Baseball might not necessarily be a contact sport, but there is still a significant risk of injury for many of the players. One player that is at risk of injury more than anyone else is the catcher, which is why they need to wear a catcher’s mask. They’re at risk of being hit in the face by a baseball or a bat with everyone who steps up to the plate.
Those who haven’t been a catcher before may not truly understand what it’s like to have a baseball thrown at them at high speeds.
The catcher’s mask is the most critical piece of equipment for a catcher outside of their glove. So, if you’re a catcher, you need to make sure you purchase a good one.
However, before you make a purchase, you need to make sure that all your most pressing questions about the catcher’s masks are answered.
Answering Your Most Pressing Questions
It makes sense that you want to buy the best catcher’s mask available to give yourself the best protection. However, that isn’t possible until you have all the information about catcher’s masks.
To help you with this, we’ll answer several questions that we think are important to have the answers to below.
What is a catcher, and what is a catcher’s mask?
If you’re new to baseball, you might not know what a catcher is, let alone the mask. The catcher is the player on the defending team that stands behind the plate. They are responsible for catching pitches thrown by the pitcher that aren’t hit by the batter.
The position of catcher would be one of the most dangerous positions in all sports if it weren’t for the protective equipment. At the highest level, pitchers throw the ball between 95 and 105 miles per hour.
However, even if you’re receiving balls at half that speed, it’s still extremely dangerous.
Since the catcher is in such a precarious position, they need protective equipment to avoid injury. The most important piece of protective equipment they wear is the catcher’s mask. This mask is a caged mask that the catcher wears that covers their face.
By wearing a catcher’s mask, the catcher protects themselves from breaking facial bones, concussions, and losing teeth. They’d be at risk for all these things at every pitch if it weren’t for their mask.
What is the history of the catcher’s mask?
Baseball is a sport that dates back to the 1700s, but the catcher’s mask wasn’t invented until the 1870s. In 1876, Fred Thayer adapted a fencing mask into a catcher’s mask. It was first used professionally in 1877.
After the invention of the first catcher’s mask, people wanted to optimize it.
The biggest problem with the mask was visibility. Vision is obviously essential for catchers, so developing a mask that gave them the most visibility was a priority.
To help with visibility, the open view mask was developed in 1888 by George Barnard. These masks significantly improved the peripheral vision of catchers.
In 1921, James E. Johnstone patented the platform mask. It was the first catcher’s mask to use one-piece aluminum casting with horizontal bars. Before the platform mask, masks used soldering mesh.
However, in 1923, carbon-steel wire mesh started to be used in masks. This material is still used in masks in the present day.
In the 1970s, throat protectors were added to the masks because of a gruesome injury sustained by professional catcher Steve Yeager. A bat shattered from the impact from the ball, and a piece of the bat slammed into his throat.
Although he survived and played for many more years, no one wanted to see an injury like this again.
Since the 1970s, the catcher’s mask has continued to evolve. It is now lighter and stronger while giving the catcher more vision. As baseball evolves, so will the catcher’s mask, and it will continue to improve in the years to come.
What should you look for in a catcher’s mask?
Before you make a purchase, you’re going to need to know what to look for in a catcher’s mask. Traditionally, there are two styles of masks that catchers wear, the two-piece style, and the hockey style.
The two-piece style sits atop a batting helmet. That makes it very easy to remove, which is essential for catching fly balls. However, this type provides less protection than the hockey style.
The two-piece style has padding that covers the forehead and jaw. Although this does provide moderate protection, there are better options in terms of protection.
The hockey-style catcher’s mask looks like a hockey goalie’s helmet. This type of mask is becoming increasingly popular.
The hockey-style masks provide a significant amount of protection. However, they aren’t as easy to remove as two-piece masks, and they obstruct your peripheral vision more than two-piece masks.
Keep in mind you may not have a choice in style because many youth leagues require catchers to wear hockey-style masks.
Catcher’s masks only come in only two sizes, one for youths and one for adults. That’s because it’s easy to make a mask fit on your head with a few pulls of the straps. Youth masks are for children aged 12 and younger, leaving adult masks for anyone older.
