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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Jason Varitek’s (b. 1972) All-Star shin guards, 2008. Plastic, nylon, metal, and leather. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (085.00.00)

State-of-the-Art Shin Guards

Former catcher Herold “Muddy” Ruel wryly coined the phrase “the tools of ignorance” in 1939 to describe the safety equipment required for his hazardous position. (Catcher Tim McCarver twice had a baserunner’s spiked cleats get stuck in his shin guards after violent collisions at home plate.) On good days, though, shin guards, such as these, see little action; Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek wore them on May 19, 2008, when he caught Jon Lester’s no-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.