"His noggin is more than two feet around"
Throughout his 14 years as a catcher in organized ball, [Earl] Bochy wore the same batting and catching helmets. "I had to," he says. "None of the teams I played for carried my size." Both helmets were specially made in 1975, his first year in A ball with the Covington Astros. The batting lid was so huge that when he made a game-winning hit late in the '86 season, his Padres teammates celebrated by filling it with ice and a six-pack.
"Whenever I got traded or played winter ball, my first priority was always to pack up my helmets," he says. "And before I arrived, I'd usually have to paint them. When I first got them in '75, they were Astros orange. They turned blue when I moved up to Columbus in '76, then back to orange later that summer when I got shipped to Dubuque. They stayed orange until '78, when I got sent back to Columbus. But midway through the season I made the big club in Houston, and they went from blue to orange. I played winter ball in Venezuela, where I had to paint them red. I added a coat of orange before the '79 season with Houston, and a coat of red before the next winter ball season, then two more coats—orange and red—in '80, a coat of blue when I went over to the Mets organization in '81, coats of red and brown when I came to San Diego in '83, and, finally, blue again in '90 when I played for the Orlando Juice in the Senior League. I'm not exactly sure where the helmets are now, but wherever they are, they've gotta be blue."
—Franz Lidz, Endgame, SI.com
In other sports news: RIP Rick Martin: