Meadville Tribune

Opinion

February 6, 2014

Padded caps may be unpopular but pitchers will eventually accept them

The year was 1957 when Cleveland left-hander Herb Score was pitching to the Yankees’ Gil McDougald. A line drive rocketed back at the Indians pitcher and struck him in the head.

Score, who was only 23, slumped to the ground. Blood poured from his face. For a moment, he thought his eye had popped out of its socket. It hadn’t, but it was still a scary scene.

If you saw it, you’d undoubtedly like to forget that moment but probably never will.

Score never was the same. He said it wasn’t the line drive that knocked him out of baseball but a recurring arm problem. Many of those who had marveled at his sinking fastball disagreed.

A pitcher getting hit by a baseball traveling 85 to 100 mph may happen infrequently, but when it does the injury is serious. In 2012, Brandon McCarthy sustained a skull fracture and brain contusion while pitching for the Oakland A’s and required surgery. A year later, Toronto’s J.A. Happ and Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb were both hit and sidelined.

Safety is a constant worry for baseball executives. To their credit, it draws ongoing study and debate. When pitchers arrive at spring training this month, besides the normal uniform, they’ll be offered a padded cap with more, if not complete, protection for their heads.

Initial reactions from the pros are mixed. Athletes like the idea of safer equipment – no one must be convinced of the perils of the profession – but the protective cap has negative features. It's heavier and thicker. Besides being uncomfortable, those who’ve worn it are certain they’ll be hotter. Pitchers say they’ll try the custom-fitted caps during the exhibition season, then in all likelihood send them back to the lab to be refined.

Text Only
Opinion
Business Marquee
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks