ST. LOUIS (AP) It should come as no surprise that Mike Matheny is a leading proponent of player safety, from the big leagues all the way down to T-ball. Just like Giancarlo Stanton, the St. Louis Cardinals manager was struck in the face by a pitch and felt lucky to walk away minus only teeth and blood.
Concussions ultimately ended his playing career. The permanent indentation in his left shin is evidence he could have benefited from some extra protection at the plate as well as behind it.
Matheny has vivid recollections of staggering away and being determined not to lose consciousness, the first few seconds after his left jaw got in the way of a wayward fastball from the Pirates' Rich Loiselle in 1998 when he was with the Brewers.