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The evolution of catcher's equipment.

We used no mattress on our hands, No cage upon our face; We stood right up and caught the ball, With courage and with grace.

--Harry Ellard, "The Reds of Sixty-Nine" (1880s)

The field position denoted on your scorecard as 2 has never been an easy job. Errant balls, foul tips, and flying bats are all a source of pain for catchers. Collisions at the plate occur with regularity, some more painful than others. The backstops from baseball's first fifty years endured daily physical punishment, all without the luxury of today's protective equipment. Virtues such as strength, stamina, and courage in collisions were in high demand.

No protection short of a bunker could have spared twenty-three-year-old Ray Fosse the career-impacting injury he sustained in the 1970 All-Star Game. Catcher-turned-announcer Tim McCarver says he still suffers from nerve damage in his neck caused by back-to-back plate collisions a quarter of a century ago. Today, catchers often put their bodies literally on the line, most often the one on the third-base side.

Catchers are expected to take their lumps without grumbling. But the early efforts of catchers to protect themselves met with a lot of flak. A typical reaction came from the crowd at the Polo Grounds when the New York Giants opened the 1907 season against the Philadelphia Phillies. As the Giants took the field, star catcher and Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan looked more like a goaltender than a backstop when he squatted behind the plate in a pair of thickly upholstered shin guards.

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It was the first time a catcher had dared to don the protective gear in open view, and the crowd's reaction came as quickly as a foul tip and just as nasty. "Spectators howled with delight when a foul tip in the fifth inning rapped the protectors sharply," reported the New York Times. Bresnahan, more concerned about his livelihood than remarks about his manliness, ignored the insults from fans and foes.

Bresnahan's shin guards were the final pieces of the catcher's major armor, following the glove, mask, and chest protector.

This armor kit was lovingly dubbed "the tools of ignorance" by Herold "Muddy" Ruel, a backstop and a lawyer who caught for greats like Walter Johnson with the Washington Nationals in the 1920s. Ruel probably would have stayed a lawyer if he'd caught in the late 1860s when catchers had no equipment.

New York Mutuals catcher Nat Hicks was the first backstop to start creeping closer to batters, in the 1870s. Before Hicks, catchers stood far behind the hitters, fielding pitches on the bounce. Hicks paid for his fearlessness with repeated and sometimes severe damage to his face and a near-loss of his right eye in 1873.

Most backstops began crowding the plate in the early 1880s, especially when a rules change dictated that the final strike, including foul tips, had to be caught on a fly for a putout. Pitchers had begun throwing overhand by 1884, when, after a rule change in the National League, all restrictions on the pitcher's delivery were removed and he could throw underhand, sidearm, or completely overhand, as he wished. Also, the consensus is that the mound was created in 1893 or shortly thereafter. Up until that year the pitcher's position was known as the pitcher's box. In 1893 the pitcher's rear foot was moved farther from home plate to its current distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. Moving closer to the batter enabled catchers to better frame the pitches, field bunts, and throw out base-stealers.

In 1901 the National League instituted a regulation that a "catcher must stand within the lines of his position whenever the pitcher delivers the ball and within ten feet of the home base." The American League adopted this rule the following year. Current rules state that the "catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate ... with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand" (Rule 4.03[a]). The catcher's box measures 43 inches across and 8 feet long from the plate backward.

MASKED MEN

The first piece of protection for catchers, a rubber mouth protector, dates to the 1870s, purloined perhaps from the sport of bareknuckle boxing. George Wright, brother of Red Stockings founder Harry Wright, preceded the mask with this "mouth protector." His invention was a fifty-cent rubber mouth guard, similar to the mouthpiece a boxer wears. This innovation, according to newspapers of the time, surely cut down on the talkativeness of catchers.

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Masks were more obviously a protective device. Probably the first one was invented by an Ivy League man, Fred Thayer, who in 1876 adapted a fencing mask for Alexander Tyng, then with the Harvard Nine. At first, Thayer's better mouse trap was derisively called a rat trap. But the catcher's mask caught on quickly among pros and amateurs alike and was in wide use by the 1880s. Besides affording protection, it helped fielding from the very first game. Harvard's Tyng made only two errors in that April 12, 1877, match, exceptionally low even for a pro catcher in those days.

