Mains: Is increase in HBPs flirting with disaster?

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on July 7, 2017:

I will admit to being a little obsessed by hit batters. In April, I wrote about the steady rise in hit-by-pitch rates since the 1980s.


I’m not going to re-litigate my April article; you can click the link if you want details. Rather, I want to discuss a concern I voiced: “Baseball is heading toward another Ray Chapman moment, or something close, and I don’t know what can be done to prevent it.”

Of course, not all pitches that hit batters are dangerous. To be honest, if I were hit in the butt by a baseball thrown 85 mph, I’d probably be limping for a week, but I’m a wimp. I get it that baseball players are tougher than I am, and they can shake off a lot of the pitches that hit them.

On top of that, to be really dangerous—career-threatening or even life-threatening—a pitch has to hit a batter in the head. Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch to the head. Tony Conigliaro’s career was derailed by one. So was Dickie Thon’s. Yes, a baseball can crack a rib or break a wrist or snap a finger, but the resulting injuries aren’t scary the way a pitch to the head is. Are they on the rise?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 7, 2017. Last Updated: July 7, 2017.