Carbon fiber helmet debuts league-wide in American baseball

Rawlings Sporting Goods' S100 Pro Comp batting helmet is made with carbon fiber and will be used league wide during the 2013 season.

Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. Inc. (St. Louis, Mo., USA) reported on Feb. 20 that beginning with the start of this season's Spring Training exhibition games, its new S100 Pro Comp batting helmet will become the standard throughout Major League Baseball. The mandatory implementation of Rawlings' technologically ­advanced batting helmet is outlined in the five-year collective bargaining agreement signed in November 2011 by MLB and the MLB Players Association. 

Approximately 200 MLB players elected to wear the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp last season before the league­-wide rule went into effect.

"Collectively with MLB and the MLB Players Association, we developed the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp batting helmet to provide increased protection for the world's best baseball players, while meeting their specific functional and performance demands," says Art Chou, senior vice president of product for Rawlings. "The evolution of the Rawlings S100 product line clearly illustrates how we can deliver innovative protective solutions at the very highest level of the sport while still delivering high­performing equipment so these players can continue to play at their peak levels."

Constructed of aserospace-­grade carbon fiber, the helmet provides technologically ­enhanced protection for ball strikes up to 100 mph. Earlier this year, the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp helmet design was named a finalist for the Edison Awards in the category of material science­-composites. The Edison Awards honors excellence in new product development and innovation.

The next­-generation S100 Pro Comp is 300 ­percent stiffer and 130 times stronger than the traditional ABS plastic helmet that was the previous standard in Major League Baseball, yet features a significantly lighter and smaller design than previous S100 models that have been tested in recent years. The similarities in weight and size to the traditional helmet allow for a seamless transition to the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp for all MLB players.

"Protecting our players with the latest innovations in protection equipment is a top priority of Major League Baseball," says Dan Halem, senior vice president, labor relations, Major League Baseball. "Last year the Rawlings S100 Pro Comp received a great reception from the MLB players that chose to wear it, and we're pleased to take the next step and roll it out league­wide."