April 11, 1907 - Today was opening day for the New York Giants and their star catcher, Roger Bresnahan, appeared in a pair of leg guards, similar to the ones worn by cricket players. He was mercilessly mocked by his fellow players, but the shin guards proved their worth in the 5th inning when a foul tip ricocheted harmlessly off the padding. Within a few years all major league catchers followed his lead.
In 1905 Bresnahan pioneered a leather batting helmet after a beanball sent him to the hospital. He also made some improvements to the catcher's mask by adding leather padding to absorb the shock of foul tips.
He was the first catcher inducted into the Hall of Fame.