Gen­eral man­agers plan­ning head pro­tec­tion for coaches

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Ron­ald Blum

OR­LANDO, Fla. — Gen­eral man­agers de­cided Thurs­day that first- and third-base coaches will wear some sort of head pro­tec­tion dur­ing games next sea­son, an ac­tion taken four months af­ter Mike Cool­baugh was killed when he was struck in the neck by a line drive.

Cool­baugh, a for­mer ma­jor lea­guer and a coach for the Colorado Rock­ies’ mi­nor league team in Tulsa, died July 22 when he was hit as he stood in the first-base coach’s box dur­ing a Texas League game at Arkansas. Some ma­jor league coaches started wear­ing hel­mets the rest of the sea­son.

“There was a sen­ti­ment that as a con­cept this was a good idea,” said Joe Gara­gi­ola Jr., se­nior vice pres­i­dent for base­ball op­er­a­tions in the com­mis­sioner’s of­fice.

GMs will de­cide on the ex­act form of pro­tec­tion when they meet next month at the win­ter meet­ings.

“We’re go­ing to come back in Nashville with some op­tions: lin­ers, hard caps, hel­mets with­out flaps, hel­mets with flaps,” Gara­gi­ola said.

While no for­mal vote was taken, Gara­gi­ola said the sen­ti­ment of the GMs was clear.

“Ev­ery­body just felt it was a sit­u­a­tion that made sense,” Detroit Tigers pres­i­dent Dave Dom­browski said.

Many bat­ters started wear­ing hel­mets af­ter Ray Chap­man, a short­stop for the Cleve­land In­di­ans, was killed when he was hit by a pitch dur­ing a game in 1920. A rule re­quir­ing hel­mets for bat­ters was adopted in 1971.

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