Thayer's patented mask (patent 200,358) went into the Spalding catalog for the 1878 season, and adaptations followed quickly. Its simple forehead and chin rests were embellished with padding--made from "imported dog skin," according to one Spalding catalog--to insulate the steel-mesh frame from the catcher's face.

Better visibility was always a goal in catcher's masks. Inventor George Barnard patented his "open view" mask in 1888 (patent 376,278) that afforded both protection and vision. These wire-basket cages worn by the 1890s backstops like Roger Bresnahan and Marry Bergen gave way to the greatly improved peripheral vision of the so-called Open Vision and Wide Sight masks by the 1911 season. A. J. Reach created this mask (patent 1,012,223) for the purpose of removing the vertical bar for better visibility without sacrificing structural strength.

The "platform mask," a one-piece aluminum casting with horizontal crossbars instead of soldered mesh, was patented by umpire James E. Johnstone in 1921 (patent 1,449,183). Mesh still evolved, though, getting springy, shock-absorbing action and ball-deflecting shapes in the 1920s. One such mask designed by H. Goldsmith in 1923 (patent 1,475,991) had a padded "oval surround" with two cross bars. Other mask materials have come along, but carbon-steel wire mesh remains the material of choice to this day. Catchers prefer the welded-wire guard because it has better air movement and fewer massive bars that could obstruct visibility. Carbon-steel wire is used because it's flexible but strong. The goal is to get some deformation in the mesh to reduce some of the shock but still retain structural integrity.

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Sometimes one change in a piece of equipment necessitated changes in other catchers' equipment. For example, with two-handed catching, using the pillow-style mitt, the catcher's hands followed the ball into his body. In the process, the catcher was tucking in his chin so his throat wasn't exposed. Catchers today, with the hinged-mitt, one-hand the ball farther away from their bodies, and they're frequently looking up, so the throat's more exposed. This is the reason why today's catchers wear masks with throat protectors, popularized by Dodger catcher Steve Yeager. In 1976 Yeager was kneeling in the on-deck circle when a bat shattered and a sharp piece slammed into his throat. To protect him from further injury, the Dodgers came up with the billygoat device hanging from his mask. However, throat protectors go back as early as 1888, as demonstrated by a Spalding advertisement for the Spalding's Trade Marked Catcher's Mask No. 30 with a patented neck protection. In 1903 the Victor Sporting Goods Company offered throat protection in its model 314N with a neck extension piece. The latest-version mask has the throat protector integrated with the wire face cage.

The end of the twentieth century has seen the mask evolve into something resembling what Darth Vader wears. Its genesis sprung from hockey's goalie mask, and it was introduced by catcher Charlie O'Brien. It is made of new high-tech polycarbon, and O'Brien's mask was designed by Jerry Van Valden of Toronto-based Catch You Later Headgear. The helmet protects the top, sides, and back of the head, yet the cage-like opening in the front is bigger than that of a normal mask. It increases a catcher's peripheral vision and deflects the ball rather than hitting the catcher flush as does the previous mask. At 50 ounces, the helmet is about 10 ounces heavier than a normal mask/helmet combination. Several major-league catchers have begun wearing it, and soon it may be a standard piece of equipment.

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MITTENS FOR THE HANDS

Mitts were a taken-for-granted part of catching. An early documented use of a glove by a player occurred on June 28, 1870, and that was by a catcher. A sportswriter for the Cincinnati Commercial cabled his office, "[Doug] Allison caught today in a pair of buckskin mittens, to protect his hands." It was printed in the next day's newspaper in a recap of the game between the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Washington Nationals. Also, a report appeared in the Detroit Free Press on August 14, 1867, of a catcher named Ben Delaverage playing for the Victory Club of Troy using a catcher's glove. In the late 1870s gloves came into common use. At first players had to skulk onto the field. But star pitcher-turned-first baseman Albert Spalding made it a manly thing in 1877, boldly donning a black glove that was fingerless but padded. Ever the entrepreneur, Spalding envisioned big sales for his mail-order sporting-goods business. Catchers were among his best customers. Inventor A. C. Butts patented a fingerless glove in 1883 (patent 290,664), and G. H. Rawlings added padding in 1885 (patent 325,968).

