Originally written on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 11/20/14

It has become increasingly clear that Major League Baseball must protect its pitchers. On May 7, 2013, when Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was struck in the base of the skull by a ferocious line drive that rocketed off of the bat of Tampa Bay outfielder Desmond Jennings, we were given a reminder about one of the genuinely dangerous aspects of playing baseball. Happ had essentially no time to react as a well-hit ball ricocheted off of the side of his head and bounded down the first base line and all the way into right field. He immediately collapsed and grabbed his head before being taken off the field on a stretcher. Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ. It was a scary, sobering moment, but Happ was relatively lucky. While he did suffer a skull fracture and a laceration below his left ear, he is expected to make a full recovery. But other players haven’t been so lucky. In fact, Cleveland Indians outfielder Ray Chapman is the only major league player to have died directly following an injury on the field. On August 16, 1920, New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays delivered a submarine-style pitch to Chapman in the bottom of the fifth inning. It was during a time when balls were frequently dirtied and scuffed (“spitballs”), and with the game running into the evening, Chapman was short on daylight. Because of this, he was unable to see the pitch that struck him in the head, and never even attempted to move out of the way. After a sickening ‘thwack’ in which Mays thought the ball had actually struck the end of Chapman’s bat, Chapman took several steps, collapsed, and became incoherent. He had to be carried off the field and died 12 hours later. Shortly after, spitballs were outlawed in baseball, but it wasn’t until 1970 when batter helmets actually became mandatory. While batters are now afforded sufficient protection, pitchers remain at risk. Pitchers are still often in the process of completing their throwing motion by the time a batter swings at their pitch, and it can be difficult for the player to react to a ball hit back at them at over 100 mph. Just last September, Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy suffered a brain hemorrhage and a skull fracture from a line drive that required two hours of emergency surgery. Had McCarthy been struck during Chapman’s time, he likely would have died. Nearly the exact same thing happened to Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Clement in 2005. As almost any athlete will tell you, injuries are often an unavoidable aspect of sports. So what can be done? Major League Baseball is taking the matter seriously, and they’ve taken steps to address the issue. One of the proposed ideas is a hat liner made of Kevlar to help protect the head. Players such as Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa have already come out and supported the idea. McCarthy has voiced his opinion. Clearly, Major League Baseball needs to provide players with some sort of optional protection. Even if it isn’t satisfactory or quite what the league wants, something should be offered, and it should be done soon. The post It’s time for baseball to protect its pitchers appeared first on Midwest Sports Fans.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

LeBron James on Ferguson: 'Violence is not the answer'

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.