pitchers cry. too bad.

  10. trevorb06 - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Why no the leather helmets of old football days. :-)

  11. patssteelersorgiants - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Sounds like Roger Goodell has become baseball commissioner. Whiffle ball anyone?

    • shynessismyelguapo - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Yeah, safety is nonsense. That’s why I drive without a seatbelt with the doors open. To add an extra dash of manliness, a tape a knife aimed at my heart to the steering wheel. Also, I dose the car in in gasoline and will randomly toss light matches onto the floor anytime I’m driving anywhere. Safety is for the birds, ya know?

      • badintent - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        Do you write for Dave Letterman ? Great Post .

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Yep…you nailed it PSOG. Safety is over-rated.

      Qualificiation: Just typing that made me feel moronic.

  12. denny65 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    Why not simply require pitchers to wear batting helmets, sans ear piece? Think about it.

  13. mackie66 - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    Why not put the little batting cage in front of the ppitchers mound, so what if it looks silly? Lol,lol,lol,

  14. fanofevilempire - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:21 AM

    baseball is a billion dollar industry and this is the shit they make,,,,

    WTF

  15. garlicfriesandbaseball - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Reblogged this on Garlicfriesandbaseball's Blog and commented:
    GFBB Note: With all the money MLB makes, it seems like they could come up with something better than this. Maybe they could talk to NASA, or what’s left of it. Seems like some of those astronauts were decked out in classy looking protection that could be configured to the inside of a baseball cap, with maybe an ear flap or two. Just kidding ….kinda, sorta.

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