When running outside to secure items during a storm, maybe don’t wear a baseball cap for protection against the rain.
That’s the advice of the Temecula Police Department, which reported on its Facebook page the misfortune of a man who ran out to close the windows on his truck during a downpour earlier this month.
Lightning struck the vehicle then “skipped off” the metal button on top of the man’s baseball cap.
The hat was scorched but the unidentified man was not harmed.
Friday’s strike in the Riverside County town echoes a notable incident from almost 100 years ago. Ray Caldwell was pitching his first game as a Cleveland Indian on Aug. 24, 1919, when, in the ninth inning, lightning struck the metal rail in front of the press box. It ran along the steel posts, bounced across the infield and struck Caldwell, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.
According to at least one account at the time, the bolt entered the metal button on the top of his cap and exited through his metal cleats.
“It felt just like somebody came up with a board and hit me on top of the head and knocked me down,” he told the The Cleveland Press. After he came to, he insisted on finishing out the game and retired the final batter in the Indians’ 2-1 victory.
The National Lightning Safety Institute advises anyone caught outside during a storm to remove all clothing that contains metal, including baseball caps.