MLB Must Adopt Required Head Protection for Pitchers

Diamond NotesCorrespondent IIIMay 31, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 29:  Cleveland Indians starting pitcher David Huff #28 is carted off the field on a stretcher after Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees hit him in the head with a line drive during the third inning of their game on May 29, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

In November 2007 Major League Baseball took preventive measure to protect first-and third-base coaches. Unfortunately it took the death of Mike Coolbaugh, first-base coach of the Double A Tulsa Drillers, to bring about this safety measure.

Another death, Ray Chapman, was the example used to bring about the rule requiring batting helmets. In August 1920 Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch thrown by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. His death also lead to the rule requiring umpires to replace balls when ever they became dirty.

As you can see, Major League Baseball has a history of waiting for someone to be killed before taking measures to ensure players safety.

This season we have seen how dangerous pitching has become. In April we saw Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Chris Jakubauskas nearly killed by a Lance Berkman line drive. Yesterday we saw Cleveland Indian pitcher David Huff carted off Yankee Stadium field. He took a line drive to the head off the bat of the New York's Alex Rodriguez.

I believe now is the time for Major League Baseball to make the decision requiring pitchers to wear some sort of head protection. MLB already has options. According to the Commissioner's Office Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations, Joe Garagiola Jr., four options ( liners, hard caps, helmets without flaps, helmet with flaps) were considered when approving the adoption of base coach helmets.

Mr. Garagiola, please don't wait for the death of a pitcher before recommending the adoption of protection. This is a situation that needs to be addressed now, not later.


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