Historians quibble over whether Harry Decker, Joe Gunson, Ted Kennedy, or Jack McCloskey first used the padded catcher's mitt in the late 1880s. By one account, the Kansas City Cowboys' Gunson dreamed up the mitt, but he was too busy catching in Al Spalding's world baseball tour to take advantage of the idea. So, ex-catcher Decker filed a patent on his mitt design in 1889 (patent 408,650). The "Decker Safety Catcher's Mitt" was a contraption that was basically a glove stitched to the back of a round pad that covered the palm of the hand. These gloves were literally flat pillows that got their pockets broken in on the job at the expense of the catcher's palm. Decker modified his mitt in 1891 to a more comfortable design (patent 447,233) with the addition of leather lacing on the back of the hand to hold the mitt in place.

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It was not until 1895 that stipulations concerning the use of gloves were included in the rules: Those limited the size of gloves to ten ounces and fourteen inches circumference for all players except catchers and first basemen, who were permitted to use any size glove. The early gloves, lacking webbing and lacing, merely provided protection for the hands. Nineteenth-century players often wore gloves on both hands. For the throwing hand, they would simply snip the glove at the fingers for dexterity.

In 1899, J. F. Draper came up with the round, pillow-style mitt (patent 627,687) that, with several minor modifications, remained the same tool that catchers wore up until the 1920s. R. H. Young in 1920 modified this standard pillow-mitt to disperse a billow of air to form a cushion when the ball was caught (patent 1,362,280).

Mitts were pretty small, flat, and shapeless throughout the dead ball era until a Rawlings employee, Harry "Bud" Latina, who designed dozens of mitts/gloves, created a better mitt. This hand/fingers design made the mitt loose enough to permit it to be dropped quickly or thrown off but not accidentally by using finger loops (patent 1,562,176). This became the standard for more than forty years. Additionally, it had a real change in the depth of the mitt so the ball would really stick, even though the catcher still had to use two hands. The catching technique with the pillow mitt was to stop the ball with the relatively stiff mitt, then secure it with one's bare hand. This was accomplished by holding the bare hand behind the mitt and quickly moving it to the caught ball. But if the catcher had to move his mitt to catch a ball and failed to move both hands in unison, the bare hand could easily be exposed and subject to harm. Jammed and broken fingers were very common injuries during the pillow-mitt era.

Modern mitts have evolved to match today's style of baseball. Catchers now have to one-hand or backhand the ball, which means that they have to work much lower because now the pitching is lower (at or below the batter's knees). However, when a catcher is that low, he can't hold two hands out in front or even one with the fingers pointing up and parallel to the body.

In the 1950s, catcher Gus Niarhos cut an opening in the back of his mitt so he could squeeze the two sides together a little bit, like a fielder's glove. This led to catcher's mitts with breaks in them and long oval pockets.

Previously, mitts had a pocket but no breaks, and the backstop caught two-handed so the ball wouldn't pop out. One-handed catching became possible with the hinged mitt, popularized by Johnny Bench and Randy Hundley in the late 1960s. With these, a spring-action hinge snaps the mitt closed on contact with the ball.

The ancestry of the flex-hinge catcher's mitt goes back to the first baseman's mitts of the 1950s. Logically, one might suppose that former first basemen (like J. C. Martin), converted to catchers in large numbers in the early 1960s, would have been the ones to introduce the mitt. But in fact, the flex-hinge catcher's mitt was introduced by Hundley in 1966 and Bench in 1968; neither of them had ever played first base.

