Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Orlando Hudson's Batting Helmet

Newly acquired second-baseman Orlando Hudson has plenty of redeeming qualities. He plays great defense, gets on base at a better rate than Matt Tolbert, and wears a double ear-flap batting helmet.

That got me thinking about other Twins who have worn the double-ear flap. It's not the kind of thing you can just look up in the media guide.

I sent an e-mail to Paul Lukas, probably the foremost uniform expert in the country. Here's his reply:

Can't think of any other Twins double-flappers, although there have probably been a few over the years... Hudson has been double-flapping his entire career, so he'll definitely be doing in Minnesota too. Enjoy!

Even though Mr. Lukas was stumped, the Alright Hamilton research team had already come up with Chuck Knoblauch. Old Knobby, old sport. Look at him. And he wasn't even a switch hitter.

I wish Alright Hamilton employed a sports psychologist; we could really have some fun picking apart Knoblauch. Does he have a mental compulsion thing like Jason Segel? He can't wear anything on his head that isn't symmetrical. That's okay. Maybe our psychologist could help us answer other questions, such as: was Chuck Knobluach the most un-twin of all time? He's like a film-noir anti-hero. He helped the Twins win the World Series, but at what cost? He must have had some ulterior motive, like some elaborate scheme to put him in a better position to choke more people. Then again, he didn't seem like the kind of guy who could scheme elaborately.

We don't like our ballplayers to be too different up here in Minnesota. Knoblauch was really different. He was a second baseman who could hit. He was seemingly uncoachable, yet still played really well. That wasn't how life was supposed to work.

Maybe he acted like a spoiled brat because he was spoiled by winning a championship and rookie of the year. After that, he probably imagined that every year he'd bring home some hardware while playing in an intense seven-game World Series. No wonder he was bitter by 1995.

Or maybe the fans are too hard on him, our perceptions skewed by the march of time and our inferiority complex. Whoa Doc, don't turn this back on me.

Of course, any discussion about Twins batting helmets has to include Earl Battey. He invented the flap. Before Battey, everyone just wore John Olderud helmets.


Commenter HandsOnNight has come up with two Twins who've also worn the double ear flap:


TwinsWin83 said...

I have absolutly no factual evidence to back this up but I had thought that at the time of Chucks rookie year all rookie hitters were required by MLB to wear a double-flap helmet.

Jarvis Brown wore a double-flapper.

I remember fairly well being at the game where Knoblauch was in left field as a Yankee at the dome and some savage fans were throwing things at him. How terrible. Of course that was only terrible because my pennies and batteries couldnt reach him from the upper deck in left field.

Anonymous said...

The note with the picture of Earl Battey says he's a member of the Minneapolis Twins. It was a Chicago Tribune photo, so maybe they can be forgiven for getting it wrong.

Great photo. Belongs in the Hall of Fame under "helmets, batting (history of)"


jammyman said...

i was also at that game. i was in the second row of left field. it was actually the first row, not counting the first row. the one with the yellow rope on it. student night and dollar dog night. bad combo.

my friend ben nakagaki got ejected for interfering with a fly ball to left. he hit chuck's glove with his glove trying to catch the ball (leaning over the yellow rope). it was amazing. chuck still caught it. he's a douche.

haasertime said...

Yeah i was there too. It was the second only to the Gopher Hockey riot in terms of sports fan-mob-mentality disgustingness.

We'll have to write a huge opus about that night, from all our views. It's a central moment in true Twins fandom.

jammyman said...

yes, haas. i have much more to contribute to the story. i was a part of both of those nights, actually. wow. tear gas is not fun.

jammyman said...

my ice cream sundae at the dome also wore an olerud.

HandsOnNight said...

Chip Hale rocked the dub-flaps for sometime back in the 90s, as did Pat Meares.

haasertime said...

my god you're right. If you ever wanna write anything for Alright Hamilton, just drop me a line. We could always use someone with your amazing knowledge of terrible mid 90's Twins.

Anonymous said...

who the fuck was chip hale?