What is a baseball helmet?
A helmet is basically a hard shell type cap that players use to wear to avoid head injuries during the game. There are so many games in which players wear a helmet on the head to keep their heads safe from external impacts. For example in Cricket, batsman & keeper wear a helmet, similarly in hockey goalkeeper use helmet to protect his head. Players also use a specific type of helmet in Rugby to avoid head injuries. But, here we are talking about the baseball helmets.
In a baseball game, a batting helmet is worn by batters. Just like other games, it is also meant to protect the batter’s head from errant pitches thrown by the pitcher. A batter who is hit by a pitch, due to an inadvertent wild pitch or it might be a pitcher’s purposeful attempt to hit him, which may give seriously, even fatal, injuries. So, baseball helmet protects the players from such injuries.
In the year 1905, Mogridge made the very first crude protective head gear & it was granted patent No. ”780899” for a head protector. This very first attempt at a batting helmet was said to look like an inflatable boxing glove that wrapped around the hitters head. Later, in the year 1908, ‘Chicago White Sox shortstop’ Freddy Parent also wore a head protector of some sort & ‘Chicago Cubs’ first baseman-manager Frank Chance did the same thing in the year 1913. The Chance’s headgear was little more than a sponge wrapped in a bandage. Afterward, in the year 1914, minor leaguer Joe Bosk, who was playing for the Utica Utes, also wore a protector after being severely injured when he was struck in the head by a pitch in the year 1911.
The ‘Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Pat Moran was the first manager issuing head protectors to his players on a large scale. Who gave cork-cushioned hats to his players to keep them safe from head injuries in the year 1921.
Despite the fatal beaning of Ray Chapman in the year 1920, protective headgear was still used only occasionally in the major leagues. But, after Mickey Cochrane, a ‘Hall of Fame’ catcher for the ‘Detroit Tigers’ suffered a career-ending & near-fatal skull fracture on May 25, 1937, on a pitch by New York Yankees’ pitcher Bump Hadley, there was a strong call for batter helmets after this incident. Cochrane himself went on record saying that players should wear protective helmets.
In the year 1960, Jim Lemon became the very first player to wear the new ‘Little League’ helmet in a Major League game. It had earflaps on both sides & was capable of withstanding a ball traveling at up to 120 miles per hour (190 km/h). Soon after, Jimmy Piersall became the second player to wear the helmet in the Major Leagues.
Furthermore, in the year 2005, Major League Baseball tested a new batting helmet for the very first time in nearly three decades. At the All-Star Game in Detroit, players were seen wearing stylish & a new “molded crown” helmet that featured side vents, back vents & larger ear holes. The majority of players now wear these new types of helmets for protection.