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View Full Version : Helmet Discussions (Formerly: David Wright, hit in head, maybe out for the year)



UKFlounder
08-16-2009, 06:40 PM
How does this compare to the Scott Rolen situation?

Francouer's comments make him seem like the clown he does not want to look like, it seems, but maybe it does look that bad.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4402484

NEW YORK -- New York Mets slugger David Wright was released from the hospital and put on the disabled list Sunday, one day after he was hit square on the helmet by a 94-mph fastball from San Francisco's Matt Cain.

When asked whether Wright could miss the rest of the season, New York manager Jerry Manuel said it's "a possibility" depending on how further tests come out. The club placed him on the 15-day DL after a 3-2 victory over the Giants.

Team spokesman Jay Horwitz said the All-Star third baseman was examined by a neurologist Saturday night and again Sunday morning before being sent home. Wright still had a headache and was experiencing "post-concussion symptoms," Horwitz said.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya spoke to Wright during the game.

"David wanted to take a chance to go out and play, but we decided to take it away from him and DL him based on the recommendation of our doctors who consulted with a specialist," Minaya said. "It's a medical decision."

Wright was hit just above the ear hole by a pitch from Cain in the fourth inning, sending his batting helmet flying into the air and the gritty infielder sprawling to the ground. Wright lay there for several minutes before walking off the field with some help from trainers.

He was taken by ambulance to the Hospital for Special Surgery about 50 minutes later, where a CT scan came back negative.

"I do believe we have to be cautious with this," Manuel said, "and we will be."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who had Wright on his team during an All-Star tour of Japan three years ago, reiterated Sunday that the pitch that hit Wright was not intentional.

"Sometimes it gets to the point where any pitch inside, if it hits a batter, it's on purpose," he said. "I felt horrible. It's a sick feeling when someone gets hit in the head."

Wright is batting .324 with eight homers and 55 RBIs and had missed only one game for the banged-up Mets this season. The club is already without Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran, and the pitching staff is missing J.J. Putz, John Maine and Jon Niese.

Even so, the Mets will be especially cautious with Wright after they were criticized for rushing back Ryan Church from multiple concussions last year. The outfielder experienced dizziness and other post-concussion symptoms, and although he repeatedly asked to be in the lineup, Church never seemed fully recovered and struggled much of the season.

"David would know well enough whether he can move forward," Manuel said. "He's a bright young man and he understands a lot of different things, what's going on, and I think he has enough wisdom to put it in its right place."

His absence nevertheless puts the Mets in another bind, because versatile infielder Alex Cora is still nursing a hand injury. Fernando Tatis started in Wright's place at third base Sunday, with Luis Castillo at second and Anderson Hernandez at shortstop.

The 26-year-old Hernandez was reacquired by the Mets in a trade with Washington on Aug. 6.

"I know it's a difficult thing for David. He's a team guy. He's a huge part of this organization," Manuel said, moments after learning Wright was put on the disabled list. "To lose David Wright is not good for me, but it's good for David Wright. If they had cleared him, that would be different. It takes it out of my hands completely.

"As I say, if the experts had cleared him, then we would have worked through the process."

The incident involving Wright prompted retaliation from Mets starter Johan Santana, who first threw behind the back of Pablo Sandoval and then hit Bengie Molina during San Francisco's 5-4, 10-inning victory Saturday.

Neither manager expected any warnings to be issued before the first pitch Sunday.

"There's no history there, so I don't think anybody's worried about that," Bochy said. "As long as this game has been played, it's going to happen. ... Baseball has a way of taking care of its own issues. With that said, more is done today as far as fines, suspensions, to prevent these beanball wars."

Wright's beaning came as Rawlings was reportedly set to introduce a helmet billed as a safer, new-generation model designed to better absorb such impacts.

"If it provides more protection, then I'm all for it," Wright recently told The New York Times. "I'm not worried about style or looking good out there. I'm worried about keeping my melon protected."

Despite Wright's optimism, the helmet, dubbed the S100, likely won't be widely used in the big leagues anytime soon, as it is "too bulky, too heavy and too geeky-looking," The Times' report said, citing an informal sampling of MLB players.

