Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 5/13/13

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.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jerry Jones defends Greg Hardy over controversial comments

Witten, Gronkowski engage in mutual admiration society

Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of nightclub incident charges

Tony Parker hopes to play 20 seasons with San Antonio Spurs

Pagano 'supremely confident' about chances vs. Pats

Nick Saban to Alabama fans: 'Don't have an arrogant attitude'


Kobe on 93rd ranking: ‘Don’t ask me about silly stuff like that’

Boomer Esiason: 49ers have ‘ruined’ Colin Kaepernick

Adrian Beltre ruled out for Game 2 of ALDS with back injury

Parise’s hat trick sparks comeback win in Wild’s opener

Report: Bill O’Brien won’t commit to Texans starting QB

Steve Sarkisian takes blame for USC loss to Washington

Keegan-Michael Key dressed up as PSU's James Franklin

Colts fans planning to taunt Tom Brady with a blimp

‘Macarena’ used at practice to ready Rams defense for Rodgers

On fandom, leverage and emotional barometers

H.S. QB ‘inappropriately’ touched center, suspended

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

T.Y. Hilton trolled Texans fans with bye-bye wave

Chip Kelly-to-USC hype train has left the station

Blue Jays surprise nine-year-old fan who lost father to cancer

Kershaw-deGrom to rival Arrieta-Cole matchup

Green Bay's deceivingly stingy defense

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Matt Hasselbeck was ‘on his death bed’ before Texans 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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

‘Macarena’ used at practice to ready Rams defense for Rodgers

Harbaugh had troubled UM center move in with grandma

Blue Jays surprise nine-year-old fan who lost father to cancer

Name every QB to play in the NFL at the age of 40

Week 5 NFL power rankings

Vin Scully to miss the entire postseason

Putin celebrates birthday by scoring seven goals in hockey game

"Friday Night Lights" writer calls Chip Kelly a fraud

Women in sports this week: Is this 2015 or 1965?

Three reasons each AL team can win the pennant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker