Versatility and ingenuity are the hallmarks of Roger Bresnahan’s career. His debut came in 1897 when he pitched in six games for the Washington Nationals. By the time he retired in 1915 he had played every position on the field. Starting in 1905 he became the New York Giants primary catcher, where he was the battery mate of fellow Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson. That year he hit .313 in the World Series and helped lead the Giants to the Championship. Perhaps his greatest contributions to the game came in the guise of introducing protective equipment on the field. He developed a rudimentary batting helmet as well as shin guards for catchers.
At one point Bresnahan was one of the richest players in baseball, even buying his hometown team, the Toledo Mud Hens. Like so many others, he was ruined financially by the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
August 9, 2011