December 26, 2012
In the Jan. 4, 2013 edition of Collegiate Baseball, we noted that Major League Baseball has been discussing ways to protect pitchers from being injured by batted balls. Hat liners are a possibility in the minor leagues next season, according to an article carried by the Associated Press.
At one time, batters in baseball didn’t wear helmets. But now, every hitter and runner is required to wear helmets. In fact, base coaches on many levels are required to wear helmets after minor league first base coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed by a line drive in 2007.
Simple common sense should dictate that head protection be mandated for pitchers. After a pitch is released, he is close to 50 feet away from the batter and in harms way for a line drive injury to the head.
Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports, one of the most respected writers in the nation, penned an in-depth article on pitcher head injuries several years ago which quoted Frederick Mueller, a University of North Carolina professor and chairman of USA Baseball’s Medical and Safety Advisory Committee, as saying that an average of one serious injury or death from high school and college pitchers struck in the head by line drives per year has taken place since 1982.
It’s time that all rules committees in college and high school baseball require head protection for pitchers. Bats and balls are not the problem. Lack of head protection is the issue.