When your coach or teammate tells you to “wear one,” there’s a 19th-century baseball player that you should blame — or thank if you have an EvoShield — and that player is Tommy Tucker. Before there were EvoShields or any other protective gear, Tucker was taking one for the team in the 1800′s. The originator of getting hit, ranks third on the all-time hit by pitch list with 272 after playing only 13 seasons, behind just Craig Biggio (285) and Hughie Jennings (287).
In the 19th-century, Tucker was the master of taking one for the team. His first season in 1887 with the Baltimore Orioles of the then American Association, Tucker led the league in hit by pitches. On the season, he was hit 29 times in 136 games. Tucker went on to lead the league in hit by pitches five different times. Besides his rookie year, he led the league in beans four straight seasons from 1889 to 1892. Tucker was plunked 33 times in ’89, 25 times in ’90, 29 times in ’91, and 26 times in ’92.
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