Back when pitching meant Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown gingerly tossing baseballs so worn down that they resembled leather hacky sacks, players didn’t need to worry about lifelong injury after getting hit by a pitch. But now that ‘roided up monsters can hurl the ball fast enough to cause serious damage, players need something substantial to protect their dome.
Enter the S100. Designed to withstand the impact from a baseball thrown at 100 MPH from only 24 inches away, the helmet offers significantly more protection than the current helmets used by professional baseball players. And yet, many players don’t want to wear the new helmet because they find it too heavy or think it simply looks stupid.
The secret to the helmets resistance is a layer of polypropylene surrounded by a composite strip. Upon impact, the composite strip maintains the helmet’s integrity, while the polypropylene, the material used to make bicycle helmets, absorbs the energy and breaks internally.
The current helmets can only withstand a 60 MPH ball fired from 24 inches away, and will fail when hit with a ball going 70 MPH. Considering even the off speed pitches in baseball go faster than that, the helmet doesn’t offer that much protection.
But while David Wright seems keen to try on the safer helmet, players like Jeff Francoeur and Nomar Garciaparra think the helmet looks too bad to wear in public.
Frankly, someone needs to tell Jeff and Nomar that not only does safety come first, but that the helmet doesn’t look any worse than batting .263.
[via The New York Times]