According to the manufacturer and an independent testing organization, the helmet can safely withstand the direct impact of a 100-mph fastball. The helmets in use today by big leaguers have mixed results on pitches faster than 70 mph, the report said.

"No, I am absolutely not wearing that," Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said with a laugh after seeing a prototype, according to the report. "I could care less what they say, I'm not wearing it. There's got to be a way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding.

"It's brutal. We're going to look like a bunch of clowns out there."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

HeatherC1212
08-16-2009, 06:57 PM
They said during the broadcast today that Scott is getting better and better and has been more active with drills and batting in the last two days. This one looked a heck of a lot worse on Wright and I was there in person for the Rolen one. I think the one to Rolen hit more of the helmet than anything but Wright got hit very close to his ear and that could cause more problems for him. I hope he's all right. He's a good guy and a great player. :(

BTW-There were THREE guys hit in the head by pitches (or hits) last night. Wright got hit by Cain, Koruda (the Dodgers pitcher) got hit hard by a line drive off a D'Backs hitter (and that was big time scary to see on ESPN last night), and Ian Kinsler got hit in the helmet by a Red Sox pitcher near the end of their game last night (he stayed in the game though and played again today). That's insane. What is going on with all these hits to the head lately?! :eek:

Tom Servo
08-16-2009, 07:05 PM
To be fair Francouer said that before Wright got plunked but yeah, pretty dumb.

Brutus
08-16-2009, 07:27 PM
I don't see anything wrong with it. If a player cares about cosmetic, superficial things, it's their right. As every day people, we don't want to go around wearing cut-off shorts or other tacky-looking clothing items, so Francouer's remarks should be treated no differently.

BCubb2003
08-16-2009, 07:33 PM
It can't be any dorkier than the way Bronson Arroyo looks at the plate.

mbgrayson
08-16-2009, 08:20 PM
Here is a photo of the new helmet:
http://www.nytimes.com/images/2009/08/13/sports/13helmet.1.600.jpg

From the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/sports/baseball/13helmet.html) earlier this week:

Safer Batting Helmet Draws Resistance From Some Players
Earl Wilson/The New York Times

Rawlings is about to introduce the S100, a bulkier but far more protective helmet that can withstand the impact of a 100-m.p.h. fastball.

by DAVID WALDSTEIN
Published: August 12, 2009

Three weeks after absorbing the potentially deadly impact of a 93-mile-per-hour fastball on his batting helmet, Edgar Gonzalez still feels dizzy whenever he lies down. Because of the lingering effects of a concussion, Gonzalez, a second baseman for the San Diego Padres, has not played since that experience. When he finally returns, it may be with the newest protective device, one that could one day come to define the look of a major league batter.

Rawlings is about to introduce its newest batting helmet, the S100, a bulkier but far more protective helmet that can withstand the impact of a 100-m.p.h. fastball, according to Rawlings and an independent testing organization. Most other models, when hit flush by a ball, are compromised at speeds in excess of 70 m.p.h.

As helpful as the new helmet may be, there is resistance to it from some major league players who are not prepared to sacrifice comfort and style for added protection. Gonzalez is not among them. “After this happened to me, I would wear anything,” he said. “I don’t care how goofy it is, as long as it could help protect me.”

Gonzalez and others who choose to wear the new model could become pioneers like Ron Santo, one of the first to wear a batting helmet with an earflap, or Jacques Plante, the first hockey goalie to wear a face mask on a regular basis.

Major league players are a fearless and traditional bunch, and for many any kind of change, even for the sake of safety, is anathema.

“No, I am absolutely not wearing that,” Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said with a laugh after seeing a prototype, as if he were being asked to put a pumpkin on his head. “I could care less what they say, I’m not wearing it. There’s got to be a way to have a more protective helmet without all that padding. It’s brutal. We’re going to look like a bunch of clowns out there.”

Among a small, informal sampling of players, several said they would likely stick with their current model, even though the S100 has been proved more effective in independent laboratory testing. In the eyes of some major league players, it is just too bulky, too heavy and too geeky-looking.