How We Reviewed to Help You Find the Best Catcher’s Mask
Since your safety is affected by the mask you purchase, we took our research seriously when compiling this list. To help us find the best catcher’s masks, we looked at best-of lists from sites such as TheTopPro and TheZ8.
Additionally, we value the opinions of customers. As a result, we only considered catcher’s masks that received positive reviews and top ratings from consumers on Amazon.
8 Contenders to Be the Best Catcher’s Mask
Here we’ll look at eight contenders for the best catcher’s mask. You should note that although this is a numbered list, we did not rank the masks. Instead, the masks are listed in alphabetical order.
1. Champion Sports Adult Catcher’s Mask
The manufacturers made this catcher’s mask for adult players, and it comes in black. It has an extended throat and ear guard to provide you with extra protection. Additionally, it has a harness that holds the mask in place.
The product weighs three pounds and has received praise from customers.
2. Champion Sports Ultra Lightweight Youth Catchers Mask
This product from Champion Sports is a lightweight, weighing only one pound. It is a youth helmet, and it provides excellent face protection for children as they learn the game.
The helmet comes with a harness, which will help keep the helmet in place. It’s also easy to adjust if it comes loose between pitches.
This product is an excellent option for keeping your kids safe and comfortable while playing baseball.
3. CHAMPRO Catcher’s Mask
This product from CHAMPRO is made for adults, and it comes in black. It’s also lightweight, weighing only 27 ounces.
The mask has a solid wireframe with synthetic Ergo-Git pads to provide you with extra protection. It also has ear and throat extensions to keep you completely protected.
4. Coast Athletic Adult Catcher’s Mask
This catcher’s mask from Coast Athletic is an excellent option if you’re playing in an adult baseball or softball league. It is made from sturdy steel wire to provide you with superior protection. It also has special leather pads that wick away moisture and resist bacteria.
Furthermore, the faceguard is comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. It is also lightweight, weighing 18 ounces.
5. Coast Athletic Youth Catcher’s Mask
The second appearance of a Coast Athletic mask on our list is very similar to the previous product. However, this is a youth version.
It weighs 18 ounces and has a sturdy steel wire construction. The faceguard is comfortable for extended use, just like the adult version. Additionally, the product has special leather pads that eliminate moisture and resist bacteria.
You can use this mask for both baseball and softball.
6. Mizuno G4 Samurai Catcher’s Helmet
This catcher’s mask from Mizuno comes in seven colors for you to choose from.
According to Mizuno, the mask has been engineered for performance. It was also crafted with feedback from some of the best players in baseball. Mizuno also says that the product will have a high performance, and it’s innovative.
The product is a hockey-style mask, and as a result, provides a lot of protection.
7. Rawlings Sporting Players Series Goods Catchers Helmet
This product from Rawlings is also a hockey-style mask. The size is 6.5 to 7.0 inches. The mask meets the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standards. Additionally, the interior padding contains Pro Dri plus.
The mask is very strong, and the cage has increased impact resistance. Finally, the plastic shell’s design provides extra impact resistance.
8. Schutt 2296 Air Maxx Catch Helmet
This product from Schutt comes in several colors, making it the most customizable option on our list. Crafted using similar features and technology of Schutt football helmets, these helmets can withstand a great deal of impact.
The product uses the latest TPU cushioning. It also provides the catcher with a wide field of vision.
The mask has an adjustable harness, allowing you to tighten it to the point where you are comfortable. The carbon steel facemask keeps it lightweight. This catcher’s mask weighs one pound.
What Do You Think Is the Best Catcher’s Mask for You?
If you want to be a catcher in baseball, you’ll need a good catcher’s mask. However, before you make a purchase, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product.
We can say with confidence that all eight of the products listed above received praise from consumers.
When looking for a catcher’s mask, the first thing you should consider is the type. You’ll also want to make sure you get the right size. If you consider those two factors, you should be able to find the best catcher’s mask for you.
How long have you been playing baseball? What do you think is the best catcher’s mask? Let us know in the comments!
Last update on 2021-08-03 at 16:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API