Thursday 20 September 2012

A Quick Study of Batting Helmet Facemasks

1981 Topps #445 Ellis Valentine
Inspired by yesterdays Charlie Hayes card featuring a football style mask on his batting helmet, further research led to finding a few more cards with a similar theme. The first instance is probably the most famous, but was never captured on cardbaord, Dave Parker in the middle of his 1978 MVP season fractured his jaw and cheekbone in a collision at the plate. That lead him experiment with a Jason Voorhes style goalie mask before switching to mounting a football face-mask onto his helmet. This is already covered at Uni-Watch and Dick Allen Hall of Fame including a sweet custom card.

The first actual cards I have found with batting helmet masks is 1981 Topps with Ellis Valentine and Ron Roenicke using football masks cut in half and bolted on the batting helmet.

Starting in the early 1990's the more familiar jaw guard called the "C-Flap"started to appear on cards. Terry Steinbach has several cards from 1989-1991 wearing one. David Justice has a few cards in 1991 with a guard on his helmet. After being hit in the head for the second time in 1995, Kevin Seitzer took to wearing one for the rest of his career and can been seen with one on cards from 1996-1997, his son Cameron Seitzer can be seen with the guard on his 2012 Topps Pro Debut card. Terrence Long has several 2001 cards showing a good side view of the guard and Josh Willingham has one on his rookie card. Most recently Marlon Byrd is pictured with the guard on his 2012 Topps Tier One autograph cards and Astro's Prospect Chris Wallace (full story here) has worn something close to the Charlie Hayes model since getting hit in college.

                  1981 Topps #37 Gary Roenicke      1989 Donruss Baseball's Best #323 Terry Steinbach

 2001 Topps #278 Terrence Long    1991 Score 100 Rising Stars #45 Dave Justice
1997 Pinnacle #79 Kevin Seitzer        2012 Pro Debut #216 Cameron Seitzer
2003 Bowman #324 Josh Willingham     2011 Bowman Sterling #CW Chris Wallace

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