No More Mitts for Catchers

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No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby mikesglove » March 5th, 2014, 5:09 pm

The article below is from a May 7, 1904 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The hand held metal cage with spring loaded doors in front is meant to capture a pitch and deposit the ball to the ground through a tube at the bottom of the apparatus. The catcher is then free to lay the cage down, pick up the ball and continue the game. The text is difficult to read but it is mainly a satirical review of James Bennett's latest baseball catcher invention. The article states the baseball catcher device resembles a cage for a homesick bear or dyspeptic hyena. There is also the difficulty of retrieving pop-up foul balls and throwing out base runners. The major and minor league clubs were not sold on this invention and stated they were satisfied with going another season with real live catchers.

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James Bennett was an industrial designer and inventor from Momence IL. and formed his own manufacturing company circa 1904. he had many industrial patents including early patents for wagon yokes and telephone linemen climbing gear. His later patents included vehicle drive trains and locomotives.
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Below is the original baseball catcher patent and an improved version with slopped bottom to the cage and a curved face mask. The metal frame extending past the cage on each side were described as hand grips in the patent documents. There are shoulder and hip pads on the back of the device but no mention of straps attaching the apparatus to the ball player. It would be ridiculously heavy.


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James Bennett designed somewhat more conventional catchers gear in 1905 but still wildly ineffective. Bennett's manufacturing facility came under hard times by 1918 an he resorted to placing newspaper ads offering all his patents for sale.


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One page of the patent drawings above included a clever design for a conventional catchers mitt with a hinged break on one side of the mitt and top and bottom crescent padding. That would be figs. 5 and 6. and the design seems fairly innovative. The figs. 7 and 8 however retreat again into weirdness.


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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby Mr. Mitt » March 5th, 2014, 5:25 pm

If you haven't read Catcher by Peter Morris, please do. I enjoyed this book more than any other that I've read on vintage baseball. You can download it on iBooks or grab one on amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Catcher-Behind-Pl ... her+morris

Basically, Morris details how the most important and most masculine player on the field coming out of the Civil War became the least respected with the advent of each phase of protective gear. As the new century dawned, he shows how this "new catcher" literally changed the game, recapturing his earlier place atop the pecking order. Wonderful read, chock full of equipment details.
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby theglovester » March 5th, 2014, 6:39 pm

Well, Just had to comment on this!!! You know you never know what you might learn on the old glove forum, such as what the heck is a "dyspeptic hyena" ??? Thats something hard for me to picture!! Looking in the Funk&Wagnel dictionary it is a
hyena that has painful digesting problems.....Explains a bunch!!

Now imagine catching Koufax, Mathewson, or the Reds' Chapman with that Snipe hunting cage hung around your neck??

love the accordian mitt and the double break mitt though, those are cool!!

Oh, any yankee glovers on here who haven't been snipe hunting, I have a free snipe hunting reserve here in piney flats, come on down 8)

More excitement in my neck of the woods!!! my boy went fishing lure hunting at the TVA lake here at home, and found a satchel full of counterfeit $20 bills in the lake!! about $4-5000, worth!! WTH!!
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby ebbets55 » March 6th, 2014, 12:05 pm

Great post Mike. All of those inventions and more are in Dan Gutman's book Banana Bats and Ding-Dong Balls. It's a must read for crazy equipment inventions. I havent read it in years but when I saw those patents above, I couldn't help but reflect on it.

And Jerry, The Catcher by Peter Morris is one of the best baseball books I have ever read, and I have read a lot. Top five for sure.

JD
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby softball66 » March 6th, 2014, 1:02 pm

On the catcher's catching cage. . . where do you put in the nickel?
I think Drokester should hand-build one of these. Show up at the civil war re-enactment. The Yankees would die laughing. :P
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby glovejunkie » March 6th, 2014, 7:39 pm

Hell Yeah, I second that notion, lmao!!
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby theglovester » March 10th, 2014, 8:31 pm

Well, after reading all my Baseball books for the upteenth time, it is time to grab some reading material.

And there we go..Banana bats and ding-dong balls....That has my name written all over it, and The Catcher, is a must, Jim said so, so there!!!

My Purty Sharon reads a bunch, and has a KINDLE.... she said she would buy the two books and down load them for me......A blank stare from me.

So after amazon searching, picked up both books used, 2 books for under $10, Yeah, I'm cheap, saving up for the ELUSIVE PEPPER MARTIN PM RAWLINGS....(yep, all my posts will have Pepper martin in em, worked for a Diz)

A fun book to read is "tales from the dugout" by Mike Shannon, funny stories, good for a laugh.

Need to pick up a book about Dizzy Dean... whats the best one guys, found 2 or 3.. one has to be better,
And the move "Pride of St.Louis" any film critics on here??

On a side note, I believe a baseball item related to 1775 and a Tennessee Civil war replica item may be available soon...
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby ebbets55 » March 18th, 2014, 6:10 pm

Double Dee, I have Pride of St. Louis on VHS if you want me to send it to you. Hell, I have a lot of the old black and white baseball flicks on VHS if you want me to send them to you. Still have a VCR?

JD
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby theglovester » March 18th, 2014, 7:14 pm

Thanks Jim, already found it and watched it, not bad, not good, but a baseball movie never the less!!

Started on "The Catcher" pretty neat, told Purty Sharon..."Even in The Red Badge of Courage there is baseball!! she mumbled something.

Still trying to talk her into painting the bedroom's oak floor green, leaving the wood unpainted where the base paths, mound and infield would be!! She said "Sure!! and I'll move the bed to first base and I'll be pitching a perfect game" For a split second I thought I had a chance....on an infield in the bedroom!!

hang on to the VHS's there are showing some oldies on TV currently, watched: It happens ever spring, and Take me out to the ballgame. Wonder how many true glovers know the entire song "Take me out to the Ballgame"

Hey Jim, you are the knower of a bunch, get me the author of The Catcher address, he needs to be Drokesterized.

Take care glovers, and as always...PM PEPPER MARTIN!!! come on guys!!!! Help a poor confederate out!!
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby ebbets55 » March 18th, 2014, 7:27 pm

Got it. Why don't you challenge me next time. :lol: I'll text it to you.

JD
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby softball66 » March 19th, 2014, 3:58 pm

Speaking of old black and white movies, here's one I hadn't seen until recently," Big Leaguer."
With , of all people, Edward G. Robinson playing "HANS" Lobert. A baseball spring training movie that I'd rate about a "D", but like Don says, it's
a baseball movie. There's a big mystery here though. If you pull up one of the actors: Jeff Richardson, he claims to have played minor league ball BUT
I cannot find him listed under that name in the SABR sites. Anyone care to investigate?
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045556/?re ... lmg_act_54 :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Re: No More Mitts for Catchers

Postby theglovester » March 20th, 2014, 9:28 pm

While reading "The Catcher" the book has taken a severe turn for the worst :evil: ...the author tends to laud Ulysses Grant???? Northern writer :roll: ... Stonewall Jackson would have been a more deserving example. But still a great read and enjoyable, I just substitute Stonewall in place of Grant with my ink pen, all good.

Say a prayer for Chapman of the Reds, He Got Herb Scored today... Not starting out well for the Reds...
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