Stepping into the world of physical sports for a moment, Sports Illustrated has a great list of things that baseball would do better with, and now lacks.|
Like hockey players, catchers have steadily disappeared under increasing layers of protective gear. In fact, the current catcher?s helmet, introduced in 1997 by Charlie O?Brien of the Blue Jays, was based on the modern goalie mask with a head-encompassing fiberglass/Kevlar shell and attached wire cage. Some backstops, such as Minnesota?s Joe Mauer, still wear the traditional mask, in use for more than a century, with a batting helmet turned backward as introduced by another Twin, Earl Battey, in 1962. But there?s a romance attached to the old days when catchers wore a cloth fielder?s cap along with a mask. Maybe it has something to do with baseball?s, well, uniformity. Managers and coaches dress like players, and the players look alike, save for the catcher in his tools of ignorance. His cap, however, made him feel a little more part of the team.