Report: MLB approves pitchers protective caps


Major League Baseball informed its 30 teams that it has approved padded caps to provide some head protection to pitchers, reports William Weinbaum of Outside The Lines.

“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” MLB executive vice president for labor relations Dan Halem told Outside the Lines, adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”

To be approved, the MLB said the padded cap had to provide protection at 83 miles per hour and had to be below the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard severity index of 1,200.

The new caps, manufactured by 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, will be made available to pitchers for spring training next month.

According to the report, the protective caps will afford protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph. The soft padding, isoBlox says, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate.”

From Outside The Lines:

Outside the Lines research has found that 12 pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives in the last six seasons, including five pitchers during a five-month stretch of action in 2012 and 2013. Among them was Toronto Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, who suffered a fractured skull and also sprained knee ligaments on his fall after he was struck in the left ear last May 7.

Four of the five pitchers who were hit in the head since Sept. 2012, including those most seriously injured — McCarthy, Happ and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Cobb — were struck below the cap line. MLB, however, hasn’t contemplated exploring protective headgear for pitchers with broader coverage, such as a visor, mask or helmet, said Halem.

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