New and sometimes quirky innovations in mitts have arisen since the 1960s. For example, in 1975, Al Campanis, former general manager of the Dodgers, introduced an orange fluorescent stripe around the perimeter of the mitt to help pitchers concentrate on their targets (patent 3,898,696). This caught on, but not every development met with acceptance. Most catchers didn't think much of another innovation in mitts, the oversized "Big Bertha" designed by Baltimore Orioles manager Paul Richards in the late 1950s. Supposedly it was to help his receivers handle the maddening knuckleball of Hoyt Wilhelm. Such baskets grew to a 45-inch circumference before being regulated to 38 inches in 1965. The surface area might help one knock down the ball, but it hindered one's view and cut down on hand mobility. One other drawback of the "Big Bertha" was that even if one caught the ball in that glove, it was hard to find it in time to catch base-stealers.

Some current catchers are keenly interested in the latest wrinkle in mitts, a "digital leather" glove made by Franklin. The innovation is already found in Franklin's current line of fielders' gloves and will make its debut in catchers' mitts soon. The facing leather is etched with a pattern of grooves and diamonds whose purpose is twofold. First, the pattern absorbs the shock of impact. Then, its contours grab the ball and stop its spinning action. Both attributes might turn some hardhands into soft ones. Webbing, air or gel cushions, and other elements of glove design have dealt with the velocity of batted and pitched balls, but only lately have manufacturers turned their attention to the spin factor. The rotation on a baseball can be quite high, 1800 rpm or more on a curveball, for example. Franklin likens its digital leather to the road-gripping pattern of a tire. That leaves the near-spinless knuckleball to contend with, a problem sure to be compounded as more hurlers follow knuckler Tim Wakefield and other "goofy" tossers.

BODY ARMOR FOR THOSE WAYWARD 95-MPH FASTBALLS

Women got into the act of making catching a safer profession. Legend has it that the wife of Detroit Wolverines catcher Charles Bennett devised a chest pad to protect her husband during games. He wore the creation outside his jersey in 1883. While some accounts say that catchers experimented with chest protectors earlier in the decade, these image-conscious receivers tried hiding the devices beneath their uniforms to avoid razzing. Left-handed throwing catcher Jack Clements in 1884 was quoted as saying that he wore a "sheepskin," as chest protectors were first called, beneath his uniform to avoid being called a sissy.

James "Deacon" White, a nine-year catcher in the 1870s who switched to third base for nine more years, supposedly created the first chest protector in the early 1880s. His design included a canvas-covered rubber bladder pumped full of air. Padding eventually replaced the air tubes.

Today's chest protectors, although ribbed with light but shock-absorbing polyfoam, have come full circle from the original fur-stuffed sheepskin "breast protectors" worn under the uniform until 1884. Along the way, catchers and umpires got inflatable vests. "Gray's Patent Body Protector" (patent 295,543) with its rubber-bladder ribs sold for $10 in 1891, twice the price of stuffed canvas or leather. Gray's Protector didn't cover the shoulders, a prime target for foul tips. John Gamble in his 1903 design added inflatable pads that covered the shoulders (patent 745,007).

Although umpires stuck to inflatable protectors until modern times, catchers quickly went for the maneuverability that lightweight stuffing like kapok afforded. Kapok is a lightweight material used in life jackets. Today, chest protectors are filled with foam. Stuffed protectors enabled backstops to crouch and to run to back up bases. F. W. Glahe in 1963 came up with a very flexible chest protector (patent 3,076,197) that greatly improved mobility.

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One of the last modifications to the chest protector was the addition of removable shoulder flaps. M. Neuhalfen in 1991 patented his design (patent 5,020,156) that guarded against those nasty foul tips flying into the upper arms. With the advent of ballistic materials, velcro, breathable cloth, and polyfoam padding, catchers today are wearing the most protection possible with the minimum weight. The 2008 version of the chest protector weighs less than half the chest protector that was available in the 1920s through the 1940s.

