Just a short time ago, a pitcher named Aroldis Chapman was struck in the head by a batted ball and has had major reconstructive surgery as a result.
Today's pitchers can be protected from catastrophic injuries by wearing legal head protection and/or protective vests, especially in youth league baseball. The pros are toying with that idea as well. In leagues that use non-wood bats, the dangers seem even greater, as the ball can accelerate as quickly as the ball coming off the pros' wooden bats.
But there is also another way to increase safety for pitchers.
In 1968, professional baseball decided to reduce the mound height from 15 inches to 10 inches to help increase hitting, run scoring and, ultimately, fan interest. College, high school and youth-league baseball copied the change. Then, in the early 1970s, the non-wood bats were introduced.
Suddenly, with lower mounds and lighter bats, more youths were able to gain notoriety as hitters. And injuries began to occur more frequently, especially in the youth leagues.
My rather simple and inexpensive solution to the increase of injuries at all levels is to raise the pitcher's mound to as much as 15 inches, as it was in the past. Runs might decrease, games may be faster, and, above all, risk might be lessened if we simply gave back some advantage to the pitcher.
As the former head baseball coach at Absegami High School, I hope that youth league officials, as well as high school and college athletic directors, will take my suggestion to heart. Our children are precious to all of us. We can't protect them from every danger they will encounter in sports and/or life, but we owe it to them to consider safety suggestions such as the one I have proposed.