Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Game Worn Batting Helmet


In all honesty I can't tell you if this helmet is really game worn or not.  It looks legit to me, but I don't really know what I'm looking for.  As you can see it has some serious cracking, and someone tried to fix it at one point.  

I assume the lable on the bill was added by a previous owner and not the Expos.  I plan on removing it.  I first saw this helmet about six years ago on a collector's website.  He had it and about half dozen others. I offered to buy it, but he wasn't interested in selling.  I guess there is a whole sub-culture of these people who collect helmets.  Thats sort of cool, they're a whole lot nicer to display than game used bats, a sub-cultre I have no understanding of.

In any event, a few months ago this thing popped up in an online auction.  A quick google search revealed it to be the same one from that other collector's site (as of today, he still lists this in his collection, but trust me, it's mine now).  I bid, and held my breath hoping the price wouldn't come anywhere near my max, and ultimately walked away with it for about half of what I offered on it 6 years earlier.

It has immediatley become my favorite item in my entire Wallach collection, so if your an expert and can tell it's not real, I guess I want to know, but I don't mind if you keep it to yourself either.  Here's my primary concern.  This helmet was clearly produced with two-ear flaps.  The right ear flap was cut off post-production and sanded down.  It doesn't scrap your ear or anything, but it's clearly visibile that it wasn't cut in a factory.  I've tried to show it in the pictures below:

I don't know if this was the norm back then, or if it still is the norm today, but it definitelycaught my attention.

I also can't say for sure what year this helmet was from.  I have no idea how many helmets players went through in a season back then, or if they used helmets for more than one season.  My initial instinct was that this was from the early 80's.  There are two primary points of reference I used in trying to match it to pictures. (1) The ABC Logo on the back, and (2) both the air holes on the top, are entirely in the white.

As for (1) the logo didn't show up on anything but cards from '91 and '92, I also found an old newspaper photo from that period with it.  That doesn't mean it isn't there on others, It's just a little odd it never shows at all given that it's fairly large in size.   With (2), I was able to rule out the '82-'86 helmets.  Those all have an air hole that is partially in the red of the helmet.  

Here are picture of the '91-92 cards and Chicago Tribune photo depicting the helmet I believe this to be (maybe):

Ultimately I can't tell.  My plan is to bring it to spring training this year and see if Mr. Wallach can confirm it's authenticity in person.  Then maybe scribble a personalized note on it to that effect.  Of course, to do that, I'll have to explain to my wife where it came from, and she'll want to know what it cost, and that won't be fun conversation.


  1. That is awesome. I'm glad I subscribed in time to see it.

    And isn't that the helmet I traded you for some Ken Griffey Jr. rookies? (nudge, nudge)

    My wife doesn't read my blog, either.

  2. Fun conversation or not, that is cool!

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