ANTI-SPIKE PROTECTORS: THE SHIN GUARDS

Among the tools of ignorance, the designs of masks and mitts have evolved the most, in response to the way baseball is played. By contrast, chest protectors and shin guards haven't changed as much. As early as 1890, catchers began wrapping their bare lower legs with newspapers or leather, which was then hidden beneath their uniforms. This evolved into more elaborate pads, all under their pants, but it took tough-as-nails Roger Bresnahan to have the nerve to admit publicly that his legs hurt from all of the wild pitches, foul balls, thrown bats, and piercing spikes. The curiosities that Bresnahan wore more than a century ago actually were a modified version of the leg guards worn by cricket players. Rods of light cane encased in padded fabric covered the shins, and padding protected the knees.

Over time, padded leather covered the kneecaps, insteps, and ankles. Hard, heavy fiberboard guards appeared in Rawlings ads in 1916. In the 1920s and 1930s, fiberboard supplanted cane. Various inventors played around with the fiberboard design, including D. Levinson in his 1918 idea (patent 1,253,260). William Barrett in 1927 patented the prototypical catcher's leg guards (patent 1,624,129) that uses essentially the design seen today.

The hinged shin guard was developed by the Dodgers in the late 1950s, one of three notable catcher inventions they created. (The billygoat throat protector and the hinged mitt were the other two.) By the 1960s, light but tough molded plastics replaced fiber. How tough? Announcer and former catcher Tim McCarver survived two collisions in which the spikes of ex-Met Tommy Agee became embedded in the guards.

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In 1995, W. F. Hunt Jr. patented leg guards with adjustable lower thigh pieces to facilitate lower crouches and increased protection (patent 5,452,475). G. J. Collins followed up with his multiple-piece thigh and knee guards in 2004 (patent 6,687,912). The next generation might well include complete, flexible, and lightweight leggings made from Kevlar and worn throughout the game and not just when the catcher is behind the plate.

Catching has never appeared to be an easy or cushy job. Even with protective accessories, the position seems to lead the league in injuries yearly. That's why safety and productivity have been the goals of a variety of catching inventions throughout the history of the game.

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Baseball, though it sometimes seems the most tradition-bound of sports, has always shown that all-American penchant for tinkering and innovation. This quest for the better mouse trap has been amply applied to catchers' gear. The evolution of the equipment corresponds to actual changes in the tactics and rules of the game. The tinkering continues. Already a new "digital" catcher's mitt, designed to soften the ball's impact and reduce errors, has made its debut.

Today the well-protected warrior behind home plate has taken advantage of modern technology, especially that developed for law enforcement. Body armor, for the catcher in the twenty-first century, might well be identical to the lightweight Kevlar vests worn under police officers' shirts today. After all, if a thin, almost shirt-like vest can stop a bullet, it certainly can stop a wayward 95 mph fastball. So perhaps chest and leg protection will come full circle and the catchers of tomorrow will be wearing their armor beneath their uniforms just as the players in the 1880s did.

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THE ANATOMY OF A MODERN BASEBALL

The 4 1/8-ounce sphere with an 8 1/2-inch circumference, commonly known as a baseball, has gone through many changes in its 150-year history. There was the rubber cover, the string-and-rag filling, rubber center, yarn wound, double stitching, single stitching, and all sorts of horsehide cover designs. Then, in 1911, George Reach, a Spalding executive, introduced the modern cork-center baseball, which is still in use today. Spalding supplied official major-league baseballs for a hundred years (1876-1976), and then Rawlings took over. A baseball is composed of three parts: a composition a cork center, golf ball-sized, covered with black-and-red rubber; four layers of various kinds of woolen yarn; and a cover of two peanut-shaped Holstein cowhides sewn in one continuous seam and held by 108 stitches. Before 1934. the American League used red and black thread, and the National League used red- and blue-thread stitching. Then both leagues went to an all-red thread.

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Sources

Dan Gutman. Banana Bats and Ding Dong Balls: A Century of Unique Baseball Inventions. New York: Macmillan General Reference, 1995,

U.S. Patent Office
APPENDIX A

PATENT
NUMBER                DATE   INVENTOR               ITEM

 200,358        2 Feb 1878   Fred W. Thayer         Mask
 205,093      18 June 1878   George W. Howland      Mask
 287,137       23 Oct 1883   Harry C. Lee           Mask
 287,331       23 Oct 1883   Alexander K. Schaap    Mask
 290,664       25 Dec 1883   Austin C. Butts        Mitt
 295,543     25 March 1884   William Gray           Chest
 325,968       8 Sept 1885   George H. Rawlings     Mitt
 364,543       7 June 1887   Robt. Reach            Mask
 376,278       10 Jan 1888   George Barnard         Mask
 379,655     29 March 1888   Dennis J. O'Sullivan   Mask
 385,728      10 July 1888   Joseph W. Sauer        Mitt
 408,650     6 August 1889   Earle Harry Decker     Mitt
 432,970      29 July 1890   Barton L. Blair        Mask
 434,120    12 August 1890   Joseph W. Sauer        Mitt
 436,540      16 Sept 1890   Henry L. Naramore      Mitt
 447,233       24 Feb 1891   Earle Harry Decker     Mitt
 450,366     14 April 1891   Earle Harry Decker     Mitt
 455,007      20 June 1891   Leo J.F. Rooney        Mask
 459,441      15 Sept 1891   Jason F. Draper        Mitt
 461,819       27 Oct 1891   Jason F. Draper        Mitt
 461,847       27 Oct 1891   Henry W. Price         Mitt
 472,482      5 April 1892   Theodore A. Kennedy    Mitt
 528,343       30 Oct 1894   Elroy L. Rogers        Mitt
 535,178      5 March 1895   Adolf Slomka           Mitt
 538,572     30 April 1895   Edward L. Wilson       Mitt
 540,514       4 June 1895   Elroy L. Rogers        Mitt
 540,631      11 June 1895   Albert F. Burtt        Mitt
 550,949       10 Dec 1895   Anna Burns Decker      Mitt
 571,437       17 Nov 1896   William Gray           Mask
 578,842     16 March 1897   Adolf Slomka           Mitt
 613,945       18 Nov 1898   Benjamin F. Shibe      Mitt
 622,733     11 April 1899   William S. Tompkins    Mitt
 627,687      27 June 1899   Jason F. Draper        Mitt
 628,724      11 July 1899   Burt T. Rogers         Mask
 677,958       9 July 1901   Charles H. Dean        Mitt
 690,140       31 Dec 1901   John Gamble            Chest
 745,007       24 Nov 1903   John Gamble            Chest
 755,209     22 March 1904   James E. Bennett       Misc
 761,257       31 May 1904   H. B. Schutt           Mask
 789,480        9 May 1905   James E. Bennett       Mitt
 802,505       24 Oct 1905   E.J. Goldsmith         Mask
 814,127      6 March 1906   John Gamble            Mask
 861,170      23 July 1907   John Gamble/           Mask
                             G. M. Smith
 875,337       31 Dec 1907   A. C. Ferry            Mask
 876,237        7 Jan 1908   G. H. Ridlon           Chest
 881,957     17 March 1908   G. H. Ridlon           Mask
 925,851      22 June 1909   W.J.Sullivan           Chest
 990,166     18 April 1911   G.K. Rix               Mask
 991,859        9 May 1911   E. J. Lahan            Mask
1,012,223      19 Dec 1911   A.J. Reach             Mask
1,017,964      20 Feb 1912   W. H. Fox              Mitt
1,196,411      29 Aug 1916   R. L. Welch            Mask
1,253,260      15 Jan 1918   D. Levinson            Shin
1,362,280      14 Dec 1920   Robert H. Young        Mitt
1,449,183    20 March 1921   James E. Johnstone     Mask
1,475,991       4 Dec 1923   Hugo Goldsmith         Mask
1,562,176      17 Nov 1925   Harfry B. Latina       Mitt
1,562,603      24 Nov 1925   A. J. Turner           Mitt
1,624,129    12 April 1927   William Barrett        Shin
1,670,239      15 May 1928   S. Cline               Chest
2,502,377    28 March 1950   Hugo Goldsmith         Mask
2,627,602      10 Feb 1953   Hugo Goldsmith         Mask
2,756,429     31 July 1956   Frank Malachowski      Chest
2,839,755     24 June 1958   John L. Steriss        Mask
2,982,968       9 May 1961   John K. Groot          Shin
3,076,197       5 Feb 1963   Frederick W. Glahe     Chest
3,125,762    24 March 1964   Frederick W. Glahe     Chest
3,135,964      9 June 1964   W. F. Pender           Shin
3,574,861    13 April 1971   Creighton J. Hale      Chest
3,608,089     28 Sept 1971   Peter A. Abbatelli     Mask
3,898,696   12 August 1975   Al Campanis            Mitt
  D258322      24 Feb 1981   William J. Buhler      Throat
  D258695    31 March 1981   Donald L. Doyle        Throat
4,272,847     16 June 1981   William J. Buhler      Chest
4,525,875     25 July 1985   Walter F. Tomczak      Chest
4,633,529       6 Jan 1987   Steven D. Litz         Shin
4,674,157     23 June 1987   Steven D. Litz         Shin
4,692,946     15 Sept 1987   Stanley M. Jurga       Shin
4,993,076      19 Feb 1991   Edward G. Dierickx     Chest
5,020,156      4 June 1991   M. Neuhalfen           Chest
5,206,955       4 May 1993   Norman O. Milligan     Mask
5,267,353       7 Dec 1993   Norman O. Milligan     Mask
5,452,475     26 Sept 1995   W.F.Hunt Jr.           Shin
5,699,556      23 Dec 1997   Shyan-Wei Chen         Mask
5,953,761     21 Sept 1999   S.Jurga                Mask
6,178,556      20 Jan 2001   Louis J. Foreman       Shin
6,189,156      20 Feb 2001   J. T. Loiars           Mask
6,560,781      13 May 2003   Scott M. Keene         Shin
6,687,912      10 Feb 2004   G.J.Collins            Shin
6,964,062      15 Nov 2005   Shyan-Wei Chen         Shin
6,983,487      10 Jan 2006   J. Rickon              Mask

PATENT
NUMBER      NOTE

 200,358    Mod fencing mask
 205,093    Cushioned pad
 287,137    Folding for
            transport and face
            shape adaptable
 287,331    Wire cage swings
            open to permit
            increased vision
 290,664    Fingerless glove
 295,543    Rubber bladder ribs
 325,968    Padding to
            fingerless glove
 364,543    Padding to wire
 376,278    Open view
 379,655
 385,728    Glove with fingers
 408,650    Glove stitched to
            round pad
 432,970
 434,120
 436,540    Mitten, no fingers
            with thumb
 447,233    Mod-added comfort to
            Decker mitt
 450,366    Mod-thicker pad to
            Decker mitt
 455,007
 459,441
 461,819    Thumb-finger leather
            pocket
 461,847    Large glove affixed
            to thick pad
 472,482    Glove to large pad
 528,343    Large thick pad
 535,178    Glove on pad with
            lace at back
 538,572    Glove to flat pad,
            no gap between thumb
            and forefinger
 540,514    Large pillow
 540,631    Large integrated
            glove pad
 550,949    Large pad with
            layers of leather
 571,437
 578,842    Leather lacing
            around pad edge
 613,945    Glove stitched to
            round pad
 622,733    Glove/pad with strap
            on back
 627,687    Round pillow mitt
 628,724
 677,958    Pocket between thumb
            and forefinger
 690,140
 745,007    Inflatable shoulder
            pads
 755,209    Wire box to catch
            balls-no mitt
 761,257    Hinge face flip up
 789,480    Double-mitt muffler type
 802,505
 814,127
 861,170
 875,337
 876,237    Inflatable
 881,957    Mod
 925,851
 990,166    Mod
 991,859    Face flip up
1,012,223   Open vision-wide sight
1,017,964
1,196,411   Throat protector
1,253,260   Larger, flatter stays
1,362,280   Billow air and ball cushion
1,449,183   Platform horiz bars
1,475,991   Mesh ball-deflecting shape
1,562,176   Hand/fingers loops standard
1,562,603
1,624,129   Heavy fiberboard standard
1,670,239   Lightweight foldable
2,502,377   Bar type
2,627,602   Bar type
2,756,429   Combined body, neck,
            and head protector
2,839,755
2,982,968   Adjustable leg length
3,076,197   Flexible ribs
3,125,762   Lightweight, conform
            to body
3,135,964   Multisport
3,574,861   Combined chest and
            throat protector
3,608,089   Hockey-style
3,898,696   Orange fluorescent
            target stripe
  D258322   Throat-protecting
            attachment
  D258695   Throat-protecting
            attachment
4,272,847   Apertures for
            increased air
            circulation
4,525,875   Rigid sternum plates
4,633,529   Quick release velero
4,674,157   Quick release
4,692,946   Mod-increased movement
4,993,076   Apertures for
            increased air
            circulation
5,020,156   Removable shoulder flaps
5,206,955   Molded thermal plastic
5,267,353   Molded thermal
            plastic with steel
            rods
5,452,475   Adjustable thigh pieces
5,699,556
5,953,761   Hockey-style
6,178,556   Custom fitted
6,189,156   Hockey-style
6,560,781
6,687,912   Multiple thigh pieces
6,964,062   Easy connection of parts
6,983,487   Hockey-style

