This day in baseball: The first batting “helmets”

On March 7, 1941, during Spring Training, Brooklyn Dodgers Pee Wee Reese and Joe “Ducky” Medwick both slipped plastic inserts inside their caps during an exhibition game.  The previous year, in 1940, both men had missed playing time do to injury after being hit by pitches.  This is believed to be the first instance of players wearing protective headgear when going up to bat.  Major League Baseball would not make helmets mandatory until 1971.

Sports Illustrated


3 Comments on “This day in baseball: The first batting “helmets””

  1. tvkapherr says:

    1971! I thought it was much longer than that. Wow. But then the ball wasn’t coming in as fast as it is now. Can I ask you a question? (Too late) When did they adjust the height of the mound?
    By the way, I have to thank, you your sight has rekindled my enjoyment of Baseball.

    • Thank you for reading! I’m glad to hear that I could help you enjoy the game once again. This blog has brought me much enjoyment as well.

      As for the mound, it was adjusted multiple times through history. The current height is set at ten inches above home plate, but there have been times in history where it’s been as high as fifteen to twenty inches high! Ten inches became the standard height in 1969, in an effort to encourage more offensive baseball. 1968 had been a year dominated by pitchers, and so the advantage of mound height was reduced, because high-scoring games are more likely to draw crowds.

      • tvkapherr says:

        Thanks for the info. The late 60’s rang a bell. I’m from Montreal and was a season ticket holder of the Expos. The year of the strike with Montreal in first place over all having the best numbers that year, broke my and a lot of other fans hearts. I lost interest in the game after that. Now reading your blog fond memories start to return. I’m actually looking forward to the coming season. Thanks again.


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