“I want a helmet that’s comfortable,” Athletics infielder Nomar Garciaparra said, “and that doesn’t look bad.”

Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira said the new helmet would make him feel as if he were wearing a football helmet in the batter’s box.

“The one I’ve used for my entire career is fine,” he said.

Francoeur took a Brad Penny fastball in the helmet this season and, as he said, “lived to tell the tale.” Even Gonzalez escaped a catastrophic head injury with his old model.

David Halstead is the technical director for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, an independent organization that sets safety standards. Halstead said a vast majority of helmets used by major league players are not certified by his organization because they do not have enough interior padding and do not have two earflaps.

“Major league players do not play with a helmet that meets any standards,” he said. “It’s remarkable to me. Once the earflap is removed, it can’t be certified.”

Halstead said that a ball traveling a mere 32 m.p.h. that hits an unprotected head flush will “result in a skull fracture every time.” So what happens when a ball leaves the hand at 90 m.p.h. and hits a helmet? Usually it hurts a lot, and it may result in a concussion. But it rarely causes a fracture.

The reason is that a player who gets hit with a 90-m.p.h. fastball is usually experienced enough to avoid a direct hit and ensure the impact is only a glancing blow. In 24 years of work with the committee on athletic equipment and as co-founder of the Southern Impact Research Center, Halstead said he had seen only three skull fractures from a pitched ball, and two were in girls softball.

The third occurred this season with a player in the Orioles’ minor league system. Halstead examined that helmet and found no structural damage. He said there was a good possibility it did not fit properly and, when the player moved to avoid the pitch, the helmet shifted and the ball may have hit directly against the head.

“If he had been wearing the S100 and it fit properly, he wouldn’t have had a skull fracture,” Halstead said.

The S100 — so named because it can withstand the impact of a ball fired at 100 m.p.h. from 24 inches away — has a layer of expanded polypropylene, the hard, foamlike material used in bicycle helmets.

The helmet also has a composite insert strip built into the frame that helps the helmet retain its protective oval shape upon impact. Even if current major leaguers balk at wearing the bulkier new helmet now, Rawlings is banking on the idea that minor leaguers, as well as high school and college players, will convert to it and the helmet will work its way into the major leagues as they are promoted.

“Our position is to offer the safest helmet on the market,” said Mike Thompson, Rawlings’s vice president for marketing and business development. “If they elect to wear it, that’s their choice.”

To meet the standards of the committee on athletic equipment, helmets must withstand the direct impact of a baseball fired out of an air cannon at 60 m.p.h. from 24 inches away. Most helmets will be dented at 70 m.p.h., but Halstead recently tested the S100 in his Knoxville, Tenn., laboratory. It withstood pitches at 100 m.p.h.

Now, he is making his 8-year-old son, Sean, wear it for Little League games.

But it is hard to predict the number of professionals who will convert to using it.

“If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who last week dodged a Brad Thompson fastball traveling on a frightening vector toward his head. “I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.”

Billy Witz contributed reporting.

I also remember Aaron Hill of the Blue Jays last year: He missed much of the season after getting hit in the head.

Phhhl
08-16-2009, 09:47 PM
They shouldn't force players to wear the geeky hat. Noone has been killed playing major league baseball since Willard Hirshberger, and despite what happened to guys like Dickey Thon, Ron Cey and Joe Charbeneau the chances of a career-altering beaning has to be microscopic to any given player, statistically. If it were me, I would be wearing the safer helmet "yesterday". I believe a lot of smart players would do so as well, after watching one of the finest young players in the game go down like David Wright did yesterday.

UKFlounder
08-16-2009, 09:53 PM
But I worked a construction job one summer - I felt the plastic hard helmet and safety glasses were pretty strange looking, but I did wear them anyway.

I agree they should not be forced to wear it, but it's not like they would have to wear it all day - a couple minutes per at-bat, then a few more if you're on base, but it's no big deal. I just thought his comments were a bit silly, but no big deal.

(But i wonder what guys in the 50s or so thought of the hard-plastic batting helmets that eventually became standard. Were they thought of in a similar vein?)


