In this second entry on facemasks, RetroCards looks at the world of baseball. Broken jaws are not uncommon in that sport and one early attempt at adding a facemask to a baseball helmet can be traced to Dave Parker (photos 1-4) in 1978 when he first used a hockey mask he purchased at a sporting goods store to protect a broken jaw. An intimidating player without the mask, he probably intimidating opposing pitchers with this unique choice until he switched to a football facemask which afforded him better vision.
The same goes for Ellis Valintine of the Expos (photos 5-6), where he wore a cut-in-half football facemask after a March 1980 injury to his cheekbone where it was shattered in 6 places. In another instance, Gary Roenicke used a football facemask after being hit in the mouth with a fastball that caused 25 stitches. He went to the Baltimore Colts locker room and used quarterback Bert Jones’ mask, screwing it onto his batting helmet (photo 9). He had a more stylized one made eventually (photo 10). Meanwhile, photo 8 shows an unidentified minor leaguer using a rather large cage to protect the throat area. Photo 7 shows current player Giancarlo Stanton with a sensible and customized mask to protect his matinee idol face. Will these become standard equipment in major league baseball? Probably.