Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The More You Know: Double Ear Flaps?

Do you see what Andrew is wearing in this 1/1 Uncirculated Glossy Auto?
The helmet he is sporting as a teenager playing for the Gulf Coast League Pirates has double ear flaps.

Currently, the only player I can think of that wears the double ear flaps is Jed Lowrie who enjoyed an All-Star season last year for the Oakland Athletics.

I decided to research some cards on COMC to see if I can see a trend of when the general players association stopped wearing double ear flaps.

The A's don't keep players for very long, but I thought I could use Rickey Henderson and his many stints with the A's as a foundation.

1984 Topps Highlights of the 83 season
Still only 1 flap...

1981 stickers. Still only 1 flap...
Ok, maybe we need to go back further?

What happened to most players wearing the double ear flap helmets?  I remember I had no choice but to wear the double ear flaps when I was playing in little league during the 80s and 90s.

That makes sense because while researching this, I learned that minor league players are REQUIRED to wear double ear flaps.

In 1983 it became mandatory for major league players to wear at least one ear flap unless they were grandfathered in prior to that mandate.  When Tim Raines retired in the 2003 season he became the last player to not wear ear flaps on his batting helmet.

Did you know that double ear flaps are required for all players in the minors and college ranks, but not required at the major league level?


  1. I did not know that, reminds me of the hockey face mask rules. We were forced to wear full face masks and protect our faces (probably a good idea) and the pros can just get hit in the face all they want!

  2. I did not know that. I always felt like it might have been budgetary for the lower ranks. Just easier to buy a bunch of double helmets versus one or the other.

  3. I don't recall when I first noticed the single vs double ear flaps thing. Probably because at the beginning it was always two ear flaps. I do recall late 1960s early 1970s the batting helmets had no ear flaps, now only the base coaches seem to wear the helmets with no ear flaps. Also back in the early days of batting helmets players would still wear their regular cap under the batting helmet.