Lindbergh: The year of living less dangerously

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at on February 25, 2014:

Late in a lost 2013 season, hours before a meaningless game against the Mets, Phillies battery mates Erik Kratz and Cliff Lee compared the dangers they’d face when they took the field.

Kratz, a veteran catcher, was concerned about the risk of concussion. “It’s very serious,” Kratz told me. “I think they’ll look into it. Hopefully they’ll look into it before long.”

Lee piped up from the next locker: “It’s way more likely for a pitcher to get hurt than a catcher, let’s be honest. How about the guy who’s actually in danger?”

“Well yeah, you guys are in super danger,” Kratz said. “Let’s put it this way: They’ll do more for pitchers’ protection sooner than they will for more catcher protection.”

“You guys can’t be protected any more than you are,” Lee said, ending the discussion.

Similar discussions kept cropping up elsewhere, however, particularly after last August, when seven catchers — a worrisome percentage of the 60 or so on big league rosters at any particular time — were placed on the disabled list with a concussion (one of them twice) throughout the month. By season’s end, 10 catchers had been concussed, up from six in 2012 and three in 2011. No one had pushed to convene a congressional committee in 2012, when most of the victims were marginal major leaguers, but the 2013 casualties included some more recognizable names.

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Originally published: February 25, 2014. Last Updated: February 25, 2014.