I don't see anything wrong with it. If a player cares about cosmetic, superficial things, it's their right. As every day people, we don't want to go around wearing cut-off shorts or other tacky-looking clothing items, so Francouer's remarks should be treated no differently.

Always Red
08-16-2009, 09:56 PM
To me, it's amazing how well the current helmets protected both Rolen and Wright.

Chip R
08-16-2009, 10:05 PM
I'm sure when batting helmets were first introduced, a lot of guys didn't want to wear them.

BCubb2003
08-16-2009, 10:06 PM
Apparently Bob Montgomery was the last to wear a batting helmet, in 1979, eight years after they were made mandatory but grandfathered in. Tim Raines was the last to wear a batting helmet without an ear flap, in 2002, 19 years after they were made mandatory in 1983.

Big Klu
08-16-2009, 11:03 PM
They shouldn't force players to wear the geeky hat. Noone has been killed playing major league baseball since Willard Hirshberger, and despite what happened to guys like Dickey Thon, Ron Cey and Joe Charbeneau the chances of a career-altering beaning has to be microscopic to any given player, statistically. If it were me, I would be wearing the safer helmet "yesterday". I believe a lot of smart players would do so as well, after watching one of the finest young players in the game go down like David Wright did yesterday.

Willard Hershberger killed himself in his hotel room in Boston. Indians SS Ray Chapman is the player who was killed by a beanball in a game.



Apparently Bob Montgomery was the last to wear a batting helmet, in 1979, eight years after they were made mandatory but grandfathered in. Tim Raines was the last to wear a batting helmet without an ear flap, in 2002, 19 years after they were made mandatory in 1983.

I was watching the 1975 World Series DVD's that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I remember seeing Bob Montgomery (who was a backup catcher for the Red Sox) pinch-hitting without a helmet. I was amazed that there were still players in the 70's who didn't wear a helmet.

westofyou
08-16-2009, 11:04 PM
Willard Hershberger killed himself in his hotel room in Boston. Indians SS Ray Chapman is the player who was killed by a beanball in a game.




I was watching the 1975 World Series DVD's that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago, and I remember seeing Bob Montgomery (who was a backup catcher for the Red Sox) pinch-hitting without a helmet. I was amazed that there were still players in the 70's who didn't wear a helmet.

He wore a plate in his cap, lined it IRRC. A ML player died in the early teens from a beaning, (he had been a MLB play IIRC)

Big Klu
08-16-2009, 11:16 PM
He wore a plate in his cap, lined it IRRC. A ML player died in the early teens from a beaning, (he had been a MLB play IIRC)

Are you thinking of Doc Powers? He was a catcher for the Athletics who died as a result of an on-field collision with the wall in foul territory at Shibe Park in 1909. He suffered internal injuries, and died as a result of complications from the resulting intestinal surgeries. He was the first MLB player to die as a result of an on-field incident.

The second (and more famous/infamous) fatality as a result of an on-field incident was when Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays in 1920.

To my knowledge, they are the only two MLB players to die as a result of something that happened on the field.

Always Red
08-16-2009, 11:26 PM
He wore a plate in his cap, lined it IRRC.

http://www.redsoxdiehard.com/diary/2002/pics/montyhat.jpg

westofyou
08-16-2009, 11:59 PM
Are you thinking of Doc Powers? He was a catcher for the Athletics who died as a result of an on-field collision with the wall in foul territory at Shibe Park in 1909. He suffered internal injuries, and died as a result of complications from the resulting intestinal surgeries. He was the first MLB player to die as a result of an on-field incident.

The second (and more famous/infamous) fatality as a result of an on-field incident was when Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays in 1920.

To my knowledge, they are the only two MLB players to die as a result of something that happened on the field.

He was in the ML when he died, he HAD played in MLB prior.

Big Klu
08-17-2009, 12:46 AM
He was in the ML when he died, he HAD played in MLB prior.

Sorry, I misread your earlier post.

Eric_the_Red
08-17-2009, 12:11 PM
I think MLB would be well within their rights to require players to wear the new helmet. Even if the risk of death is very low, it is a risk. Besides, look at the number of concussions and other related injuries that it may reduce.

