Wednesday, May 30, 2012
W.H. Lickey, while umpiring a game of base ball at Denison, O., August 2, had his left eye knocked out by a ball thrown by the pitcher. Lickey had hardly been removed when W.A. McConnell, catcher, was hit in the eye by the same pitcher, and had to be carried off the field.-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 4, 1884
I repeat: Yikes!
I know this has nothing even remotely to do with St. Louis baseball but I had to pass it along. It's not everyday that you hear about an umpire losing an eye during a game.
According to Game of Inches, the catcher's mask was invented in the mid-1870s and was being used by players in the major leagues by 1878. However, Morris writes that, although this rather useful piece of equipment was catching on (no pun intended), there was still resistance to its use in the 1880s. I'm thinking that Mr. Lickey and Mr. McConnell were not wearing a protective mask in 1884.