Dr. Del Rye,

Through the Internet, I found that Rawlings had a model YP HH helmet (1978).  Doing some searching on google, I found a couple pictures of an NFL salesman sample helmet, yet, no actual game worn. Do you know of any NFL players that wore this helmet? Any other information on this model Rawlings YP HH would be appreciated.

Michael P. from NC
Dear Michael,
Thank you for the interesting question. The Rawlings YP HH helmet was a youth helmet and one of the first Rawlings models that met the NOCSAE standard. The lettering used to denote the different Rawlings helmet models were coded although investigation often revealed references that were obvious only to company personnel.  In the case of this very nice YP HH model helmet the YP indicated that this was a youth model helmet, noted as Youth Player or Youth Pro. The HH is a bit more of a mystery. It is believed that the "HH" distinguishes this model as "Hal's Helmet", named for designer Hal Mitchell or otherwise is representative of the Hytrel thermoplastic material used in the product. In either case, as a youth helmet it would not have been approved for use at higher levels of play where impact forces were greater, thus, it would not have been used by any NFL players.

Dr. Del Rye 

I recently found this interesting MacGregor H14. I seem to recall these being used as football play ear protectors?  Or just a boxing face protector. [sic] Thank you very much for any information you may have and I enjoy your web site very much.
Dear Roy,
All of us at HELMET HUT appreciate your kind compliment. We enjoy bringing those like yourself who have a real interest in helmet related matters, whatever information we can. We understand that even the smallest bit of "helmet information" can brighten ones day! Thank you for taking the time to provide the photo of this MacGregor product. The H14 piece was not a football related product but instead, a batter's ear guard. You may want to think of it as an early model batter's helmet. Years ago baseballs were yarn-wound, even those used in youth divisions and thus they were quite a bit softer than the balls used in today's modern game. One didn't need the degree of helmet related protection required today and believe it or not, these early helmets provided a reasonable degree of protection relative to the danger posed by the game's projectile. Thus some of the early versions of the batter's helmet resembled wrestling headgear. One might first think this was a variant of the older football helmets but the hot stamp technology on the rear of the product indicates that it is newer than those old 1940's vintage helmets, probably from the 1950's. Of course, this could have been a product that was used as a rugby ear guard but it appears that its intended use was for ear protection during baseball participation in the 1950's.


Dr. Del Rye


The February 2002 HELMET NEWS column displayed a letter from US Steel that explained the origin and background information related to the Pittsburgh Steelers helmet logo. The Steelers official NFL website also provides the explanation of its use yet HELMET HUT has, and continues to receive numerous requests for information about this unique decal. Dr. Del Rye has taken a number of questions and summarized an answer that should provide all of those who made inquiries with the information they were seeking.

Dear Steeler Logo Fans:
The Pittsburgh Steelers gold and black color combination has allowed them to always look great when taking the field. Like many other professional and college teams, the 1950's era helmet was adorned with an identifying player numeral on the sides and a one-inch center stripe. The black "trim" contrasted beautifully with the Green Bay gold shell. In 1962, the team wore their helmets with a black one-inch center stripe, and the player numerals were old gold trimmed in black of the so-called "Eagle style" type that were placed in the front and rear of the helmet shell. As the 1962 season progressed it became obvious that the Steelers were playing very good football, even though the record remained more or less at the break-even point midway through November.
Steelers owner Art Rooney had a well deserved reputation as a community minded individual to the day of his death. He was beloved by all and claimed intimate friendships with those of varied ethnic groups and social strata. Into the early to mid-1970's and certainly in 1962, the economy and life style of the entire Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania area was closely tied to the manufacture, development, and transport of iron and steel, their many products, and supportive industries such as coal mining. One of the most significant events in U.S. economic and labor history eventually enveloped Rooney and led to the use of the Steelmark decal on the Steeler helmets. On July 1, 1959 the contract between the Steelworkers Union and the representation of management expired. Preventing the extension of the existing contract or the ratification of a new contract were two issues. The union wanted higher wages and opposed management's request to change the number of workers assigned to a specific on-the-job task while introducing machinery that would reduce the hours worked by existing employees or lead to the elimination of jobs and employees due to enhanced automation. President Dwight Eisenhower requested that the two sides continue to negotiate but all parties refused and on July 15th, one of the most important labor strikes in American history began as 500,000 steelworkers walked off their jobs. By the end of August, the U.S. Department Of Defense, embroiled in what was the escalation of "The Cold War" with the Soviet Union and its allies, stated that there was not enough steel production to meet the needs of our national defense. At the same time, the auto manufacturing industry was affected and began to shut down production. To avoid jeopardizing our national defense, the President invoked the Taft-Hartley Act and when finally adjudicated by the legal system, imposed an injunction that sent the steelworkers back to work on November 8th. However productivity was minimized due to the workers' desire to maintain the strike and the entire American economy rapidly declined. On January 15, 1960 a new contract was signed between the Steelworkers' Union and management, officially ending the strike.
The historical points of this strike that shuttered eighty-five percent of all United States steel production for four months with continuing minimal production for another two months, were as follows:
-The dependence upon steel manufacturing and its related industries was evident as the U.S. economy skidded downhill between July 1959 and January 1960;
-The new contract was the first that provided cost-of-living wage adjustments and increased benefits for a worker's health care and pension benefits and this was quickly adopted by all other unions.
-Prior to the strike steel imports to the U.S. were negligible but during the time plants and mills shut down, the industry for the first time sought foreign supplies, primarily from Korea and Japan.     
The above bit of history marked the beginning of the decline of the American steel industry and a cataclysmic change in the U.S. economy that to date is considered as perhaps the most disastrous and significant in terms of our modern standard of living. By 1962, the United States was in economic recession despite the attempts of the steel industry to revive itself. Mr. Rooney was approached by Cleveland's Republic Steel Corporation and by the American Iron And Steel Institute, the association of various companies that were responsible for the mining of iron ore and the production of steel and iron related products, to help give exposure to the industry. As a means to demonstrate to the general public that "the steel industry was back", the Steelmark logo was being placed upon iron and steel products leaving mills and factories and a request was made to place the representative Steelmark logo on the Steelers' helmets. With Pittsburgh as the major metropolitan center of the steel producing region in the United States, Mr. Rooney believed this was an excellent idea and for the November 18, 1962 home game against the Redskins, fans were treated to the display of the new decal on the Steelers helmets. However, the decal was placed on only one side of the helmet, the right side. As no one in the organization was certain how the logo would look nor how well accepted it would be by their fans, equipment manager Jack Hart placed the decals only on the right side of each helmet. 
Perhaps it was the helmets' new appearance or perhaps the team just played to its talent level but the 1962 Steelers won four of their final five games, finished with a 9-5 record, and qualified to face the Detroit Lions in the Playoff Bowl, an annual event contested between the second place teams of the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NFL. Not completely happy with the way the Steelmark logo looked on their Green Bay gold headgear, the Steelers' surprised everyone by entering the field of play on January 6, 1963 and facing off against the Detroit Lions while wearing black helmets with a Green Bay gold center stripe and white identifying numerals in the front and rear of the new black shells. The decal on the right side of the helmet had changed also as the Steelers had petitioned the AISI and gained permission to alter the Steelmark logo so that it was immediately identifiable with their football team. Thus, the word "Steelers" was now emblazoned within the logo and despite the 17-10 loss to the Lions, the positive response of fans has made this helmet one of the most popular for collectors.
Dr. Del Rye