By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

5 thoughts on “Old News: When Baseball Was not that safe.”
  1. In 1920 Ray Chapman, Cleveland shortstop, was fatally beaned by pitcher Carl Mays of the Yankees. The incident may have cost both a spot in the Hall of Fame since Chapman was better than average at his position and Mays won over 200 games in his career. In spite of the incident, it wasn’t until 1941 that a team, the Dodgers, required its players to use helmets, and it wasn’t until 1971 that MLB made it mandatory.

  2. Then again, the head is not the only vulnerable spot.
    I remember when I was a teenager (in Holland) that a top field-hockey player was killed when he was struck in the chest (near the heart) by a hockey ball. Those can move at baseball-like speeds and are just as hard.
    Field-hockey players wear very little protective gear, pretty much just shin guards and a cup, like soccer players. I don’t think that has changed in recent years.

  3. Most safety requirements and procedures are written in blood. Many things we take for granted today are there because people died. However, mental or institutional inertia sometimes gets in the way of saving lives. In WWI it was considered unmanly for aircraft pilots and observers to have parachutes. Somehow, it was OK for observation balloon crews to have them. I’m sure before batting helmets became mandatory, there were those who argued that the “purity of the sport” demanded facing a fast ball with only a soft cap.

    1. On the parachutes thing: the “unmanly” notion may be a factor. But also relevant was the incorrect belief that free falling and delayed opening were not possible, and a static line jump from an airplane wreck is not a plausible thing to do.
      Not until Leslie Irvin built a ripcord activated parachute (1919) was that notion dumped, though Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick did the first freefall jump some years earlier, in 1914. But since she was a woman as well as a barnstormer, that probably wasn’t taken as seriously as it should have been.

  4. To pkoning’s point:

    A long, long time ago, I was a nursing supervisor in a small hospital in Da City. One afternoon a police officer was brought in in cardiac arrest. We coded him (for a prolonged time), unsuccessfully, because (a) he was young, (b) he was fit, and (c) he was an officer. There was a reciprocal respect thing going on at that time.

    This officer had been playing a police athletic league game, and sustained a strike in the chest, overlying his sternum. With no history of anything, he arrested on the spot, with other officers promptly starting CPR.

    take home point: Yeah, heads are vulnerable targets.

    So are chests.

    And, safety rules have been written in blood. An aphorism I first heard from the fire service.

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