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Balloon-Style Chest Protectors Baseball umpires wore variations of the outside chest protector for about 80 years. In the major leagues, National League umpires made the transistion to inside protectors several years before their American League counterparts. The result was that NL umps generally called lower strikes because they tended to squat lower behind the catcher. After 1977, the American League mandated that all new arbiters wear inside protectors, but veteran umps could retain their balloons. The last umpire in the big leagues to wear an outside protector was Jerry Neudecker. He retired after the 1985 season.
Tags: umpires  balloon  chest  protector 
Added: 13th August 2009
Views: 9129
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Posted By: Lava1964
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-08-13 
...and umps continued to wear neckties and coats well into the 1970s.
Posted by: Classico on 2009-08-14 
Baseball should never have forced the umps to alter their protective equipment. In my MANY years in the sport I have seen far too many injuries resulting from the inadequate devices they use today.
Posted by: Lava1964 on 2009-08-14 
I've been a softball and baseball umpire since 1978. I switched to an inside chest protector around 1990. There's no doubt that an inside protector makes the plate umpire more mobile and agile when he has to get out of the way of a wild pitch or position himself to make a call at the plate, it also leaves him clearly more vulnerable to foul balls. Hardly a game goes by where I don't get a foul ball on the arm.
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