I was surprised to see Mark Bellhorn gracing the cover of my Cubs ticket to last Wednesday’s game against the Brewers, a spot typically reserved for Cubs greats such as Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, Ron Santo and the likes.
Bellhorn did have a productive season with the Cubs in 2002 hitting .258, 27 HR & 57 RBI, and yes, he’s the same guy who hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning at Miller Park–the first player to do so in National League history.
His 27 home runs mark the most ever for a Cubs switch-hitter and he’s also the first Cub to homer from all four infield positions, which is seemingly grounds to get a cover shot on a Cubs season ticket in 2012.
My most vivid memories of Bellhorn, however, are of his days playing with the Boston Red Sox. More specifically, it’s of his two clutch home runs against the Yankees during the 2004 ALCS–a three-run shot off Jon Lieber in Game 6 and a solo blast ricocheting off the foul pole in Game 7.
THE DOUBLE FLAPPER
Bellhorn was also most recognizable during his career for wearing a double earflap batting helmet, and to the best of my recollection, he may have been the last Cubs player to do so.
This is where I’m asking for your help. Has there been a Cubs player since Bellhorn who has worn a double earflap batting helmet?
Forgive me for bringing up the name Aaron Miles, but he may be a candidate, although I don’t remember him wearing one–or getting a hit for that matter.
No other Cubs come to mind, but something tells me I’m forgetting someone…drop me a line in the comments section if you know of another Cubs player to wear the double earflap batting helmet since Bellhorn did in 2002.
SANTO ONE OF FIRST PLAYERS TO INTRODUCE EARFLAP
Interestingly, it was Santo who pioneered the earflap after returning from a left cheekbone fracture in 1966–the result of being hit by a pitch.
As more and more players adopted the single earflap look only a few donned the double earflap style, which was mainly used by switch-hitters.
My guess is less than a handful of current players sport double earflap helmets and of those that come to mind: Shane Victorino, Orlando Hudson, Shin-Soo Choo and Bronson Arroyo are four of them.
For curiosity sake, I’d also be interested to learn of any other major league players that should join this list (double earflaps are mandatory in the minor leagues).
Let’s see what we come up with naming other double earflappers for the Cubs or elsewhere around baseball!