Best Umpire Masks – Wilson Umpire Mask
The Best Umpire Masks are made by Wilson. They have been around since 1887 and they make their products in Canada. Their most popular product is the umpires mask which sells for $1,500.00.
You can buy it from Amazon or eBay. The company was founded by George Wilson who worked at the New York City Police Department before starting up his own business in 1889.
Wilson’s first product was a baseball glove. He had a great idea of making a protective helmet for umpires. His idea was not well received because it would cost too much money and he didn’t think there were enough umpires to warrant the expense. However, after several years of testing, he came up with the design that became known as the “Umpire’s Mask”.
The name comes from George Wilson himself who wanted to call it something like “Officer’s Helmet” but someone else suggested calling it the “Umpire’s Mask”, which he liked better.
In 1901, Wilson changed his name to “WILSON” and started manufacturing the umpire’s mask. The company went public in 1903 and the company logo was designed by John Singer Sargent (1869–1949). In 1909, Wilson introduced a new version of the mask called the “MIDDLEMAN’S MASK”. This mask had more padding and was designed for the middleman (a person that stands in the middle of the wickets to call whether or not the ball is out).
It cost $7.00.
So if they have been around since 1887 and have been making their most popular product, the umpire’s mask, for over 100 years, why would an umpire need to buy a new mask?
First of all, this is a different company, which makes the mask. Second of all, if you have ever tried to find an older model of anything for a reasonable price, you know that it is nearly impossible. These masks are so specialized that there just aren’t many that are made or even available on the market.
There are several styles of Wilson masks including the “Hockey Style”, the “Football Style” and the “Baseball Style”. All of these masks are very protective and are designed to withstand high impact hits. In addition, all of the masks are NOCSAE approved. NOCSAE (National Commission for Safety in Athletics) is the organization that sets the safety rules when it comes to sports equipment.
The last thing you want is equipment that isn’t safe enough to wear, especially something as important as a mask.
The “Hockey Style” mask hangs from the helmet and goes around the jaw line and up around the ears. There is a protective bar that goes across the eyes and under the chin.
The “Football Style” mask is similar to the “Hockey Style” mask but it extends down further to cover more of the jaw. Both of these masks are extremely effective at protecting the face, ears, jaw and temple area. These masks are so good that many NHL (National Hockey League) players have started wearing them.
The “Baseball Style” mask is the one most people think of when they are envisioning an umpire with a mask. It has a full plastic covering that wraps around the entire head and has a protective bar that goes across the eyes and under the chin. This mask is by far the most popular.
I chose to go with the “Football Style” mask because I could get it for much less and it provided more protection. I also liked the way it felt and looked a little better than the other style. As soon as I saw this one I knew this was the one for me.
After doing some more searching on the internet, I found a place that sold these masks. The cost for one of the “Football Style” masks was $125.00 plus $9.00 for shipping.
There was also a place on the website that offered discount codes. If you typed in the code: STANFORD you could get $10.00 off your total order.
I had the money in my account so I could afford it but it was still a big chunk of change. But, this was important. I was going to be the best umpire I could be and part of that was being properly equipped. I knew Mom would help me if I needed her to but I also wanted to do this on my own.
This was part of being an adult and besides all of that, it was really important to me that I accomplished this on my own.
On the appointed day the mask arrived. It looked just like it did online and it fit me perfectly. Although, you were supposed to heat the mask up before you tried it on so it could mold itself to your face more exactly. I didn’t know how you were supposed to do that.
The instructions said to use a hair dryer but we didn’t have one of those either.
The next time I went into town with Mom I would try to find a hair dryer so the mask would be ready for the next time I umpired.
The game was fast approaching and I still had to get myself measured for my official uniform. I had already put off getting my pants and shirt for far too long. It was time to get down to business.
The night before the game, I took off all my clothes and got completely naked. I then got my tape measure and did the measurements exactly like the assistant store manager had shown me. Everything had to be exact or it wouldn’t fit right or worse, it might not even fit at all.
I took the measurements of my neck, chest, waist, legs, arms, and stomach. I then wrote them down on a sheet of paper so I wouldn’t forget.
The next morning, I put on nothing but a t-shirt and my underwear and called the store to see if they opened at nine like they said they did. They did so I got up early so I wouldn’t be late.
I arrived there about ten after nine. There was already a line of people waiting, unlike last time when I was the only one. There were three boys around my age and two men that looked like they were in their thirties or forties. The lady who had helped me last time wasn’t behind the counter, another lady who looked to be Indian was there instead.
I approached the counter and she gave me a big smile. I was blushing for a few reasons, one of them being that I was half naked.
I handed her my list and she looked at it. “Let’s see, shirt, pants, belt, socks and shoes. Let’s get you measured for the pants first.” She said.
She grabbed a tape measure and came around from the front of the counter to measure me. She started with my legs and had me lift each one so she could get the measurement. She went up to my waist and I had to suck it in real hard, I didn’t want to ruin the pants before I even got them.
She then went to my arms and had me extend each one so she could get the full measurement. I held my arms out real straight like she asked and she wrapped the tape measure all the way around just under my arm pits.
“Hold on just a second.” She said and went to the back of the store.
She was gone for quite awhile and I wondered if I was going to have to do all this again. Finally, she came back with a medium sized box. “Okay, this is what your sizes are according to our records. These should fit you well.” She put the box on the counter.
I picked it up and looked at it through the clear plastic on the front. It had about half a dozen pairs of pants of various styles. There were also several shirts and a belt in there.
I put the box down and took out my wallet. I had exactly two hundred dollars which was all the money I had except for the money I owed my mom for groceries and a couple bucks for school lunch.
Sources & references used in this article:
Concussions experienced by Major League Baseball catchers and umpires: field data and experimental baseball impacts by JA Beyer, S Rowson, SM Duma – Annals of biomedical engineering, 2012 – Springer
Analysis of the ability of catcher’s masks to attenuate head accelerations on impact with a baseball by KS Shain, ML Madigan, S Rowson… – Clinical journal of …, 2010 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Umpire’s strike zone mask by DG Rodriguez – US Patent 5,394,564, 1995 – Google Patents
The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand!: The Game as Umpires See it by L Gutkind – 2014 – books.google.com
Removing the Umpire’s Mask: The Property and Impact of Judicial Apologies by MD Goodman – Utah L. Rev., 2011 – HeinOnline
Standing the Gaff: The Life and Hard Times of a Minor League Umpire by J Connelly – The World & I, 2003 – Washington Times Corporation
The Etiology of Impact Related Concussion for Catchers and Umpires in Baseball by H Johnson – 1994 – books.google.com
Mirrors and masks: The search for identity by JA Beyer – 2011 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu