Patent # 2,288,467
Issued June 30th, 1942
Having witnessed plenty of busted open catcher’s mitts, I love how they illustrated the padding for the inside of the glove, because that’s EXACTLY how it looks! This patent was filed on behalf of Rawlings, my personal favorite Glove manufacturer. One odd thing about this glove is the positioning of the seams on the pocket. It seems like you’re risking a painful injury by adding in a band of strong material in there that could dig into your palm on contact with a ball.
Patenting a scorekeeping method isn’t something I thought was possible… until I stumbled across this patent. This patent was granted on August 3rd, 1926 and was filed by John F. Hassler and Rex Way Rogers(!) of Detroit. The goal was threefold:
1. Simplify the way score is kept.
2. Allow a scorer to score both teams without flipping the page.
3. To speed up end game tallying at the end of a game.
The scorekeeping grid is centered around a crosshair-ish system which represents the four bases. Lines are drawn connecting the hatches when a player advances. I would tell you more about the scoresheet but this patent has one of the most convoluted descriptions I have ever seen. For instance:
“A base ball score card comprising a
sheet having main vertical columns,
Patent # 2,028,462
Issued January 21, 1936
This is a fine example of the more minimal catcher’s mask styles that emerged in the 1930′s.
Early baseball players were very slow to accept protective gear. Players fielded ball bare handed and owned gnarly fingers as a result. 19th century games were marked by multitudes of errors each game by fielders, catchers in particular. In the beginnings of the game the position was significantly different than it is now. Pitchers were closer to the plate (50′ instead of the modern 60’6″) and mostly threw underhand. The catcher played a few feet back from home plate and caught pitches on a bounce.
A rule change in 1880 made it mandatory that the third strike be caught in the air, meaning catchers had to start playing directly behind the plate. This was obviously a dangerous position to be in. Catchers were frequently injured by foul tips, glancing blows from a bat and those pesky new curveballs….
Issued April 13, 1971
The highlight of this design was a detachable throat protector for the catcher. Modern catcher’s gear has throat protection on the helmet instead of the chest protector.
The first fielding gloves in baseball were flesh-colored, so that fans wouldn’t notice that the players were wearing them. Doug Allison, a catcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was the first player to wear a glove in a game. Some early gloves were padded with beefsteak to reduce the sting of catching a ball.
Patent # RE23225
Issued May 2, 1950
This patent involved constructing baseball uniforms in a way that clearly indicates the vertical strike zone area of a player. The idea never caught on because the umpire focuses on the pitch when calling strikes, and it was too distracting to focus on both the uniform and the ball.
Issued: Aug 1932
This peculiar baseball design features an off center core, the theory being that this would allow for more curve in a pitcher’s pitches and would make fly ball more erratic, the result being a more exciting game.
Patent # 1012223
This is a wire frame baseball mask, most often used by a catcher. This mask was designed to be cheaper to produce and more sturdy than its contemporaries.