Doug Fister is one lucky man.
The starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in Thursday's Game 2 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants, Fister was hit in the head by a screaming line drive off the bat of Giants' left fielder Gregor Blanco in the bottom of the second inning. (h/t MLB.com)
Fister was stunned, but he shook it off and after being examined on the mound, remained in the game.
Damn, he didn't even bat an eye. Fister is a tough dude.— Jim Rome (@jimrome) October 26, 2012
In what is truly a remarkable performance, Fister tossed six innings of shutout baseball, scattering four hits while walking one and striking out three. He was replaced by Drew Smyly after giving up a leadoff single to Hunter Pence in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Tim McCarver made the point during the live broadcast of the game on Fox that he thinks pitchers should wear helmets while on the mound, and it's not unheard of for players to wear batting helmets in the field.
Former All-Star first baseman John Olerud wore a batting helmet in the field throughout his career.
The scene evoked memories of Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted:
I am astonished that anyone is allowing Doug Fister to continue pitching. Anyone familiar w/ @bmccarthy32's emergency surgery is surprised.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) October 26, 2012
McCarthy suffered a fractured skull, a brain contusion and an epidural hemorrhage on the play, injuries that could have been life-threatening and required emergency surgery to repair. (h/t ESPN)
Thankfully, Fister appears to be fine.
It was surprising to see him remain in the game, especially in light of McCarthy's injuries, which happened only last month.
While baseball is certainly not considered to be as violent a sport as football, this is a reminder that America's pastime can be a dangerous undertaking.
With players continuing to get bigger, stronger and faster, I'd agree with McCarver's sentiments—better head protection is needed for pitchers, who are consistently the most vulnerable players on the field.