Didn't Earnhardt's death lead to new safety equipment becoming mandatory in NASCAR? IIRC, some drivers didn't like the additional restraints, but they had to wear them. Why wait for a player to die to before making them mandatory?

M2
08-17-2009, 12:27 PM
The new helmet doesn't seem any geekier than the current one. In fact, it might even be more stylish.

The real question is whether it's comfortable to wear. I suspect that after a short adjustment period it would be.

NJReds
08-17-2009, 12:28 PM
The new helmet doesn't seem any geekier than the current one. In fact, it might even be more stylish.

The real question is whether it's comfortable to wear. I suspect that after a short adjustment period it would be.

More comfortable than post-concussion syndrome.

I was watching the game when Wright got hit. I wasn't sure he was going to get up at first. He was down, motionless, for a while.

Chip R
08-17-2009, 10:11 PM
I think MLB would be well within their rights to require players to wear the new helmet. Even if the risk of death is very low, it is a risk. Besides, look at the number of concussions and other related injuries that it may reduce.

Didn't Earnhardt's death lead to new safety equipment becoming mandatory in NASCAR? IIRC, some drivers didn't like the additional restraints, but they had to wear them. Why wait for a player to die to before making them mandatory?


It would have to be negotiated with the MLBPA.

jojo
08-17-2009, 10:37 PM
If I'm paying a guy$40M and I tell him he's going to wear a puffy suit that would make the Michelin man gush with envy, he's gonna wear it.

westofyou
03-10-2010, 10:47 AM
Good Read...

Searching for the History of the Batting Helmet


http://www.wezen-ball.com/2010-articles/march/searching-for-the-history-of-the-batting-helmet.html




When David Wright donned the "new batting helmet" late last season - and was mocked mercilessly by just about everyone - I thought it would be a good idea to go back through some old magazines and newspapers and find how people reacted to the introduction to the original helmet. I was certain that I could find ballplayers and writers saying the same thing then that ballplayers were saying now about the Wright helmet. I never wrote that piece, though, because I ran into a problem: there was never really a big, league-wide rollout of batting helmets to mark the new era. In fact, the answer to the question "who was the first baseball player to wear a batting helmet?" is pretty nebulous.

I put the notes to the side and told myself that I would come back to it, but I never did. But then I found myself drawn back to Paul Lukas' wonderful blog, Uniwatch, which I, for some reason, had strayed away from recently. Well, for those who don't know, Paul has had a keen interest in the development of the batting helmet (and the batting helmet w/earflaps) for a while. Every now and then he posts an interesting photo or whatnot that he or a reader has stumbled across, and it gets us all just a tad bit closer to solving the whole puzzle. Last week, he unveiled another piece to the puzzle: a reader had recently stumbled across the Popular Science archives and found this image from the November 1940 issue. Paul loved it, and was able to determine that the helmet shown there was probably the same one that Jackie Hayes had worn in the summer of 1940.

Well, the image looked incredibly familiar to me, so I pulled up my notes from last fall. I had found the same image in Popular Science too, but in the October 1940 issue. I emailed that photo, and many more that I found in that initial research phase to Paul, and, with his encouragement, I decided to investigate the issue some more. I spent some more time in the Google News and Proquest archives this weekend, and I even went to the library to pull up some books. I can't say that I've solved the puzzle, but I do feel like I connected and filled in a lot of areas that were incomplete or hanging loose. Keep reading for a timeline on the invention and evolution of the batting helmet in baseball.

edabbs44
03-10-2010, 11:33 AM
Messed up that this was bumped.

westofyou
03-10-2010, 11:40 AM
Messed up that this was bumped.

It's subject specific, the date is the indicator that it's an old thread.

edabbs44
03-10-2010, 11:52 AM
It's subject specific, the date is the indicator that it's an old thread.

I know and it is relevant, but seeing the headline made me do a doubletake.

Chip R
03-10-2010, 12:46 PM
I know and it is relevant, but seeing the headline made me do a doubletake.


Same here.

Blitz Dorsey
03-10-2010, 02:08 PM
Wow, I was thinking this just happened. You crazy thread bumpers!