APPENDIX B

ITEM                              YEAR   PATENT NUMBER

Thayer mask                       1878        200,358
Barnard wire cage mask            1888        376,278
Reach mask                        1911      1,012,223
Johnstone platform mask           1921      1,449,183
Goldsmith oval mask               1923      1,475,991
Austin C. Butts                   1883        290,664
fingerless glove
G. H. Rawlings mitt               1885        325,968
E. H. Decker mitt                 1889        408,650
E. H. Decker mitt                 1891        447,233
J. F. Draper pillow mitt          1899        627,687
R.H.Young mitt                    1920      1,362,280
H. B. Latina mitt                 1925      1,562,176
Al Campanis target mitt           1975      3,898,696
William Gray chest protector      1884        295,543
John Gamble chest protector       1903        745,007
F. W. Glahe chest protector       1963      3,076,197

M. Neuhalfen chest protector      1995      5,020,156
D. Levinson shin/leg guards       1918      1,253,260
William Barrett shin/leg guards   1927      1,624,129
W. F. Hunt Jr. shin/leg guards    1995      5,452,475
G. J. Collins shin/leg guards     2004      6,687,912


References

Bjarkman, Peter C. The Baseball Scrapebook (New York: Dorset Press, 1991).

Burns, Ken, and Geoffrey C. Ward. Baseball:An Illustrated History (New York: Knopf, 1994).

Gutman, Dan. Banana Bats and Ding-Dong Balls: A Century of Unique Baseball Inventions (New York: Macmillan, 1995).

Honig, Donald. The Greatest Catchers of All Time (Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown, 1991).

Hughes, Thomas. American Genesis: A Century of Invention & Technology (New York: Viking Penguin, 1989).

Nemec, David, and Saul Wisnia. 100 Years of Major League Baseball (Lincolnwood, Ill.: Publications International, 1999).

Obojski, Robert. Baseball Memorabilia (New York: Sterling, 1991).

Owens, Tom. Great Catchers (New York: Friedman/Fairfax, 1997).

Seymour, Harold. Baseball: The Early Years (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960).

Spalding, Albert. Baseball: America's National Game (orig. pub. 1911; San Francisco: Halo Books, 1991).

--. Spalding's Official Base Ball Guides, 1876-1913.

Trucks, Rob. The Catcher (Cincinnati: Emmis Books, 2005).

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, http://uspto.gov.

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Title Annotation:EQUIPMENT
Author:Rosciam, Chuck
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Date:Jun 22, 2010
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