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Exhibition Baseball Americana

José Molina’s (b. 1975) All-Star catcher’s mask, 2009. Fiberglass, leather, foam, and metal. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (083.00.00)

Enter the Hockey-Style Mask

Late in the 1996 season, Toronto Blue Jays catcher Charlie O’Brien introduced the hockey-style mask, which allows for greater peripheral vision and covers the whole face and head. To his surprise, other players switched from the traditional cage mask to his Darth Vaderesque design. New York Yankee catcher José Molina wore this hockey-style mask in the 2009 World Series. During the 2017 season, nearly thirty percent of major league catchers used this type of mask.